Disclosure of her covert identity for political purposes was nothing short of "treason," outed former CIA agent Valerie Plame told Hardball host Chris Matthews Thursday on MSNBC.
Plame, whose classified status as an undercover agent was exposed in 2003, said she couldn't possibly have known that a New York Times column disputing White House rationale for war -- penned by her husband, Ambassador Joseph Wilson -- would prompt what she views as a vicious attempt by the White House to ruin her career.
"When your husband filed that story," Matthews said, "he must have known, didn't he, that he was gonna light a match that was going to lead all the way to you?"
Plame responded that her outing was not only unexpected, it was also treasonous.
"You cannot possibly be suggesting that with Joe's credentials, my airtight cover, that we actually anticipated that senior government officials would commit treason by blowing my covert identity," she said.
Matthews asked Plame how, if she believed the Bush administration had covered up a "false case for war," that she didn't also anticipate that the White House would strike back at her personally.
"Call me naive," she said, "but that wasn't on our list of options...we didn't actually consider they would betray our country's national security to get at me."