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August 21, 2006
Was Armitage The Plame Leaker?

Enthusiasts of the Valerie Plame leak case have long offered Richard Armitage, Colin Powell's aide at State in that period, as one of the likely suspects.  The Armitage option gained some credibility this evening as the Associated Press reports that Armitage met with Bob Woodward on June 13, 2003, in the same time frame as Plame's connection to Joe Wilson got communicated to reporters:

Then-Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage met with Washington
Post reporter Bob Woodward in mid-June 2003, the same time the reporter
has testified an administration official talked to him about CIA employee Valerie Plame.

Armitage's official State Department calendars, provided to The Associated Press under the Freedom of Information Act, show a one-hour meeting marked "private appointment" with Woodward on June 13, 2003. ...

When contacted at home Monday night, Woodward declined to discuss his meeting with Armitage or the identity of his source in the CIA leak case. Instead, he referred to his statement last year that he had a "casual and offhand" discussion about Plame with an unidentified administration official in mid-June 2003.

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.

This scenario makes some sense.  After all, Wilson worked in the State Department as an ambassador earlier, and Armitage would have been familiar with Wilson and his connections to the CIA.  Armitage also would have had some motivation to explain the motivations of Wilson and his wife in her arrangements for the Niger mission and his serial leaks afterwards. 

Unfortunately for the Fitzmas crowd, Armitage makes a poor villain.  He worked for Colin Powell and not Dick Cheney, which would mean that either the conspiracy theorists would have to include Powell in the plot, or drop the idea altogether.  Armitage has repeatedly distanced himself from the Cheney team in foreign policy, and it's doubtful that he would have carried any water on behalf of the Vice President, especially with something as politically dicey as the deliberate exposure of a CIA agent.  He'd be more likely to have blown the whistle on that kind of conspiracy rather than partake in it.

If Armitage sourced the Plame connection, it would also explain the lack of prosecutorial interest on the part of Patrick Fitzgerald.  An Armitage lead pretty much stops at Armitage, given his relationship with the rest of the administration.  The fizzling of Fitzmas becomes more comprehensible.

Of course, no AP report on this subject would be complete without a little misinformation:
Wilson reported back to the Bush administration that he was unable to
verify the claim, but the administration continued to use the
information to bolster its argument for war. Wilson has cited the
decision to rely on the bad intelligence in his criticisms of the
The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence has long established that this version is nothing more than fiction.  Wilson reported that the Nigerien PM believed that an offer from Iraq for secret trade involved uranium, and that he had rejected the overture.  The Bush administration said that Iraq had attempted to purchase uranium, based on British intelligence that the UK still insists is accurate.  Wilson twisted his report to claim that Iraq had not purchased uranium, which was true -- but the Bush administration never claimed it had.

Maybe once we establish the actual source of the Plame leak, we can get the press to establish the truth about Wilson's claims.  Unfortunately, we will probably wait at least as long for that development as we did for the Armitage/Woodward meeting to come to light.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at August 21, 2006 9:54 PM

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» The sound of Fizz from Macsmind - Conservative Commentary and Common Sense
If the Plame Game hasn’t petered out yet for the Fitzmas yearners, this news should have them headed for the door. “Then-Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage met with Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward in mid-June 2003, the same ti... [Read More]

Tracked on August 21, 2006 10:25 PM

» CIA Leak Case Watch: Was it Richard Armitage? from FullosseousFlap's Dental Blog
AP: Calendars show Armitage met reporter The No. 2 State Department official met with Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward in mid-June 2003, the same time the reporter has testified that an administration official talked to him about CIA employee Val... [Read More]

Tracked on August 22, 2006 9:25 AM


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