Valerie Plame and Joseph Wilson are considering a civil suit against administration officials. If they do, they'd better be ready for a vicious attack by White House proxiesWithin days, if not hours, the special prosecutor in the CIA leak case will announce the outcome of his two-year investigation. But Patrick Fitzgerald probably won't have the last word. For months now, ambassador Joseph Wilson and his wife, Valerie Plame, the covert CIA agent unmasked by the White House, have been preparing to file a civil lawsuit against the Bush administration officials who disclosed her identity and scuttled her career.
"There is no question that her privacy has been invaded. She was almost by definition the ultimate private person," said the couple's attorney, Christopher Wolf, of the law firm Proskauer Rose, on Monday. "Suffice it to say, they have been substantially damaged, economically and personally." He said the couple would make a final decision on filing a lawsuit after Fitzgerald has completed his investigation.
If they do sue, Wilson and Plame could be the first litigants to depose senior White House officials since Paula Jones, an employee of the state of Arkansas, opened a can of worms by suing President Bill Clinton for allegedly exposing himself in a Little Rock hotel room. In a deposition for the Jones lawsuit, Clinton lied under oath about his relationship with another woman, Monica Lewinsky, a White House intern, triggering his impeachment by the House of Representatives and the disclosure of oral sex in the Oval Office. "The questions can range far afield. You can ask all kinds of stuff," said Gilbert Davis, an attorney who represented Jones in her sexual harassment lawsuit. "You can start free-wheeling with all kinds of discovery methods."