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August 29, 2006


I'm still somewhat surprised at how little gloating there's been on behalf of the administration and Rove and Libby's respective teams in terms of Armitage's involvment. I mean, I saw Tony Blankley say on Hardball last night how this exonerated Libby and the administration, and John Poderetz continues to embarrass himself with his Corner comments and columns, but there's otherwise been seemingly few background quotes spinning how Armitage is to blame for all of this. I would have expected more.

Armitage was fingered months ago by Ben Bradley very publicly, and "Armitage" very clearly fit into the redacted name slots in the legal briefs. Blogs figured out that Armitage was involved months ago. Yet the disclosures in the traditional media of Armitage's involvment have come only by drips and drabs.

Why didn't the administration -- or at least Rove and Libby -- drag Armitage into this earlier? Rove and Libby are clearly not clean in this matter, but you'd think that just for reasons of spin that they'd have thrown Armitage under the bus a long time ago. As you point out, Novak (and thus Rove and probably LIbby) have known about Armitage's involvment for years.

It's occured to me that perhaps Rove, Libby and the administration are fearful of Armitage on other things. Maybe they're fearful of smearing him too badly for fear that he could turn on them regarding bigger, more serious, issues. Of course, that scenario doesn't really make sense either given that Libby (and for awhile, Rove) is facing prison time. That's pretty dang serious right there.

Anyways, that's a very interesting post. I still think that Powell could be 1x2x6 since as others, such have Jeff, have pointed out, Armitage's role was conceivably much different and less sinister than what Libby and Rove were up to. Perhaps Powell concluded the same thing, and was explaining Libby and Rove's motivations as he understood them.

Thanks for the Fitz fix.

Brit Hume and the others on Fox last night were doing their best to express pure anger at Powell and Armitage, Clarice on TMs site also, so I'd say they are throwing Armitage under the bus. Maybe there's a worry that he'll be a witness for Fitzgerald?

EW, any opinion as to whether Novak was referrring to a different source, not Armitage, with "no partisan gunslinger?"

Incidentally, I think there's a tape of Novak saying "they gave it to me" on something like Capitol Gang.

I mean an actual source, not a Powell or Armitage red herring by Novak. For instance, from my historic bias, Tenet could be considered "no partisan gunslinger" and there are a variety of other potential candidates, Card for instance. I guess I'm following up on your last main post suggesting that Novak had another source.

Oops, sorry, Card might be good for 1x2x6 but not as a Novak source for Plame... getting my non-partisan gunslinger source activities jumbled there.

I still don't see why Armitage wasn't fingered in late 2003 or even earlier last year. Glad to hear Hume and others on Fox are doing their part now.

Clarice is nuts, so I'm not surprised that she hates Armitage. Libby and Rove are heroes and truthtellers in her book for disclosing Plame, but Armitage is for some reason scum for disclosing Plame. Go figure.

Also, Novak never--as far as I know--said anything remotely interesting about Plamegate on the Capital Gang. He was quoted by KnightRidder reporters with teh "they gave it to me and I used it" line.

You know I'm always happy when Tom DeFrank enters the narrative.

Clarice is nuts, but she's getting Comstock's press releases, so she's useful as a gauge of media strategy. But remember--Comstock works for Cheney, many of the other likely Armitage attackers work for Rove. It's not clear Rove and Libby share a common interest at this point.


If Novak has another source (and I think it likely), it almost certainly Libby and/or Cheney. Or possibly Hadley. None of them fit the description "not a partisan gunslinger."

Jim E

We know what at least one damaging attack Armitage can make is. He apparently knew, as of July 8, many details of the Niger forgery scandal. The Administration has successfully suppressed all the details they know of the Niger forgeries. So if Armitage goes public, they may be in deeper doo doo than they are now.

What do you think the odds are that Isikoff really has more to release next week when the book is actually published? He was trying to be his most tantalizing self last night on Hardball. Unless it's an explosive bit of news, though, I don't see why they would wait to publish the book next week. This is a DEAD news week, and they could have capitalized on that by moving up the pub date one week. On the other hand, maybe they are keeping something under wraps so that when everyone is back at their desks next week paying attention they will let another shoe drop.

The Niger forgery was targeted at Powell who had to be briefed on it. His CIA brifer had nothing good to say about him on the radio and was alot like Plame. He was targeted by Plame and the leaks followed. Plame was out of control.

