The Plame Leaker: Richard Armitage Posted by: Dale Franks
on Monday, August 28, 2006
David Corn, after long leading the pack of braying hounds, now has to explain how the Armitage revelation fits into the conspiracist framework. And, for the most part, it doesn't:
The Plame leak in Novak's column has long been cited by Bush administration critics as a deliberate act of payback, orchestrated to punish and/or discredit Joe Wilson after he charged that the Bush administration had misled the American public about the prewar intelligence. The Armitage news does not fit neatly into that framework.
"Cited by Bush Administration critics". Heh. "Critics" like...David Corn.
That's gotta hurt.
Still Corn tries to make a go of it, trying to shoehorn the Armitage revelation as part of a broader conspiracy.
Albeit, a "conspiracy" that Mr. Armitage apparently didn't know about, and had no part in. The Administration was out to get Mr. Wilson, presumably for purely political reasons that had nothing whatsoever to do with the fact that Joe Wilson was a big fat liar, and they knew it. No, it was because the Bush Administration was made up of bad people, who were intent on doing Bad Things to Mr. Wilson.
The Armitage leak was not directly a part of the White House's fierce anti-Wilson crusade. But as Hubris notes, it was, in a way, linked to the White House effort, for Armitage had been sent a key memo about Wilson's trip that referred to his wife and her CIA connection, and this memo had been written, according to special counsel Patrick Fitzgerald, at the request of I. Lewis Scooter Libby, the vice president's chief of staff. Libby had asked for the memo because he was looking to protect his boss from the mounting criticism that Bush and Cheney had misrepresented the WMD intelligence to garner public support for the invasion of Iraq.
I see. The Armitage leak to Robert Novak wasn't actually a part of the conspiracy. Except, it was! Mr. Corn continues:
Whether he had purposefully mentioned this information to Novak or had slipped up, Armitage got the ball rolling—and abetted a White House campaign under way to undermine Wilson. At the time, top White House aides—including Karl Rove and Scooter Libby—were trying to do in Wilson. And they saw his wife's position at the CIA as a piece of ammunition. As John Dickerson wrote in Slate, senior White House aides that week were encouraging him to investigate who had sent Joe Wilson on his trip. They did not tell him they believed Wilson's wife had been involved. But they clearly were trying to push him toward that information.
Without actually giving away any information. But that just proves how sneaky they are!
If looked at in a certain way. From a certain point of view. When you squint really hard.
Apparently, the Special Prosecutor was keen to look at it all squinty.
Fitzgerald, as [Corn's book] Hubris notes, investigated Armitage twice—once for the Novak leak; then again for not initially telling investigators about his conversation with Woodward. Each time, Fitzgerald decided not to prosecute Armitage. Abiding by the rules governing grand jury investigations, Fitzgerald said nothing publicly about Armitage's role in the leak.
I imagine not. It's so much more exciting to deliver subpoenas to the White House, after all.
And, of course, Fitzgerald isn't the only one who knew about Mr. Armitage.
As Hubris also reveals—and is reported in the Newsweek story—Armitage was also the source who told Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward in mid-June 2003 that Joe Wilson's wife worked at the CIA. Woodward did not reveal he had learned about Wilson's wife until last November, when he released a statement recounting a conversation with a source (whom he did not name). Woodward acknowledged at that time that he had not told his editors about this interview—and that he had recently given a deposition to Fitzgerald about this conversation.
Still, although the Armitage information now muddies the picture, Corn is still sure of the conspiracy angle.
The outing of Armitage does change the contours of the leak case. The initial leaker was not plotting vengeance. He and Powell had not been gung-ho supporters of the war. Yet Bush backers cannot claim the leak was merely an innocent slip.
Read that again. Go ahead. Keep reading it until it makes some strange kind of sense.
Rove confirmed the classified information to Novak and then leaked it himself as part of an effort to undermine a White House critic.
When Rove confirmed the identity of Valerie Plame, The horse had already left the farm. There was little use in closing the barn door then.
Afterward, the White House falsely insisted that neither Rove nor Libby had been involved in the leak and vowed that anyone who had participated in it would be bounced from the administration.
OK, but as we now know, they weren't involved in the leak. The leak was an independent revelation from Armitage. Not only to Novak, but apparently, a few weeks earlier, in June 2003, to Bob Woodward, as well, several days before Mr. Wilson's infamous New York Times op/ed piece was published.
