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September 13, 2006

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boris

The INR memo looks more and more like CYA for guilty knowledge. Muddy the water with squid ink and provide "planted evidence" for whoever winds up with the "queen of spades" er ... outing Val.

Bob

I think Armitage was set up by the Wilson's / CIA to hurt Bush's re-election by either the story or the leak... like Watergate lite.

I'm not saying he's innocent, but everyone knew he was a "wash women" and wouldn't keep his trap shut... he may also in fact let it happen. I think they were hoping just to do enough damage to hurt Bush, and if it blew up ( as it did ) they'd have a Republican to through under the bus!

Other Tom

Armitage as coward is the developing story. And it's amazing that, as far as I am aware, no one until Novak has raised the issue of Armitage's slience between the time of his epiphany and the time of Fitzgerald's appointment.

Neo

Why is it that as I read your post, the name, Marc Grossman, kept screaming in the back of my brain.

Was the re-issue of the 6/10 INR memo on 7/7 done just to cover Armitage's back side or was it to make sure the White House was implicated. Either way, it keeps coming back to Joe Wilson's friend, Marc Grossman.

clarice

I think Armitage will never eat lunch in this town again, and I think Powell comes off smelling like a skunk.

And from what I've been hearing for some time they should.

Wilson is now saying he will add him to the (certain to be dismissed against the other defendants ) civil suit, and I'm hearing drums along the Potomac whichindicate his tsuris is far from over.

Neo

My misreading of this post had me seeing ..
She's a weapons of mass destruction
.. which I really didn't believe.

But, I had to laugh when I saw the whole sentence.
She's a weapons of mass destruction specialist .. then took on a special meaning. I believe this statement has more than one completely true interpretation. Afterall, who knows Joe any better.

lurker

"(certain to be dismissed against the other defendants)"

Meaning that the 3 defendants and 10 - 12 unnamed defendants will be dismissed from this civil suit once Armitage is added? By Judge Bates?

Think the Wilson's lawyers will have a hard time proving the malicious intent of these original defendants' actions after this.

Lurker

"She's a weapons of mass destruction specialist."

I am guessing that this does not make her covert.

Other Tom

I'm not so sure the Wilsons will dismiss against the original defendants. As long as the Wilsons can get past a pleading-stage motion or a summary judgment motion, they'll keep them in for purposes of revenge, and for the ease of discovery against parties. I don't think they've brought this action for any reason other than their hatred of Rove and Cheney.

lurker

OT, I agree. The only way that these original defendants would be dismissed is by Judge Bates at this point.

Another reason other than their hatred of Rove and Cheney is that they had to file a lawsuit to protect their integrity.

lurker

OT: The State of the Left

By Cindy Sheehan; stronly endorsed by DKOSkids.

Dean Barnett's response is hilarious.

lurker

A leaked photo:

Drone Photo Ops

Military is now trying to find out who leaked it.

Lurker

Now I'm reading that James Baker has become an advisor to Bush on Iraq:

James Baker

clarice

I meant dismissed by the judge.

Appalled Moderate

Even in the sanitized version, Armitage and Powell's conduct was inherently disloyal to the Commander in Chief. Looks like this will end up damaging Armitage's career -- and it should. The willingness to let others twist for your own crimes, for reasons that look like some kind of bureaucratic payback, is utterly reprehensible.

I will say Libby's story sounds (heard it from reporters) less implausible, since Armitage is apparently a blabbermouth, and what he told two reporters is something he could have spread all over town.

Well, eventually, the truth comes out. One's just a bit surprised at who ends up looking the worst at the end of the day.

Oddly, TM, you make Wilson's own story on this thing MORE credible...That may be as odd as me essentially ending up in clarice's camp...

cathyf
Fitzgerald did seem to be investigating "Did the White House conspire to out Ms. Plame?", rather than "Who outed Ms. Plame?"
Fitzgerald, and the FBI before Fitzgerald was involved, had absolutely no business investigating either question unless "outing" Ms. Plame was a crime.

I can't believe that I'm defending Armitage, but, look, Joe Wilson was telling lies about the State Department too, and they had just as much right as the WH or the OVP to debunk his lies. (Joe Wilson implying that he was a respected member of the retired-from-State cadre is just as much a lie as saying that the VP sent him to Niger.)

american in europe

Now that more details of the Plame leak have emerged, I'm dying to hear what Judy Miller has to say. I wonder how she views her jailing and firing now that it's clear that Libby wasn't the source of the leak, and that Fitzgerald knew it all along. (What is she doing now anyway? Has she been totally ostracized by the MSM for associating with Republicans?) Was Armitage her source too? Or was it Joe Wilson? I have always suspected that she learned the name Plame aurally from someone at the Times (that's why she mispelled it) when she was enquiring about who Kristof's sources were. She might even have gotten the information from Kristoff himself, who it turn got it directly from Joe and Valery. Wouldn't it be ironic if she was covering for a Times colleague and got fired and thrown in the slammer for her troubles? Come to think of it, I'd also like to hear what Mr. Kristoff has to say for himself now.

If no confesstions are forthcoming from these two, I think we can infer that Joe and Valery outed themselves all over the press, and that Andrea Mitchel wasn't exaggerating when she said it was "widely known".

lurker

Thanks, Clarice.

