Valerie Plame Wilson,
former covert CIA agent, and her husband, Joseph Wilson, a former U.S. ambassador, sued Vice President Dick Cheney, his former top aide I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, and presidential adviser Karl Rove in July, claiming they conspired to destroy Plame Wilson's career by leaking her identity to the media. In a July 2003 column, Joseph Wilson discredited President Bush's claim—and a justification for war in Iraq—that Saddam Hussein was pursuing a nuclear weapons program by seeking to obtain uranium from Niger. Shortly after Wilson publicized his views, columnist Robert Novak identified Plame Wilson as a CIA agent who specializes in weapons of mass destruction. Wilson believes the Bush administration leaked his wife's name as retribution. Novak has said that Rove was one of his sources for his column. In August, former deputy secretary of state Richard Armitage acknowledged that he was Novak's primary source for the information on Plame Wilson.
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