Sen. John Kerry, who called for Karl Rove to be fired over allegations that he revealed the identity of CIA employee Valerie Plame, outed a genuine undercover CIA agent just this past April - even after the Agency asked that his identity be kept secret.
Kerry blew the cover of CIA secret operative Fulton Armstrong during confirmation hearings for U.N. ambassador nominee John Bolton.
Questioning Bolton, Kerry asked: "Did Otto Reich share his belief that Fulton Armstrong should be removed for his position?" - according to a transcript excerpted by the New York Times.
"The answer is yes," the top Democrat continued.
In his response to Kerry, Mr. Bolton did his best to maintain the agent's confidentiality, reverting to the Armstrong's pseudonym.
"As I said," he told Kerry, "I had lost confidence in Mr. Smith, and I conveyed that."
Two years earlier, Armstrong had been identified in news reports on his dispute with other officials over intelligence involving Cuba. But he was operating in a different capacity and his identity wasn't secret at the time.
"When the Bolton nomination resurrected the old accounts, however, the C.I.A. asked news organizations to withhold his name," the Times said.
Apparently the CIA directive wasn't good enough for Sen. Kerry - who outed Armstrong anyway and later defended the move by saying his Republican colleague, Senator Richard Lugar, had also mentioned the name.
And besides, said Kerry, the secret agent's name "had already been in the press."