Parsing Powell

From Aspen we get this report of a talk by Karl Rove and a comment from the audience by former Secretary of State Powell:
Former Secretary of State Colin Powell stood up in the audience during the question-and-answer period to say that it was his deputy secretary of state, Richard Armitage, who sparked the CIA leak case. Powell said that Armitage responded to a question by Novak about Wilson, saying "I think she works for the CIA..."

Powell said that Armitage later called him and told him he had been the one who had talked to Novak about Wilson. Powell and Armitage then met with the FBI on the matter.

"The FBI knew on day one of Mr. Armitage's involvement," Powell said.

And so did Patrick Fitzgerald, Powell said. Fitzgerald was the special counsel brought in to find out if someone had maliciously exposed Ms. Wilson's undercover identity with the CIA, where she was known as Valerie Plame.

"If everybody who had any contact with a reporter during that period, had done what Armitage had done, I think this would have ended early on and not dragged out the way it has dragged out," Powell said, adding that he knew early on that no crime had been committed in the incident. "Mr. Libby got in trouble for an entirely different set of reasons and circumstances."
Let's take a closer look at what this whitewashing of his and Armitage's role in this affair.

First, Powell leaves out the fact that in defiance of the President's orders, he and Armitage kept from the White House the information that Armitage was the blabbermouth, a fact which would have hurt the duo's reputation, but surely would have led to the end of the matter.

In fact, both Armitage and Powell then cooperated with Fitzgerald's order to keep quiet about Armitage's role, subjecting the White House, and in particular Rove and Libby, to three years of press calumny.

Second, there is no record of evidence that Libby tried to conceal any contact with reporters. In fact, he told the Special Counsel the names of several reporters he may have discussed Plame with, but those reporters said he was in error - he had never discussed the matter with them, suggesting that the details of these unremarkable press contacts were forgotten or mixed up, but there was not  an active effort to conceal on Libby's part.

Third, Armitage was, in fact, less than forthright even under the cloak of secrecy - he never disclosed his conversation with Woodward which preceded any record conversation by anyone about Plame.

Fourth, he seriously underplays Armitage's conversation with Novak saying,"Armitage responded to a question by Novak about Wilson, saying ‘I think she works for the CIA...'"

Here's Novak's version - one which suggest Armitage sought him out and urged him to publish the Plame information:Here's Novak's version of that conversation:
"Well," Armitage replied, "you know his wife works at CIA, and she suggested that he be sent to Niger." "His wife works at CIA?" I asked. "Yeah, in counterproliferation."

He mentioned her first name, Valerie. Armitage smiled and said: "That's real Evans and Novak, isn't it?" I believe he meant that was the kind of inside information that my late partner, Rowland Evans, and I had featured in our column for so long. I interpreted that as meaning Armitage expected to see the item published in my column.

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From Aspen we get this report of a talk by Karl Rove and a comment from the audience by former Secretary of State Powell:
Former Secretary of State Colin Powell stood up in the audience during the question-and-answer period to say that it was his deputy secretary of state, Richard Armitage, who sparked the CIA leak case. Powell said that Armitage responded to a question by Novak about Wilson, saying "I think she works for the CIA..."

Powell said that Armitage later called him and told him he had been the one who had talked to Novak about Wilson. Powell and Armitage then met with the FBI on the matter.

"The FBI knew on day one of Mr. Armitage's involvement," Powell said.

And so did Patrick Fitzgerald, Powell said. Fitzgerald was the special counsel brought in to find out if someone had maliciously exposed Ms. Wilson's undercover identity with the CIA, where she was known as Valerie Plame.

"If everybody who had any contact with a reporter during that period, had done what Armitage had done, I think this would have ended early on and not dragged out the way it has dragged out," Powell said, adding that he knew early on that no crime had been committed in the incident. "Mr. Libby got in trouble for an entirely different set of reasons and circumstances."
Let's take a closer look at what this whitewashing of his and Armitage's role in this affair.

First, Powell leaves out the fact that in defiance of the President's orders, he and Armitage kept from the White House the information that Armitage was the blabbermouth, a fact which would have hurt the duo's reputation, but surely would have led to the end of the matter.

In fact, both Armitage and Powell then cooperated with Fitzgerald's order to keep quiet about Armitage's role, subjecting the White House, and in particular Rove and Libby, to three years of press calumny.

Second, there is no record of evidence that Libby tried to conceal any contact with reporters. In fact, he told the Special Counsel the names of several reporters he may have discussed Plame with, but those reporters said he was in error - he had never discussed the matter with them, suggesting that the details of these unremarkable press contacts were forgotten or mixed up, but there was not  an active effort to conceal on Libby's part.

Third, Armitage was, in fact, less than forthright even under the cloak of secrecy - he never disclosed his conversation with Woodward which preceded any record conversation by anyone about Plame.

Fourth, he seriously underplays Armitage's conversation with Novak saying,"Armitage responded to a question by Novak about Wilson, saying ‘I think she works for the CIA...'"

Here's Novak's version - one which suggest Armitage sought him out and urged him to publish the Plame information:Here's Novak's version of that conversation:
"Well," Armitage replied, "you know his wife works at CIA, and she suggested that he be sent to Niger." "His wife works at CIA?" I asked. "Yeah, in counterproliferation."

He mentioned her first name, Valerie. Armitage smiled and said: "That's real Evans and Novak, isn't it?" I believe he meant that was the kind of inside information that my late partner, Rowland Evans, and I had featured in our column for so long. I interpreted that as meaning Armitage expected to see the item published in my column.

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