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December 14, 2005


Shew. I'm glad that's done. I promise I'll never get into long-winded Armitage arguments again.

Excellent analysis. I think most of the Armitage theorists overlook the institutional dynamics of the "mushroom cloud" battle within the administration. The most important split was between true believers and careerists. You just have to look at what Larry Wilkerson is saying now to understand the depth of the breach. The State Department tends toward careerism top to bottom (Bolton and his cronies were notable exceptions). This WH is much more "true believer" than either the Clinton or Bush I White Houses. The CIA is fairly careerist and by July 2003 many mid-level employees were starting to think that Tenet had sold them out. Joe Wilson and Valerie Plame Wilson were clearly in the careerist camp. I don't think there is any way Armitage would leak her status to anybody including Woodward.

Yeah, I think you did what needed to be done. Armitage is pretty clearly on a different team. So when's the Ledeen piece coming?

Another possible involvement of Armitage would be Pincus. Pincus testified that he didn't write a article about "Wilson's wife" because he thought the story was bullshit. Now, of course, we know that Pincus was talking to Wilson, and Wilson would have told Pincus the story was ridiculous -- but its also possible that Pincus would give Armitage a call.

....and BTW, I still think that Woodward's leaker is Hadley, and Hadley certainly fits the bill for Novak's leaker (not a "partisan gunslinger", and if you want someone with a motive to discredit Joe Wilson's story AFTER July 6, well, Wilson focussed on the 16 words in the SOTU, and Hadley was the guy who made sure that those words were in that speech--- and was getting heat for them being there.

Where, btw, is the email that Rove would have sent Hadley regarding his conversation with Novak? Doesn't it seem odd to you that he would send Hadley an email about "not talking the bait" from Cooper, unless there had been some discussion of Rove "taking the bait" from Novak already?

You certainly ask the IIPA question very much as Luskin might be impelled to, if that contingency which you suggest is correct; a narrowly written law; doubtless, much scholarship is now being expended upon defining it even more narrowly by defense counsel. Having read some of Ford's and Wilkerson's remarks online, I rejoiced at your prescinding from the transcript where the locker-room talk waxed salacious. Maguire's site, like some counterpoint to a few here unnamed more progressive sites, labors arduously to offset the development of understanding with constant reflections into timeframes, as your own commentaries provide; and the liberal sites I have in mind merely slip off the veracious into simple polemics when the latter appears the shorter path to accusation. In the TNH world, humor and vision provide balance, fortunately. Yet, it is a debate. Then again, it takes a lot to encourage this workstation's mouse to visit the Maguire site under any circumstance. There are several nuanced Wilson first person remarks, which I should locate, covering the topic which you address today regarding the State Department, though you would be better evoking their parsability than I.


Well-stated. Wilkerson is a pretty good indication of how bad things got.


It's close, I just have to write an ending.

p luk

I thought hard about Pincus, but I actually think he supports the Hadley theory much better than this Armitage theory. Here's what Pincus said about his source:

On July 12, 2003, an administration official, who was talking to me confidentially about a matter involving alleged Iraqi nuclear activities, veered off the precise matter we were discussing and told me that the White House had not paid attention to former Ambassador Joseph Wilson’s CIA-sponsored February 2002 trip to Niger because it was set up as a boondoggle by his wife, an analyst with the agency working on weapons of mass destruction.

I didn’t write about that information at that time because I did not believe it true that she had arranged his Niger trip.


I wrote my October story because I did not think the person who spoke to me was committing a criminal act, but only practicing damage control by trying to get me to stop writing about Wilson.


It turned out that my source, whom I still cannot identify publicly, had in fact disclosed to the prosecutor that he was my source, and he talked to the prosecutor about our conversation.

Whoever Pincus' source is, he wanted to STOP Pincus from his line of reporting, which was to question the credibility of the Niger claims. It doesn't strike me that Armitage would be much interested in damage control over the Niger story. And I'd doubt he'd parrot the boondoggle line.

Hadley, on the other hand, would have a great incentive to stop Pincus' reporting.

But that suggests Hadley (if he is Pincus' source) was being more forthcoming than Libby and Novak in 2004, admitting this conversation, at least. Does that mean he also revealed he was Novak's source? Even if he was the IIPA leaker to Novak?

