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Armitage: "I Screwed Up"

In a CBS News interview, Richard Armitage says:

Oh I feel terrible. Every day, I think I let down the president. I let down the Secretary of State. I let down my department, my family and I also let down Mr. and Mrs. Wilson," he says.

When asked if he feels he owes the Wilsons an apology, he says, "I think I've just done it."
...
"At the end of a wide-ranging interview he asked me, 'Why did the CIA send Ambassador (Wilson) to Africa?' I said I didn't know, but that she worked out at the agency," Armitage says.

Armitage says he told Novak because it was "just an offhand question." "I didn't put any big import on it and I just answered and it was the last question we had," he says.

Armitage adds that while the document was classified, "it doesn't mean that every sentence in the document is classified.

"I had never seen a covered agent's name in any memo in, I think, 28 years of government," he says.

He adds that he thinks he referred to Wilson's wife as such, or possibly as "Mrs. Wilson." He never referred to her as Valerie Plame, he adds.

"I didn't know the woman's name was Plame. I didn't know she was an operative," he says.

He says he was reading Novak's newspaper column again, on Oct. 1, 2003, and "he said he was told by a non-partisan gun slinger."

"I almost immediately called Secretary Powell and said, 'I'm sure that was me,'" Armitage says.

Armitage immediately met with FBI agents investigating the leak.

"I told them that I was the inadvertent leak," Armitage says. He didn't get a lawyer, however.

"First of all, I felt so terrible about what I'd done that I felt I deserved whatever was coming to me. And secondarily, I didn't need an attorney to tell me to tell the truth. I as already doing that," Armitage explains. "I was not intentionally outing anybody. As I say, I have tremendous respect for Ambassador. Wilson's African credentials. I didn't know anything about his wife and made an offhand comment. I didn't try to out anybody."
...
Armitage says he didn't come forward because "the special counsel, once he was appointed, asked me not to discuss this and I honored his request."

"I thought every day about how I'd screwed up," he adds.

Armitage never did tell the president, but he's talking now because Fitzgerald told him he could.

In other words, what Novak said all along was true, that this was just an offhand comment. What Joe Wilson said all along, that the supposed "outing" was orchestrated by the White House to get back at him, was not true. It was an elaborate fantasy. If Novak had been believed over Wilson, this never, ever would have been in the news. Patrick Fitzgerald has a lot to answer for, considering that he knew all this all along and told Armitage to keep quiet for all these years. He spent several years and about 20 million dollars to investigate when he had the information on day one. Maybe Joe Wilson should get the tab. Except for running down the allegations in Joe Wilson's fantasy scenario, Fitzgerald could have had this thing wrapped up years ago.


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Comments (20)

I would think Fitzgerald sh... (Below threshold)
914:

I would think Fitzgerald should be prosecuted for malicious prosecution and disbarred at the very least.

ditto what 914 said!<... (Below threshold)
Justrand:

ditto what 914 said!

I red the whole interview excerpt getting madder and madder, and then got outraged when I read:
"Armitage never did tell the president, but he's talking now because Fitzgerald told him he could."

i.e., Fitzgerald felt he had done all the damage he could...and so decided he would let the TRUTH to come forward.

The non-story fantasy of Wilson/Plame/Fitzgerald was front-page NY Times for months...MONTHS! Seems odd that this story is getting little attention from them...especially since one of their own was jailed as a result...by the very same prosecutor who KNEW she was innocent!

Are the charges against Sco... (Below threshold)
Retread:

Are the charges against Scotter Libby being dropped? Does he get his job back? Who is going to reimburse Libby for legal fees he should never have had to incurr?

Normal 'planned' slander jo... (Below threshold)
Scrapiron:

Normal 'planned' slander job by the democratic party. No one will pay for the crimes comitted against the administration and the country by Fitz and the left wing news media. Forget it, let it die, the worse than left wing court systems are defunct (operating below the slime on a pond) all the way up to and including the SCOTUS.

The real shame is the slander and shame they laid on the United States around the world. We'll never recover from it.

Hold on, while I agree this... (Below threshold)
scotty:

Hold on, while I agree this whole affair has been an outrage, there is something fishy about this whole thing that nobody has put their finger on yet. I think there are a number of unanswered questions that would shed light on the “real” story.

Who commissioned the trip in the first place? Everyone says it was Cheney but the VP denies it, was confused about it, didn’t know Wilson, never saw the reports, and his office acted strangely about it (which lead to the Libby indictment) I would even say they were acting “guilty” about it. If they were not involved as it is now appears is the case, why not strongly deny it rather than the whole “if someone from the administration is involved, they will be fired” line of argument. Heck, even CIA Chief, Tenent, seemed confused and didn’t know who authorized the trip.

Once Fitzgerald knew the source of the leak why does he pursue others? I know everyone is saying he’s a political hack, but if he is just a hack, his actions are a bit odd. I think a real hack would have taken steps to conceal his motive better. Is he just not a very accomplished hack or is there more to the story? Many Republicans say Fitzgerald is a very honest and trustworthy guy so something tells me he may have been acting in good faith and there is actually more to this.

