Former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage was apparently the first person to tell reporters that Valerie Plame was a CIA agent (but not that she was an undercover operative).
The first person to tell reporters that Valerie Plame worked for the CIA was not, apparently, someone in Dick Cheney’s circle out to smear Plame as a way of getting back at her husband, who had criticized the administration. Rather, it was then-Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage, who didn’t have an ax to grind, who didn’t know Plame was an undercover operative, and who was apparently just passing on gossip, according to a new book.
This is not to say, of course, that Dick Cheney’s gang was blameless….
Michael Isikoff in Newsweek:
... The disclosures about Armitage, gleaned from interviews with colleagues, friends and lawyers directly involved in the case, underscore one of the ironies of the Plame investigation: that the initial leak, seized on by administration critics as evidence of how far the White House was willing to go to smear an opponent, came from a man who had no apparent intention of harming anyone.