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Federal judge dismisses Plame CIA leak lawsuit

[JURIST] US District Judge John Bates Thursday dismissed a lawsuit [opinion, PDF] against members of the Bush administration brought by Valerie Plame [Washington Post profile], the former CIA operative whose disclosed identity precipitated the 2003 CIA leak scandal [JURIST news archive], ruling that the court lacked jurisdiction over her tort claim. Bates said that relief for Plame's claim was only available administratively under the Federal Tort Claims Act [Cornell Law backgrounder]. Bates also refused to recognize an "implied damage remedy" for her constitutional claims or to express an opinion on those claims.

The suit, filed [JURIST report] last year against Vice President Dick Cheney, White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove [official profile], and former vice-presidential aide I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby [defense trust profile], asserted that they and 10 unnamed administration officials violated Plame's rights to privacy, free speech, and equal protection under the US Constitution by conspiring to expose her, threatening her career and endangering her family. Plame contends that the defendants revealed her identity as an undercover CIA operative in retaliation for the statements made by her husband, former US ambassador Joseph Wilson [BBC profile], in which he denied that Saddam Hussein had attempted to purchase materials for a nuclear weapon in Niger as the Bush administration had claimed. Libby was convicted in March of perjury and obstruction of justice in connection with the case and sentenced [JURIST reports] to 30 months in prison and ordered to pay a $250,000 fine. President George W. Bush commuted [JURIST report] his prison sentence earlier this month. AP has more.

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