September 1, 2006


End of an Affair: It turns out that the person who exposed CIA agent Valerie Plame was not out to punish her husband. (Washington Post, September 1, 2006)

WE'RE RELUCTANT to return to the subject of former CIA employee Valerie Plame because of our oft-stated belief that far too much attention and debate in Washington has been devoted to her story and that of her husband, former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV, over the past three years. But all those who have opined on this affair ought to take note of the not-so-surprising disclosure that the primary source of the newspaper column in which Ms. Plame's cover as an agent was purportedly blown in 2003 was former deputy secretary of state Richard L. Armitage.

Mr. Armitage was one of the Bush administration officials who supported the invasion of Iraq only reluctantly. He was a political rival of the White House and Pentagon officials who championed the war and whom Mr. Wilson accused of twisting intelligence about Iraq and then plotting to destroy him. Unaware that Ms. Plame's identity was classified information, Mr. Armitage reportedly passed it along to columnist Robert D. Novak "in an offhand manner, virtually as gossip," according to a story this week by the Post's R. Jeffrey Smith, who quoted a former colleague of Mr. Armitage.

It follows that one of the most sensational charges leveled against the Bush White House -- that it orchestrated the leak of Ms. Plame's identity to ruin her career and thus punish Mr. Wilson -- is untrue.

We'd like to think that Mr., Armitage isn't quite as stupid as portrayed in this scenario and that he gossiped about Ms Plame precisely because her position at CIA called into question the validity of her husband's "mission."

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 1, 2006 4:11 PM

Hey, isn't Armitage one of Senator McCampaignfinance's senior advisors?

And in line for a key position in his cabinet?

(Yet another reason Rudy's gonna beat this guy like a rented mule across the midwest and the south in the primaries)

Hey, and what does the broad from Alf have to do with any of this?

Posted by: Jim in Chicago at September 1, 2006 7:52 PM

Which is another reason it's implausible he didn't get what CIA was up to.

Posted by: oj at September 1, 2006 8:05 PM

When the movie gets made about this mess, Alec Baldwin is the only actor who could possibly nail Joe Wilson. Perhaps Britney Spears would be a good Plame. Too bad Rod Steiger can't play Armitage.

Wonder if Nick Kristof will have anything to say, or if Tim Russert will mention the implosion of the story on Sunday? Evidently David Corn is in abject denial, referring everything to Isikoff, and Andrea Mitchell hasn't commented for months.

Posted by: ratbert at September 2, 2006 2:02 AM