Tom Maguire at JustOneMinute has the best coverage of the Plame Kerfluffle, better coverage than what you'll get from the MSM and the Moonbats. Here is Tom's assessment of the latest revelation (along with some humorous jabs against David Corn) - that Armitage is likely Novak's original source - and provides references to the evidence provided by Fitzy from the Libby indictment:
Or from another tack - per the Newsweek story, Armitage learned about Ms. Plame from the famous INR memo, which did not mention her undercover background and named her as Valerie Wilson.
But Armitages's biography strongly suggest an intel background, so it seems fair to guess he had contacts in the intel community.
And by uncanny coincidence, Robert Grenier, a top CIA official who was heading the Iraq Issue group at the time, had a chat with Lewis Libby. This is from the indictment:7. On or about June 11, 2003, LIBBY spoke with a senior officer of the CIA [later revealed to be Grenier] to ask about the origin and circumstances of Wilson's trip, and was advised by the CIA officer that Wilson's wife worked at the CIA and was believed to be responsible for sending Wilson on the trip.I don't think that Grenier was relying on the INR memo for the news that "Wilson's wife... was believed to be responsible for sending Wilson on the trip". But I do think that Grenier, as a top CIA guy, was a bureaucratically appropriate contact for a chap like Armitage. As a bonus, since he had been with the CIA forever I bet that Grenier met Ms. Plame back when she *was* Ms. Plame, and remembered her by that name rather than her more recent married name.
Just speculation, of course. But I bet that the Armitage story on display here is only the first fallback - at no other point in this story has he been candid or forthcoming about his role and I doubt he was in October 2003 (did he mention his Woodward chat to Powell, and did Powell urge a cover-up of that? I doubt it.)
Last bit of speculation - if (I say *IF*) the "Plame" name came to Novak via Armitage and Grenier, where did "Operative" come from in Novak's famous column?
Good question, and let me ask another - where did Andrea Mitchell get "operative" in her July 8, 2003 report? She attributes it to CIA sources in a story about who might get blamed for allowing the "16 Words" into the State of the union address:MITCHELL: Well, people at the CIA say that it's not going to be George Tenet; and, in fact, that high-level people at the CIA did not really know that it was false, never even looked at Joe Wilson's verbal report or notes from that report, didn't even know that it was he who had made this report, because he was sent over by some of the covert operatives in the CIA at a very low level, not, in fact, tasked by the vice president.
Note that the Mitchell use of "covert operatives" actually predates the Novak column by six days.
For the record, I'd like to point out that Another Rovian Conspiracy stated last year that Novak's source was likely Colin Powell or someone close to him.
Meanwhile, the Moonbats hold out hope that it really was Rove or Cheney (HALLIBURTON!!!) that "outed" Plame. Curiously, their attention focuses on who first told Novak that Plame was an "undercover operative," instead of just the apparently innocuous (to the Moonbats) act of mentioning that Wilson was selected to go on the trip by his wife, an expert on counter-proliferation.
From FireDogLake's Something's Missing post:
Armitage may have told Novak and Woodward that Valerie was involved in some way in her husband’s selection as the CIA’s man-on-the-ground in Niger, but it appears, according to Isikoff at least, that he did not have knowledge at that point that she was a covert operative, which is an essential piece of the charging puzzle for Patrick Fitzgerald’s prosecution.
That is a whole lot of gray, isn’t it? But it does not explain the central question that we’ve all been trying to answer from day one on this: how did Bob Novak learn that Valerie Plame Wilson was a covert operative?
What possible motivation could Scooter Libby have had to lie unless he was (a) having an attack of personal guilty conscience and trying to save his own ass or (b) more likely, trying to save someone else’s ass, namely Dick Cheney’s.
Amazing that they keep escalating their hopes & dreams to bigger and bigger fish while the story consistently points to Armitage as the first leaker, followed by reporters getting confirmation from a variety of sources about Plame's identity (including Who's Who and Rove).
And, the Moonbats don't like the fact that Armitage is the source (or perhaps even Powell) because neither of them fit into their "reality-based" view that there's a vast neocon conspiracy that has taken over our government.
However, here is the text from Novak's 2003 column and it's important to note that Novak uses the term "operative" often to describe people and did not call her "covert" in the original article:
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. "I will not answer any question about my wife," Wilson told me.
Is there any hint that Novak thought that Plame was undercover in this story?
Keep reading Tom Maguire and disregard anything that the MSM or the Moonbats have to say on the subject. As I've said before, why do I know more about the Plame/Wilson matter than the MSM?
Here's a message to those at FDL (and I realize that it will likely go unheeded). When the facts become overwhelming, perhaps your "reality" isn't as real as you think. Don't pull a Jason Leopold...
Since I mentioned posts at both blogs, I sent a trackback link to both JustOneMinute (JOM) and FireDogLake (FDL). Now, as regular readers of this blog know, I'm intrigued by the censorship and authoritarian control imposed on comments and trackbacks by the Left side of the blogosphere (link to my most recent post on the subject). My trackback to JOM appeared within seconds, along with 7 other links which other bloggers had provided, giving JOM's readers the ability to branch out and obtain other points of view. My trackback link to FDL was successfully sent, but has not been added to the site. I know that they have to "approve" any links submitted and I don't know whether I'm still waiting in the approval queue or whether my link was deemed unacceptable. However, it's interesting that it seems like the right-side of the blogosphere seems to be more open to giving their readers a broader perspective (through unfiltered comments and trackbacks to other blogs) while the left-side of the blogosphere seems to be extremely interested in controlling what their readers see. How.... fascist.
ARC: St Wendeler