Anyone care to guess what Joe Wilson's next move will be?

owl

Oddly, TM, you make Wilson's own story on this thing MORE credible...

Oh gee whiz...only if you can manage to ignore the shy little woman driving ole Joe all over town to make his speeches, deliver his opinions from on high to the media Gods while he jumped up and down shouting "Look at me, an unidentified source (with clues) but whatever you do, DO NOT LOOK (Ethel) at my wife."

Jeff

This is going to be so much fun. Novak's column is such a great mix of revelations, strawman-bashing and misleading untruths, I can't wait for the response from State. It's completely true that Fitzgerald presumably knows all this, but the accusation is not only that Armitage lied publicly about their encounter, but that Team Powell tried to coach Novak's testimony and encourage him to engage in a coordinated cover-up with them in October 2003, so something new may be shaken loose out of this anyway, at least in public. By the way, Isikoff and Corn's book completely contradicts Novak's account of how he responded to Duberstein when Duberstein contacted him October 1 2003 to ask if Armitage was indeed Novak's source. And we now from Hubris that investigators and prosecutors gave intense scrutiny to the phone calls between Armitage, Powell, Duberstein and Novak, suspicious of a cover-up. And of course investigators were also suspicious that Novak helped Rove cover up too, though Novak on national television accused Waas of lying when he reported that. Hmm, who should I believe, Novak or Waas?

In any case,

how did Armitage know that Ms. Plame was in the Directorate of Operations, which is the branch that has the covert operatives (although not everyone there is covert)?

Don't forget that there are some redacted bits in the INR memo, and they may include something like, "meeting February 19 at CPD," or something.

I like how you're sticking with the idea that Armitage heard from his CIA contacts but backing off suggesting that it was Robert Grenier, since there is a straighter line from Grenier to Libby, as Grenier told Libby that Plame worked at CIA and was involved in her husband's trip. Also, let's not forget that just as Armitage told Novak Plame worked in CPD, Cheney told Libby that she worked in CPD. I can see why you want to hold onto the idea that that's not where Novak got the idea of calling her an operative.

I think Novak is coming forwards because he is peeved with Armitage and thinks he is being a weasel on this story.

Novak is also desperately trying to resuscitate his reputation, all washed up on the shores of fox news, and he knows that unless he can shift blame for publishing the identity of an undercover CIA officer onto someone else, it will be the second line in his obituary. Hence his shiftiness on claiming that Armitage encouraged him to publish - big headline, but then when you read the actual basis for that claim, it is a lot more ambiguous, and dependent on Novak's skills of interpretation, which we've already discovered are rather wishful.

Finally, Judy Miller had "Valerie Flame" in her notebook, probably from another source

There is also the alternative possibility, that the name came from Libby and she is protecting him, not her other sources. As you yourself have said, Miller acknowledged the absolute bare minimum she had to consistent with her notes.

I can't wait to see what happens next. Team Powell will not take this lying down, I suspect. It might be fun.

Gabriel Sutherland

Armitage doesn't need this town(D.C) anymore. He's been Knighted by the Queen. However, he'll never be Sir Richard. Only Englanders can wear that crown.

He's sipping tea for now.

cathyf

This is what I've been saying all along about the internal inconsistency of Armitage's story. Look, if it was idle chit-chat, then he wouldn't remember it in all of it's exculpatory detail. As anyone who has taken high school english knows, verisimilitude is a technique of fiction. If disclosing Plame to Novak really was of no consequence to Armitage at the time, then Armitage would be more like Rove with the Cooper conversation -- saying that here I've got this email that was on the WH computer system, but I don't actually have any memories inside my head about the conversation.

Neo

Frankly, putting all other previous issues aside, I think the problem with the three month gap effectively ends any possibility of Powell ever being a Republican Presidential nominee.

lurker

"Novak's column is such a great mix of revelations, strawman-bashing and misleading untruths,..."

Jeff will most definitely believe Waas over Novak. Publicly released information proves Novak over Waas.


"By the way, Isikoff and Corn's book completely contradicts Novak's account..."

Right, sounds like "He said, somebody else said..." argument. I don't believe their work is complete and believe their work to be biased.

"There is also the alternative possibility, that the name came from Libby and she is protecting him, not her other sources. As you yourself have said, Miller acknowledged the absolute bare minimum she had to consistent with her notes."

Then why did Walton say that if Miller's answers under oath do not match her written words, then she will be impeached?

cathyf
Judy Miller ... What is she doing now anyway?
She had a nice WSJ op-ed last week on the 5 Bulgarian nurses and the Palestinian doctor held and tortured by the Libyans on absurd charges that they deliberately infected children with HIV.
Cecil Turner

Skeptics noted that what Armitage claims he told Novak is much less than what Novak reported - for example, Armitage does not even admit telling Novak that Ms. Plame was involved in arranging Ambassador Wilson's trip to Niger.