I have a memory of seeing Novak saying "they gave it to me" etc... (both hands extended for emphasis, eyebrows up, upside-down-smile).

Maybe it's one of those false memories, but I'd say either Meet the Press or Capitol Gang. I'm a fan of all the yelling that went on on Capitol Gang and still on McLaughlin, BTW, and sort of like Novak, as a pioneer and strong voice for his side - but not in this Plame debacle.

Armitage also clearly knew by July if not June that the WH had been told that the Niger intel was based on forgeries, whether they chose to believe that or not. I also thkink it very likely Novak had another source. Why does everyone abet Armitage's belief that he was Novak's forst source?

Makes it clearer and clearer why the INR memo -- and Armitage (Powell and Ari too) -- keep getting thrown into the limelight, doesn't it? Interesting angles about these stories just keep on getting leaked out....

One of the questions that's always fascinated me is what the press is covering when -- and I'm guessing that includes book publishing. In a world where we know there are no Fitz leaks, it becomes a great indicator of what spin the Libby defense team/WH are trying to push now.

And I still wonder if somehow the Armitage penchant for gossip wasn't factored into the whole strategy. As Arthur Hugh Clough wrote in his Latest Decalogue, "Bear not false witness; let the lie/Have time on its own wings to fly." The only thing better than smearing someone is to have someone else do it.


I couldn't agree more. A lot of my better guesses in this case have been based on what Rove was leaking the press was covering when.

And I think this Isikoff-Corn project is diablogically clever, from a WH standpoint. Isikoff, as a Rove shill, has zero credibility by himself. So you get Corn's participation--the guy who first noticed the IIPA possibility--and you get instant credibility. Corn probably gets more money than any of his other books, and Isikoff gets to piggyback on the expanding liberal book publishing market without even being a liberal. And most importantly, if your name is Turdblossom, you get to pump up the importance of Armitage, even while Armitage's evidence proves that the other source--the one for the operative information--was the really important one.

I know I court howls of protest for doing so, but I continue to believe that Novak (like all seasoned liars) includes at leasst a kernel or more of truth in his misleading locutions.
Thus, I do not believe the "no partisan gunslinger" line to be an out-and-out lie designed as a diversionary tactic; rather it is a literally accurate (at least in Novak's bizarro-world) diversinary tactic. I take Novak to mean something like "he is not one of those egregiously partisan types who fight the ideological fight in a very public way." This definition thus rules out folks like Rove, but leaves in the following:
Armitage. Not egregiously partisan (at least by Novak's standards) and certainly not much of a public or media figure.
Libby. An ideological warrior to be sure, but not a public one -- more like a sniper-assassin who wears black and uses a silencer. Would therefore be a literal fit, again, in NovakWorld.
Tenet. This one is irresistable: not partisan (the kissass buffoon worked for Clinton after all) and likely to friggin' stupid to know which end of the gun to point outward, much less "sling."

By the way, "diablogically" is a mistake.But a fortuitous one. I hereby adopt it as my new favorite word.


It truly sounds like a Bush neologism. Are you sure he hasn't used it before?

EW, Sometimes there are just no words to describe...especially in the last six years!

I would caution against letting our diablogic imagination carry us beyond the carnivalesque to the grassy knollesque. I think there can be little doubt that the first of Novak's two senior administration officials cited in his original article was Richard Armitage. That's not to say there isn't a lot that remains to be explained about how Novak learned what, and he is clearly lying about why he used the word "operative" and why he used the Plame name. (It is of course troubling and puzzling that Novak probably told these same lies under oath and Fitzgerald has evidently finished with him - as a witness, I mean, not as a target.) It seems like a key to addressing at least the last issue - the name - probably lies with Miller, as Kevin Drum and others have suggested. Who gave Miller the name? I take it the leading leftwing speculation is some combination of Fleitz and Bolton. I've always thought that this was too bad to be true, given the lack of any direct evidence or even much circumstantial evidence. But who knows. I take it the leading rightwing speculation is Maguire's, to the effect that it was Armitage who gave Novak the name, and Armitage got it from Robert Grenier, who is a plausible candidate because we know he was talking about Plame's purported role in her husband's trip with Libby in June, and because Grenier might well know Plame as "Plame" from back in the day at the Agency, and because Armitage has good intelligence connections.

