Richard Armitage, Bush’s former deputy secretary of state, has confirmed through a lawyer that he was the original source in the CIA leak case. But he says he had no malicious intent. He was just gossiping with reporters.
How does this fit in with the theory that the Bush White House leaked Valerie Plame’s name as a revenge ploy against her husband?
The Washington Post has some info:
“Just because Armitage did this on his own, earlier, doesn’t mean that there wasn’t a White House conspiracy to ‘out’ Valerie [Plame] Wilson,” said Melanie Sloan, executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, the group pressing a lawsuit on behalf of Plame/Wilson. “We don’t think it affects the case.”
The N.Y. Times:
Richard L. Armitage, a former deputy secretary of state, has acknowledged that he was the person whose conversation with a columnist in 2003 prompted a long, politically laden criminal investigation in what became known as the C.I.A. leak case, a lawyer involved in the case said on Tuesday.
Mr. Armitage did not return calls for comment. But the lawyer and other associates of Mr. Armitage have said he has confirmed that he was the initial and primary source for the columnist, Robert D. Novak, whose column of July 14, 2003, identified Valerie Wilson as a Central Intelligence Agency officer.
The identification of Mr. Armitage as the original leaker to Mr. Novak ends what has been a tantalizing mystery. In recent months, however, Mr. Armitage?s role had become clear to many, and it was recently reported by Newsweek magazine and The Washington Post.
The Washington Post:
... Armitage’s involvement in the matter does not fit neatly into the assertions of Bush administration critics that Plame’s employment was disclosed as part of a White House conspiracy to besmirch Wilson by suggesting his Niger trip stemmed from nepotism at the CIA. Wilson and Plame have sued top administration officials, alleging that the leak was meant as retaliation.
But Armitage, the source Novak had described obliquely as someone who is “not a political gunslinger,” was by all accounts hardly a tool of White House political operatives. As the No. 2 official at the State Department from March 2001 to February 2005, Armitage was a prominent Republican appointee. But he also privately disagreed with the tone and style of White House policymaking on Iraq and other matters.
“Just because Armitage did this on his own, earlier, doesn’t mean that there wasn’t a White House conspiracy to ‘out’ Valerie [Plame] Wilson. We don’t think it affects the case,” said Melanie Sloan, executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, the group pressing the lawsuit.