And if he was forthcoming abotu the Novak source, why not about the Woodward source?

p luk

One other possibility I've been thinking of is Ari. But he was still in Africa on the 12th. Also, somewhere I read that Pincus was asked what time he spoke with his source, which is probably an attempt to place it before or after the AF2 trip of the same day. I can't see Armitage's or Ari's testimony changing on account of the AF2 trip. But Hadley's, definitely.


I wasn't thinking about Armitage as Pincus's original source, but as someone Pincus would have called subsequently that lead Pincus to say "I did not believe it true that she had arranged his Niger trip."

This suggests that Pincus did think that "she" was working for the CIA, but was not responsible for arranging the trip.

In other words, in deny the "arrangement" story, Armitage may have inadvertently confirmed the fact that Plame was CIA.

(this is pure speculation -- I just think its another angle to consider when thinking about potential "armitage" involvement in the story.)

But Hadley's, definitely.

Pincus' source could be anybody -- and given the little smear job he did on Joe Wilson with Milibank a couple of weeks back, I'd say he's still sucking up to Rove.

Of course, you've read my "grand uniform Plamegate theory" already, so I won't bother repeating it again

p luk-
where's your GUT?

The new summaries are fantastic! Much easier to follow the arguments when I know up front what they're attempting to conclude. Thanks!

Hadley might have told Fitz about Woodward but might have said the conversation happened after Novak's column. So when Woodward rang X and told him about having the date of their conversation wrong, Hadley might have called Fitz then.
There is another way of looking at this though. Hannah and Wurmser are the only other people seemingly being threatened with indictment. That gives Hannah, Wurmser, Hadley, Rove, and Libby. So if Hannah and Wurmser are threatened they must be threatened about something he did. This is likely to be either leaking, perjury, or obstruction.
So if we have a missing source and Hannah and Wurmer being threatened then one or both are likely the missing source for Novak. And if Novak is right then one of them is X.
If Ari, Armitage, etc were provably involved then it is likely they would be known to be in trouble with Fitz.
Woodward said he received 3 waivers to testify about Plame. So that sounds like one leaker and 2 sources confirming it. Or it might be 3 leakers rang him, which argues against the idea they were coordinating their calls. Assume that Rove and Libby would have mentioned Woodward earlier so as not to get in even more trouble. That would leave Hadley, Wurmser, and Hannah as Woodward's sources for the waiver with one or more being X.

And just before I take my tinfoil hat off. Wurmser is probably the one who outed the others, the one people thought might be Powell at one stage. This is because his lawyers leaked in Raw Story (seen at Talkleft) more details about the others and his part in it.
"Those close to the investigation say that Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald has been told that David Wurmser, then a Middle East adviser to Vice President Dick Cheney on loan from the office of then-Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Affairs John Bolton, met with Cheney and his chief of staff I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby in June 2003 and told Libby that Plame set up the Wilson trip. He asserted that it was a boondoggle, the sources said.

Libby then shared the information with Karl Rove, President Bush's deputy chief of staff, the sources said. Wurmser also passed on the same information about Wilson to then-Deputy National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley and then-National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, they added.

Within a week, Wurmser, on orders from "executives in the office of the vice president," was told to leak her name to a specific group of reporters in an effort to muzzle her husband, Wilson, who had become a thorn in the side of the administration, those close to the inquiry say. It is unclear who Wurmser had spoken with in the media, the sources said, but they confirmed he did speak with reporters at national media outlets about Plame."

He wouldn't have done that if he hadn't told everything and made a deal. Also he hasn't been threatened by Fitz since.
Since the number of people under suspicion hasn't grown for some time and Fitz said his investigation was mostly wrapped up long ago that implies Fitz knows all the leakers. Since their attorneys have all leaked to the press to make their clients look good, that also implies no other attorneys are out there being silent.
Hannah is the exception, with no high profile attorney leaking for him, and still being threatened. So what did he do? It's likely he made an early deal and now has been exposed in some new problems. Most likely (unless the timeline is wrong) is he leaked to Woodward, told Fitz and now Fitz is threatening him again.
That would fit with Emptywheel pointing out that Hadley should have mentioned Woodward ealier.
So basically the leaking attorneys tell us there are only 5 players: Hannah, Wurmser, Rove, Hadley, and Libby. They've ratted each other out enough for Fitz to have found any others. Bolton and Cheney are in the clear or they would have their attorneys leaking by now.

