In all this talk about the Libby indictment and the arcana of the criminal law, we are in danger of losing sight of the main issue here. In my mind, it's pretty straightforward:
The Bush Administration's members came into office committed to a war against Iraq. The attacks on 11 September 2001 provided them with a cover for this war. Although Saddam's vile regime had nothing to do with 9/11 and was only tangentially related to Al Qaeda, Iraq was, bizarrely, made the focus (the "front line") of our war against the terrorists. Our efforts to fight terrorists in Afghanistan were shortchanged by the Administration's determination to topple Saddam. The Bush Administration's officials deliberately ignored evidence that refuted their contentions that Saddam possessed WMDs. They emphasized evidence that supported their preconceived notions. (They may even have contrived false evidence in support of the WMD accusation.) They waged a relentless public relations campaign to sell the war to the American people, including having Colin Powell make a speech at the UN in February 2003 that we now know was riddled with falsehoods. Joe Wilson challenged their lies and distortions, and they vowed to destroy him for it. That's why his wife was outed and her front company, Brewster-Jennings, ruined. The Plame outing, therefore, was a small part of a much more serious act: the deliberate deceiving of the American people in order to get their support for a tragically unnecessary war.