On the other hand, Armitage's version is obviously shorthand:

"At the end of a wide-ranging interview he asked me, 'Why did the CIA send Ambassador (Wilson) to Africa?' I said I didn't know, but that she worked out at the agency," Armitage says.
From that conversation, it'd be impossible to figure out even who "she" referred to, nor do I read that as a denial of Novak's reporting by Armitage. Also, Novak's new version is quite a bit stronger than his previous account. In particular, this bit:
"First, Armitage did not, as he now indicates, merely pass on something he had heard and that he 'thought' might be so. Rather, he identified to me the CIA division where Mrs. Wilson worked, and said flatly that she recommended the mission to Niger by her husband, former Amb. Joseph Wilson. Second, Armitage did not slip me this information as idle chitchat, as he now suggests. He made clear he considered it especially suited for my column."
Is an almost direct contradiction of his Oct 2003 account, at least in tone:
During a long conversation with a senior administration official, I asked why Wilson was assigned the mission to Niger. He said Wilson had been sent by the CIA's counterproliferation section at the suggestion of one of its employees, his wife. It was an offhand revelation from this official, who is no partisan gunslinger.
Methinks the true account is somewhere in the middle, and obviously not a planned leak.

On the other hand, if Armitage told Novak that Ms. Plame worked in the Directorate of Operations and was involved in sending her hubby, as Novak asserts, then the question of what did Novak know and how did he know it is nearly answered.

I'm not sure about that one. Novak refers to "the CIA's counterproliferation section" (instead of the correct: "Counterproliferation Divison"), something that was available at least on the 11th from Tenet, and possibly beforehand from PA officers:

In an effort to inquire about certain reports involving Niger, CIA’s counter-proliferation experts, on their own initiative, asked an individual with ties to the region to make a visit to see what he could learn.
There is nothing in Novak's column that demonstrates more knowledge than he could've gotten from Armitage and Harlow (and his subtly wrong terminology suggests he's piecing it together, not that he has the "straight skinny").

I would think that "the clandestine service" meant Directorate of Operations rather than WINPAC.

Per their website, the official name for the DO is: "National Clandestine Service." I'd infer Pincus has the better source.

"NAME" GAME ASIDE: *IF* Armitage called a CIA crony that could explain where the name "Plame" came from - she is referred to as "Valerie Wilson" in the INR memo but someone who knew her before she was married might well remember her as "Plame".

Not sure why we need a more complex explanation. Her name was available on line and in "Who's Who," and both Harlow and Novak admit to a conversation where Harlow suggested he not use her name (necessarily referring to "Plame," since "Mrs Wilson" would be obvious from context). His usage of her name in the column is a bit weird, but easily explained by the Harlow interaction.

cathyf
In particular, this bit:
"...Armitage did not slip me this information as idle chitchat, as he now suggests. He made clear he considered it especially suited for my column."
Is an almost direct contradiction of his Oct 2003 account, at least in tone:
...It was an offhand revelation from this official, who is no partisan gunslinger.
Methinks the true account is somewhere in the middle, and obviously not a planned leak.
Methinks Novak has changed his mind based upon Armitage's actions over the last three years. He went back and went over his notes and thought, "hey, wait a minute, Armitage's attitude may have appeared to have been relaxed gossipy idleness, but what he actually said was a very tightly focused and very efficient listing of everything I needed to know to 'out' Valerie as Joe's behester."
clarice

Jeff, Let me spare you further humiliation. There's more to come out than this excerpt and it's embargoed until Thur at 12:01 s.n.

clarice

*******A.M.**********

sad

Cathyf

Methinks Novak has changed his mind based upon Armitage's actions over the last three years. He went back and went over his notes and thought, "hey, wait a minute, Armitage's attitude may have appeared to have been relaxed gossipy idleness, but what he actually said was a very tightly focused and very efficient listing of everything I needed to know to 'out' Valerie as Joe's behester."

That sounds spot on, I've had that sort of experience myself.

Jane

As Cecil said: Novak's 10/1/03 column stated that "It was an offhand revelation from this official, who is no partisan gunslinger."

This is what the left is seizing on - that and this:

Novak on the Plame leak: a pattern of contradictions

{"http://mediamatters.org/items/200508050005?offset=20&show=1"}


Jane Woodworth

Gee, once again I'm a day late and a dollar short...

It's all that time I spend verifying my comments...ahem.

clarice

One of those "as if for the very firs t times" revelations?

ghostcat

The press behavior in this affair has always been about protecting Colin Powell. End of story.

Cecil Turner

Methinks Novak has changed his mind based upon Armitage's actions over the last three years.

Perhaps. Though if he couldn't figure it out in the three months before the October column, I'm not sure why we should have a lot of confidence in his reflections since. And I suspect it was more the perceived differential in his story and Armitage's latest got his nose out of joint, though that's obviously speculation.

Great Banana

Jeff,

Somehow I doubt that the non-outing of a non-covert agent will get mentioned in an obit of Novak. But, you probably still are hoping for a fitzmas with Rove frog marched out of the White House.

Overall, I don't understand the fascination with this "controversy" that many have here. It appears that:

1) No law was broken in correctly reporting that Valeri Plame Wilson worked for the CIA.

2) Armitage admitted to being the person who informed Novak that Plame worked for the CIA.

3) Novak confirms Armitage was the person who informed Novak that Plame works for the CIA.

4) There is, will be, and has been, no real political (i.e., the democrats were unable to capitalize on this event) and/or national security implications from this event.

So, we are left with a "mystery" regarding who told what to whom in the loose-lipped and gossipy Washington, D.C.

As far as the civil lawsuit, it is such a joke that not only do I expect it to be tossed on a summary judgment motion, I would not be surprised to see defendants get attorneys' fees because the lawsuit is so frivolous.

