Time to Boot Armitage from the Straight Talk Express

By

Mike Isikoff and David Corn, whose work I often discount because of their evident biases, have now produced a new book, reiterating what we've been saying for some time: Richard Armitage was Robert Novak's source about Plame and he kept silent as Scooter Libby, Karl Rove and the Administration in general were battered by the Plame/Wilsons and their proponents.   Indeed, it was Corn who, days after the Novak piece appeared, reported in The Nation that Wilson's wife was a "covert agent" who'd been outed in "revenge", the meme that still is being played in the outer regions of sanity.

Still, all the evidence is that for once, they are reporting accurately this aspect of the case.
 
Although Tom Maguire thinks Armitage is still not being forthright:

First, let's note that the outline of Armitage's story (he had no idea he was Novak's source until he read an Oct 1 Novak column, after which he huddled with Colin Powell and the State Department counsel and then called the FBI to apprise them of his role) merits a bit of skepticism.
Keep in mind — Armitage "forgot" to tell Special Counsel Fitzgerald about his leak to Bob Woodward until after the Libby indictment in Oct 2005, even though Woodward asked him for permission to move with a story during 2004.

Can anyone think of a motive for that?  Well, by waiting until after the indictment, Armitage got a pretty good idea of what other evidence Fitzgerald had gathered, and what other reporters had told Fitzgerald.  And why might he care?  *MAYBE* there were other reporters also protecting Armitage. 

Just for example, Judy Miller spent months in jail resisting her subpoena from Fitzgerald until she had assurance that Fitzgerald would only grill her about her interactions with I. Lewis Libby.  Having received that assurance, Ms. Miller then produced notebooks strongly suggesting she had discussed "Valerie Flame" with other; alas, her memory failed as to who that might have been.

However, Ms. Miller has plenty of by—lined stories with State Department sources, and both she and Mr. Armitage were members of the Aspen Institute (he is still with the Aspen Strategy Group).  Is it possible that Mr. Armitage has *still* forgotten to mention to Special Counsel Fitzgerald that he leaked to Ms. Miller?

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.

Tom seems as well to suggest that Armitage may have been blabbing not only to Woodward and Novak but as well to Andrea Mitchell and others.

This certainly is not the first instance of someone considering protecting his own——um, skin——by keeping silent and letting others bear the cost of a political vendetta, as the Plame case was.But Armitage's silence was inexplicable and perfidious.

Had he spoken out publicly immediately, could there have been a reason for the press to have demanded the appointment of the feckless special prosecutor?

Had he spoken out publicly, could Fitzgerald have represented to the Court of Appeals that Judith Miller had critical information and had to be forced to testify or jailed for contempt?(And created a precedent, I might add, ironically causing never ending problems for the press.)

Had he spoken out earlier could the prosecutor have had any reason to compel Rove and Libby's repeated grand jury appearances all of which occurred well after the prosecutor knew they were not the sources of the leak?

Had he spoken out earlier would Fitzgerald have had the nerve to indict Libby and carry out his outrageous press conference performance?

Had he spoken out earlier could anyone have missed the tensions between the Department of State and the White House which was certainly the basis of innumerable anonymously sourced stories harmful to the white House?

Had he spoken out earlier could there have been any justification of the millions spent pillorying the Administration, besetting staffers and officials with distractions and legal costs,  and disrupting its work as the prosecution continued?

I'm no innocent in the ways of Washington, but it seems to me that this was a particularly eggregious case of self—serving, gutless conduct.

Armitage's behavior warrants his shunning. John McCain can begin the process. He has placed Armitage on his list of policy advisers
 
He should ask him if the report is true, and if it is, pitch him off the Straight Talk Express. If he doesn't, he begins his campaign for the nomination by signalling he respects self—serving above integrity and loyalty.
 
Clarice Feldman    8 27 06

Mike Isikoff and David Corn, whose work I often discount because of their evident biases, have now produced a new book, reiterating what we've been saying for some time: Richard Armitage was Robert Novak's source about Plame and he kept silent as Scooter Libby, Karl Rove and the Administration in general were battered by the Plame/Wilsons and their proponents.   Indeed, it was Corn who, days after the Novak piece appeared, reported in The Nation that Wilson's wife was a "covert agent" who'd been outed in "revenge", the meme that still is being played in the outer regions of sanity.

Still, all the evidence is that for once, they are reporting accurately this aspect of the case.
 
Although Tom Maguire thinks Armitage is still not being forthright:

First, let's note that the outline of Armitage's story (he had no idea he was Novak's source until he read an Oct 1 Novak column, after which he huddled with Colin Powell and the State Department counsel and then called the FBI to apprise them of his role) merits a bit of skepticism.
Keep in mind — Armitage "forgot" to tell Special Counsel Fitzgerald about his leak to Bob Woodward until after the Libby indictment in Oct 2005, even though Woodward asked him for permission to move with a story during 2004.

Can anyone think of a motive for that?  Well, by waiting until after the indictment, Armitage got a pretty good idea of what other evidence Fitzgerald had gathered, and what other reporters had told Fitzgerald.  And why might he care?  *MAYBE* there were other reporters also protecting Armitage. 

Just for example, Judy Miller spent months in jail resisting her subpoena from Fitzgerald until she had assurance that Fitzgerald would only grill her about her interactions with I. Lewis Libby.  Having received that assurance, Ms. Miller then produced notebooks strongly suggesting she had discussed "Valerie Flame" with other; alas, her memory failed as to who that might have been.

However, Ms. Miller has plenty of by—lined stories with State Department sources, and both she and Mr. Armitage were members of the Aspen Institute (he is still with the Aspen Strategy Group).  Is it possible that Mr. Armitage has *still* forgotten to mention to Special Counsel Fitzgerald that he leaked to Ms. Miller?

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.

Tom seems as well to suggest that Armitage may have been blabbing not only to Woodward and Novak but as well to Andrea Mitchell and others.

This certainly is not the first instance of someone considering protecting his own——um, skin——by keeping silent and letting others bear the cost of a political vendetta, as the Plame case was.But Armitage's silence was inexplicable and perfidious.

Had he spoken out publicly immediately, could there have been a reason for the press to have demanded the appointment of the feckless special prosecutor?

Had he spoken out publicly, could Fitzgerald have represented to the Court of Appeals that Judith Miller had critical information and had to be forced to testify or jailed for contempt?(And created a precedent, I might add, ironically causing never ending problems for the press.)

Had he spoken out earlier could the prosecutor have had any reason to compel Rove and Libby's repeated grand jury appearances all of which occurred well after the prosecutor knew they were not the sources of the leak?

Had he spoken out earlier would Fitzgerald have had the nerve to indict Libby and carry out his outrageous press conference performance?

Had he spoken out earlier could anyone have missed the tensions between the Department of State and the White House which was certainly the basis of innumerable anonymously sourced stories harmful to the white House?

Had he spoken out earlier could there have been any justification of the millions spent pillorying the Administration, besetting staffers and officials with distractions and legal costs,  and disrupting its work as the prosecution continued?

I'm no innocent in the ways of Washington, but it seems to me that this was a particularly eggregious case of self—serving, gutless conduct.

Armitage's behavior warrants his shunning. John McCain can begin the process. He has placed Armitage on his list of policy advisers
 
He should ask him if the report is true, and if it is, pitch him off the Straight Talk Express. If he doesn't, he begins his campaign for the nomination by signalling he respects self—serving above integrity and loyalty.
 
Clarice Feldman    8 27 06