more wapo absurdity.

if "I'm confident the president knows who the source is, I'd be amazed if he doesn't. So I say, don't bug me. Don't bug Bob Woodward. Bug the president as to whether he should reveal who the source is" constitutes the extent of novak's "suggestion" that he and woodward shared the same source, then someone should immediately test carol leonnig (and her editors) for basic english comprehension. posthaste.

next, whether armitage is woodward's source or not, this is our last comment on armitage for the simple, obvious reason that such speculation does serve the ends of sadistic administration hardliners.

to wit, if armitage is woodward's source: 1) malice is not required if innocently discussing plame's employment with someone already bound by mutual confidentiality; 2) direct or even indirect access to classified documentation is not required to hear or overhear information concerning plame's employment; 3) there is no "betrayal" of his "side" if citing plame's employment to illustrate a suspicion that the "other" side may be planning to "get wilson"; 4) woodward would be more likely to twice request a release of confidentiality from someone he no longer needed than some he still needs -- e.g., after "plan of attack," "bush at war," followed by powell's resignation, woodward was done with armitage (and many others), though armitage (or others) may have still covet confidentiality; however, with books-in-progress, woodward would never be "done" with a prized goose that still lays golden eggs, i.e., mother rove, 24k white house access, unless and until fitz turned karl into pâté.

we'd agree it would help to know the exact nature of the "pledge" from which woodward twice requested his release. a "casual" conversation with a source in which plame was casually mentioned does not, to us, sound like the *basis* for woodward's pledge; suggesting instead, a confidentiality agreement that predates the event of plame's disclosure in july 2003.

fwiw, we've no idea how much woodward's source really matters unless it's someone within the white house connected to a broader "conspiracy" of intentional leakers. hadley could be important; armitage would not. rove? merry fitzmas!

Just a small request. For those of us who live outside the beltway and have other jobs to do, can you spell out an acronym the first time you use it? It just took me a five minutes to figure out IIPA. And thanks to Google, I now know that it could stand for:

IIPA Double India Pale Ale
IIPA Independent Integrated Performance Assessment
IIPA Indian Institute of Public Administration
IIPA International Industrial Photographers Association
IIPA International Institute of Photographic Arts
IIPA International Institute of Tropical Agriculture
IIPA International Intellectual Property Alliance

While I'm always wiling to learn new things, in this case I'm betting that you probably meant the Intelligence Identities Protection Act of 1982.


Tom Maguire, the most respectable blogosphere purveyor of the Armitage theory...

Damn, now that's insulting. I feel like I just lost a beauty contest to a hippopotamus. :)

where's your GUT?

all over the place.

No offense Swopa. But you, to my knowledge, have never even tried to come up with a motive, you're still working on the "oops" theory. Which, as I point out, isn't really credible, given that State already knew Wilson was working their side. At least TM has recognized his theory was falling flat without some attempt to explain why this is credible.

Oh, sorry, that came off more harshly than I intended. Let me put it this way. TM has an ideological reason why Armitage would be a great leaker. So his effort to make the facts fit the theory has been heroic.

Your quote "But in fact, the White House had already shown an interest in Wilson; Grossman was first asked about the trip in May, and he briefed at the White House (probably to some NSC staffers or WHIG) on this on June 11 or 12--obviously not in response to an article published June 12."

It seems likely that their interest was raised following Nicholas Kristof's article of May 6, 2003 NYT. Strange to hear so little about this important public announcement of trouble with the Niger cover story.

I do somewhat disagree with the logic that says Grossman briefed the WH June 11 or 12 obviously not in response to a June 12 Pincus article. Actually, the WH could have been well aware this article was coming out, and wanted to stay a half step ahead of the news.

Yes, that is a plausible scenario (Libby's indictment says only that Pincus called OVP before June 12, not when he called). We could judge better if we knew who brought Grossman in, to answer what question (there is some discrepancy whether Grossman was answering a Wilson question or a Niger uranium question; I think the latter, which would support your argument, but if it's the former, it would require enough lead time to ascertain who Wilson was. It would also help to know how closely tied the June 10 memo was to a direct response to Libby's questions, or whether it was an effort on the part of State to summarize their disagreement more generally (again, I've heard both, the latter from more credible sources than the former).

