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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

CIA Agent's Blown Cover Sparks Probe

WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Justice Department has opened an investigation into the leak of a CIA agent's identity, and President George W. Bush on Tuesday ordered his staff to cooperate in the case, an offshoot of claims the White House exaggerated Iraq's arms threat.

Justice Department lawyers notified the White House counsel's office on Monday night that it had begun an investigation into "possible unauthorized disclosures concerning the identity of an undercover CIA employee," according to a memo sent to White House staff by counsel Alberto Gonzales.

The controversy centers on the disclosure in July that the wife of diplomat Joseph Wilson was an undercover CIA operative specializing in weapons of mass destruction.

Wilson believes his wife's name, Valerie Plame, was publicized by administration officials seeking to discredit him or get revenge after he accused the White House of exaggerating the weapons threat from Iraq, the main reason it cited in launching a war against President Saddam Hussein in March.

Gonzales sent out a memo by e-mail directing White House staff to preserve any relevant materials. A syndicated columnist, Robert Novak, in a July column, cited two unidentified administration sources as having told him Plame's identity.