Sep 13 2006

Armitage Is Not Being Truthful

Published by at 8:31 am under All General Discussions,Plame Game

I had been waiting to see what would fall out of the Armitage interveiws with DC reporters because it was clear Armitage or Novak were not being completely truthful. Armitage has been quoted as saying “his wife works at the CIA” or something vague to that effect. But Novak’s article exposing Val’s role in the Niger caper had much more detail in it. Novak had said he got the info from his ‘source’ so clearly there was more said by someone to Novak. And it looked like Rove was just a confirming source with the “I heard that too” comment. So I was wondering what was up. Now Novak is now coming out gunning for Armitage (H/T Drugde}:

Novak, attempting to set the reocrd straight writes: “First, Armitage did not, as he now indicates, merely pass on something he had heard and that he ‘thought’ might be so. Rather, he identified to me the CIA division where Mrs. Wilson worked, and said flatly that she recommended the mission to Niger by her husband, former Amb. Joseph Wilson. Second, Armitage did not slip me this information as idle chitchat, as he now suggests. He made clear he considered it especially suited for my column.”

Novak slams Armitage for holding back all this time.

Armitage’s silence for “two and one-half years caused intense pain for his colleagues in government and enabled partisan Democrats in Congress to falsely accuse Rove of being my primary source,” Novak explains.

“When Armitage now says he was mute because of special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald’s request, that does not explain his silent three months between his claimed first realization that he was the source and Fitzgerald’s appointment on Dec. 30. Armitage’s tardy self-disclosure is tainted because it is deceptive.”

In fact lots of things are not being explained. For instance, why was Marc Grossman the first one to get the memo outing Valerie from Carl Ford, but then the memo is modified and later sent to Colin Powell as if in response to a request for information one month later? I hate to say this, but I get the feeling the anti-Bush forces in State went all the way to Armitage and he kept silent because he was seeing the result he wanted in the press. I think Armitage may have played along with the Wilsons in this partisan dirty trick effort (President’s are not the only ones in government with powers to torque and effect elections).

Recall Wilson talked to people in the State Department about President Bush’s speech – he admits as much. My guess is he was coordinating the final stages of a plan to spill forged dirt on Bush (using forged Niger documents). And I would bet he did this with allies who felt they all would get high level jobs in the Kerry administration. Right now we need a real investigation into the Wilsons. Fitz-Magoo lost his way from the start. None of this surprises me in the least. Misinformation leaks in DC are actually more common than factual leaks. But Armitage’s unwillingness to come forward and face scrutiny, and his lame attempt to misrepresent what happened are telling signs that something is just not right and people are doing what they can to keep it under wraps. That is not uncommon in DC either.

Update: Novak’s piece is here and has some damning contents. First, it is clear that Armitage avoided Novak quite deliberately all the time leading up to the incident with the Wilsons. But what can only be seen as a set up is the convenient timing of the leak to Novak:

Then, without explanation, in June 2003, Armitage’s office said the deputy secretary would see me. This was two weeks before Joe Wilson surfaced himself as author of a 2002 report for the CIA debunking Iraqi interest in buying uranium in Africa.

This now makes it clear that Armitage was definitely trying to out Valerie Wilson to the media, probably in coordination with Joe’s dear friend and Armitage subordinate Marc Grossman. Let’s try out this scenarion. Armitage meets with Woodward June 13, one day after a mysterious memo from Carl Ford to Marc Grossman is entered into the record (files). The memo outlines who sent Joe Wilson to Niger. The problem is, this memo had to have been REQUESTED much earlier (look at all the reviews and signs-offs on the cover sheet). The only story out at the time that would fit the timeline is the Kristof story – the Pincus story would come out right before the Woodward meeting, but to late to be the impetus of the memo.

Having a meeting with Woodward that is conveniently one day after the Pincus story allows either party to innocently bring up the subject and allow Armitage the opportunity to tell all about Valerie and her job at the CIA – which we know happened. But then something goes wrong. Woodward decides not to write about the information. It was minor information to a minor story back then. So a month goes by and the story is not getting much news. Plan B is caputed in Wilson’s own words about the time Armitage is offering to meet with Novak. Here is my take on the audio taped Q&A session at the June 14, 2003 EPIC meeting with Ray McGovern and Joe Wilson (link to audio available):

K – here is the big nugget: Starting just around 12:30 into this 15 minute segment Wilson points out the administration was careful to only talk about uranium with respect to Africa initially. he says that until the story turned to Niger, and then the Niger angle was denied by State, it was difficult to make the case that the march to war was built on lies. Wilson admits, in his own words, that to attack Bush’s policies required the story to be about Niger and not Africa. Why? Well, because the forgery angle only applies to Niger, and the broader Africa angle has more substantiating intel and history.

