The cocktail weenie class is still claiming that Armitage's recent confession means that Patrick Fitzgerald's whole investigation is now meaningless. So McCaffrey the MilleniaLab, who likes to clear brush as much as our President, will help me explain it really simple-like, so even the cocktail-weenie intoxicated can understand. There are three reasons why Armitage's confession doesn't affect the value of Fitzgerald's investigation.
- There is ample evidence that Scooter Libby conspired to expose Plame's identity
- There is ample evidence that Libby's lies serve one primary purpose--to hide the fact that Dick Cheney was personally involved in--and may have authorized--the leak of Plame's identity
- Armitage was not the source of the most important information Novak published when he outed Plame
Evidence that Scooter Libby conspired to expose Plame's identity
Regardless of what Armitage did on June 13 and July 8, we know that Libby started collecting information to smear Joe Wilson, beginning in May. Arguably, it was Libby's search for information on Wilson that led to Armitage learning of Plame's purported involvement. In response to Libby's request for information, Marc Grossman asked INR to develop its famous INR memo on Wilson's trip, which is apparently the source of Armitage's knowledge.
More importantly, Libby showed malicious intent in his treatment of Plame's identity. He admitted to Ari Fleischer on July 7 that the information about Plame was sensitive. Nevertheless, the following day, he leaked that information to Judy Miller (before Armitage met with Novak, incidentally). Unlike what we know of Armitage's actions, Libby sought out all the information he could on Wilson and his wife. He had reason to know she was covert, yet he still leaked her identity to Judy Miller.
Evidence that Libby's lies hide the fact that Dick Cheney was personally involved in the leak
But Libby didn't do this alone--Dick was involved at every stage of the process. Dick informed Libby that Plame worked in Counter-Proliferation (which almost certainly meant she was covert). Dick seems to have drafted the talking points used later in the week, as he read Joe Wilson's op-ed. Dick authorized Libby to leak something to Judy Miller on July 8. And Dick tailored the leak strategy with Libby on July 12. By pretending that he learned of Plame's identity from Tim Russert, and not Dick Cheney, Libby tried to hide Dick's involvement in this plot.
Of particular importance is Dick's authorization for Libby to leak something to Judy on July 8. Libby says Dick authorized him to leak the NIE, and not Plame's identity. But we know he did leak Plame's identity. And we know his claims that the authorization related to the NIE simply don't hold up.
Therefore, there is a very high likelihood that Libby's alleged crimes--lying to obstruct an investigation--served to protect Dick from the culpability he has for authorizing the Valerie Plame leak.
Armitage was not the source of the most important information
And finally there's the detail everyone seems to miss in Isikoff's and Corn's coverage of Armitage's involvement.
Armitage acknowledged that he had passed along to Novak information contained in a classified State Department memo: that Wilson's wife worked on weapons-of-mass-destruction issues at the CIA. (The memo made no reference to her undercover status.)
Fitzgerald found no evidence that Armitage knew of Plame's covert CIA status when he talked to Novak and Woodward.
This very clearly explains that Armitage only had the information included in the INR memo. That, in turn, shows he didn't leak Plame's covert identity and he didn't leak Plame's maiden name. Now, Novak claims to have learned those details through a kind of immaculate knowledge. But Novak's claims, like Libby's, are suspect.
Therefore, whoever else leaked to Novak told him that Valerie Wilson worked under the name Plame and was an operative.
The cocktail weenie class would like to have you believe Armitage's revelation of information that doesn't merit an IIPA violation and wasn't even the most important part of the Novak column somehow exonerates Dick and Libby for plotting to out a CIA spy.
I guess that says lots about the moral judgment of the cocktail weenie class.