1. Anonymous says:

    In tomorrow’s column (according to Drudge, who is totally reliable on things like this), R Novak is going to call Armitage a liar. While he doesn’t say Armitage told him the name Plame or that she was covert, he says that Armitage is misrepresenting their conversation. NOvak claims that it wasn’t chit-chat and that Armitage was very specific that Plame was CIA and that she sent Joe. Novak says that Armitage was aware it could be in a column.

    This ought to help the Wilsons in their lawsuit against Armitage.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Well, we will see. Drudge is apparently teasing Novak’s column for tomorrow, which is a slam on Armitage and says he didn’t tell all. From my quick look, it looks both damning of Armitage and another instance of Novak’s seemingly constitutional inability to characterize objections to what he’s said and what Rove has done with accuracy. He’s like Bush: â€Some say . . .†and then he goes on to claim someone has said something that hasn’t been said at all.

    All in all, though, it’s hardly the end of the affair.

    Of course, this also has to do with the 2008 Republican presidential race, which makes the circular firing squad on the right all the more enjoyable.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Beautiful and wonderfully clear!! You do such a beautiful job of supporting with the facts! I love it! So, if you were Cheney’s lawyer how would you be preparing him for the courtroom? He clearly expressed that he may be called as a witness. I thought this was interesting and shows his concern. Also, it will make the pardon issue more difficult but that will be more about convincing the public that â€it’s okay!†But if pardon was the plan, why did Dick bring it up as if it were a serious matter, and a serious investigation. And he was the one to bring it up, because he used the fact that he might testify as a shield for answering questions. To me, that strategery also serves to validate the legal process that with a pardon they would invalidate.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Yeah, it would, except that Novak is a liar.

    Novak’s right, to a point. His version is that he asked Armitage why Wilson got sent, even though â€he never worked for the CIA.†And that Armitage told Novak that Plame worked in non-proliferation (though Novak changes the description he alleges Armitage uses about as often as he changes his boxers). That would make it more specific than Armitage has let on–and would all be contained in the INR memo.

    But that still means that Armitage didn’t give Novak the operative and covert business, the stuff that matters, and the stuff that would make him liable for IIPA. Which, in turn, still means either Novak’s immaculate knowledge claims are true (which they’re not), or that Rove or Libby/Dick gave him the key information.

    I actually think this may be a miscalculation by Dick and Rove. If Armitage were to take a confrontational role on this, we might learn a lot more about Rove’s involvement.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Somewhat OT and FWIW – On the off chance that you haven’t seen this article by Pete McCloskey, and the chilling John Ehrlichman quote 3 paragraphs from the end, it places some human perspective on these types of events.

    I’ve always found it noteworthy that most of the current administration had significant prior experience in government, so perhaps the time frame was lessened. Moreover, the staff turnover has been remarkably low at the cabinet level and their peers.


  6. Anonymous says:

    Novak’s column is stunning (Column here — http://www.suntimes.com/output…..vak14.html)

    It says:

    Neither of us took notes, and nobody else was present. But I recalled our conversation that week in writing a column, while Armitage reconstructed it months later for federal prosecutors. He had told me unequivocally that Mrs. Wilson worked in the CIA’s Counter-Proliferation Division and that she had suggested her husband’s mission.

    The Counterproliferation division is NOT Winpac or an outfit staffed by Analysts, but rather is part of the Directorate of Operations (this is based on my reading about this case — please correct me if I am wrong). If that is the case, then both Armitage AND Novak knew that Plame was an undercover operative (!)

  7. Anonymous says:

    Check this out:

    In September, 2001, the DCI established a Joint Task Force within CIA’s Counterproliferation Division (CPD) of the Directorate of Operations (DO).


    Directorate of Operations means undercover officers. If this is true, then both Armitage and Novak knew (or at least had a very strong reason to suspect), that Plame was an undercover operative.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Except that that’s not what Novak said, not immediately and not later. He has only said that, definitively, recently.