- GB

Jeff

Jeff, Let me spare you further humiliation. There's more to come out than this excerpt and it's embargoed until Thur at 12:01 s.n.

clarice, sometimes I think you're incapable of getting any facts right. While I appreciate your condescension, in fact my comment was based on reading the entire column, which I found perfectly unembargoed. So I say, clarice, worry about thy own humiliation!

Jeff

He went back and went over his notes and thought

Try again! In his perfectly unembargoed column, Novak tells us that neither he nor Armitage took notes. So how is Novak not completely full of shit one way or the other?

clarice

I think he was trying initially to report the truth while protecting his source, and grew to realize he was covering for a couple of snakes.

Appalled Moderate

I wouldn't spend too much time whether Armitage carefully planned his leak. I rather doubt he did.

What's interesting is that David Corn's book paints the guy as an utter blabbermouth:

Colleagues of Armitage told us that Armitage--who is known to be an inveterate gossip--was only conveying a hot tidbit, not aiming to do Joe Wilson harm. Ford says, "My sense from Rich is that it was just chitchat." (When Armitage testified before the Iran-contra grand jury many years earlier, he had described himself as "a terrible gossip." Iran-contra independent counsel Lawrence Walsh subsequently accused him of providing "false testimony" to investigators but said that he could not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Armitage's misstatements had been "deliberate.")

If I am working for team Libby, I know that Armitage is fingered for blurting out Plame's name to not one but two reporters. It's not implausible he told others. (Judy Woodruff, Judy Miller, Hugh Sidey, etc, etc). All this makes it easier to believe that Plame's name was part of the common gossip.

I'm with jeff. I want to hear Team Powell's explanation of their conduct. Because it sure looks like the goal was to let VP's office and Rove twist slowwwly in the wind.

clarice

I think Duberstein was used (knowingly or not) to feel out Novak's testimony and perhaps influence it. I think that while Novak first believed the remarks were "off hand" and perhaps Armitage subsequently so testified, Novak on review of the conversation realized he'd been used--that Armitage had deliberately used him to get the information out.

Jeff, I apologize for not realizing the entire article was out..and that you were remarking on it. It has been an hellaciously busy day and I skimmed over some of the stuff more quickly than usual.

Jeff

Jeff, I apologize

Much appreciated. And hey I agree with this:

I think Duberstein was used (knowingly or not) to feel out Novak's testimony and perhaps influence it.

But not the rest.

Other Tom

I personally couldn't care less whether Novak is full of shit. It's enough for me that Armitage and Powell are now permanently damaged goods, as they richly deserve to be.

Clarice, I realized after posting my earlier message that you meant that it would be dismissed by the judge. I hope you are right; plenty of judges would be inclined to find enough of a factual dispute over the "conspiracy" theory to let the case go to trial (although it would appear now that they will be hard-put to show any injury from this conspiracy, given that whatever alleged injury occurred was exclusively caused by Armitage). But Judge Bates does not seem like a good draw at all for these frauds.

Jeff

Given how full of holes Novak's column is, I wonder if he will try to have a modified version published when it comes out nationally tomorrow.

Sue

Novak is also desperately trying to resuscitate his reputation, all washed up on the shores of fox news, and he knows that unless he can shift blame for publishing the identity of an undercover CIA officer onto someone else, it will be the second line in his obituary.

Is that a fact? No one really cares but us Plameaholics, Jeff. Check the newspapers. No one cares. After the big revelation by Corn/Isikoff about Plame's employment status, there were exactly 5, I'll say that again, 5 google entries dealing with the story. And 2 of those were Corn's site and The Nation. No one cares. And Novak left the #2 cable station to go to the #1 cable station and that is because he is washed up?

Jeff

It's enough for me that Armitage and Powell are now permanently damaged goods, as they richly deserve to be.

More agreement! But given that Team Powell can't be pleased, and given that Novak is full of shit, whether you care or not, I can't wait to see what their response is. Maybe they'll take note of the fact that Novak has not gone after Rove for, among other things, not explaining himself ever, for having misled the American people, and for having given a sworn account that not only contradicts Novak's on an important point, but undermines Novak's journalistic credibility. I hope they take note of that, and include Rove in their response to Novak, as Rove has been the one who Novak has protected the most throughout.

cathyf

I'm also going to be a broken record here: "outing" a covert agent may be illegal, but "outing" a spouse behester who is not a covert agent is not illegal, whether you are in the State Dept or the White House. Or as GB said,

So, we are left with a "mystery" regarding who told what to whom in the loose-lipped and gossipy Washington, D.C.
Having read the Bill of Rights, it's pretty clear that the very powerful and dangerous-to-liberty-if-not-controlled law-enforcement powers of the United States of America are strictly prohibited from being used to track down gossip and idle chit-chat. Our founding fathers knew all about intrigues of court, and how despots used law-enforcement as their own petty whim-enforcers.

You know, I really was joking when I first said that Fitzgerald's office is a foreign power, and one that appears to have declared war on the US. But sheesh, it just keeps getting more and more appalling...

Jeff

After the big revelation by Corn/Isikoff about Plame's employment status, there were exactly 5, I'll say that again, 5 google entries dealing with the story.

Sue, all I'm going to say about that is that if you were your mirror image on the left, instead of the right, you'd be throwing a fit about that, and claiming not that no one cares, but that it was an unjustifiable neglect of an important piece of news by the MSM, especially in light of the play that Isikoff's non-news that Armitage was Novak's first of two senior administration officials got.

