The question of whether Valerie Wilson was a covert CIA operative at the time her name was published in the Novak column is simply not answered in the Fitzgerald indictment. Instead, Fitzgerald argues that the very fact that Wilson worked for the CIA was classified, and thus Libby’s saying that she worked for the CIA — regardless of any mention of covert/noncovert status, or whether Libby even knew about that — constituted a release of classified information:
At all relevant times from January 1, 2002 through July 2003, Valerie Wilson was employed by the CIA, and her employment status was classified. Prior to July 14, 2003, Valerie Wilson’s affiliation with the CIA was not common knowledge outside the intelligence community.
The responsibilities of certain CIA employees required that their association with the CIA be kept secret; as a result, the fact that these individuals were employed by the CIA was classified. Disclosure of the fact that such individuals were employed by the CIA had the potential to damage the national security in ways that ranged from preventing the future use of those individuals in a covert capacity, to compromising intelligence-gathering methods and operations, and endangering the safety of CIA employees and those who dealt with them.