The main point, though, is that the WH/OVP wants to portray their interest in Wilson in general as a response to Pincus. And there's a lot to suggest they're portraying the chronology in that way as a way to hide their more general, earlier attack on Wilson. So I tend to distrust articles that buy that chronology.

One more question about the Armitage speculation. If he's the leaker, why would Armitage not release Woodward from confidentiality and, then, not deny he's the leaker? It seems to me that Woodward's source believes there's value in not admitting publicly that he (or she) is the leaker. If the source thinks they'll never be indicted or named as an unindicted co-conspirator, the source is correct. If the source fears indictment or being identified in a future indictment of someone else, the only advantage to not 'fessing up now is a short-term political gain.

SWOPA and EW I really like, my brain breaks down trying to read TM: he's imperial I'm metric, he's diesel I'm regular, he's tomato I'm tomaato, he's Rove I'm Clinton, he's false I'm true.... :-) Keep leading me through the wilderness guys.

I've wondered that myself, William. For the record, I think Armitage would arguably fit into your second category--that he knows he won't be indicted but doesn't want to antagonize Fitz by denying he is Woodward's source.

But I've not really looked into the denial because I think there are so many reasons not to worry about it. THere are Hadley's non-denial denial, Cheney's denial issued by someone who seems closer to Woodward than Cheney, and Laura Rozen's best source (who I suspect would be Waas) who says Woodward's source DID deny being his source.

There is an interesting set of related questions. Why did the WH suddenly break its "can't comment on an on-going investigation" mantra to rush out all those denials? If Armitage isn't the leaker (and I strongly believe he isn't), why hasn't he denied it? I think Armitage is playing some sort of game here. He's a long-time successful Washington knife-fighter (in the metaphorical sense). I suspect he thinks that Woodward's source is "on the other team" and that the source has miscalculated. Armitage is letting the speculation fester because he thinks that it will harm "the other team" more in the long run. For some reason (that I don't pretend to fathom), Armitage must be happy with the perception (reported by MikeInDC here) that folks in Washington "know" he's Woodward's source.

TM has an ideological reason why Armitage would be a great leaker. So his effort to make the facts fit the theory has been heroic.

Hmm. Dare I wonder if anyone has an ideological reason to believe All Things Evil of Rove and Libby?

On the Woodward-Armitage connection - your view is that Armitage would not leak a Wilson basher to Woodward because State and CIA were allies of convenience.

But Armitage was speaking to history, or at least Woodward's future book, not an article that would run next week. And, per Woodward, "I testified that the reference seemed to me to be casual and offhand, and that it did not appear to me to be either classified or sensitive."

I could see Armitage wanting the record to be clear that, on balance, the CIA messed up horribly on the Niger investigation while State were geniuses.

Sending someone's spouse because there are no obvious experts in-house falls under the heading of "Not Quite The A-Team". And, as is noted in the SSCI, the INR was skeptical of the whole trip anyway, figuring it would duplicate the two other recent trips there and be inconclusive.

As to the notion that Armitage may not have seen the INR memo, that is refuted (or made irrelevant) by your very cogent point that the whole topic had been kicked around for a year.

Finally, by mid-June Cheney and Tenet were in the know - wouldn't Armitage want to be up to speed as well?

Not addressed - Len Downie, Woodward's editor, said the leak came from a big contributor to Woodward's book. Armitage is not the only fit, obviously, but he is a good one.

On the Novak-Armitage connection - Novak was also against the war, and not a friend of the neocons.

However, check Novak's archives (easy for me to say, I have Rush's pharmacist) - Novak L-U-V-S Armitage, and sends him lots of valentines - I found roughly nine name mentions of Armitage by Novak from Jan 1, 2001 to July 1, 2003, all favorable (except the ones that were wildly favorable).

For contrast, Hadley gets zero mentions.

My theory (to which I am far from wedded) - Armitage would have no problem engaging in a bit of CIA bashing with old friends, of which criticism of the Wilson trip would be a part. The motive would not be to bash Wilson (although some people have a partisan motive for insisting that is the only possible motive for a Plame leak) but to point out the absurdity of the Wilson trip.

Both Novak and Woodward say the Plame leak was a casual part of a broader conversation - there may not have been a plan.

I do have a problem with Armitage being the source for both Novak and Woodward, but one is fine.

