In 2003, a case of leaked identity ended the career of a CIA agent. On July 6, 2003, The New York Times published an Op-Ed by former U.S. diplomat Joseph Wilson, which questioned the reasons given by President George W. Bush's administration for invading Iraq earlier in 2003.
Wilson, who had been a CIA envoy to Niger in 2002, said Bush's claim that Iraq had attempted to buy enriched uranium yellowcake -- a step toward enriched uranium but not weapons-grade yet -- from Niger was unsubstantiated. In response, Washington Post columnist Robert Novak wrote a column on July 14, 2003 criticizing Wilson and referring to Wilson's wife, Valerie Plame, as an "agency operative" -- blowing her cover.
Wilson accused the White House of leaking Plame's identity as retribution for his Op-Ed, prompting an investigation. Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald interviewed Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and other administration officials and journalists. New York Times reporter Judith Miller, who conducted interviews in the leak but had never written an article about it, refused to testify and was held in contemp. She served time at a federal detention center, but was released after three months when Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Cheney's chief of staff, signed a waiver granting Miller permission to speak.
In 2007, Libby was convicted of obstruction of justice, perjury and making false statements to government investigators. Libby was sentenced to prison, but Bush later reduced his sentence.