    And that this is the third time Novak has changed his story. He’s now revising his October 1, 2003 story so it matches what he said to Phelps and Royce.

    Finally, if Isikoff and Corn are right that Fitzgerald showed Armitage learned of Plame from the INR memo, then it’s false. The INR memo doesn’t say anything about CPD (unless it appears in the redactions).

  9. Anonymous says:

    I was amused at Shooters words on MTP, â€I may be called as a witnessâ€.

    Ha! He’s clearly worried about being called as a DEFENDANT.

    Fitz is getting close!

  10. Anonymous says:

    EW — I agree — this is contrary to what Novak said before, including is BS statement that he called Plame an Operative because he calls EVERYBODY an operative.

    You’re right, this is exactly what he told Phelps and Royce — â€it was given to meâ€

    This Novak column is one of the most important developments that I’ve seen yet. It strongly suggests that a panicked attempt to cover someone’s tail. I can;t believe its an attempt buy Novak to cover his own tail, because by saying he knew Plame was in CPD

    SO who’s tail is he covering? And why?

  11. Anonymous says:

    Brilliantly written EW! Even better than your usual brilliance.

    Will your next post clarify the evolving and ever less credible stories of Novakula?

  12. Anonymous says:

    Intriguing. The new Novak column basically blames it all on Armitage. And says that Armitage was well aware of what he was doing, meaning that he violated the IIPA. It’s probably just simple misdirection–I still think Novak is covering for Rove–but it bears considering. After all, Armitage blew Plame’s cover not once but twice. I’m dying to hear exactly what he said to Bob Woodward.

    None of this helps Libby, who’s guilty as sin. But I think it does help Rove, at least in the grand scheme of things. Here’s my guess as to what happened: Novak called Rove for confirmation on Plame’s identity. Rove knew that the story was â€outâ€, so he and Libby went blabbing her identity to reporters to make damn sure it hit the news. I strongly suspect that this was at Dick’s direction, but I’m still not positive on this point. Since Novak already had the info, they didn’t think this would ever be traced back to them, and even if it was, they could just say they heard it from â€reportersâ€. I don’t think anyone ever anticipated someone as thorough as Fitz getting ahold of this case.

    So how does it help Rove? Well, he managed to duck an indictment, even though it’s pretty clear that Fitz had the goods on him. My guess is that he offered up some strong evidence of Cheney’s involvement. This gets him two things: It spares him an indictment, and it ensures that Fitz won’t do anything else until after Libby’s trial, since Libby would have to be a key witness against Cheney. I think Rove is expecting Fitz to indict Cheney right after Libby’s trial. Cheney is forced to resign, and Rove gets to pick the new Vice-President. And you can bet your ass he’ll pick someone that will keep him around for the next Presidential election, which keeps Rove in power. The Armitage revelation gives Rove cover on the PR front–â€It wasn’t Rove, it was Armitage!â€. And it makes Rove look like a victim. The one good thing about this theory: It means nobody will get a pardon until Cheney resigns.

  13. Anonymous says:

    The only thing that the latest Novak column proves indisputably is that Robert Novak is a liar. {Cue the Sam Waterston clip from the Law and Order promos): Are you lying now or were you lying then?

    In 2003, Novak claimed that he didn’t know Mrs. Wilson was covert and he tried to explain away his use of the word â€operativeâ€. Now, he claims that Armitage told him that she worked in a division of the CIA’s DO.

    Will any of Novak’s colleagues in the traditional media call him out?

  14. Anonymous says:

    Oh, this is going to be good!

    Novak’s column is such a delicious mix of revelations and obvious lies, it’s just awesome. First, Novak makes the huge accusation up front that:

    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.

    But when Novak actually explains the basis for this claim, it’s, shall we say, considerably more ambiguous:

    As for his current implications that he never expected this to be published, he noted that the story of Mrs. Wilson’s role fit the style of the old Evans-Novak column — implying to me it continued reporting Washington inside information.