Of course, the trouble with this Maguirean speculation is that we don't know that Grenier was talking to Armitage and we do know that Grenier was talking about Wilson's CIA wife to . . . Libby. However, best as I can tell, we don't know how Grenier precisely referred to Wilson's wife when he told Libby about her on June 11 2003. Plus, if he told Fitzgerald that he called her "Valerie Plame" to Libby, then it seems more likely Libby would have gotten in even more trouble. Also militating against that idea is that on June 14, it appears that Libby was complaining about "Valerie Wilson" to his CIA brief, Craig Schmall. Finally, to the extent that Grenier referred to her not as "Valerie Plame" to Libby but by some other formulation, that would seem to make it somewhat less likely he would refer to her as Plame to Armitage.

One other odd tidbit and a not-odd one about Grenier. The odd thing is that best as I can tell, it appears that Fitzgerald had not heard from his when Fitzgerald wrote up his 8-27-04 affidavit, since when he enumerates the government officials who allegedly talked with Libby about Wilson's wife before Libby's conversation with Russert, Grenier is left off the list. I suppose that could be because Grenier was under cover or some such, but I tend to doubt that's the explanation. I'm not sure what if anything to make of the idea that as of late August 2004, Fitzgerald had not yet learned about the Grenier conversation. The not-odd tidbit is just that the NYDN story on him and Schmall noted that Grenier had been CIA station chief in Islamabad, helped stage the Afghanistan war (presumably the CIA part), then joined the CIA's Iraq Issue Group, and ended up this year as CIA CTC chief before being demoted. It would be interesting to know the dates of his various appointments.

One thing Blankley said on Hardball was that Armitage put Plame/Wilson "in play" similar to Rove's "fair game."

This reminded me that Rove told Cooper on July 11 2003 that Mrs. Wilson's occupation 'n stuff would be "declassified soon."

Is the official Rove/Luskin story that Karl was referring to Novak's pending article, or that there was an ongoing WH process to declassify Plame before Novak's article was even published? Would Tenet have been asked to declassify Plame solely for responding to Wilson's op-ed? Was Novak or Woodward (ie Armitage) the actualy motivation for this?

Also, TM's thinking Libby didn't know Plame's status prior to July 14 2003, if Rove was waiting on declassification on July 11 Libby surely must also have been.

Diablogical is a great one.

I wanted to point out this statement by Novak on television, which seems to confirm kim's memory:

September 29, 2003 - On CNN's Crossfire, Novak explains, "Nobody in the Bush administration called me to leak this. In July I was interviewing a senior administration official on Ambassador Wilson's report when he told me the trip was inspired by his wife, a CIA employee working on weaons of mass destruction. Another senior official told me the same thing. ... They asked me not to use her name, but never indicated it would endanger her or anybody else. According to a confidential source at the CIA, Mrs. Wilson was an analyst, not a spy, not a covert operative, and not in charge of undercover operatives. So what is the fuss about, pure Bush-bashing?" ("Crossfire," CNN, Sept. 29, 2003) [I pinched this excerpt from a DailyKos diary] Crossfire aired live every weekday starting at 4:30 p.m.

Novak's got some pal at the CIA feeding him stuff that contradicts Bill Harlow's line, so of course Novak goes with the information from the pal, despite the warnings of the responsible official CIA spokesperson. Novak is just despicable.

And that horrible, inveterate "gossip" Armitage sure can keep his mouth shut when he wants to, can't he? [Three years and counting, now.]

What's really getting to me is the sense that the media is far, far more knowledgeable about this situation than the public they supposedly exist to inform. [Jeff Smith's line today in the Washington Post that Armitage being Novak's source was 'the worst-kept secret in Washington' -- oh, really? Seems to me our Washington-based "press" is in the running for a Pulitzer for NON-coverage on this story (everywhere except where it comes from self-serving anonymous sources who request the coverage). Note too that Smith's anonymous ex-colleague of Armitage uses the Woodward scenario (end of the interview - just chatting when the CIA spy's identity 'slipped out') for the Novak interview, but, as I recall, Novak himself has stated that the disclosure from Armitage came 'in the middle of' their hour-long interview/conversation.]

