Judge throws out Plame’s lawsuit

A U.S. judge on Thursday threw out former CIA analyst Valerie Plame’s lawsuit against Vice President Dick Cheney and other Bush administration officials for disclosing her identity to the public.

Plame has said her career was destroyed when administration officials blew her cover in 2003 to retaliate against her husband, Iraq war critic Joseph Wilson.

The couple had sought money damages from the officials for violating their constitutional free speech, due process and privacy rights.

U.S. District Court Judge John Bates dismissed the case on jurisdictional grounds.

Plame’s lawyer said she would appeal.

“While we are obviously very disappointed by today’s decision, we have always expected that this case would ultimately be decided by a higher court,” lawyer Melanie Sloan said in a statement.

Bates said Cheney and the others — his former chief of staff Lewis “Scooter” Libby, White House political adviser Karl Rove and former deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage — had a right to respond to criticism.

“The alleged means by which defendants chose to rebut Mr. Wilson’s comments and attack his credibility may have been highly unsavory,” Bates wrote in the 41-page decision.

“But there can be no serious dispute that the act of rebutting public criticism … by speaking with members of the press is within the scope of defendants’ duties,” he added.

Plame’s outing triggered a lengthy criminal investigation, which resulted in the conviction of Libby on perjury and obstruction of justice charges in March.

No one was charged with criminally disclosing her identity.

President George W. Bush commuted Libby’s 2 1/2-year prison sentence earlier this month.