So the end has finally come to the whole Plame affair. 3+ years later and as Walter Pincus said, it’s all come back to bite the Democrats in the ass (ok, maybe that was an ad-lib by myself, but you know it’s true):
Pincus believes that the Bush administration acted obnoxiously when it leaked Valerie Plame’s identity, but he has never been convinced by the argument that the leaks violated the law. “I don’t think it was a crime,” he says. “I think it got turned into a crime by the press, by Joe” — Wilson — “by the Democrats. The New York Times kept running editorials saying that it’s got to be investigated — never thinking that it was going to turn around and bite them.”
Of course now we all know that Walter was wrong when he cites the Bush administration as the main culprit. Oh sure, Armitage was part of the Administration but everyone and their mother knows he was part of the anti-war crew inside the State Department along with his boss. He is not the one the left wanted to be the culprit, believe me.
Christopher Hitchens once again summerizes perfectly the end game:
I had a feeling that I might slightly regret the title (“Case Closed”) of my July 25 column on the Niger uranium story. I have now presented thousands of words of evidence and argument to the effect that, yes, the Saddam Hussein regime did send an important Iraqi nuclear diplomat to Niger in early 1999. And I have not so far received any rebuttal from any source on this crucial point of contention. But there was always another layer to the Joseph Wilson fantasy. Easy enough as it was to prove that he had completely missed the West African evidence that was staring him in the face, there remained the charge that his nonreport on a real threat had led to a government-sponsored vendetta against him and his wife, Valerie Plame.
[…]But now we have the final word on who did disclose the name and occupation of Valerie Plame, and it turns out to be someone whose opposition to the Bush policy in Iraq has–like Robert Novak’s–long been a byword in Washington. It is particularly satisfying that this admission comes from two of the journalists–Michael Isikoff and David Corn–who did the most to get the story wrong in the first place and the most to keep it going long beyond the span of its natural life.
As most of us have long suspected, the man who told Novak about Valerie Plame was Richard Armitage, Colin Powell’s deputy at the State Department and, with his boss, an assiduous underminer of the president’s war policy.
[…]What does emerge from Hubris is further confirmation of what we knew all along: the extraordinary venom of the interdepartmental rivalry that has characterized this administration. In particular, the bureaucracy at the State Department and the CIA appear to have used the indiscretion of Armitage to revenge themselves on the “neoconservatives” who had been advocating the removal of Saddam Hussein. Armitage identified himself to Colin Powell as Novak’s source before the Fitzgerald inquiry had even been set on foot. The whole thing could–and should–have ended right there. But now read this and rub your eyes: William Howard Taft, the State Department’s lawyer who had been told about Armitage (and who had passed on the name to the Justice Department)
also felt obligated to inform White House counsel Alberto Gonzales. But Powell and his aides feared the White House would then leak that Armitage had been Novak’s source–possibly to embarrass State Department officials who had been unenthusiastic about Bush’s Iraq policy. So Taft told Gonzales the bare minimum: that the State Department had passed some information about the case to Justice. He didn’t mention Armitage. Taft asked if Gonzales wanted to know the details. The president’s lawyer, playing the case by the book, said no, and Taft told him nothing more.
“[P]laying the case by the book” is, to phrase it mildly, not the way in which Isikoff and Corn customarily describe the conduct of the White House.
Quite a few people are noticing, how can you not, that the two writers Isikoff and Corn were the ones who continually kept this conspiracy story rolling. They now sound a bit more mellow…I wonder why? Here is Corn on his blog just yesterday:
On the National Review site, Byron York writes
Whatever Armitage’s motives, the fact that he was the Novak leaker undermines–destroys, actually–the conspiracy theory of the CIA-leak case.
He notes that the Newsweek story based on HUBRIS says that Armitage had “no apparent intention of harming anyone” and comments:
It’s an extraordinary admission coming from Isikoff’s co-author Corn, one of the leading conspiracy theorists of the CIA-leak case. “The Plame leak in Novak’s column has long been cited by Bush administration critics as a deliberate act of payback, orchestrated to punish and/or discredit Joe Wilson after he charged that the Bush administration had misled the American public about the prewar intelligence,” Corn and Isikoff write. “The Armitage news does not fit neatly into that framework.” [Note: Actually, I wrote those lines on my blog; they were not part of the Newsweek story.]