I figure that after word leaked that the DOJ made the decision on Friday, September 26th to pursue the investigation, the cover story plotting quickly began, probably over the weekend of the 27th and 28th (when #1 made the front page of the Sunday Washington Post). Based on Novak's Monday, 9/29 late-afternoon statement on CNN, he had his October 1 story already pretty well written, and the guilty plotters were 'good to go' with their cover-up as the slow-starting investigation began to get under way that week.

The source at the CIA that Novak is referring to could be Harlow, he and Novak had some disagreeing versions of whether and how Novak was told to back off about Plame - Novak called the CIA, talked to Harlow, and then Harlow called him back... basically saying that it wouldn't be good to write about her. Most recently Novak again discussed Harlow, after Fitzgerald released him. I don't recall any public coments Harlow has made about Novak since the Post article a year or so ago.

Not wanting to spend any time on a knollesque, grassy or otherwise, I respectfully differ with at least one earlier poster:

Armitage was **not** a "WH official." Therefore, whether Armitage told anyone, or whether he didn't, is irrelevant to the main narrative. The main story line as I understand it is: Who **in the White House** deliberately, illegally leaked Plame's name?

The June 28 WaPo article specifies, "two top **White House officials** called at least six Washington journalists and disclosed the identity and occupation of Wilson's wife."
I assume:
1 = Valerie Plame {Wilson};
2 = WH officials;
6 = journalists (incl: J Miller, NYT; Pincus, WaPo; Novak; Matthews, MSNBC; Mike Cooper, Time; and at least one other journalist, --however, "at least 6" does not limit journalists to only 6 )

Armitage was not a WH official.
Therefore, Armitage is almost certainly an effort to 'throw sand in the eyes'; he's a red herring.

The WaPo article June 28, 2003 includes evidence of motivation specifically by WH officials:
(a) ... [Plame/Wilson's wife] ... is.. "fair game".
(b) A WH official is quoted in the article as stating, "Clearly, [outing Plame] was meant purely and simply for revenge."
(c) The WH was "...seeking to undercut Wilson's credibility."

Armitage was not at the WH. He does not appear to have had any motive to view Plame as 'fair game,' nor would he have had any reason to seek revenge on Wilson for the OpEd. Only WH officials, with tight ties to Cheney and Bush, would have been motivated to undercut Wilson's credibility. Only the WH had the motives stated in the WaPo article.

pow wow,
On the other hand I just saw this quote from Wilson's book in a new Leopold article about the stranger who men Novak in the street:

" '[Novak] cited not a CIA source, as he had indicated on the phone four days earlier [July 10 2003], but rather two senior administration sources; I called him for a clarification,' Wilson wrote in his book. When we first spoke, he had cited to me a CIA source, yet his published story cited two senior administration sources. He replied: 'I misspoke the first time we talked.'"

So, maybe this supports your point about the CIA source in Crossfire transcript.



Novak almost certainly spoke to Harlow, in July, then spoke to someone else not long before his October 1 column. Which is where he got this for his column:

While the CIA refuses to publicly define her status, the official contact says she is "covered" -- working under the guise of another agency. However, an unofficial source at the Agency says she has been an analyst, not in covert operations.


Let's review Novak's original claim.

Wilson never worked for the CIA, but his wife, Valerie Plame, is an Agency operative on weapons of mass destruction. Two senior administration officials told me Wilson's wife suggested sending him to Niger to investigate the Italian report. The CIA says its counter-proliferation officials selected Wilson and asked his wife to contact him.

The two sources clearly relate to the Plame's purported role in the trip (and I'll remind everyone--Novak got told by Armitage Plame had a role, supposedly got told by Rove "you heard that too?" and told by Harlow that's not what happened, so he really had 1.5 for Plame's involvement, and 1 against).

But Novak does not claim he learned of Plame's identity from the two SAOs. And in all his parsing in the last month or so, he was inconsistent in where he learned of her ID from (or if in fact he even did). Add that to the point about the word operative. Now go back and read Phelps and Royce. In the context of the article at least, Novak's "they came to me," comment refers to the leak of Plame's ID, not the purported involvement in the trip (though they do acknowledge that his article said the two SAOs gave him the trip info). And then add to the fact that Armitage didn't "come to Novak"--Novak came to him, literally at least.

