For those who have tried so hard to downplay the importance of Valerie Plame’s outing; for those who say the leak wasn’t important because Plame worked at Langley; for those who say what Rove and Libby and others did wasn’t a blow to our intelligence services, we suggest you read President Ronald Reagan’s remarks at CIA headquarters upon signing the Intelligence Identities Protection Act (which the Plame leakers may have violated):
Whether you work in Langley or a faraway nation, whether your tasks are in operations or analysis sections, it is upon your intellect and integrity, your wit and intuition that the fate of freedom rests for millions of your countrymen and for many millions more all around the globe. …
Like those who are part of any silent service, your sacrifices are sometimes unappreciated; your work is sometimes misunderstood. Because you’re professionals, you understand and accept this. But because you’re human and because you deal daily in the dangers that confront this nation, you must sometimes question whether some of your countrymen appreciate the value of your accomplishments, the sacrifices you make, the dangers you confront, the importance of the warnings that you issue.
And that’s why I have come here today; first, to sign an important piece of legislation that bears directly on your work, an act of Congress whose overwhelming passage by the representatives of the American people is a symbol of their support for the job that you do every day. But even more than this, I’ve come here today to say to you what the vast majority of Americans would say if they had this opportunity to stand here before you. We’re grateful to you. We thank you. We’re proud of you.