Wilson also clearly states that people on the inside (CIA and others against the war in Iraq) could easily make the case if they could have been given voice. Which is what Joe Wilson would be doing in a few short days in the NY Times Op-Ed pages.

Wilson says it is how the Niger information was handled in the government that is critical to focus on. He claims the rumor (or RUMINT) was emphasized while the debunking (determining there were forgeries) was set aside. Howeverm we now know the forgeries were actually lost or hidden from site during this period by Val’s group in the CIA. So yes, it is important to focus on this aspect of the story. But back in 2003, what Wilson (and Ray McGovern) wanted to convey was the fact the forgeries were outright dismissed!

He goes on to say the story will have legs only if the press can make a profit, and to do that they need to make a scandal out of this issue. The guy is apparently telegraphing exactly what his little band of rogue agents planned. He is trying to lead the press and media to follow him in order to make a splash. He says “it would be great” if the press did make a scandal of this issue and he notes people are talking about the “I” word (impeachment).

Emphasis mine:Note how Wilson clearly knows ahead of time State will deny the allegation? So what if Plan B was to make more news. First by having Wilson go public (which he also says he will be doing at this event) and also by trying to leak the Valerie angle to another reporter. This time they ensare Novak. The problem for Armitage is the scheduling of the meeting pre-dates Wilson’s Op-Ed. The Op-Ed needs to be out so the subject can be ‘innocently’ brought up. Also around this time, for no apparent reason, a second copy of the memo outlining Valerie’s role is dropped into the record – this time rewritten slightly but addressed to Powell (who could have simply been shown the previous version). These coincidental memos are part of the alibi it seems, though Wilson admits talking to the State Department about this whole mess prior to all the anonymous articles blasting Bush for knowingly using forged intel to take us to war.

Tom Maguire notes other inconsistencies (which Novak probably noticed too which is why he is taking Armitage to task) that beg some questions. TM notes that Armitage told Novak Valerie worked in CPD while the memo that is supposed to be his alibi says no such thing. There are also simultaneous leaks to Andrea Mitchell from the CIA (Valerie?) at the same time as Novak’s meeting with Armitage. And how about the ‘random’ meeting between a Wilson friend and Novak on the same day as the Armitage meeting were Novak mentions Val’s CPD job (is this Grossman?).

The timing of all these events is too coincidental. It looks more like a coordinated media blitz the CIA likes to run as disinformation all the time. The fact Plame is suing Armitage now strikes me more as plausibel deniability than a real attempt to get Armitage. Who knows. But one thing is for sure – Fitzgerald sure as hell has no idea what happened!!

25 responses so far

25 Responses to “Armitage Is Not Being Truthful”

  1. kathie says:

    Thanks AJ, I think I agree with you. It makes my stomach turn. Politics always fools me. I remember the day Bush nominated Powell for Sec of State!

  2. Novak Clears the Air, Plame Fogs It Back Up…

    Robert Novak is setting the record straight on the Armitage leak of Valerie Plame’s identity. It’s not good for the rabid Left that was waiting for someone–anyone–to be frog-marched.
    First, Armitage did not, as he now indicates…

  3. MerlinOS2 says:


    Where we currently stand here as some blogs I visit , suggest that Armitage maybe but Grossman with more conviction were players or fools trying to continue their influence with their perceived Kerry victory situation.

    Whe still have gaps of who sourced several other reporters unless you attribute Armitage, Grossman and Wilson as the likely suspects.

    But now matter how it shakes out this boils down to a pure smoke and mirrors disinformation campaign if our current view of the situation is correct.

    The only side issue oddity is the forged documents and all the theories surrounding that issue. The rest boils down to a poorly executed political dirty trick.

    There have been too many people involved in this with so much exposure that it hard to really think so much would be risked on a dirty trick agenda.

    Yes all this has been complex to build and analyze the picture, but I still have a nagging feeling that we have somehow been distracted by all the smoke and mirrors. I haven’t been able to put my finger on it but something seems to be missing to get so many people to put their private parts out in a sea of raised hammers. This is especially true for the state department risk adverse types.

    I believe there is still some slight of hand misdirection going on here and from all I have read, Niger with the mysterious immaaculate goverment transfer and the group I can recall the name of at the moment of the Turkish American influence group may be keys.

    Just to me something still doesn’t balance.

  4. danking_70 says:

    It would be nice if Novak told us who he bumped into in the street…

  5. wiley says:

    I think AJ’s theory is reasonable — certainly the Wilson’s had help in promulgating this twister. And Valerie needed others to sign off on her reco to have Joe Fraud go to Niger. But, the CIA had another reason to let this story fester — it took them out of the spotlight for their many failures.