    Now, I must have missed Armitage’s â€current implications that he never expected this to be published.†As far as I can see, Armitage has not addressed this issue at all; though it did show up in that old NY Daily News article about Armitage. But in any case, this is the basis for Novak’s claim that Armitage made it clear he considered it especially suited for publication? In other words, Novak is still trying to resurrect his reputation by blaming someone, anyone, and avert responsibility for publicly blowing the cover of a CIA officer over the objections of the CIA itself.

    The other instance of Novak’s weird strawman-bashing, mixed this time with a real revelation, is this:

    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.

    Armitage has indicated no such thing, of course. But it is interesting to learn that Armitage identified Plame as CPD – something Novak has been incapable of being straight about, as emptywheel noted – in part because it’s hard to tell whether Armitage got that from the INR memo, though he may well have. But Armitage has definitely been evasive about whether he even told Novak that Plame recommended the mission to Niger by her husband. I also wonder about the precise way Armitage expressed this.

    But they cannot fit Armitage into the left-wing fantasy of a well-crafted White House conspiracy to destroy Joe and Valerie Wilson.

    Well, that’s what I thought until I read Novak’s column! Kidding, mostly, though the fact that all of a sudden in June Armitage wanted to talk to Novak after blowing him off for two years sure sounds suspicious. But the fundamental fact remains that even if Armitage was not part of such a White House conspiracy, it hardly means there was not a coordinated effort out of OVP and the White House more generally to get the WIlsons and blow Plame’s cover. Maybe there was a State Department coordinated effort and a White House coordinated effort to blow Plame’s cover. Oh joy!

    In reality, of course, the other likely explanation for why Armitage would talk to Novak is because State knew that Novak was a rightwing part-time war skeptic, like them.

    It’s nice to know, by the way, that Novak talked to Armitage on the afternoon of July 8. Certainly after Libby’s conversation with Miller, and probably right before Novak encountered Wilon’s friend on the street. Presumably, when Novak told Isikoff and Corn that his phone conversation with Rove might have happened on July 8, he still was claiming that it happened after talking with Armitage.

    Novak says

    I sat down with Armitage in his State Department office the afternoon of July 8 with tacit rather than explicit ground rules: deep background with nothing said attributed to Armitage or even an anonymous State Department official.

    What I want to know is, how on earth did Novak arrive at those tacit ground rules whereby he could identify his source as an administration official but not a State Department official?

    So Novak went into the interview somehow knowing that Wilson lacked intelligence experience. How?

    I take it this is the key factual thing:

    He had told me unequivocally that Mrs. Wilson worked in the CIA’s Counter-Proliferation Division and that she had suggested her husband’s mission.

    Meanwhile, Novak appears to engage in exactly what he accuses of Armitage of when he says:

    Duberstein told me Armitage wanted to know whether he was my source. I did not reply because I was sure that Armitage knew he was the source.

    According to Isikoff and Corn, not only did Novak indeed reply, but his reply appears utterly incompatible with his description. Here is Hubris, p. 325:

    When Duberstein called Novak, the columnis brushed him off. â€Why would he think that he’s the person?†Novak replied, declining to confirm his source to Duberstein.

    In any case, it’s fascinating that Novak is accusing Armitage of lying about whether he knew that he was Novak’s source, and Novak essentially implies that Armitage was trying to coach his testimony. Here’s where things might get interesting. Novak is accusing Armitage of trying to coordinate a cover-up, which is precisely what investigators believed about both Team Powell – and note that Hubris tells us that it was Powell who purportedly suggested to Armitage that maybe it wasn’t him and that they contact Novak to be sure, so Novak is essentially accusing Powell of lying – and Rove-Novak. Who knows what might fall out from the fact that Novak is now accusing Armitage while working to exonerate Rove.

    Finally, Novak says that Armitage’s silence

    enabled partisan Democrats in Congress to falsely accuse Rove of being my primary source.

    I might have missed those accusations, but i thought the accusation was that Rove was indeed a source for Novak, contrary to Rove’s protestations – that is, lies – through McClellan that he was not involved in the outing of Plame. And that accusation is, of course, correct, which Novak neglects to mention.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Brilliant writing as usual ew.

