Drudge has a flash alerting us to Novak's upcoming column for tomorrow which will indicate that Richard Armitage's "coming out" as the initial source for the Plame Kerfuffle is not fully truthful.
The column is a real doozy. Let's dive right in (all emphasis mine).
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
This further highlights the distance this whole issue has with Rove and Libby. Armitage at State was the first to talk about these issues, and was providing plenty of details about Valerie. This was not Cheney outing Plame to hurt Joe Wilson. This was State hitting back at Tenet at the CIA for being incompetent and sending a former ambassador out on a nepotistic wild goose chase.
But lets explore further. It just gets better.
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.
Neither of us took notes, and nobody else was present. But I recalled our conversation that week in writing a column, while Armitage reconstructed it months later for federal prosecutors. He had told me unequivocally that Mrs. Wilson worked in the CIA’s Counter-Proliferation Division and that she had suggested her husband’s mission.
That's basically everything (minus the Who's who of the last name Plame) that's in Novak's column. Armitage outed Plame. All of it.
Duberstein told me Armitage wanted to know whether he was my source. I did not reply because I was sure that Armitage knew he was the source. I believed he contacted me Oct. 1 because of news the weekend of Sept. 27-28 that the Justice Department was investigating the leak. I cannot credit Armitage’s current claim that he realized he was the source only when my Oct. 1 column revealed that the official who gave me the information was ‘‘no partisan gunslinger.’’
Seems that Armitage needed to know if he was in jeapordy or not, so he arranged through a patsy to find out if Novak was going to rat on him. Using Duberstein allowed for plausible deniability in case it ever got back that he was attempting to tamper with a witness. Seeing that Novak was being shy, Armitage had no choice but to go to Fitz himself with the inadequate "suddenly realized" story on Oct 1.
Armitage’s silence the next 2 years caused intense pain for his colleagues in government and enabled partisan Democrats in Congress to falsely accuse Rove of being my primary source. When Armitage now says he was mute because of special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald’s request, that does not explain his silence three months between his claimed first realization that he was the source and Fitzgerald’s appointment on Dec. 30. Armitage’s tardy self-disclosure is tainted because it is deceptive.
This should bar Armitage from service in any department of the government under any administration. Any presidential campaign looking for foreign policy advice should not look towards Richard Armitage.
And the press should start asking questions of Colin Powell. Among the first, why did he obviously not let the Vice President or President know that their principal aides were being falsely accused in the press and by a out of control prosecutor? Why did he not immediately ask for his subordinate's resignation. Was Powell directing Armitage to leak the informaiton in a battle against State? Powell certainly felt Tenet had hung him out to dry with the WMD intelligence he touted before the UN Security council. So there was certainly motive.
Armitage should also immediately release any report anywhere from confidentiality regarding the Plame matter. Since he seems to forget every conversation that involves Plame (we know of now two, Woodward and Novak), his memory can't be relied upon. I'm willing to bet that Miller and Mitchell were also informed.
It looks like the White House didn't push this story - the State department did. As I believe at least one blogger on this site correctly identified oh so many years ago. It wasn't to refute Wilson, it was to highlight what idiots were in charge over at CIA.
In addition, Fitz should hang up his hat, and return to Chicago. There is no Al Capone to get on tax evasion. He is no Eliot Ness. Give it up and go home.
I note from Drudge that Valerie Wilson has now named Armitage in her lawsuit. She hasn't dropped Rove and Libby however.
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.
Yeah, good luck with that....
Just One Minute (a great source for Plame-related material) is covering this story as well.