Ranger

Well, since we are back on to Armitage and how iffy his story is, I will add my observation that I don't buy his 'Woodward never reminded me because I ended the conversation before it got there' defense. How is it that he slams the phone down twice on Woodward before the Libby indictment, but allows the conversation to go forward after Fitz's presser? It would seem that someone was very touchy about possibly being reminded until he feared that Woodward would go forward on his own, at which point he allowed himself to 'be reminded.'

cathyf
Novak is also desperately trying to resuscitate his reputation, ... and he knows that unless he can shift blame for publishing the identity of an undercover CIA officer onto someone else, it will be the second line in his obituary.

Is that a fact? No one really cares but us Plameaholics, Jeff. Check the newspapers. No one cares.

I've got to agree with Sue, here -- nobody cares but us wackos. On the other hand, just change one word
Armitage is also desperately trying to resuscitate his reputation, ... and he knows that unless he can shift blame for publishing the identity of an undercover CIA officer onto someone else, it will be the second line in his obituary.
and what you have is a completely reasonable and plausible motive for Armitage to act three years ago, when a lot more people than our exclusive little club of Plameaholics cared about this whole kerfuffle.

topsecretk9

Sorry if mentioned (a lot of comments to read)

On the other hand, I don't mind the idea that Armitage, who has been in Washington a long time, has some long-time friends at the CIA and had a background chat with one of them. Senior people were asking about the Wilson trip, and Armitage's underlings were telling him the INR was not involved - is it utterly implausible that Armitage called a CIA buddy of his to double-check?

How about Marc Grossman (who vacationed with the Wilsons) filled his boss in BEFORE Grossman requested the INR ?

topsecretk9

Ranger

11:33 AM...good point.

count scrofula

I believe "Jeff Gerstein" of the NY Sun is actually named "Josh Gerstein."

[Groan, and thanks - correction made, but brain not yet unthawed.]

Sue

Sue, all I'm going to say about that is that if you were your mirror image on the left, instead of the right, you'd be throwing a fit about that, and claiming not that no one cares, but that it was an unjustifiable neglect of an important piece of news by the MSM, especially in light of the play that Isikoff's non-news that Armitage was Novak's first of two senior administration officials got.

I don't throw fits, Jeff. No one cares about Plame anymore. The public doesn't care. The MSM doesn't care. Only us with some kind of disease that seems to have no cure care. With the exception, of course, of the Wilsons, Scooter Libby, Richard Armitage, and those other John Does who may or may not be added to the Wilsons big adventure.

topsecretk9

-- Either way, it keeps coming back to Joe Wilson's friend, Marc Grossman.

Posted by: Neo | September 13, 2006 at 09:39 AM--

Should have just read through...yep, the INR redate just looks like a CYA for Senior having played dumb.

I am sure when the Libby team informed via filing his little star witness was a Wilson friend for life, the whole basis of the WH conspiracy popped like a balloon.

sad

Where is the entire column Jeff was referring to posted?

Jeff

I don't throw fits

That's what you think.

cathyf
Only us with some kind of disease that seems to have no cure care.
Bingo, Sue. Even Taranto appears to have been cured -- no mention of the kerfuffle in today's Best of the Web

Oh, well, I suppose the good news is that there is some hope for a cure. If Taranto can get over it, anybody can...

topsecretk9

--After the big revelation by Corn/Isikoff about Plame's employment status, there were exactly 5, I'll say that again, 5 google entries dealing with the story.--

Maybe because many in the beltway know this information is questionable at best.

Sue

That's what you think.

Okay.

jerry

"Novak on review of the conversation realized he'd been used--that Armitage had deliberately used him to get the information out."

The notion of the Dark Prince being used... if there was ever a hard concept to swallow. He might have been used by someone in DC in 1960, but it's absurd to believe he'd fall for much of anything today.

TM did have some good lines about Novak in the intro.

Sue

Oh, well, I suppose the good news is that there is some hope for a cure. If Taranto can get over it, anybody can...

Great. Maybe Tom could start looking into some kind of group therapy...with a discount?

cathyf

Sue, hon, I think this is it. (JOM comment section as discount group therapy. I like it. :-)

Patrick R. Sullivan

'One's just a bit surprised at who ends up looking the worst at the end of the day.'

Not the Unofficial Editorial Board of Commenters at JOM. Almost every revelation confirms two names; Joe Wilson and Patrick Fitzgerald.

Btw, while there's some obvious contradictions between Novak's positions; 'offhand', 'they thought it was important' and now, 'not...as idle chitchat', we're still miles away from a plot to punish the Wilsons by outing a secret agent.

Specter

The thing is that after years of misleading statements being published by MSM that were absolutely derogatory in nature to the WH (and I use the term "misleading" rather than "bold faced lying"), it will be fun to see the MSM turn and publish stuff the other way. Remember that much of public opinion turns on current news.....

Appalled Moderate

Ok. There are two scenarios.

1. Armitage leaked to Novak deliberately (as opposed to an offhand way). This is Novak's assertion. Does this make sense? Why would Artmitage do that? What urpose important to Armitage did it serve? Frankly, if one wants to hold on to a conspiracy theory, one wants to believe Novak now, because the only reason for Armitage making a deliberate leak would seem to be carrying out somebody else's orders.

