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August 27, 2006

Isikoff, Corn Book Confirms: Plame Leaker Was Richard Armitage

Well, they're not speculating anymore. They're claiming to have a source for a phone call in which Armitage says to Colin Powel, referring to the Robert Novak column that identified the leaker as "no partisan gunslinger," "I'm sure he's talking about me."

Captain Ed writes:

The more I think about this, the angrier I get -- and not just at Patrick Fitzgerald. Richard Armitage confessed to the DoJ in October 2003, and then sat on his ass for the next three years as the media and the Left play this into a paranoid fantasy of conspiracies and revenge. I know Armitage dislikes Rove, Libby, Cheney, and Bush, but what kind of man sits around while the world accuses people of a "crime" that he himself committed? Armitage did nothing while the nation spent years and millions of dollars chasing a series of red herrings, never speaking out to remove the mystery and end the witch hunt. Even three years later, Armitage hasn't mustered the testicular fortitude to publicly admit that he leaked Plame's identity and status; he has Isikoff and Corn do it for him.

Let me also add that this buttresses Bush's claims that no one in his White House had leaked the name -- or, at least, it demonstrates why he believed that to be the case.

He knew early on it was Armitage, and that it was done not out of some partisan political malice.

But let me also echo Captain Ed: How the hell did this guy stand silent while this huge investigation went forward?

And what the hell was Fitzgerald doing investigating at all, when he knew who the leaker was from the get-go?

The Threshhold Question: ...was, as I wrote before, whether or not a crime had been committed at all. And this could have been determined by a day at the law library. No crime = no pretext for investigation.

The fact that Fitzgerald knew from the start who the leaker was just makes this stink even worse.

I'm trying to find the Fitzgerald quote where he claims to be investigating an alleged "politically-motivated conspiracy" to punish Plame. Now, that is not a crime. There is no law on the books against such a "conspiracy." The relevant statutes were the Espionage act and IIPA and such.

Whether there was a "conspiracy" to out someone who'd already been outed is not the domain of a prosecutor, as it is simply not a crime. It is an interesting question, and one worth digging into-- but by a reporter, not a prosecutor with subpoena power, as it is, again simply not a crime.

And Fitzgerald knew that from the beginning.

Fitzgerald had to postulate a non-crime in order to have the pretext to continue an "investigation" into what he already knew was NOT a crime, and, furthermore, in a "case" in which he already knew the culprit committing the non-crime.

The Newsweek Article: Read the whole thing.

Novak provided a tantalizing clue: his primary source, he wrote, was a "senior administration official" who was "not a partisan gunslinger." Armitage was shaken. After reading the column, he knew immediately who the leaker was. On the phone with Powell that morning, Armitage was "in deep distress," says a source directly familiar with the conversation who asked not to be identified because of legal sensitivities. "I'm sure he's talking about me." Story continues below ↓ advertisement

Armitage's admission led to a flurry of anxious phone calls and meetings that day at the State Department. (Days earlier, the Justice Department had launched a criminal investigation into the Plame leak after the CIA informed officials there that she was an undercover officer.) Within hours, William Howard Taft IV, the State Department's legal adviser, notified a senior Justice official that Armitage had information relevant to the case. The next day, a team of FBI agents and Justice prosecutors investigating the leak questioned the deputy secretary. 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.) Armitage had met with Novak in his State Department office on July 8, 2003—just days before Novak published his first piece identifying Plame. Powell, Armitage and Taft, the only three officials at the State Department who knew the story, never breathed a word of it publicly and Armitage's role remained secret.

Armitage, a well-known gossip who loves to dish and receive juicy tidbits about Washington characters, apparently hadn't thought through the possible implications of telling Novak about Plame's identity. "I'm afraid I may be the guy that caused this whole thing," he later told Carl Ford Jr., State's intelligence chief. Ford says Armitage admitted to him that he had "slipped up" and told Novak more than he should have. "He was basically beside himself that he was the guy that f---ed up. My sense from Rich is that it was just chitchat," Ford recalls in "Hubris," to be published next week by Crown and co-written by the author of this article and David Corn, Washington editor of The Nation magazine.

It's time to investigate Fitzgerald.

Thanks to Geoff for that.

Drew sums up:

So will Fitzgerald be dropping the indictment against Scooter Libby first thing tomorrow monring? Remember when Fitzgerald said that what Libby did was like throwing sand in the umpire's eye?

Well, if he (Fitzgerald) knew who the leaker was in October of 2003 what exactly was he umpiring in the first place?

Allah argues:

Armitage wasn't the only one who leaked it, though. Rove also told Novak that he'd heard Wilson's wife worked for the CIA. Two strands of the investigation (or three, if you count the CIA spokesman who also confirmed her employment there for Novak). Fitzgerald was trying to find out whether, in any of the three strands, someone had deliberately outed her.

Well, actually, Rove told Novak "yeah, I heard that too," providing confirmation, not the original information.

The buzz was put out there by Armitage. Inadvertantly, stupidly, vainly (in a look-at-what-I-know gossipy way). Fitzgerald knew this from the start.

digg this
posted by Ace at 09:41 AM

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