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Joe Wilson and Valerie Plame have been told by a federal judge: you've got no case.

They had sued George Bush and Dick Cheney and others over the disclosure that Valerie Plame was not only a CIA agent but was also the wife of Joe Wilson, who had gone public criticizing the administration's interpretation of prewar intelligence.

Wilson, huffing and puffing for years now, had thundered that his wife was outed as punishment for him challenging the Bush administration's justification for the Iraq invasion and regime change of Saddam Hussein. Wilson wanted Karl Rove "frog-marched across the White House lawn," a reference to Rove being led away in cuffs.

He crowed that the Libby conviction was a triumph for his case, and he and his wife launched a highly suspect lawsuit against the president and the vice president over the disclosure of Plame's name.

Today a federal judge said: forget it. Judge John Bates said:

"There can be no serious dispute that the act of rebutting public criticism, such as that levied by Mr. Wilson against the Bush administration's handling of prewar foreign intelligence, by speaking with members of the press is within the scope of defendants' duties as high-level executive branch officials"

In other words, the judge said to Wilson, hey, you took on the president and the vice president; they have a right to fight back. And one of the ways they are allowed to legally respond is to inform the public that the vice president of the United States did not send Joe Wilson to Niger to investigate Saddam Hussein's nuke bomb quest. It was Wilson's CIA agent wife who did it. Case closed.

One hopes this is the last we'll hear of the windy Mr. Wilson, but my guess is no. He does love to hear himself spew, so stand by. Next we'll hear that Judge Bates should be frog-marched off the bench.

That's My Word.

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