You see, I'm not questioning that Armitage told Novak that Plame was involved in the trip. I think (agreeing with Sebastian about Novak's grains of truth) that Rove may have been confirming for her trip involvement. But grammatically, Novak is not saying he learned of Plame's ID from two SAOs. He just asserts it, without a source.

In other words, Novak may well have had two sets of SAOs, Armitage and Rove for the trip involvement, and Rove and Libby for her classified identity (or hell, even Dick and Libby). And that would actually accord at least as well with most of what Novak has ever said publicly as the current story.

One more point. There are two reasons for the basis of the Bolton/Fleitz suppositions. First, Fleitz and Shedd are the two people who are rumored to have worked with Plame closely enough to actually know her cover--you know, things like her pseudonyms Victoria Wilson and Valerie Plame, as well as an awareness of B&J.

Second, the INR memo was clearly written to obscure their (Fleitz and Bolton's) role in the Niger forgeries (it hides their role in the fact sheet and accepting the forgeries from the Embassy in Italy, at the least). Which suggests they had SOME role in the INR memo, whether it was strictly a vetting role (it would be perfectly normal for them to have vetted at least their part of the INR memo), or in some more substantive role. That puts them with some involvement in the Plame questions in early June, just when Libby was collecting information.

there has to be more to the armitage story than we are getting form Isikoff/Corn.

What amazes me most is that Armitage hasn't been charged with obstruction -- despite the fact that, according to Woodward, Armitage was reminded on a number of occasions that he (armitage) had told Woodward about "Wilson's wife".

The ONLY reason I can come up with to explain this is that Armitage DID tell Fitz about his conversation with Woodward, but did not want Woodward to know that....

either that, or Armitage has some really important testimony to offer on Libby or others, and bringing charges against Armitage would put an end to his co-operation.

Personally, I think the answer is the second one...

Wilson is saying in the book that Novak told him on July 10 that he'd learned about Valerie from a source at the CIA, he also did talk with Harlow on the 10th or 11th, but then on July 14 he denies a CIA source to Wilson and claims two administration sources. Then in September 2003 he again says it was a "confidential source" at the CIA, and in October an "unofficial source." Also, wasn't Harlow the CIA press spokesman... I'm wondering why Novak would refer to him as a "confidential" or "unofficial" source? If it was Harlow, was he trying to protect him from what might be a high profile leak?


I think the CIA source in July 2003 is a red herring--Novak was protecting his sources. But then, by September, Novak had talked to someone who could provide him cover for outing a NOC. That person is the "confidential" or "unofficial" source. Harlow is--as you point out--the spokesperson, the official source.

"Second, the INR memo was clearly written to obscure their (Fleitz and Bolton's) role in the Niger forgeries"

Wow! EW, we all want to hear more about this!

There is an international community, and some of these figures have impact outside of the Wilson Plame matter. We mentioned some of this in passing July 7 at the time when Prodi was taking the reins and Berlusconi slowly admitting the end of his own reign. Also I am unsure about the winding down of the various contributors of small contingents in Iraq: whether Italy or Spain or Poland will be out in 2006; there is a lot of research for me to do there, if there is time in my schedule. It is the sense of proportion discussing these outside of US affairs that might place the Wilson Plame matter and the closed-lippedness of some principals in context. Additionally, I seem to recall Wilson himself commenting he had served in a similar capacity performing a fact gathering trip years prior for the intelligence community. The overseas part of the Wilson Plame story is complex, dynamic, ongoing. I appreciate that several commenters already made allusions to some of this; and very much am grateful for the expertise in this thread. I will post two of the footnoted July 7 links, though that matter is ostensibly unrelated. Maybe I will visit the War and Piece site; I think they are tracing the new policies in that country, and they read those languages.

I am surprised that Leopold was not struck by the incredible coincidence of the confluence of events on july 8. If you were a detective and took note of all the various coincidences, wouldn't you be skeptical of the way Leopold has portrayed this encounter?

I should amend that. The INR memo, as released, was redacted to obscure Bolton's role in the Niger forgeries. The Niger forgeries as a whole post-dates State's first awareness of the crappiness of the forgeries from October to January.

