May 23 2006

Armitage As Guilty As Rove

Published by at 4:19 pm under All General Discussions,Plame Game

One thing that could be holding back Fitzgerald’s indictment of Rove is the fact his key witness – Richard Armitage – is as guilty as Rove is, as The Prowler points out today:

The New York Daily News reported last week that “Two sources familiar with the case said Armitage, Rove and Libby all had contacts with the press about [Wilson spouse Valerie] Plame. Unlike Rove and Libby, Armitage appears to have tried to dissuade reporters from writing about her.”

But that isn’t the case. Fitzgerald himself has released materials that indicated that at the very least Rove, too, made an effort to dissuade reporters from writing about the Wilson trip to Niger and the fact that Wilson’s wife played a central role in arranging it.

Time reporter Matthew Cooper outlined this in his initial reporting on his contacts with Rove, and Rove similarly explained this in email traffic he and his attorneys turned over to Fitzgerald. Cooper explained that he contacted Rove just as Rove was about to leave on vacation. When the Plame matter was raised, Rove told Cooper that there was much more to the story and that it wasn’t advisable for him to write about it now.

“This notion that Rove was doing one thing and Armitage was doing something else just isn’t true,” says a former White House staffer who has been tracking the Fitzgerald investigation. “You look at the email that Cooper sent to his bosses, and which Fitzgerald has played up, and Cooper writes that Rove warned him not to ‘get too far out on Wilson.’ Rove clearly was steering Cooper away. And that’s been on the record now since last summer.”

When there is no discernible difference in actions between the prosecution witness and the defendent, you can easily see Fitzgerald’s conundrum.  How can one be innocent (and be the true first leaker) and the other not be?

What is really going to be fun to watch is Armitage turn on Grossman though.  I get the feeling Wilson and Grossman concocted some of this ahead of time.  They hoped to get the administration into open civil war between State and the White House.  They were going to use the Niger forgeries to open up hostilities can put Powell and Armitage at logger heads with Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld.

Once the rift opened up, Powell’s departure after one term (probably a condition of his acceptance) would look like the wheels were coming off the bus.  See, the Plame thing was the plan gone wrong.  The Niger forgeries were the original nexus of the scandal.  The problem is the timing was way off and no one seemed to have realized it (for reasons I suspect had to do with 1999-2000).  So when word spread the timing was off, the future Kerry cabinet officers had to go to an emergency Plan B.

So but that happened AFTER the original plan was put into action.  Originally Grossman leaked Plame’s role to let Armitage know Wilson was credible – his wife worked for the CIA!  How could he not know about the forgeries?  And once Armitage fell for the conspiracy concept, he would make Powell a believer.  Seems like something Wilson would think up.

But then the plan fell totally apart.  Wilson cried ‘victim’ and something happened he never expected – an investigation.  Then things went really haywire.  I have always suspected the entire incident was the media going off in a direction the schemers never anticipated.

Armitage supposedly went to Powell and confessed – feeling guilty and duped.  My feeling is Fitzgerald felt sorry for the guy because he admitted up front he was played.  But Rove and Libby did not admit to being duped – because they weren’t.  So when Armitage is on the stand and his whole life’s reputation is on the line, is he going to go after Libby or Grossman?  Libby won’t salvage his reputation.  Grossman and Wilson, on the other hand, represent his best chance at redemption.

3 responses so far

3 Responses to “Armitage As Guilty As Rove”

  1. Snapple says:


    Wake me when it’s over.

    This is soooo complicated.

  2. Terrye says:

    I’m with Snapple. My eyes glazed over 6 months ago.

  3. MerlinOS2 says:

    Follow me on this one. Prior to Wilson’s trip there was a documented visit to Niger by Iraq’s ambassador to the Vatican (who knew), strange enough, but then you look at his priors and he was (gasp) the head of Sadam’s nuclear development program. Old Joe comes back from his trip and waits for all the hooks to be baited. But with all the timing skew, Joe debunked the forgerys publically BEFORE they were available for comment. So if you were the really devious thinker type it could be concluded that the forgeries were in the playbook and cooked up by some lowlevel players (useful idiots) and a source from the Italian Niger Embassy to give it just enough go. Works fine and has a level of seperation to give you plausable deniability.