and so here it is.... admission.... at long last, what we all knew to be true is right out in the open... they outed Plame ... you gotta love the defense tactic... "ok, ok... yes, we did it... we disclosed the identity of a COVERT CIA officer... but look, it's part of our normal duties to tell select members of the media such information.... throw this case out... please??" how utterly satisfying and vindicating on so many levels... Judge Told Leak Was Part of 'Policy Dispute' By Carol D. Leonnig Washington Post Staff Writer Friday, May 18, 2007; Page A03 Attorneys for Vice President Cheney and top White House officials told a federal judge yesterday that they cannot be held liable for anything they disclosed to reporters about covert CIA officer Valerie Plame or her husband, former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV. The officials, who include senior White House adviser Karl Rove and Cheney's former chief of staff, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, argued that the judge should dismiss a lawsuit filed by the couple that stemmed from the disclosure of Plame's identity to the media. <snip> U.S. District Judge John D. Bates asked: "So you're arguing there is nothing -- absolutely nothing -- these officials could have said to reporters that would have been beyond the scope of their employment," whether the statements were true or false? "That's true, Your Honor. Mr. Wilson was criticizing government policy," said Jeffrey S. Bucholtz, deputy assistant attorney general for the Justice Department's civil division. "These officials were responding to that criticism." Erwin Chemerinsky, a Duke University law professor who is representing Wilson and Plame, said the leak was no typical policy debate. President Bush himself said that revealing Plame's identity could be illegal conduct and a firing offense, he told Bates. Chemerinsky said that after Plame's cover was blown, the couple feared for their safety and their children's safety and Plame lost any opportunity for advancement at the CIA.