Oh, Cooper's mystery source - although he hinted around like Secret Agent Man with Tim Russert, I think his source was good old Bill Harlow of the CIA press office (or one of Bill's colleagues). If Novak can call the CIA, why can't TIME?

That would explain the absence of any court tussle over the disclosure of the source.

OK, I can quit any time. But one more:

Novak, it appears, was told Plame was an operative and was given her maiden name.

Appearances may deceive - CIA sources were using the word "operative" to describe the people who originated the Wilson trip, if we can believe our good friend Andrea Mitchell (July 8, 2003):

MITCHELL: Well, people at the CIA say that it's not going to be George Tenet; and, in fact, that high-level people at the CIA did not really know that it was false, never even looked at Joe Wilson's verbal report or notes from that report, didn't even know that it was he who had made this report, because he was sent over by some of the covert operatives in the CIA at a very low level, not, in fact, tasked by the vice president.

Here is Novak's *FIRST* paragraph from the fateful column. One might think he was using a trancript of Mitchell:

WASHINGTON -- The CIA's decision to send retired diplomat Joseph C. Wilson to Africa in February 2002 to investigate possible Iraqi purchases of uranium was made routinely at a low level without Director George Tenet's knowledge. Remarkably, this produced a political firestorm that has not yet subsided.

Maybe Novak got the same CIA leak about "covert operatives" instigating the Wilson trip.

Anyway, the "outing" paragraph is a jumble of sources, as you know - Novak may have learned from Armitage/Rove that the wife was involved in sending him, from the CIA that it was operatives who sent him and concluded she was an operative. A syllogism from Novak.


It's getting better. Keep at it and it might begin to hold water one of these days. ;-p

Yes, I do have both a partisan belief as well as one based on their character that Rove and Libby have the viciousness to do this. I admit it. For the record (as I've said elsewhere), I'm no great fan of Armitage either; I find him fascinating, but still politically and ethically troubling.

My conclusion is NOT that Armitage would not leak a Wilson basher because...--that's just the flip side of your argument. I'm actually arguing that your whole attempt to read allegiances looks at the wrong place and via a much too narrow lens. So let me repeat this.

Wilson, aside from any relation to Plame or association with Niger, was one of State's. He was one of State's because he is a lifetime diplomat. He was one of State's because he was coordinating his anti-Iraq war lobbying with Scowcroft back in Fall 2002. He was one of State's because State knew he was going to come forward and make these claims. The issue, you see, isn't Niger, per se, or even Wilson's trip. It's the larger question of the Iraq war, and on that question Wilson was actually in better coherence with Powell or Scowcroft than with Kerry (not surprising, since he had worked with both Powell and Scowcroft on Iraq before).

So, all question of the Niger trip aside, State (particularly its enforcer Armitage) has every interest in making sure those representing their opposition to OVP/WH are as credible as possible. Hell, even if Rove had dug out Wilson's CIA wife in Fall 2002, when Wilson's very public opposition had nothing to do with the Niger trip, it would not have been in Armitage's best interest for that slam to get play. But particularly at a time when State is anticipating Wilson will go foward with his column, it is unlikely that Armitage would have judged it in his best interest to tell anyone, whether it be for history's sake or for sloppy gossip, anything that might taint Wilson's credibility.

As I suggested, I think it very plausible that he would refute the claims once they were already out there (and in so doing, act as a confirming source). But beforehand? It's possible. But again, all of Armitage's well-honed knifefighting skills would have had to have been momentarily inoperative.


Or let me put this another way, since we're trading accusaions of partisanship.

I don't think you're adequately accounting for how opposed State was to OVP. Looked at from one perspective, you could say State's awareness that Wilson was going to come forward with these claims supports the notion--advanced by Rove and Libby--that they just had to do all they could to defend the President's policies. I honestly think that argument is defensible (although I'd still say it's wrong, and dangerous for the country). But the cutthroat battle between State and OVP was long-standing ... and Wilson was a longstanding member of State.

TM's Andrea Mitchell quote is extremely important (although not quite in the way he thinks). I've been searching everywhere for a transcript of that show. For once, a television show transcript uses a semi-colon properly. You see the first part of that sentence is answering a question from the host: Who's going to take the fall for the 16 words? Of course, Mitchell was completely wrong. Tenet took the fall for that. However, knowing what we know now, the rest of Mitchell's sentence clearly didn't come from a CIA source. It is, as TM points out, almost word-for-word what Novak says in his most infamous column; not to mention tracking perfectly with Condi Rice's earlier statement. Match that up with her comments on the Imus show and I think we can safely say that Mitchell got the Plame leak and is hiding that fact.