    So lets see the ever evolving story from Novak:
    July 2003 – They gave me the name. They thought it was significant. (note the use of plural).
    Oct 2003 – It was an offhand revelation.
    Sep 2006 – Armitage did not slip me this information as idle chitchat.

  16. Anonymous says:

    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.

    Silent three months? When the FBI was investigating this? Novak’s dumber than I thought. No one talked about their part in the investigation then. Way to throw in a strawman at the end of the article, Bobby.

  17. Anonymous says:

    your pup has one beautiful black coat of fur; he’s eatin’ right for sure.

    on the matter of story (theory) vs those daunting (to me) hundreds of facts and hypotheses-based-on-facts:

    i can’t get over the â€fact†that libby’s ass is grass and he is owing maybe millions of dollars in legal fees

    but nothing he did harmed valerie plame OR united states’ interests (via cia collection of wmd info in iraq)

    so much as did novak’s 7/14/03 column in the wapo.

    it seems to me that the story on the plame side of the plame/uranium-from-niger diad involves primarily novak and rove. libby just happened to be standing in the way protecting cheney when fitzgerald threw the book at the white house.

    novak is said to have had a long standing (from the 1980’s) relationship with karl rove.

    rove is a lifelong republican political operative working for the bush white house at present with a reputation for vindictiveness – against republicans as well as democrats.

    novak is a long-standing republican political operative masquerading (as has william safire at nytimes) as a journalist/columnist – an undercover agent you might say.

    your suspicions about armitage’s value to novak as a source of crucial info on plame and her specific cia work, make libby’s role in the central act of the plame matter seem to me just another case, albeit well-documented now, of washington bureaucratic intrigue.

    it was novak’s column that revealed plame as a covert operative, thereby allowing enterprising reporters tracing her name thru political contributions, to expose the cia front organization, brewster-jennings co. for which plame â€worked†–

    an unmasking that we have just learned from corn/isikoff probably involved curtailing collecting wmd info on iraq, for god’s sake.

    the legal information surrounding libby is interesting to follow and revealing of washington on the inside,

    but the damage to u.s. security (plame/brewester jennings) would seem to be the direct result of actions by novak and rove.

    libby’s headed for the docket. novak and rove have skated. how did they pull off this houdini act?

  18. Anonymous says:

    Could Armitage have thought Novak would write something critical about the Iraq war, in the then heated atmosphere of â€faked WMD data,†and told him about Valerie’s job as a lead to follow for the story? Would Novak encourage Armitage toward that belief? It would be interesting to know more about their conversation.

  19. Anonymous says:


    Oh yeah. I’d be embarrassed to admit how spoiled McC is. And to make things worse, the vet decided he was allergic to something, one of the main ingredients in dog foods: flour, chicken, lamb, or rice. So now he’s got fancy dog food made out of fish and duck and barley and crap like that. His belly’s better, but I do feel a little foolish to admit how well he lives.

  20. Anonymous says:

    I’ll defer to ew and others as to whether the pretrial motions and discovery are essentially complete in the Libby case, but if it is then a strong argument could be made that Fitz has had a damn good game plan all along.

    He couldn’t crack the stories told before the GJ, and couldn’t leak them, and perhaps didn’t want to crack those stories prior to the Libby discovery being complete. So he stalled, and later told everyone they’re clear. Of course, having had a quick and brutal education in how ‘Washington’ works, its easy to surmise that once people think they’re ‘in the clear†they start to try to spin their legacy. And with the public talk and spin comes the differing stories and the fingerpointing.

    If the new stories don’t match the GJ testimony, then we’ll start to see call backs. If that happens, and new things are learned, does he have to give it to Team Libby?

    Novak really screwed the pooch with todays’ column.

  21. Anonymous says:

    Thanks, EW, for wielding your cyber laser pointer once again. Without it, I couldn’t keep up with all the Administration jockeying.

