August 28, 2006

The Source of the Valerie Plame Leak

Carroll Andrew Morse

If anyone is still interested (probably not, because it looks like it won’t hurt Dick Cheney or Karl Rove), the world apparently now knows the source of the Valerie Plame leak. National Review’s Byron York reports…

According to Hubris, the new book by the Nation’s David Corn and Newsweek’s Michael Isikoff, [Secretary of State Colin Powell] had been told by his top deputy and close friend Richard Armitage that he, Armitage, leaked the identity of CIA employee Valerie Plame to columnist Robert Novak. Armitage had, in other words, set off the CIA-leak affair.
Apparently, the Justice Department has been aware that Armitage was the original leaker since October of 2003, but went ahead with a full investigation, including special prosecutor, anyway.

Here’s a bare bones timeline of Armitage's involvement compiled from York’s article …

  1. On at least two separate occasions in 2003, Armitage discusses CIA employee Valerie Plame's role in helping her husband obtain an assignment investigating Iraqi uranium purches in Africa, once with the Chicago Sun-Times' Robert Novak and once with the Washington Post's Bob Woodward. Novak uses this fact in a July 2003 column.
  2. In October 2003, during the very early stages of the investigation to determine who revealed Plame's connection to the CIA, Armitage admits to being Novak's source, but does not disclose the separate Woodward leak.
  3. Armitage eventually discloses the Woodward leak in November 2005.
York speculates that Lewis Libby, the only person indicted in this matter, was targeted by the prosecution because his story was inconsistent with the stories being told by the people who had received their information via the Novak leak while the prosecution was unaware of the existence of the Woodward leak. (The implication, I think, is that Libby learned of the Plame-Wilson connection from someone in the Woodward channel, if not Woodward himself).

But, as York points out, why Armitage’s initial incomplete testimony was treated as an oversight while problems with Libby’s story have been treated as criminal activity is unknown to anyone but the special prosecutor.

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Nice catch Andrew. Just heard about this, this morning on El Rushbo. You were 15 hours ahead of him.

Posted by: Chuck at August 29, 2006 12:45 PM