On a new front - set against the suggestion that we can overlook these charges about Armitage as a typical neocon diversion is the fact that Isikoff in Newsweek and the NY Times pointed to Armitage. How far does the neocon grip extend?!?

Secondly, I continue to dispute the notion that iron message discipline would have kept Armitage away from this, especially with Woodward.

First, he could easily present the Wilson and wife connection as an example of sloppy practice by the CIA, rather than suggest Wilson is not competent or qualified.

Second, it could not have been a secret that the INR had never been backers of the Wilson trip.

SO why couldn't he say, "Look, the CIA was schizo on the Iraq-uranium-Niger question - half of them were kissing up to Cheney, half were trying to do a job with limited resources (mention Wilson here, or not). They put together a trip that was bound to be inconclusive, and it was.

Meanwhile, our guys at INR had it all buttoned down, but the CIA couldn't even get our dissent into the National Intelligence Estimate in the right section."

Bash the WH, bash the CIA, boost State - why not? Especially for the history books.

Bomus evidence - here is the lead from the famous Pincus article, June 12, 2003 - he describes a battle between the WH and the CIA, and senior intel officials are quite caustic about the CIA - where did they come from? Probably not DIA; probably not CIA.

A key component of President Bush's claim in his State of the Union address last January that Iraq had an active nuclear weapons program -- its alleged attempt to buy uranium in Niger -- was disputed by a CIA-directed mission to the central African nation in early 2002, according to senior administration officials and a former government official. But the CIA did not pass on the detailed results of its investigation to the White House or other government agencies, the officials said.

The CIA's failure to share what it knew, which has not been disclosed previously, was one of a number of steps in the Bush administration that helped keep the uranium story alive until the eve of the war in Iraq, when the United Nations' chief nuclear inspector told the Security Council that the claim was based on fabricated evidence.

A senior intelligence official said the CIA's action was the result of "extremely sloppy" handling of a central piece of evidence in the administration's case against then-Iraqi President Saddam Hussein. But, the official added, "It is only one fact and not the reason we went to war. There was a lot more."

As an aside, if that is Mr. Ockham's email, I will zip off a transcript (or two) to him. I need to get to the right machine first.


I would much appreciate that. Try the email on this entry razor of truth at gmail.com


(Just in case anybody wasn't sure, William Ockham isn't my real name....)


Wow! I didn't know anyone who had been following this story would every believe what Isikoff writes on this. Isikoff's Armitage story, to me, has always been better evidence that Rove is Woodward's source than that Armitage is. Or have you not noticed that, if Rove wants to spin something in the Plame Affair, he has made Isikoff a standard stop? I mean Rove even had Isikoff spouting the cover-up lies he fed to Novak in October 2003. And at a number of other key points, Isikoff has dutifully printed what served Rove's interests, no matter whether they made logical sense or not. Honest, citing Isikoff doesn't help your case.

I also notice in your latest attempt to rationalize what Armitage was doing, you don't even get Armitage to the point where he outs Plame. That's the point. Let me put it this way. If you were the publicist for a speaker, would you call up a potential placement and say, "I've got this great speaker. Oh, but by the way, some people question whether he is qualified to make the speech." Nope, you wouldn't; even if you discredited the point immediately, you'd be a complete idiot for suggesting there was any question about your speaker's credibility. Nor would Armitage. His feeling about CIA is irrelevent (and, in the specific matter of those at CPD associated with sending Wilson to Niger, I think it's a mischaracterization of how Armitage would feel--remember the CIA is not a monolith). It's his feeling about Wilson--and what Wilson can do for Powell's bureaucratic battles, that are going to be foremost.

And finally, I have always assumed the senior intelligence official in Pincus' speech was someone at CIA (like Tenet, perhaps) who was willing to admit CIA fucked up to make Bush look good. The statement is not very different from what Tenet said a month later. I can tell you this, though, Carl Ford would certainly not have said "It is only one fact and not the reason we went to war. There was a lot more." Nor would anyone else at INR. It wasn't just the Niger stuff they disputed. Also, you might ask whether this SIO is the same as the SIO cited later. "This gent made a visit to the region and chatted up his friends," a senior intelligence official said, describing the agency's view of the mission. "He relayed back to us that they said it was not true and that he believed them." This second person is clearly CIA, since he says Wilson "relayed back to us" the information. It may not be the same person, but it may well be.


