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24 June 2010

L'Affaire Plame

Er, Richard Armitage leaked Plame’s name to Robert Novak.

Armitage admitted this.

Fitzgerald admitted this.

Novak admitted that Rove confirmed what the leaker had told him and the leaker was Armitage.

The Grand Jury found this.

Scooter Libby was not convicted of leaking or outing Plame. He was convicted of process crimes. 

If Fitzgerald had been honest, he would have wrapped up the investigation upon learning the identity of the leaker. He didn’t and he lost a lot of respect in the legal community – from across the spectrum.
CNN: Armitage admits leaking Plame’s identity

In his column of July 14, 2003, entitled “Mission to Niger,” Robert Novak states that the choice to use Wilson “was made routinely at a low level without [CIA] Director George Tenet’s knowledge.” Novak goes on to identify Plame as Wilson’s wife:
Wilson never worked for the CIA, but his wife, Valerie Plame, is an agency operative on weapons of mass destruction. Two senior administration officials told me that Wilson’s wife suggested sending him to Niger to investigate the Italian report. The CIA says its counter-proliferation officials selected Wilson and asked his wife to contact him. “I will not answer any question about my wife,” Wilson told me.
In “The CIA Leak,” published on October 1, 2003, Novak describes how he had obtained the information for his July 14, 2003, column “Mission to Niger”:
I was curious why a high-ranking official in President Bill Clinton’s National Security Council (NSC) was given this assignment. Wilson had become a vocal opponent of President Bush’s policies in Iraq after contributing to Al Gore in the last election cycle and John Kerry in this one. During a long conversation with a senior administration official, I asked why Wilson was assigned the mission to Niger. He said Wilson had been sent by the CIA’s counter-proliferation section at the suggestion of one of its employees, his wife. It was an offhand revelation from this official, who is no partisan gunslinger. When I called another official for confirmation, he said: “Oh, you know about it.” The published report that somebody in the White House failed to plant this story with six reporters and finally found me as a willing pawn is simply untrue. At the CIA, the official designated to talk to me denied that Wilson’s wife had inspired his selection but said she was delegated to request his help. He asked me not to use her name, saying she probably never again will be given a foreign assignment but that exposure of her name might cause “difficulties” if she travels abroad. He never suggested to me that Wilson’s wife or anybody else would be endangered. If he had, I would not have used her name. I used it in the sixth paragraph of my column because it looked like the missing explanation of an otherwise incredible choice by the CIA for its mission.
In that column Novak also claims to have learned Mrs. Wilson’s maiden name “Valerie Plame” from Joe Wilson’s entry in Who’s Who In America, though it was her CIA status rather than her maiden name which was a secret.

Novak wrote in his column “It was well known around Washington that Wilson’s wife worked for the CIA.”

Plame was not named as NOC or agent with Non-Official Cover. In fact Novak repeatedly stated that he knew no such fact.
Novak has said repeatedly that he was not told, and that he did not know, that Plame was – or had ever been – a NOC, an agent with Non-Official Cover. He has emphatically said that had he understood that she was any sort of secret agent, he would never have named her.
The suggestion that naming Plame as a NOC first appeared in an article by David Corn published by The Nation on July 16, 2003, two days after Novak’s column.
The first reference to Plame being a secret agent appears in The Nation, in an article by David Corn published July 16, 2003, just two days after Novak’s column appeared. It carried this lead: “Did Bush officials blow the cover of a U.S. intelligence officer working covertly in a field of vital importance to national security — and break the law — in order to strike at a Bush administration critic and intimidate others?” Since Novak did not report that Plame was “working covertly” how did Corn know that’s what she had been doing? Corn does not tell his readers and he has responded to a query from me only by pointing out that he was asking a question, not making a “statement of fact.” But in the article, he asserts that Novak “outed” Plame “as an undercover CIA officer.”
On July 11, 2006, Robert Novak posted a column titled “My Role in the Valerie Plame Leak Story”: “Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald has informed my attorneys that, after two and one-half years, his investigation of the CIA leak case concerning matters directly relating to me has been concluded. That frees me to reveal my role in the federal inquiry that, at the request of Fitzgerald, I have kept secret.” Novak dispels rumors that he asserted his Fifth Amendment right and made a plea bargain, stating: “I have cooperated in the investigation.” He continues:
For nearly the entire time of his investigation, Fitzgerald knew — independent of me — the identity of the sources I used in my column of July 14, 2003. That Fitzgerald did not indict any of these sources may indicate his conclusion that none of them violated the Intelligence Identities Protection Act…. In my sworn testimony, I said what I have contended in my columns and on television: Joe Wilson’s wife’s role in instituting her husband’s mission was revealed to me in the middle of a long interview with an official who I have previously said was not a political gunslinger. After the federal investigation was announced, he told me through a third party that the disclosure was inadvertent on his part. Following my interview with the primary source, I sought out the second administration official and the CIA spokesman for confirmation. I learned Valerie Plame’s name from Joe Wilson’s entry in “Who’s Who in America.”
On August 30, 2006, the New York Times reported that the lawyer and other associates of Mr. Armitage confirmed he was Novak’s “initial and primary source” for Plame’s identity. The New York Times also reported “Mr. Armitage cooperated voluntarily in the case, never hired a lawyer and testified several times to the grand jury, according to people who are familiar with his role and actions in the case. He turned over his calendars, datebooks and even his wife’s computer in the course of the inquiry, those associates said. But Mr. Armitage kept his actions secret, not even telling President Bush because the prosecutor asked him not to divulge it, the people said… Mr. Armitage had prepared a resignation letter, his associates said. But he stayed on the job because State Department officials advised that his sudden departure could lead to the disclosure of his role in the leak, the people aware of his actions said…. He resigned in November 2004, but remained a subject of the inquiry until [February 2006] when the prosecutor advised him in a letter that he would not be charged.”