Yet when Isikoff and Newsweek in July 2005 revealed a Matt Cooper email showing that Rove had leaked to Cooper, the White House refused to acknowledge this damning evidence, declined to comment on the case, and did not dismiss Rove. To date, the president has not addressed Rove's role in the leak. It remains a story of ugly and unethical politics, stonewalling, and lies.
Again, at that point, the cat was out of the bag, vis a vis Ms. Plame's identity. That public discovery was already inevitable. Although, even at this point, Rove did not disclose Ms. Plame's name to Mr. Cooper. Mr. Corn is right, of course, that the White House was keen to discredit Mr. Wilson. After all, they knew he was lying, even though no one else did.
That's an important point, by the way. I know people have short memories, but let's not forget that Mr. Wilson's credibility imploded in the summer of 2004. I mean, there he was, campaigning with John Kerry, the Kerry Campaign had given Mr. Wilson a web site, then, when Mr. Wilson's duplicity was revealed for the whole world to see, Every trace of John Kerry's connection to Mr. Wilson was erased from the Kerry Web Site.
* The man who "leaked" Plame's identity and her involvement in her husband's Niger junket to columnist Bob Novak and other reporters was not Karl Rove, Scooter Libby or anyone else in the White House. It was Richard Armitage, then deputy secretary of state.
* Armitage's motives were not malicious. He is "a well-known gossip who loves to dish and receive juicy tidbits about Washington characters" and "apparently hadn't thought through the possible implications of telling Novak about Plame's identity."
* It was from a classified memo that Armitage learned Plame worked for the CIA. But there was no violation of the Intelligence Identities Protection Act; special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald "found no evidence that Armitage knew of Plame's covert CIA status." (By all available evidence, Plame's covert status had expired by the time of her "outing" anyway.)
* In October 2003 Armitage confessed to his boss, Colin Powell, that he was the "leaker." The State Department decided to withhold this information from the White House, because "Powell and his aides feared the White House would then leak that Armitage had been Novak's source—possibly to embarrass State Department officials who had been unenthusiastic about Bush's Iraq policy."
So much for "Fitzmas".
Oddly enough, the folks over at Truthout, who touted the super-double-secret indictment of Karl Rove, apparently have no comment on the Armitage revelation.
Well, it probably doesn't fit neatly into their framework, either.
Great work! Thanks for doing this so well, so I don’t have to.
It’s especially important to note that Wilson was lying, deliberately trying to mislead the NYT readers. I don’t think Corn notes this.
I would have liked a reminder of what Bush’s 16 SOTU words were, what Wilson’s op-ed words were, and a note about the Commission which basically said Wilson was lying.
I think it’s also important that State Dept decided NOT to tell Bush the truth — this is big evidence that the US State Department is at least passively against the Bush doctrine of spreading democracy.
Jack Kelly writes this in summing up how Fitzgerald should be politically radioactive and any effort to get a judgeship strongly opposed:
Mr. Fitzgerald knew in his first few days on the job that Mr. Armitage was the leaker; that the leak was inadvertent, and that the Intelligence Identities Act hadn’t been violated (me - since Plame had been at a desk and not overseas greater than the 5 year limit of the CIA agent protection law). Yet he has persisted in a sham prosecution.
One thing that has been lost in this is the common sense question....who really blew Plame’s name? That would be both Joe Wilson and by her act of nepotism and being cool with hubby Joe using his CIA connection to go worldwide in his partisan accusations against the Republicans.
If Wilson hadn’t gone on a half dozen TV shows then the official attack organ of the Left - the NYTimes - saying "Bush lied". And this coming from a trip that no one at State, the White House, or the military had requested - which instantly raised alerts all over the place that it looked like the CIA had acted on it’s own and mysteriously used an unqualified anti-Bush partisan on??? If Wilson hadn’t seen his future as a Democrat appointee tied to publicly attacking the Bushies???
Well - No one would know Plames name, no one, outside the hard Left and a few Inside the Beltway players obsessed with gotcha politics really care even now.
Adding, that without Armitage, or any other leakers leaking...the DC press corps would have likely been alerted by Republicans that the CIA might have a rogue element again using the Agency for partisan political purposes, and the press would have investigate, found nepotism was why an unqualified person with antipathy for the current Administration went - her name was Plame and listed others "in her cabal within the CIA". The investigative journalist that found the rogue outfit someone like Clymer, Risen, Priest, Isikoff would have been up for awards!!!