Why did Judy Miller go to jail? She had the letter from Libby releasing her from any obligation of secrecy and she even asked a second time for “more specific” permission from Libby to disclose and he granted it. Yet, she refused and goes to jail. And what was her secret anyway? As it turns out Libby wasn’t the guy so it all becomes confusing. Why does Fitzgerald, who knows the leak source and that Judy Miller isn’t involved in the leak, still hold her in contempt. Why does Miller act so bizarrely, sitting in jail only finally to reveal that the cards she is holding so close to her chest are a complete nothing hand. It even pisses off her employer (NYTimes), who wonder why the heck she was willing to rot in jail for no reason what so ever. I think the Times felt that she must have a royal flush that would implicate Rove/Bush/Cheney and were anxious for Judy to get off here high horse and get out of jail by revealing her knockout blow. But then there was nothing there. Holy Crap Judy!

Then there is Jason Leopold. What the heck is that all about? Who was his source? He said if Rove were not indicted he would reveal his source. But has he? Again everyone say Leopold is just a hack but again if he is just a hack why act in a manner as to discredit ones-self so dramatically. I think he must have had confidence in his source and his source must have been close to Fitzgerald to know how close Fitzgerald was to indictment. But wait, Fitzgerald knew it was Armitage and not Rove. So Fitzgerald knew he wasn’t going to indict Rove and any source close to Fitzgerald would not have led Leopold astray. So it leaves that nagging question of what really is happening here.

Anyway this is getting too long. I think there is something deeper going on any ideas?

I think Armitage is arrogan... (Below threshold)
Brad:

I think Armitage is arrogant as hell for not apologizing first and foremost to Libby. Colin Powell, too, should be ashamed of himself. He's lost a lot of my respect in this debacle.

"What Joe Wilson said all a... (Below threshold)
Herman:

"What Joe Wilson said all along, that the supposed "outing" was orchestrated by the White House to get back at him, was not true." -- Lorie

Complete nonsense, Lorie.

When Armitage alleges that his leak to Novak was inadvertent, he speaks only for himself. Consequently, we cannot conclude that Rove's leak to Cooper (and even to Novak), as well as Libby's leak to Miller and Cooper was necessarily not orchestrated by the White House.

In the future, try to think more deeply, Lorie.

When Armitage alleges th... (Below threshold)
MikeSC:

When Armitage alleges that his leak to Novak was inadvertent, he speaks only for himself. Consequently, we cannot conclude that Rove's leak to Cooper (and even to Novak), as well as Libby's leak to Miller and Cooper was necessarily not orchestrated by the White House.

Since the leaker was known at the outset, the entire investigation was, obviously, a witch hunt.

All Rove said was "You heard that too?". We know reporters had heard it because Armitage told them.

Try making a point.
-=Mike

I think Herman's on to some... (Below threshold)
MG:

I think Herman's on to something here.
Armitage inadvertently leaks, then Rove and Libby pounce on the opportunity to smear Wilson!

What a decerning intellect. That is some deep thinking.

"Patrick Fitzgerald has ... (Below threshold)
DDT:

"Patrick Fitzgerald has a lot to answer for, considering that he knew all this all along and told Armitage to keep quiet for all these years."

Surely you'll be the FIRST person the Special Prosecutor will come to and apologize for his partisan witch hunt, Lorie.

Not.

Armitage knew of Plame’s identity because he had seen a written memorandum by Under Secretary of State Marc Grossman.
Grossman had taken up the task of finding out about Ms. Wilson after an inquiry from I. Lewis Libby Jr., chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney.

-What was Libby’s motive for doing so?

The newest revelations (that allegedly exonerates everyone) of Armitage’s role in the Plame affair stems from “Hubris”, co-written by David Corn, a columnist for The Nation. That seems odd.
Suddenly a writer for a ”Moonbat” publication, the Nation, has now become a preacher of the gospel. Well, selective gospel.

For if you do want to take any of the news seriously, you would find:

Valerie Wilson was not only a genuine C.I.A. undercover officer, but that she was in charge of agency operations seeking proof of Iraq’s weapons-of-mass-destruction programs. Specifically, she ran the Joint Task Force on Iraq, which was part of the Counter-proliferation Division of the C.I.A.’s Directorate of Operations. She worked overseas, including trips to Jordan and other theatres of operations, using a “nonofficial cover.”

Not exactly the “low level paper pusher”, who's identity “was already public” according to the Clown Hall bedwetters. That part of the story simply does not exist on Planet Lorie or on the ass-end of the wingnut galaxy, Wizbang.

It’s a simple matter really, and yet still too much for some to understand.

DDT. Everything in your pos... (Below threshold)
Scrapiron:

DDT. Everything in your post was proven false long ago. Once anyone was called in by Fitz they were informed not to talk. You can buck Fitz if you want, everyone who does goes to jail with no end on the sentence, no bail, no bond and you get out when he lets you out. Plame was an analysist, aka a glorified clerk, in CIA Hq , not an undercover agent. Fitz figured that out in the first 10 minutes of his job. That's why no one could be charged with a crime for the 'outing'.

