MUM'S THE WORD....

MUM'S THE WORD. I just returned from the ostensible news conference at which Valerie Plame Wilson and her husband, former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, issued statements on the reasons behind their launching of a civil lawsuit against Vice President Dick Cheney, Deputy White House Chief of Staff Karl Rove, former vice presidential Chief of Staff I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, and 10 unnamed political operatives. I use the word "ostensible," because it seemed to me that no news was broken here, with neither of the Wilsons taking questions. (Unless, of course, you count the revelation of the creation of a fund for the Wilsons' legal expenses, to which supporters may contribute here.)

The Wilsons' attorney, Christopher Wolf of Proskauer Rose LLP, answered questions in a lawyerly way, which meant he didn't really answer them at all. I asked if he could explain how the Bevins precedent on which the case is based -- which, in the past, apparently applied only to the actions of law enforcement officers -- could encompass political figures, and was told that he could not comment on that.

On the way out, I found myself crammed into the far corner of a press club elevator, the only woman on the fringe of a huddle of cameramen.

"She sure doesn't look like a CIA agent," said one of Plame. "She looks like--"

"---a porn star," interrupted another.

The one photog aware of my presence in the elevator car turned to me, saying, "You knew it was only a matter of time before that came up."

Oblivious to the murmurings of the apologist, the man who began the conversation countered, "No, she's too pretty for that."

--Adele M. Stan

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