Err, amend that to say that if the journalist had suspected a rogue Republican partisan operation within the CIA, they would have investigated them mightily, gotten CIA leakers to help, and recieved prestigious awards for "outing" the names of the rogues..
Go to NRO... a number of pundits there don’t dismiss the Libby case... I’m not sure I agree or diagree with them. Was this a "leak" of a COVERT AGENT’S name for PURELY political Revenge-No. Did Karl Rove and his Dark MAster break the law and will they be hauled out in handcuffs-No.
Did "Scooter" Libby tell different stories, at different times to investigators-YES. Could this be obstruction of justice or lying to Federal investigators-Yes.
So, a crime MAY have been committed, just not the one Joe Wilson and Truthout wanted. Does this mean that NO indictment ought to have been returned and Libby let walk? I don’t know.
But I don’t think it as black and white as some would have you think, and Lord knows I like Black and White thinking!
If they’d stopped investigating the guy wouldn’t have had to tell any stories at all. So, was he a criminal BEFORE the investigation started, or did he become a criminal as a result of the investigation (and showing stupidity for giving multiple not-so-truthful stories).
Or don’t you care about that aspect?
If Fix-gerald went forward when he already knew the answer to the question he was allegedly asking I’d have to suspect he was literally fishing for something larger wouldn’t you? This is like Clinton lying, Martha Steward lying, etc. We’re not getting these people for crimes, we’re getting them for covering their "assets" during investigations that otherwise appear to end up going no-where.
While armitage telling novak about plame might not have been malicious, I believe his not coming forward to admit what he had done was. He, along with Powell, sat on the sidelines and watched rove and libby get raked over the coals. why? because powell and armitage were against the war, libby and rove were among those pushing it, and what better why to recover the credibility powell lost at the un by letting the whole ’bush lied’ meme move forward.
and another aspect I haven’t seen addressed: novak’s staying quiet. while we on the right have criticized the msm for their mike wallace-like placing journalism over patriotism, novak knew rove and libby weren’t his sources and could have come forward and saved the country much of what it went through. why didn’t he? was it because he, like the liberals of the msm, was putting his journalistic’ responsibilities ahead of doing what was right? or was he, also no supporter of the iraq war, also sitting and enjoying one of the rationales for the war take some major hits?
Perhaps one of the legal-(b)eagles around here can clear up one of the finer points of this entire issue. If Libby, Novak, Cheney, Rove, Bush, Rumsfield, Powell, Armitage, xyz, the entire federal government, whatever, etc. are not going to charged with breaking a law, but may be charged with, as looker puts it "covering their assets" by lying to investigators, does such a charge have legal merit?
Put more simply: if you lie under oath about the details of not committing a crime and it is eventually found out that no crime was in fact committed, can you be charged with perjury, obstruction of justice, etc.? My, admittedly limited, understanding of the relevant statutes governing perjury and obstruction is that a person can only be charged with perjury when they are lying about an actual crime. If they are simply lying under oath, when no crime has been committed, they cannot be charged with perjury because no material harm has been done. I may be confused on all of this, but, happily, more than a few commenters here are repti... eh, lawyers. Can one of you folks please clear this issue up for me?
I guess I’m neither fisn nor fowl. I float around blogs and media articles simply looking for the naked facts of a(ny) story and it is not possible to find such. ALL seem to have strong built-in bias (Hatred, maybe ?), and the loyal followers of the blogs chant their mantras of long dead lies as comments pro or con......I’m seriously considering saving my money spent on access and spending it on stamps made necessary by giving up e-mail. Thank you for the opportunity to vent.
I float around blogs and media articles simply looking for the naked facts of a(ny) story and it is not possible to find such.
During the 2004 election, I looked for a site that would provide good predictions. I found the Horse Race blog, and the blogger there ended up at Redstate. It’s Republican, but provides accurate political news. I’ll probably follow it closely near election time. Even if you are a Democrat, it would be a good blog to follow for that sort of thing. I guess my point is, you can’t get 100% "just facts", even if you do someone is selecting which facts to provide. Find something that’s accurate, and has a known bias.
And don’t trust anyone claiming to be objectively in the middle . . .
At an Oct. 28 press conference announcing Libby’s indictment, Fitzgerald claimed that "in fact, Mr. Libby was the first official known to have told a reporter when he talked to Judith Miller in June of 2003 about Valerie Wilson." Yet, Fitzgerald lied. Because he knew about Armitage already. Any comment,Q and O guys?