Saturday, September 16, 2006
Rove And Armitage, Sitting In A Tree...
..telling lies to trick you and me? Sure is beginning to sound that way, according to Robert Parry:
A well-placed conservative source has added an important clue to the mystery of the Bush administration’s “outing” of CIA officer Valerie Plame after her husband, former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, became one of the first Establishment figures to accuse George W. Bush of having “twisted” intelligence to justify the Iraq War. The source, who knows both White House political adviser Karl Rove and former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage, told me that the two men are much closer than many Washington insiders understand, that they developed a friendship and a working relationship when Bush was recruiting Colin Powell to be Secretary of State. In those negotiations, Armitage stood in for Powell and Rove represented Bush – and after that, the two men provided a back channel for sensitive information to pass between the White House and the State Department, the source said. The significance of this detail is that it undermines the current “conventional wisdom” among Washington pundits that Armitage acted alone – and innocently – in July 2003 when he disclosed Plame’s covert identity to right-wing columnist Robert Novak, who then got Rove to serve as a secondary source confirming the information from Armitage.And it's not just Parry's source that's undermining Armitage's story, but Bob Novak himself:
This new revelation that Armitage and Rove worked together behind the scenes also lends credence to Novak’s version of his contacts with Armitage and other administration officials, both as Novak sketched out those meetings in 2003 and then filled in the details in a column on Sept. 14, 2006. A week after Novak revealed Plame’s identity in a July 14, 2003, column, he told Newsday that “I didn’t dig it out, it was given to me,” adding that Bush administration officials “thought it was significant, they gave me the name and I used it.” [Newsday, July 22, 2003] In the Sept. 14, 2006, column, Novak wrote that Armitage divulged Plame’s identity toward the end of an hour-long interview on July 8, 2003. According to Novak, he asked Armitage, who was then deputy Secretary of State, why former Ambassador Wilson had been sent on the trip to Africa. Novak wrote that Armitage “told me unequivocally that Mrs. Wilson worked in the CIA’s Counter-proliferation Division and that she had suggested her husband’s mission. As for his [Armitage’s] current implication that he [Armitage] never expected this to be published, he [Armitage] noted that the story of Mrs. Wilson’s role fit the style of the old Evans-Novak column – implying to me that it continued reporting Washington inside information.” In other words, Novak is challenging the version spun out in the last two weeks by Armitage and his supporters who have claimed that Armitage let Plame’s name slip out “inadvertently,” almost as gossip, and never intended for it to be published. When I asked my well-placed conservative source about that scenario, he laughed and said, “Armitage isn’t a gossip, but he is a leaker. There’s a difference.” [...] Novak also contradicted the Armitage scenario on another key point, that Novak supposedly had arranged the interview with the help of longtime Republican operative Kenneth Duberstein. Instead, Novak reported that Armitage’s granting of the interview came out of the blue. “During his quarter of a century in Washington, I had had no contact with Armitage before our fateful interview,” Novak wrote in his Sept. 14, 2006, column. “I tried to see him in the first 2 ½ years of the Bush administration, but he rebuffed me – summarily and with disdain, I thought. “Then, without explanation, in June 2003, Armitage’s office said the deputy secretary would see me.” [Emphasis added] Novak dated that call from Armitage’s office at about two weeks before Wilson published his July 6, 2003, Op-Ed in the New York Times, entitled, “What I Didn’t Find in Africa.” The time frame of the call fits with when the White House was initiating a preemptive strike against Wilson’s anticipated criticism of Bush’s bogus claims about Iraq seeking uranium ore from Niger. On June 23, 2003, also two weeks before Wilson’s article, Vice President Dick Cheney’s chief of staff, Lewis Libby, gave an interview to New York Times reporter Judith Miller about Wilson and, according to a later retrospective by the Times, may then have passed on the tip that Wilson’s wife worked at the CIA. In other words, just as Bush’s operatives were launching their smear campaign against Wilson by briefing “friendly” reporters, Armitage reversed his longstanding refusal to meet with Novak and “without explanation” granted an interview. During that interview, according to Novak, Armitage encouraged him to write about Plame’s identity, much as Rove and Libby were doing with other journalists simultaneously. After the Armitage interview, Novak got confirmation about his highly sensitive tip – a covert CIA officer’s identity – from Rove, who – according to my conservative source – had been working behind the scenes sharing sensitive information with Armitage since the earliest days of the Bush administration.Kudos to Robert Parry for connecting the dots. He deserves a few shekels, don't you think?
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