Just a few words about the story that some are pointing to as a big deal. Armitage, whom we've been arguing was Woodward's source since March, is probably the Woodward source. And in other exciting news, my corn just grew 1/4 inch last night. (Actually, it is exciting, I picked the first cob last night, and it was stunningly beautiful. Really beautiful! McCaffrey the MilleniaLabrador promptly stole it out of my hand and started husking it, so I had to bribe him to get it back with the cob mr. emptywheel ate at dinner. McCaffrey promptly went into the other room and ate the whole butter-slathered cob.)
No, seriously, about the only thing new in the story is that it allows us to pinpoint the date of the Woodward conversation, to June 13. So the day after Walter Pincus published an article saying this:
After returning to the United States, the envoy reported to the CIA that the uranium-purchase story was false, the sources said. Among the envoy's conclusions was that the documents may have been forged because the "dates were wrong and the names were wrong," the former U.S. government official said.
However, the CIA did not include details of the former ambassador's report and his identity as the source, which would have added to the credibility of his findings, in its intelligence reports that were shared with other government agencies. Instead, the CIA only said that Niger government officials had denied the attempted deal had taken place, a senior administration said.
Woodward asked his old friend Armitage who Wilson was.
The more interesting aspect of the article, IMO, is the way in which an article co-bylined by the shillicious John Solomon portrays, first, an unnamed person effectively confirming that Armitage is Mr. X:
A person familiar with the information prosecutors have gathered, who spoke only on condition of anonymity because the material remains sealed, said Woodward's meeting with the confidential source was June 13, 2003.
Followed later by Bill Jeffress making what appears to be a logical sequiter from the anonymous comment, arguing that Armitage's apparent involvement provides reason to expose Woodward's source.
Libby's lawyer, William Jeffress, said Monday that Armitage's calendar only bolsters the defense's argument that information about the State Department official's role in the CIA leak affair should be released.
"I would hope that the facts on that would come out," Jeffress said. "We have asked for information as to Woodward's source in discovery, but that has been denied."
Reggie Walton, of course, has refrained from gagging the lawyers in this case. But I imagine Jeffress tried to avoid being seen as directly leaking the details of the sealed information provided by Fitzgerald. As he is no doubt hiding his kibbitzing of John Solomon, providing suggestions for other ways he can almost confirm what we all know but that Jeffress can't talk about--that Richard Armitage is Woodward's source.
So if I had to bet, I would say that Libby's team is still trying to invent a way to bring Armitage into this, as a way to confuse the jury and to exonerate Libby in the press.
Two more details folks have mentioned. One, evidence of an earlier meeting between Libby and Armitage:
Armitage's calendar also shows that a week before Woodward's meeting with Armitage, the deputy secretary of state met for 15 minutes with Libby.
That meeting occurred as State officials were about to prepare a report outlining how Plame's husband was sent to Niger before the Iraq war to check unverified intelligence that Iraq was seeking nuclear materials from Africa.
Two people familiar with the meeting, however, said the Libby-Armitage meeting dealt with issues involving Pakistan and said the subject of the CIA leak case wasn't raised. Both spoke only on condition of anonymity because some information about the meeting remains classified.
If I had to guess, I'd say the two people familiar with the meeting are Jeffress and Armitage, who are both cited in the article. And if both sides are saying the meeting is a non-issue, it probably is a non-issue. Remember--these guys interacted regularly on these issues. Though I like the way John Solomon works in an insinuation that the meeting might relate to the INR memo, though we have no evidence Armitage was involved in producing the June 10 INR memo (recall the cover document of the INR memo lists those who were involved, and Armitage only shows up as a recipient of the second memo on July 7).
And there's this typical MSM stupidity:
Fitzgerald has signaled there are no plans — beyond the Libby indictment — to prosecute any other officials for releasing Plame's identity.
Um, no. Fitzgerald has signaled he has no plans to charge Rove with anything. He has not signaled one way or another whether he plans to prosecute anyone else. Sometimes these journalists forget there were more than two people involved in outing Valerie Plame. I'm not saying Fitz has more indictments in store--I'm saying he hasn't said one way or another.