2. Armitage blabbed out Val as part of a general discussion. (More plausible) Since it was done casually, Novak thought he could use it, and Armitage thought no more about it. Seems possible.

What's obnoxious as how team Powell (good nickname, jeff!) chose to handle things after the fact.

Bob

OT but http://thinkprogress.org/2006/09/13/air-america-bankruptcy>very funny!

EXCLUSIVE: Air America To Declare Bankruptcy, But Progressive Radio Remains Strong


...and here's some of the moonbat logic:

<blockquote>The right wing is sure to seize on Air America’s financial woes as a sign that progressive talk radio is unpopular. In fact, Air America succeeded at creating something that didn’t exist: the progressive talk radio format. That format is now established and strong and will continue with or without Air America. Indeed, many of the country’s most successful and widely-syndicated progressive talk hosts — Ed Schultz and Stephanie Miller, for instance — aren’t even associated with Air America.

Is it any wonder that these folks have a hard time with reality?

Appalled Moderate

patrick:

Nope. I'd put the villain of the piece as Colin Powell, with Fitz a close second. The Wilsons are kind of pathetic at this point.

Cecil Turner

I'm with jeff. I want to hear Team Powell's explanation of their conduct.

Looks like standard CYA to me . . . abetted by Fitzgerald's request they keep silent (and the plausible threat of indictment if they demurred). Hardly laudable, but neither is it incomprehensible.

And, speaking of jeff, this bit is hard to credit: Novak is also desperately trying to resuscitate his reputation [. . .] unless he can shift blame for publishing the identity of an undercover CIA officer onto someone else [. . .]

Seems to me the it's high time the left in this country admitted some basic facts pertaining to this kerfluffle:

  1. The main security leak was Wilson's story of his "not secret" CIA mission, not Plame's identity;
  2. Wilson and Plame caused their own security leak through her involvement in his mission and the subsequent Op-Ed; and
  3. The leak was inadvertent, not an attempt at payback
Trying to cast Armitage and Novak as the central villains is risible . . . extrapolating to Libby and Rove even more so. Trying to exploit intelligence to recreate the "Pentagon Papers" is likely a criminal conspiracy, and it all harkens back to the lefties' darling: JC Wilson IV.

topsecretk9

--What urpose important to Armitage did it serve? --

To piss on Tenet.

boris

The intrigue directly involved rogue elements in the CIA, counter intrigue from Powell's State, and the patsy WH criminalized fo going WTF ???

JohnH

Why would Armitage want to reveal Plame's role in sending Joe? The question is rather, why would POWELL want to reveal this.

Powell went before the UN and very publicly made the case for Saddam's WMD. He was made to look foolish when the sites he showed pictures of didn't turn up big stockpiles of WMD. So Joe Wilson's claim that the nuclear thing had been debunked and that the intelligence had been dishonestly used to promote the invasion cast shadows on Powell as well as on Bush.

If I were Powell, I would have been very upset when Wilson's Oped came out. Am I missing something here?

Jane

I'm not convinced either.

sbw

The intrigue directly involved rogue elements in the CIA, counter intrigue from Powell's State, and the patsy WH criminalized fo going WTF ???

I love issues distilled to their essence!

But a further sentence is needed for the intro. Why, for the love of Mike, was Wilson sent to Niger in the first place(s)?

ordi

OT

This is Osama Bin Ladens day! Witney Houston has filed for divorce from Bobby Brown!

Tom Maguire

they'll keep them in for purposes of revenge, and for the ease of discovery against parties. I don't think they've brought this action for any reason other than their hatred of Rove and Cheney.

IMHO the entire purpose of the civillawsuit is to create an opportunity to depose Bush, Cheney, and Rove and then leak the embarrasing bits.

The guiding inspiration is the Paula Jones suit, but the fact that Paula Jones actually took home some cash in a final settlement is irrelevant to the game plan here.

Oddly, TM, you make Wilson's own story on this thing MORE credible...

I'm going to lose my union card - tell me what I wrote that buttressed Wilson and I'll take it back!

...the accusation is not only that Armitage lied publicly about their encounter, but that Team Powell tried to coach Novak's testimony and encourage him to engage in a coordinated cover-up with them in October 2003, so something new may be shaken loose out of this anyway, at least in public.

I have a distinct memory of pointing that out earlier, but I can't remember where, and I can't remember how we first learned that someone contacted Novak from the Armitage camp when the referral broke. Was 'Hubris' the first source for that, or a 'Hubris' press release, or what?

And of course investigators were also suspicious that Novak helped Rove cover up too, though Novak on national television accused Waas of lying when he reported that. Hmm, who should I believe, Novak or Waas?

Was Novak angry at the suggestion that investigators looked at that, or at the suggestion that it might be true? Seems like different things to me.

I like how you're sticking with the idea that Armitage heard from his CIA contacts but backing off suggesting that it was Robert Grenier, since there is a straighter line from Grenier to Libby, as Grenier told Libby that Plame worked at CIA and was involved in her husband's trip.

I like that too. But it seems painfully clear that not all government sources have been accounted for. Of course, someone else at State may have done some digging and provided the missing pouzzle pieces,too - if you were Cark Ford, head of INR and tasked with piecing together the Wilson trip, could you imagine calling a CIA buddy to ask them how they put their trip together?

