The Rove- and Libby-defenders claim that there was no conspiracy against the CIA, Joe Wilson and Valerie Plame because "Richard Armitage and Colin Powell were against Bush's going to war in Iraq."
Even if that was true (and it's not), it fails to put the kabosh on the fact that the Bush administration conspired to destroy Valerie Plame's career (and the cover corporation Brewster Jennings, and all agents who worked there) in order to threaten others in the CIA from going public. To begin with, a "senior administration official" has already admitted that the outting of Plame was "revenge."
Armitage and Powell weren't against going to war in Iraq. They were against the way that the war was waged: To lose. Both were very much in support of taking Saddam Hussein out.
This piece of the Newsweek story gets lost in the telling about Armitage's part in the outing of Valerie Plame. From Newsweek:
Armitage's calendar also shows that a week before Woodward's meeting with Armitage, the deputy secretary of state met for 15 minutes with Libby.
That meeting occurred as State officials were about to prepare a report outlining how Plame's husband was sent to Niger before the Iraq war to check unverified intelligence that Iraq was seeking nuclear materials from Africa.
Two "witnesses" to the meeting (one of whom, I'd bet all the change in my pocket, was Armitage, himself) deny that Armitage and Libby talked about Plame in that meeting, but I don't buy it for a minute.
How is it that Armitage, "a well-known gossip who loves to dish and receive juicy tidbits about Washington characters," had a top secret security clearance in one of the most sensitive jobs anybody could have in the U.S. government?
From what is allegedly in David Corn's book, "Hubris" (due out next month):
"I'm afraid I may be the guy that caused this whole thing," Armitage later told Carl Ford Jr., State's intelligence chief. Ford says Armitage admitted to him that he had "slipped up" and told Novak more than he should have. "He was basically beside himself that he was the guy that f---ed up. My sense from Rich is that it was just chitchat," Ford recalls.
That's sounds almost verbatim to what Karl Rove told Matt Cooper:
". . . . I have a distinct memory of Rove ending the call by saying, `I've already said too much.'"
If Armitage wasn't a willing co-conspirator, but instead was set up, he certainly fell for it, allegedly exposing the identity of a CIA agent to two journalists before anybody else in the Bush White House had. Maybe he's realized what a chump he was and is standing still for it because of worse threats against him - worse charges that the Bush Justice Department could file against him.
Armitage is looking more like George Tenet every day.
Filed under: Richard Armitage, Colin Powell, Iraq, Novak, Woodward, Valerie Plame, Joe Wilson