Martin Peretz, publisher of the New Republic and mentor to Al Gore at Harvard (and beyond), takes a hard look at faux victims Joe and Val Wilson, and Richard Armitage's behavior in the case. His Democrat background and ties do not fog his lens.
Joe and Valerie have been Washington celebrities for upwards of three years. Or, rather, celebrity self—styled victims of Karl Rove and Richard Cheney. Myself, I never thought the case even touched on important matters. (I explained why twice: July 21, 2004 online and May 30, 2005 in the print edition.) Except for the puzzling question of why the CIA had sent a retired diplomat without spook skills to Niger, a country in which he had served as a low—level embassy staffer, on an intelligence mission for which he had no special capabilities. It was after that trip that he went public on the op—ed page of The New York Times. Were there contacts between Saddam Hussein's Iraq for the purchase of uranium from Niger? Joe Wilson said no. An independent commission in the United Kingdom said yes. We are lucky that a deal was never consummated. [....]
One thing everybody in Washington knows about Armitage is that he doesn't take another kind of a leak without asking Colin Powell first. So there is now added to this weird case the question of what were Armitage's——and Powell's——motives in this exposure. And they should also be asking about Lawrence B. Wilkerson, Powell's chief of staff at State, and his possible role in this affair.
Yes, indeed. Was Armitage acting alone? And why is his pathetic excuse that Fitzgerald asked him to remain silent receiving so little of the derision it so well deserves. As Mark Levin has pointed out,
In a recent New York Times interview, Armitage says he never revealed his role because Patrick Fitzgerald asked him to keep quiet. Maybe so, but the Novak column appeared on July 14, 2003, and Fitzgerald was appointed on December 30, 2003. Armitage had over five months to inform the president, but he did not. And, of course, Fitzgerald's subsequent request wasn't binding on Armitage either.