Sheesh... I win the Idjit_of_the_Day_Award for equating Plame with #1. Comment revised:

It makes sense that Armitage + Rove talked to Novak about Wilson's trip (although it seems improbable that Armitage would ever have described it as a 'boondoggle'.) It also makes sense that Cheney was a source about Plame's ID. All the more reason to go after #1, who appears to be Armitage. At some point, I'll have to figure out why #1 cannot possibly be Tenet. That puzzle piece not currently missing for me.

I suppose my ill-informed previous comment should teach me to do ALL the background reading before posting. Sigh 8-\

Argh... should have been "...That puzzle piece IS currently missing for me." The irony.

what's the incredible coincidence I miss thn? You mean that everyone speak to each other person same day?

"1" is definitely Tenet. Ask yourself how "1" knew about those calls. Ask yourself why "1" was leaking. Ask yourself the significance of this sentence in the Washington Post article:

The official would not name the leakers for the record and would not name the journalists.

"1" told Priest and Pincus who the leakers were, but he didn't tell them who the journalists were.

"1" was sending the White House a message ("I saw what you did last summer"). What senior administration official would be willing to implicate Libby and Rove?

It all gets back to means, motive and opportunity. Tenet certainly had motive (the idiots had outed one of his spies). He had the means (Pincus trusts him). And the opportunity was presented by his own referral to the DOJ.

I closed that bold tag. Really I did.

what's the incredible coincidence I miss thn? You mean that everyone speak to each other person same day?

Yeah, that's the crux. If it had been any other day, I would concede. But July 8? I still smell a rat.

Investor's Business Daily (of all rags) weighs in:



Now that you put it that way--

No, seriously, that's an argument I've made. I don't know why I gave it up. But it would also (maybe) explain why they outed B&J that week.


Interesting. I do wonder whether David Corn was just being naive about what the repercussions of doing a book with Isikoff--and letting him take the lead role--would be.

Investor's Business Daily (of all rags) weighs in

Wow, it's scary what elementary ignorance can get into print (or online at a place like that) I mean, really. That is a mistake of such astonishing ignorance it's not even worthy of some of the lesser lights among righty commenters.


Maybe I misunderstood what was being asserted, but I think I agree with all that. The only thing I would add is that there's no reason to assume Novak had to have more than one other source for, say, Plame's status as an operative and her name, right?

My hat's off to Jason Leopold. That's as close to shoe leather reporting as you can get without being on the ground in Washington. Great information about the location of the chance meeting in relation to the State Dept. and the White House. And good initiative locating this guy.

I'll add a couple of things: I checked the transcripts of Crossfire, after noting that Wilson's friend thought Novak was heading to GWUniversity for the program. In fact, Bob Novak did not participate in the Crossfire program on July 8, 2003. Nor on July 7th, July 9th, or July 10th. He co-hosted again on Friday, July 11th [as well as July 3rd and July 4th.]

And if anyone wants to beat the Associated Press to the punch concerning Armitage's state department appointment calendar for the week of July 7th, here's a state department page that makes using that FOIA process pretty easy:


As I've indicated, I believe these calendars have probably already been cleared for release by the State Dept. under FOIA, but for some reason they are not being publicly revealed by the media. This new reporting from Leopold makes it sound like the chance encounter on the street took place just after either Novak's hour-long conversation with Armitage had concluded or after Novak's latest chat with Rove had taken place...

Strikingly uninformative and, in small but not completely trivial ways, inaccurate NYTimes story on Armitage.

Yeah, but Jeff, there's suddenly a "lawyer" involved on behalf of Richard Armitage.... An unnamed lawyer "associate" of Mr. Armitage speaking for him.

And Armitage himself is admitting to his role through this lawyer spokesperson, for the first time.

In order to try to remove the speculation about leakers to Novak who preceded Mr. Armitage, perhaps?


Oh, sorry, I was being defensive--I thought I was on a grassy knoll. And no, there is no reason to believe two people told him "operative," except the Phelps and Royce.

And yeah, that NYT is just plain old shitty.

Wasn't Armitage claiming on Charlie Rose not long ago that he had no need of a lawyer in the CIA leak investigation?