    So is Novak’s newest column meant to help on the legal front or the general PR front? Or might it be meant to do some damage control in advance of a Libby pardon?

    When Armitage first admitted to being Novak’s source the RW talking points were:
    ’Armitage didn’t know she was covert… no crime… why is Fitz tormenting Scooter when it’s Armitage’s fault.’ I thought they might be laying the PR groundwork for a Libby pardon by peddling this:
    End of story, folks. It’s Armitage / inadvertant outer of covert agent vs. Libby / victim of overzealous prosecutor who deserves to be pardoned.

    That was Armitage 1.0: He’s an inveterate gossip. He didn’t know Plame was covert. It was an inadvertant slip to Novak and he never said Plame was CPD [covert].

    Today it appears we have Armitage 2.0: He deliberately gave the story to Novak. He knew Plame was CPD [covert] and specifically told Novak so.

    Could it be that Armitage 1.0 wasn’t going over well as a reason to pardon Libby so Armitage 2.0 was needed?

    Isn’t Novak playing with fire here? Armitage has been on the record, no lawyers, with DOJ since October 2003. He certainly gives every appearance of playing it straight, unlike Novak and his everchanging wardrobe of Armitage stories.

  22. Anonymous says:

    EW: I’m confused about something. Didn’t the INR memo refer to Valerie Plame as NOC NF? If it did then wouldn’t that mean everyone would have known she was undercover? Also, I thought the memo that the NY Sun got that Tom Maguire talked about had classifed written on every page. So are there two memos? Did one refer to plame as NOC NF and the other didn’t?

  23. Anonymous says:

    I admire persistance. And that is in plenty of abundance here. It was when I was seeking a fact on the Plame case that I happened upon this forum/blog with such a massive trove of information on the case, very organized and set forth well.

    What I now understand is that-

    A column was published by Mr Novak â€outing†so to speak Plame.

    Then two to three months before the special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald was appointed the FBI had the information about Armitage, from Armitage.

    Mr Fitzgerald has the power of a special prosecutor. He can put people in jail if they won’t testify. If they do testify, and lie, or just get confused, he can and obviously will try them for perjury or obstruction. He has power!! He also has obviously the capability of keeping his knowledge, actions and intents secret.

    Now I will not say that Mr Fitzgerald won’t later, next year, the year after, or the year after that, or 10 years hence, bring more charges. But it does appear that he is about finished much to a lot of people’s lament. Some of these things however go on for 10 or more years.

    Now what I am asking is this. What makes anyone think that they know more about the case than Fitzgerald? Why do they think that in this coming trial everything is going to bust open? Why do they think they need to prepare the public about a simple matter of a mistatement, a forgotten action, a bad memory of Mr Libby.
    Do they really think that they can help Mr Fitzgerald, a man who knows far more than they about this case, that knows the law, that has experience, and a great reputation, has lots of legal help, and immense power do something more with this case?

    I keep hearing that a crime was committed in the outing of Plame.

    Has anyone been charged with this crime. No.
    Has even the people known to have done this, or having admitted to doing this been charged. No.
    Will someone be tried for mistatement but not for the purposed crime? Yes.

    What is the expectation driving this frenzy? I know the goal. It is raising people’s hopes, but what is the expectation?

  24. Anonymous says:

    Most of the people here are following their instincts. Their instincts tell them that there is a larger conspiracy at work. All the evidence points to one and with each new revelation the key players seem to did a deeper hole for themselves, contradicting each other overtly now. Maybe the expectation is for justice to be served.

  25. Anonymous says:

    Here is a funny thread for visitor Jodi; use the browser once there to search for the proper noun Herodotus. It is a part of the thread discussing critical reading to understand history.

  26. Anonymous says:

    robbie c

    No. As far as we know (there is one redacted passage where this is possible, but not probable), she was not listed as a NOC in the INR memo (there are two memos, but they don’t differ in this matter). She was not even listed as covert. That’s the whole point, The paragraph was marked S/NF. But there was other S/NF information in that paragraph–descriptions of Wilson’s trip. So there’d be no way for a reader to tell that Plame was covert because once you got to the main point of the paragraph–the genesis of Wilson’s trip, you would have known the reason for the S/NF.

