It is now presumed that Richard Armitage, former Deputy Secretary of State (2001-2005) is the Valerie Plame "leaker." Armitage comes from the Colin Powell era and did the Whitehouse no favors if he, in fact, did leak Plame's name to columnist Robert Novak.
Powell and Armitage are considered moderates, I would see this as an understatement.
Armitage signed "The Project for the New American Century" letter to President Bill Clinton in 1998. The letter urged Clinton to target the removal of Saddam Hussein's regime from power in Iraq due to erosion of the Gulf War Coalition's containment policy and the resulting possibility that Iraq might create weapons of mass destruction.
During his years in the Bush administration Armitage was an internal Administration opponent of the conservatives who supported the ouster of Saddam Hussein.
The Timeline Alledgedly Exposing Armitage:
According to an April 2006 Vanity Fair article (published March 14, 2006), former Washington Post executive editor Ben Bradlee said in an interview "That Armitage is the likely source is a fair assumption," though Bradlee later told the Post that he "[did] not recall making that precise statement" in the interview.
On March 2, 2006, bloggers discovered that "Richard Armitage" fit the spacing on a redacted court document, suggesting he was a source for the Plame leak.
On August 21, 2006, the Associated Press published a story that revealed Armitage met with Bob Woodward in mid-June 2003. The information came from official State Department calendars, provided to The Associated Press under the Freedom of Information Act.
In the September 4, 2006 issue of Newsweek magazine, in an article titled "The Man Who Said Too Much," journalist Michael Isikoff, quoting a "source directly familiar with the conversation who asked not to be identified because of legal sensitivities," reported that Armitage was the original source for Robert Novak's piece outing Plame.
Isikoff also reported that Armitage had also told Bob Woodward of Plame's identity in 2003, and that special counsel Patrick Fitzgerald investigated Armitage's role "aggressively," but did not charge Armitage with a crime because he "found no evidence that Armitage knew of Plame's covert CIA status when he talked to Novak and Woodward."
Novak, in an August 27, 2006 appearance on Meet the Press, stated that although he still would not release the name of his source, he felt it was long overdue that the source reveal himself.
According to The Washington Note, Armitage has testified before the grand jury three times. Armitage has also reportedly been a cooperative and key witness in the Plame leak investigation.
In "Fess Up, Mr. Armitage" the Wall Street Journal states for starters, fessing up would put to rest the conspiracy theories once and for all. Bush opponents have continued to promote this myth, with Mr. Wilson writing in June 2004 that "the conspiracy to destroy us was most likely conceived -- and carried out -- within the office of the vice president of the United States." Not a word of that was true. The White House, in short, was not engaged in any campaign to "out" Ms. Plame.
According to the new book by David Corn and Michael Isikoff, Mr. Armitage never did tell the White House or the President, that he was the leaker. In October 2003 he told then Secretary of State Colin Powell, who told the State Department general counsel, who in turn told the Justice Department but gave the White House Counsel only the sketchiest overview of what he'd learned and didn't mention Mr. Armitage's name.
Powell and Armitage let the President take political heat for the case, while also letting Mr. Rove, Mr. Libby and other White House officials twist in the wind for more than two years.
The Wall Street Journal further states Powell's former chief of staff Lawrence Wilkerson and intelligence officer Carl Ford Jr. did much to trash John Bolton's nomination to be Ambassador to the U.N. in 2005. The State Department clique Mr. Bush tolerated for so long did tremendous damage to his Administration.
While President Bush is known for his loyalty it seems he never received the same from State Department officials at the top or then Deputy Attorney General James Comey, who according to the Corn-Isikoff book, presumably knew by October 2003 about Mr. Armitage's role as the leaker and if the book's account is correct, misled the White House with his silence.
It seems Mr. Bush has let his loyalty go to far and blind him to the reality that some of his closest members in the Cabinet allowed him to drown in false stories and media-liberal spin that there was some nefarious White House leaker to discover. Why did President Bush continue to let his closest aides, Scooter Libby and Karl Rove be hounded by a special counsel?
We should seriously question what specific ax to grind Colin Powell and Richard Armitage had and how far their insubordination and betrayal should have been tolerated.