Neil Lewis is up at the Times:

First Source of C.I.A. Leak Admits Role, Lawyer Says

That's Armitage with the big mea gulpa (mea golpe? guess that's not reflexive enough. anyway...). This is probably as good a time as any to remark that his trail through the Walsh report on Iran-Contra is as someone whose job it was to keep ostensibly uninvolved higher officials (i.e. his boss Weinberger, mainly) in the loop. He did this by passing on the contents of highly classified intel reports that he read off the books, and of course, by gossiping.

He sure was, QuickSilver:

It was to the effect that he currently had no lawyer, nor had he ever had a lawyer in the matter (Armitage didn't use the word 'hired' I believe I noted - so it wasn't simply a matter of whether he was paying a lawyer or getting free legal advice).

That interview was within the last couple of months [some of the details of that interview may have been noted on the recent thread here featuring emptywheel's crafty corn-loving dog - I believe Jeff mentioned his impressions of that Rose/Armitage interview here recently].

I'm sorry folks. I know this is probably a sore point but the Jason Leopold story today is very good. I give him a lot of credit for this report.

Is there a way that we can establish what time Rove spoke to Novak and Armitage to Novak. Leopold quotes the stranger on the street as bumping into Novak at around 4 p.m. Maybe we can find out what time their meetings were.

And maybe Jeff can answer this or EW, but didn't the INR say classified? or Non official cover?

Lastly, where is Waas? His last story said Rove and Novak may have coordinated their gj testimony.

thst nyt article is shit!!! how could they get away with that!!! the lawyer wants to be anonymous??????????????????

And good initiative locating this guy.

He seems to have been in touch with Joe Wilson in the past, I doubt it took much initiative to locate this guy.
Especially since his story purports to answer questions that have come up about Wilson's friend in the last few days.

Congratulations to all for your careful speculation

I have nothing to add but questions.

It seems that Armitage is getting a pass as a loose-lipped gossip. But someone else suggests that, over the years, Armitage used gossip as a maneuver.

In June-July, what was Armitage's motive? Maybe not the same as Libby/Cheney or Rove. But he had a motive. Two times he gossips on the same point, to Woodward and to Novak. And this was a period when Wilson is obviously a matter of concern to WH, and when the bigger issue of pre-war intelligence is a concern to both WH and Powell reputation.

Armitage had an agenda.


Tidbits of gossip are like game pieces. There is always an exchange, or one drops out of the game for lack of pieces to offer in future rounds. Someone who is an inveterate gossip has been playing the game for a long, long time.

Armitage has received at least as good as he gave.

If Armitage had physically seen the memo, he'd have seen the mark next to that paragraph indicating that the information on Valerie Wilson was secret. Being State Department, he'd be aware of levels of classification. If he was told about the memo, he might not have been told of its classification.

If he was told of the memo, in a game of gossip, he'd have given up some information in exchange for it, applying a perceived value to the information... and when he told Novak, he'd have received something in return as well... for passing on.

The 1X2X6 meme gives the false impression of a spreading waterfall with gossip flowing only one way. It doesn't.

The cosy relationship between the Administration and MSM ensures that everybody is in the game. Planting a leak and then citing the published article as a source (Cheney's modus operandi) is no different from a SAO dropping some gossip into the round, and then claiming to hear it from reporters.

I'm obliquely reminded of the decks of "most wanted" Iraqi officials which were printed and passed out to our soldiers. If such a deck were made of this Administration, what sort of game could be played with nought but Jokers and Knaves?


Also, re: Leopold, now that Armitage has fessed up, has Leopold explained why he insisted Hadley was the one? Before we go around praising his recent work, please remember he still has a lot of work to do explaining past inaccuracies.

Armitage has to have major dirt on these guys. That's why they need to keep him happy. Push to hard - he'll give a front page story to the WP and out everybody.

Christy on Firedoglake points out that the Times article mentions a third reporter that Armitage spoke to about Valerie, beyond Woodward and Novak, and who also did not write about her. Interesting that reporters generally decided not to write about Plame, even Judy.

Pincus was who I immediately thought of as the third reporter, but he and Woodward dispute whether they ever discussed Plame. Pincus says he would have remembered the conversation if Woodward told him about Valerie.

Pincus did have a July 5th article about Niger quoting a senior administration official as saying that Cheney's office didn't organise Wilson's trip, CIA clandestine people did.


