Politics: He's a Rover
1) Rove never revealed Valarie Plames name to the press.
A) He didn't - but he did reveal her identity as "Wilsons wife." This was after the op-ed piece by Joseph Wilson was printed, as dated by the email reporter Matt Cooper sent.
2) Rove was just talking - he didn't mean to expose a CIA operative! He was just trying to clarify a lie published by Wilson.
A) Right. I'll go through this slowly: she was an active CIA agent in Niger; Wilson went to Niger for the CIA to follow up on the "Yellowcake" report that Bush talked about in his 2003 State of the Union address; he found nothing, and published that; in response, Rove told Cooper that Wilsons wife had "authorized" the trip, and should thus be suspect. How could wilsons wife "authorize" a trip someone is taking on behalf of the CIA if she wasn't a member of that agency?
3) Well, who says she was covert?
A) The CIA. They're the ones who brought this to the attention of the Justice Department. Here's a little piece about what it means to have a black passport - or not have one.
4) Okay, so maybe he identified her as an agent, but that's not a crime.
A) United States Code, Title 50 Section 421: yep, it's a crime.
5) Not the Intelligence Identities Protection Act!
A) The Espionage Act will do nicely, here.
This was a pure revenge operation. More importantly (for the United States, anyways) is precedent: if politicians are allowed to reveal agency identities, then that agency is no longer seperate from government, is it?
And you don't even want to know about the Office of Special Plans...
***Update July 16th: Billmons take on the "spontaneous" massive water loss around the case.