This is my answer to this post claiming that the ’82 statute protects agents that are covert at the moment the identity leak happens.
This is wrong. The agent establishes connections that are secret for years. Practically it means the identity of a retired agent must be protected for 15-20 years, but the law protects it indefinitely. We don’t know how many agents Rove and Libby have uncovered – it might be 10 or even 20 people, not just Valerie Wilson.
We will never know the exact damage done by outing agent Plame, but if one day terrorists will blow a nuclear device on american soil, don’t forget that Mr. Cheney, Rove and Libby did their part of the job.