Conspiracy theorist–moi? Where have I proposed a conspiracy theory? I have noted from the first that the leak might be evidence of a White House crime.
Ahhhh, but Mr. Corn ought to realize the power of the internet. Things never die on the web. Here he is in 2003:
The Wilson smear was a thuggish act. Bush and his crew abused and misused intelligence to make their case for war. Now there is evidence Bushies used classified information and put the nation’s counter-proliferation efforts at risk merely to settle a score. It is a sign that with this gang politics trumps national security.
This really doesnt read like he is saying there MIGHT be a White House crime does it?
Typical leftist mentality. Actually, it’s typical behavior from someone who is caught red handed. Deny deny deny. Kinda like “I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky.”?
Anyways, this is typical behavior from the lefties and nothing to be too worked up over. What we all should be worked up over is the fact that Fitz KNEW who the source of the leak was shortly after Novak’s second column but continued on with his sham of investigation. In fact AJStrata see’s trouble ahead for Fitz based on a few of his filings:
Here is Fitzgerald’s submission to the US Supreme Court regarding his need to enforce subpoena’s on Judith Miller and Mark Cooper, even though he knew at the time Richard Armitage was the source of the leak to Bob Novak and that Libby and Rove were nothing more than weak confirmations(the CIA was a strong confirming source for Novak).
In the oped piece, Wilson asserted that he had taken a trip to Niger in 2002 at the request of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to investigate a report that Iraq had sought or obtained uranium from Niger, and that he had reported to the CIA upon his return his conclusion that it was “highly doubtful that any such transaction had ever taken place.” Id. at 183a-184a. Wilson asserted that “some of the intelligence related to Iraq’s nuclear weapons program was twisted to exaggerate the Iraqi threat.”
All emphasis mine. Actually, Fitzgerald and we all know Wilson claimed he was sent by the Administration, Cheney. For a man who wants accuracy and details, Fitz starts off very sloppily.
Eight days later, on July 14, 2003, syndicated columnist Robert Novak published a column in the Chicago Sun-Times in which he asserted that “two senior administration officials” told him that Wilson had been selected for the Niger trip at the suggestion of Wilson’s wife, whom Novak described as a CIA “operative on weapons of mass destruction.” Miller Pet. App. 188a189a.
After Novak’s column was published, it was reported that other reporters had been told by government officials that Wilson’s wife worked at the CIA monitoring weapons of mass destruction, and that she was involved in her husband’s being sent to Africa.
[…]Up until this point Fitzgerald is insinuating he is investigating who lleaked to Novak and â€˜other reporters’. But he knew already who leaked and he had testimony in hand that showed Libby and Rove as weak confirmation sources who responded to questions by reporters, not who initiated the topic. But does he relay that to the Supreme Court Justices? No – he hides it.
[…]Fitzgerald goes on to great lengths to discuss the fact reporters have no right to hide potential criminal acts, but at this stage Fitz knew he had NO POTENTIAL CRIMINAL ACTS. All the argument about being forced to testify fall apart if there is no crime being investigated, just hunting expidition. Prosecutors can’t fish for evidence either. And Fitzgerald knows this and points it out in his arguments:
It is the gov-ernment’s position, as stated in the court of appeals (Gov’t C.A. Br. 33-41), that no federal common law re-porter’s privilege should be recognized in the context of a good faith grand jury investigation.
But this was NOT a good faith grand jury investigation. Fitzgerald never once admitted that the person who leaked was known, why he leaked, his motives and his legal standing (no crime) was all known by now. Is that good faith?
Yes, the hysterics by the left about the non-leak of a CIA desk jockey’s name after she had sent her husband to report on “that crazy report” of Iraq attempting to buy uranium has come full circle.
And now it’s time for Fitzgerald to be investigated I think.
Is it Fitzmas yet?