I am informed by my own spook sources that operations people are covert, clandestine... secret people doing secret things.
Intelligence people are analysts. They are generally in the office analyzing...
Here's the crucial difference: if the president's minions revealed the name of an intelligence spook — an analyst — it means something, but it doesn't start a lot of heavy breathing.
It's a matter of inconvenience, but probably wouldn't launch a huge investigation.
On the other hand... if the president's minions revealed the name of an operations spook, that's a big problem. The agent's life could then potentially be in danger.
And once that name is out... everything our spy did, everywhere she went, everybody she talked to may be used to trace other U.S. agents.
That, as you know, could lead to big trouble for people we have counted on for very important information.
That's how people get killed.
So it's very important. Was she a true undercover spy? If she was, revealing her name is a crime and a serious one at that.
That's My Word.
What do you think? We'd like to hear from you, so send us your comments at email@example.com. Some of your e-mails will be featured on the air or on our site.
• Looking for previous My Word columns?