"Finally, Judy Miller had "Valerie Flame" in her notebook, probably from another source..."

There is also the alternative possibility, that the name came from Libby and she is protecting him, not her other sources.

Well, the notion that Judy had other Plame sources (as per her testimony) that she was protecting gained credence when she agreed to testify after her grilling was limited to just Libby.

So, she acted like she had other sources, she said she had other sources, there were other folks in the White House, State, and CIA who knew about Ms. Plame generally and her role in the NIger trip specifically - I think she had other sources.

Just for example, we are supposed to believe that Ms. Plame's name appeared in an INR memo, no one at State knew she was classified, yet *only* Armitage talked about her while all of the media buzzed. Maybe that is even true, but I would feel better if I thought Fitzgerald had really explored that.

This is what I've been saying all along about the internal inconsistency of Armitage's story. Look, if it was idle chit-chat, then he wouldn't remember it in all of it's exculpatory detail.

Well, if Armitage was *certain* that he only mentioned that Wilson's wife was at the CIA, why would he be so sure that he was Novak's source? Clearly the source had to have provided the info that she was involved with the Nioger trip, and the source probably should have had some thoughts abot her role at the CIA.

Rove, for exampe, denied being one of Novak's sources but admitted that he talked to him - Rove's view was that "I heard that, too" was not enough to achived source status.

Why didn't Armitage think someting similar?

[From Novak] Second, Armitage did not slip me this information as idle chitchat, as he now suggests. He made clear he considered it especially suited for my column."[END Novak]

Is an almost direct contradiction of his Oct 2003 account, at least in tone:

[More Novak] During a long conversation with a senior administration official, I asked why Wilson was assigned the mission to Niger. He said Wilson had been sent by the CIA's counterproliferation section at the suggestion of one of its employees, his wife. It was an offhand revelation from this official, who is no partisan gunslinger. [End More]

Actually, that Oct 1 2003 Novak is helpful - he still stands by the notion that his source gave him Ms. Plame's job description, and "offhand revelation" may be a few small but meaningful steps up from 'idle chit-chat' - Novak may have easily said, "hey, here is the sort of minor detail that is pefect for your columns" - that makes it more than chit-chat, but not much more.

Of course, the change in tone is explained by the fact that Novak wasn't irked with Armitage back then.

Novak refers to "the CIA's counterproliferation section" (instead of the correct: "Counterproliferation Divison"), something that was available at least on the 11th from Tenet, and possibly beforehand from PA officers:

I agree that Harlow's input is a bit unclear, and certainly the gist of the Tenet statement could have been leaked (and Andrea Mitchell was talking about "operatives" and Pincus about the "clandestibe service" on July 8 and 6.. However, Novak's column went out before Tenet's statement - I say that becuase Novak mentions a Monday "mea culpa" but not Tenet's on Friday:

Reluctance at the White House to admit a mistake has led Democrats ever closer to saying the president lied the country into war. Even after a belated admission of error last Monday, finger-pointing between Bush administration agencies continued.

That was pretty stale by late Friday night.

Tom Maguire

Now I see a Drudge headline telling me that Armitage will be sued by Ms. Plame, but it is not loading and I am leaving...

Well, why not - it is a fantasy lawsuit anyway.

Sue

Sue, hon, I think this is it. (JOM comment section as discount group therapy. I like it. :-)

I was afraid that was the answer I would get. It isn't working out all the well, at least for me. I can't seem to back away from the Plame!

clarice

Honey, when it's over we can put our inestimable group talents to bigger purpose--finding Natalie Holloway or determining what happened to missing cruise ship passengers ow whose killing the stingrays in Australia..

In the words of the great Seneca: "If it's not one thing, it's another "(I'm sure he stole it from Litella)

capitano

Internet gold nugget:

I now agree with at least one thing Bob Novak has written in the last 20 years -- Joe Wilson is an asshole!

topsecretk9

they added Amritage to the suit...don't spit your diet coke

By adding Armitage's name to the suit, Plame's lawyers set up a different scenario. They contend a White House conspiracy existed, but that Armitage's leak was independent of it.

sort of a fluid conspiracy...wind blowing effects it.

Cecil Turner

Novak may have easily said, "hey, here is the sort of minor detail that is pefect for your columns" - that makes it more than chit-chat, but not much more.

That's my view as well . . . something between "offhand" and "chit-chat" . . . which is a long way from "intentional leak."

certainly the gist of the Tenet statement could have been leaked

Per Pincus's column, the bit about CPD authorizing the trip obviously had. And again it's worth noting that Pincus's terminology is undeniably correct . . . whilst Novak's is subtly wrong.

If I were Powell, I would have been very upset when Wilson's Oped came out. Am I missing something here?

Not on that point, but as a conspiracy it doesn't scan. In order for the "punitive leak" scenario to make sense, they have to know Plame's technically covert (even though she isn't acting like it). The INR memo also has to be an implausibly convenient coincidence or a put-up job. The far simpler explanation was that it was inadvertent, which also tracks with the known data in the INR memo.

Gary Maxwell

OT but delicious

Think Progress a liberal's liberal website is reporting that Airhead America will file for bankruptcy court protection on Friday. AA response is a weak " no decison has been taken and we cant respond to every rumor about our demise." In other words its true.