Hmmmm... just read that "Investor's Daily" OpEd and it certainly looks like there's a new Plame Disinformation Phase about to begin. To wit, casting Fitz as a Bad Actor, in what is eerily similar to an April 2006 WaPo OpEd ("A Good Leak"). The earlier WaPo OpEd argued: (1) the leak was bad ONLY BECAUSE it was 'clumsy', (2) the leak was never illegal, (3) Fitz was an 'out of control' prosecutor. Now, an "Investor Daily" OpEd pulls out all stops to defame and demean Fitz, claiming that he is on a "...politicized witch hunt...[but] no crime [was] committed." Hmmm... we've heard this before, but why are they testing the "New, More Complete Smearing of Fitz" version now?

Is this latest OpEd related to a new phase in trumpeting up a war against Iran? ( Bu$hCo will need to eradicate anyone who questions their misuse of intel, and also needs to weaken the credibility of the MSM to keep it docile.)

Or is the "Investor's Daily" OpEd 'innoculation' for the upcoming Libby trial? Or for the election season? And why "Investor's Daily"? Why is it the first to fire this salvo? (I'm not being rhetorical. I am asking in genuine curiosity; InvD is not on my general reading list.)

Is there another shoe about to drop somewhere?

FWIW: I'm with Wm Ockham. I suspect Tenet is #1, and that both Powell and Armitage inadvertantly (or intentionally) provided coverage for Tenet. Tenet not only had his spy 'outed,' but also agreed to fall on his sword over the 16 words. Powell, meanwhile, had the Bolton subgroup within DoS undercutting him at every turn, with Armitage observing at close hand. All 3 had motive aplenty.

Puzzling - Jeff was dishing great 1x2x6 dirt to me, but not here. Well, let me footnote him, and put in a few things:

In July 2005, Mike Allen (who had a byline of the first 1x2x6) switched the "1" to the White House:

But in late September, a senior White House official was quoted as telling The Post at least six reporters had been told of Plame before Novak's column, "purely and simply out of revenge."

Although The One reappeared on Oct 12, he (she?) also reappeared on Sept 30, demoted a bit:

In addition to Novak's column, an administration official told The Washington Post on Saturday that two White House officials leaked the information to several journalists in an effort to discredit Wilson.

The demotion stuck to Oct 12:

That same week, two top White House officials disclosed Plame's identity to least six Washington journalists, an administration official told The Post for an article published Sept. 28. The source elaborated on the conversations last week, saying that officials brought up Plame as part of their broader case against Wilson.

"It was unsolicited," the source said. "They were pushing back. They used everything they had."

Now, let me irk the natives with this - IMHO that first quote, "purely and simply for revenge", gets walked back quite a bit after the source "elaborates" for the Oct 12 piece - they were "pushing back", it was part of a broader case", and so on - nothing wrong with pushing back.

Ann, Hitchens also did a hit piece on Slate as well.

Corn says "I'm going to refrain from taking the bait, as we prepare for next week's release of our book. HUBRIS has plenty in it to discomfort anyone taking his or her cues from my former colleague."


It seems this will get more and more interesting in the coming days.

Ann, Hitchens also did a hit piece on Slate as well.

Damn, I meant readeroftea. I have no idea where I got Ann from. LOL at myself.


I actually rediscovered that July 2005 WaPo piece here, thanks to a link from polly (of course) to an old The Note, which actually alluded in their inimitably irritating way to the Post subtly revealing new information learned in confidence in their recent coverage, so I looked back at the Post from the time and found that article, and talked about it here in a thread a while back.

It's not really right to call the switch from "senior administration official" to "administration official" a demotion, it's just a vaguer description, and could very well have been designed to provide more cover for the source, perhaps even at the source's request.

As for the question of whether the October 12 story reiterates or walks back the initial 1x2x6 leak, I remain somewhat undecided, though maybe you're right. But I will also note, as you may have at JOM, that to the degree that the second story walks back the first a little, it makes it more plausible that 1x2x6 was in the White House.

And then there's the simple fact that any walk-back has to explain how, exactly, the original imputation of a revenge motive to Libby and Rove (presumably) was "taken out of context" or whatever. Offhand, I can't really think of a context that would make that sound unproblematic or misleading; but maybe it's lack of imagination.

Finally, I take it those two motives are not inconsistent, and may well have existed side by side, as I think Fitzgerald himself has suggested in one of his filings.

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