Spies and covert agents are, by their very nature required to live lives of secrecy. So when some spies, for whatever complicated reasons, become household names like Aldrich Ames, Kim Philby, or Robert Hanssen, it's a big deal.
In 2003, the outing of covert CIA operative Valerie Plame, by columnist Robert Novak, brought an end of her CIA career. But it also brought all of us, in ways not seen since the Cold War, into better harmony with the symbiotic relationship that exists between politics, espionage, and government bureaucracy.
The outing of Plame triggered a political scandal that would truly make her, the spy who came in from the cold. Now 10 years later, Valerie Plame is back, but this times masquerading as Vanessa Pierson, in her novel Blowback