This is a foreshadowing of the liberal's attmept to regain power in 06. It aint gonna work cuz American wont buy what they are pedaling.

topsecretk9

straight from Field of Dreams:

Armitage is accused of violating Plame's privacy rights. He is not accused of violating the Wilsons' constitutional rights to equal protection and freedom of speech _ allegations that remain against the White House officials.

SO..."I heard that too" is a violation of freedom of speech. Conversely, they seem to be violating Rove's et al freedom of speech, with their little theory.

sad

By adding Armitage's name to the suit, Plame's lawyers set up a different scenario. They contend a White House conspiracy existed, but that Armitage's leak was independent of it.

But they are so wrong. Armitage spent twenty years building a reputation as a gossip and neocon hater just so he could enter into the whitehouse conspiracy and make it all look like a non-conspiracy. Rove is brilliant. Everyone has fallen for it except the Plames. Hence the lawsuit. snark snark

Larwyn

Don't give up on Taranto

I'm betting he is saving for tomorrow when the Novak column hits print.

Think lots of people WSJ subcribers probably read "Best of the Web" while they don't read a lot of other blogs not connected to Biz world.

Q: Is Fitz trying to hold out until after the midterms as final favor to his buddies?


CNN showing photos of Clinton with the LEFTY bloggers. Wonder when Hillary will claim that she didn't know about them - as she didn't know about his large stipend from Qatar (even tho she signed tax form).

Thank goodness for the bloggers capturing these things before they can deleted or changed.

CNN is going to annoint Elison.

JohnH

Cecil Turner:
"In order for the "punitive leak" scenario to make sense, they [Powell and Armitage] have to know Plame's technically covert (even though she isn't acting like it). The INR memo also has to be an implausibly convenient coincidence or a put-up job. The far simpler explanation was that it was inadvertent, which also tracks with the known data in the INR memo."

I didn't mean that Powell wanted the Plame connection out as part of a "punitive leak."

I meant that Powell didn't like the idea that he, as well as Bush, knew the falsity of Iraq's alleged nuclear ambitions before the invasion took place. Powell may have wanted to get the word out that Wilson didn't know what he was talking about and was sent by his wife.

topsecretk9

What's hilarious is this ridiculous box they put themselves in, whereby they have to write language into their lawsuit that SAYS who did what and why in order to maintain their conspiracy...but when you file a lawsuit you can't decide what you want to be true because you can never tell who bears the percentage of fault...that is what discovery is for.

I've seen this before, and the whole thing fell apart. Trying to pick and choose the fault in order to present a more sinister conspiracy...shoot in foot time.

clarice

Why did Armitage leak this?
(a) he's a gossip
(b) to smear Tenet
(c) because he wanted to bat down a lie which hurt the Administration and his boss
(d) because he and Powell spent a great deal of time currying favor with the press and making themselves untouchable and burnishing their halos by trading in just this kind of insider tittle tattle.


You decide.I think (d) and I think it is a prime example why "access journalism" is so often wrong.

maryrose

OT:
Hardball to have Corn and ISIkoff on now.

Jane

A peculiar convergence had joined Armitage and me on the same historical path. During his quarter of a century in Washington, I had no contact with Armitage before our fateful interview. I tried to see him in the first 2 years of the Bush administration, but he rebuffed me * summarily and with disdain, I thought.

Then, without explanation, in June 2003, Armitage*s office said the deputy secretary would see me. This was two weeks before Joe Wilson surfaced himself as author of a 2002 report for the CIA debunking Iraqi interest in buying uranium in Africa.

This strikes me as a clue. Why Novak? Why then? I'd like to know what they planned to talk about, why the meeting was called, and all the topics they did talk about.

So Novak was targeted to get something out - because frankly you don't have idle chit chat with someone you have been shunning for 20 years. So Novak was Armitage's pawn. But who was Amitage a pawn for?

What's the story with "Washington lobbyist Kenneth Duberstein, Armitage*s close friend and political adviser"?

Jane

Matthews says he believes everything Corn and Isikoff wrote is true.

I miised the rest.

Sara (Squiggler)

Stephen Spruell has links to the new Wilson/Plame/Armitage law suit documents HERE

clarice

Good point about the sudden interest in Novak, Jane. Adds to the claim that it wasn't idle chit chat.

clarice

I'm too busy and too tired to try to deal with the pdf complaint--but the para I read was a hoot.

ordi

Clarice,

You and Mac like to leave “Little Nuggets” of what your hearing of what’s to come. :) lol

Wilson is now saying he will add him to the (certain to be dismissed against the other defendants ) civil suit, and I'm hearing drums along the Potomac which indicate his tsuris is far from over.

You got my cats curiosity up! Would you expound on this “little nugget” from your earlier post. Is Joe going to have some kind of legal difficulty? :)

clarice

The drums are saying...let me stick my head out the window and listen....something about Armitage but I can't make out quite what it is..LOL

Syl

I'm committing the sin of only reading halfway thru comments so far.

But what's a good way for Armitage to appear innocent of anything more than a gossipy mistake?

Not lawyer up!

Verner

MR...you watch hardball so we don't have to--comeon, take one for the team! LOL

Honestly, it's such a beautiful day here, I don't think I could stomach David Corn, much less Matthews.

ordi

I am glad you have a window in your office.
LOL

Thanks!

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Wilson/Plame