    Let me make a distinction. Armitage could be charged with espionage, for sharing classified info. But so long as there is no proof he knew she was covert, he can’t be charged with IIPA. And there would be no reason to assume she was covert, given the context.

  27. Anonymous says:

    thanks for that explanation EW.

    So would it be a fair assumption that if the INR memo were marked S/NF that the reader of the memo should be aware that the information contained in the memo–all of the info–is classified? Does my question make sense?

    I guess what I am driving at is that these people all should have known that the information they were divulging was classified because there were scattered references to it being classified in the letters. At least that’s what I think.

  28. Anonymous says:


    I understand everyone here wants â€justice.†The question is whether or not you are defining justice to mean only revenge on those you don’t like. Justice is the purview of the prosecutor and the courts and of course the lawyers for the defendant Libby. There is â€seemingly†at least no one else involved anymore, though anyone might be struck by lighting at any time.


    I found the â€noun Herodotus.†And I will grant that in this blog/forum there are many ἱστοÏια going on.

    But here we are dealing with a legal matter, and we can go back even further in antiquity to that very ancient question of â€Whose ox was gored?†Was even one ox gored? Is Libby going to get gored?

    Or –
    Ci posokela volomanda; volonundu veti, Li ende lekumbi.
    It makes a difference whose ox is gored.

    I agree with the Times. Mr Wilson and his little tirade gored all of us. It is a â€shame.â€

  29. Anonymous says:

    If my president lied to me about why we went to war in Iraq to kill innocent people, I want to know. I think the only patriotic thing to do is to push this case to it’s limit. I am grateful that people refuse to wear blinders about such a serious matter. It is clear that this administration, whether indictments fly or not, is immoral, not christian and very corrupt.

  30. Anonymous says:

    Jodi is a prime example of wingnut projection. It is doubtful anyone here disliked these people before their debased criminality became evident. It was only after they became aware of the lies, deceit and manipulation that the dislike began. As for the rest, face the facts, Jodi. It is fact that other people beside Armitage were involved in the leak.

  31. Anonymous says:

    robbie c and …

    Douglas Rohn is responsible for describing Valerie in his own notes–though he came in late and didn’t really know who Val was or what her connection with the meeting was. It seems like he had no idea she was covert.

    So then Neil Silver takes his notes, in his absence, to write the memo for Grossman. He apparently had no idea that Plame was covert either. So from appearances (though we can’t prove this from the memo alone), it appears that the S/NF in the memo refers to the Wilson trip, not to Plame, because the two people who got the reference there didn’t know Plame was covert.

    As Armitage says, he’s never seen a covered officer’s name in a memo; it doesn’t happen. It only happened in this case because none of the people involved (apparently) knew she was covert.

  32. Anonymous says:

    Can’t wait for your book!!

    Maybe you should reference Cheney and Armitage and call it â€A Tale of Two Dicksâ€.

    Or just â€Political Frottageâ€.

    â€Frottage Cheeseâ€?

  33. Anonymous says:


    is this where I say â€I resemble that?â€
    No, I say sticks and stones may break my bones, but your projections will not harm me and they will not harm the Republican administration.

    quote by tnhblog â€As for the rest, face the facts, Jodi. It is fact that other people beside Armitage were involved in the leak.â€

    Do you work for the prosecutor tnhblog? No, I don’t think so. Are you saying that someone is going to be finally charged for a LEAK? You said it was a â€fact.†Why don’t you tell the prosecutor about this fact if he hasn’t figured it out?

    I think that many people are projecting their own fantasies about this. They should be working to defeat the Republicans on real issues. They should be working to get better Democratic candidates, not spending all their energies on un-substantiated facts.

    Call me a Devil’s Advocate or the Devil himself, but I say that you need to direct your attention elsewhere. This dog won’t hunt anymore.