CIA agent's career destroyed after identity compromised

Valerie Plame's nearly two-decade career at the CIA and the secret life she crafted to conceal it were blown when her identity was revealed by a newspaper columnist, her husband, Joe Wilson said in a CBS "60 Minutes" interview.

Wilson, a former career diplomat, said Plame, 42, was in shock when she saw her name and that of her fictitious employer published in a syndicated column by Robert Novak.

"She felt like she'd been hit in the stomach. It took her breath away," Wilson said.

Asked whether she realized then that her career as a CIA undercover agent was over, Wilson said: "Absolutely. Sure. There was no doubt about it in her mind. And she wondered for what."

Wilson contends that his wife's identity was deliberately revealed by the Bush administration to get back at him for publicly challenging U.S. prewar intelligence on Iraq.

Vice President Dick Cheney's former chief of staff Lewis Libby was indicted on Friday on obstruction of justice and perjury charges in the two-year-old investigation into who leaked Plame's identity.

The CIA declined to comment, citing the ongoing legal process.

Before the exposure, Plame's identity had been a well kept secret. Friends and even relatives were kept in the dark about her work, Wilson told "60 Minutes," Reuters reports.

Wilson said his wife quickly recovered after the initial shock of having her identity compromised "and started making lists of what she had to do to ensure that her assets, her projects, her programs and her operations were protected."