Valerie Plame Wilson was a clandestine operative when her cover was blown in a newspaper column. Speaking for the first time publicly, Wilson detailed the public and private consequences of her exposure.
There was high drama in the Congressional committee room when the former CIA agent at the heart of a political scandal spoke publicly for the first time.
"My name and identity were carelessly and recklessly abused by senior government officials in both the White House and the state department," Plame said.
Plame's identity was revealed in a 2003 newspaper story by columnist Robert Novak, who has said former Deputy State Department Secretary Richard Armitage leaked Plame's CIA status and that President Bush's top adviser, Karl Rove, confirmed it.
Plame claims it was to discredit her diplomat husband, Joe Wilson, for challenging Bush's claims about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction. She testified today that the leak effectively ended her career.
"I felt like i had been hit in the gut. It was over in an instant, and I immediately thought of my family's safety, the agents, the networks that i had worked with," Plame said.
No one in the White House or the State Department has been charged with the leak, but the scandal did lead to a federal investigation and the recent conviction of Lewis Scooter Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney's former top aide, on charges of obstruction of justice and perjury.
The purpose of the hearing was to determine how the leak happened. Plame told the committee she wrongly believed her biggest threat came from foreign enemies.
"It was a terrible irony that administration officials were the ones who destroyed my cover," Plame said.
This is not the last we've heard from Plame. Both she and her husband have filed lawsuits against several government officials including Vice President Dick Cheney, and she's working on a book, called "Fair Game," which still must be cleared by the CIA.
The Wilsons also have the movie rights to their story. One Republican on the committee said there has been no proof that Plame was ever really a covert operative.