I applaud your tenacity and logic in trying to exclude Armitage and appreciate your efforts in putting all of your arguments into this thread. I should just "give in" to the sheer evidence of your arguments. In fact, I'm having a hard time completely pushing back but, of course, I need to try to get a theory that fits the facts (however incomplete) that I know - the source for both Novak and Woodward's leak is Armitage.

I keep coming back to your initial challenge - give me a means and a motive and I'll entertain the notion.

Regarding the means, there is are a number of ways that Armitage could have gotten access to this information - many of which are outlined on this thread.

Motive is MUCH more difficult to prove, especially to both Woodward and Novak.

Swopa and TM make reasonable arguments (especially Swopa) that the leak to Woodward could have come up in an accidental way (through gossip or sheer sloppiness on the part of Armitage when Woodward asked him about the Niger stuff), which is exactly the way that Woodward took it.

I also agree with your argument (and Swopa's) that the motivation for leaking to Novak appears to be completely different and part of the "poisonous conspiracy". The only possible explanation is yours, I think - that Novak called up Armitage after being tipped off by Rove. I buy your argument that Rove is an IIPA violation and that Armitage was the confirming source. I understand that means Rove lied but that shouldn't be a surprise to anyone.

I think that Fitzgerald has the goods on Rove to go after him for an IIPA violation but wants to be VERY careful that he has built a strong case.

BTW, by the sheer evidence that has been presented, I would agree that it doesn't seem like Woodward and Novak's source was the same. And if we knew that to be the case, I would also argue that it doesn't appear likely that Armitage would be the leak.

My source on the Armitage stuff doesn't have a good explanation for the seemingly different motives for these two events. So, we're stuck with presenting a weak argument for what we know to be true.

I'm looking forward to "filling in the blanks" when the truth comes out. I just don't have a strong case for motive, especially for the Novak leak.

Good work - I very much enjoy reading your very logical arguments and wish I could be more helpful. I'll let you know more information if I get it.

In the mean time, keep up the good work!

EW: I x-posted to Left Coaster too:

Been pondering the motivation for outing Plame: seems almost gratuitous if it was just retaliation for the Niger report. A different motivation might be that the Niger visit unearthed the ACTUAL ORIGIN of the forgeries. I don't mean SISMI who may have been the hand that did it, but who was the brain? Did Wilson, along with Plame's CIA unit (the "brain-finders"), uncover the actual brain via some sort of paper trail? (Could this brain have been that stupid?). If so, the motivation for the brain to out Plame would the certain destruction of the brain-finders.

Speculation: let us argue that the brain was Cheney (or Bush or WHIG or Bolton or Santa). The brain-finders were Plame's outfit: her covert CIA organization. Clearly, they could not publish under national security. But they could preserve the info. And a later administration could publish it. By blowing the organization to bits, it also blew the information apart. Pretty neat speculation, huh?

Good point about Isikoff!

Of course, two minutes poking around turned up this, back when Isikoff was breaking news about Judy Miller:

At this point, that detail is one of the most compelling reasons I think there are two notebooks. Isikoff, presumably, has a better understanding of what this notebook is than he's letting on. He certainly knows who his source for information on it is (who may or may not be the NYT lawyer who refuses to comment). So why, if this were Judy's notebook, would Isikoff seek comment from the NYT lawyers?

My own Isikoff-bashing was here.

And that does not dismiss the NY Times.

Let me put it this way. If you were the publicist for a speaker, would you call up a potential placement and say, "I've got this great speaker. Oh, but by the way, some people question whether he is qualified to make the speech." Nope, you wouldn't; even if you discredited the point immediately, you'd be a complete idiot for suggesting there was any question about your speaker's credibility.

I can't think of any way to restate this - linking Wilson and his wife does not have to be done to bash Wilson's credibility (his spin notwithstanding).

Wilson might be the greatest guy in the world, but it still presents the image of a CIA that lacked for resources and had no sensitivity to appearances (and the SSCI did criticize this spousal link somewhat).

So try rewriting that as "I've got a great speaker; ignore the fact that he was hired by idiots..."

Works for me.

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