There may well be a lot of felony charges against Wilson, Plame, the NYT, and a lot of other people/organizations not part of the government.

I think Fitz has done a poor job of communications and controlling leaks from his office but I won't count him out until he completes the job. Maybe he'll indict his office staff????

Seems awfully strange to me... (Below threshold)
sean nyc/aa:

Seems awfully strange to me that the classified document Armitage refers to mentions Valerie Wilson in some way. (We're not exactly sure how it is stated - Valerie Wilson, Mrs. Wilson, etc., but Armitage specifically says it does not mention Plame.)

Without knowing the context of why her name was mentioned in the memo, this raises quite a few questions. Who drafted the memo; what did it say about Valerie Wilson?

Also, Armitage says Novak asked him "Why did the CIA send Wilson?" to which Armitage replies, "I don't know, but his wife works there." And Armitage says this is the last question. Maybe it's just me, but you'd think a reporter would follow up on a statement like that with "did she have a role in sending him, what is her assignment with the CIA", or something along those lines.

There's still more to this story, that's why Fitz continued to pursue it after Armitage came forward.

Obviously, I don't know eno... (Below threshold)
MikeSC:

Obviously, I don't know enough about this investigation to understand the truth, but that's never stopped an ignorant ass like me from making comments before.

I think I'll just be sarcastic in my postings and not offer any real evidence to back my assertions.

I'm such a creton sometimes I just can't stand it.

The Plame story in a nut sh... (Below threshold)
jainphx:

The Plame story in a nut shell.Armatage,and Powell schemed to bring the President down.Chuckie Shumer along with The "Wilsons" Took the opportunity handed to them to start an Investigation headed by their sock puppet FitzGerald,and the rest is history.Traitorous B-sterds.

Wow, people stealing my ide... (Below threshold)
MikeSC:

Wow, people stealing my identity? Truly, you have done your position wonders.

Note how I don't have to pull that off to slap your lame arguments apart?

-What was Libby’s motive for doing so?

Gee, I dunno, maybe to figure out who recommended a guy with zero qualifications for the assignment and why they would have done it?

Valerie Wilson was not only a genuine C.I.A. undercover officer, but that she was in charge of agency operations seeking proof of Iraq’s weapons-of-mass-destruction programs. Specifically, she ran the Joint Task Force on Iraq, which was part of the Counter-proliferation Division of the C.I.A.’s Directorate of Operations. She worked overseas, including trips to Jordan and other theatres of operations, using a “nonofficial cover.”

Bob Woodward has said that is bunk. He said her "outing" had virtually no impact whatsoever on anything.

And her workin at Langley automatically disqualifies her for any kind of covert work, as foreign agencies are quite aware of who goes to Langley on a regular basis.
-=Mike

Scotty,I think the... (Below threshold)
Tony:

Scotty,

I think the big deal is that the US was right to go into Iraq, and there was merit to Iraq looking around for fissile material ingredients (the key being the difference between ‘looking for’ and ‘getting’). There was plenty of reason for the US to enforce the toothless proclamations of the UN (Security Council resolutions) over the decade+ since the gulf war. With the advent of 9/11 the US policy shifted via Bush to one where we would, in essence, lower the bar for going to war with a country or taking action against a hostile organization and its sycophants. But it's sadly necessary because people who engage in warfare nowadays don't put on uniforms or leave the civilian population centers to conduct battle anymore. This is how humanity has progressed I guess. 200 years ago, armies lined up in lines with one-shot-a-minute rifles, so…

So Bush emphasized one facet of a multi-faceted decision to go to war with Hussein. Even though he had a lot of other valid reasons (and he did speak on them before the war), WMD was the big one that sold the show. I think it’s because even though Hussein was clearly a bad guy, it takes a lot to get someone to take action. Most people can point out the bad guy or the bully in the schoolyard. But try to get most people to get in the bully’s face. And try to get a country whose biggest problem is the sex life of their leader to do something about a real growing problem that would eventually affect us directly. It takes a damn good reason--usually personal threat--to do it, and that’s what sold the show. Bush told the world that he wouldn’t let the US mess around anymore with hostile nations or organizations. Since the ante was upped via 9/11, the US changed its stance.

My opinion of W is that he’s not as bad as a lot of people make him out to be. He’s no perfect hero either. But it’s popular and easy to dislike the guy, and hey, make it dramatic and say that you’re oppressed, repressed, or close to it. But the biggest issue for me is that the Bush administration sucks at laying out to the general public what I think are pretty common sense reasons and actions for how and why he’s steering our country the way he is. WMD was the big ticket item, and this Plame business is the scrutiny the country has placed on it. I have always thought that Bush has been acting on our country’s precedent and on our behalf. I still maintain that a sizable portion of anger and hostility that is pointed toward Bush should actually be pointed at Hussein. Because by maintaining a government that was aggressive to other countries, and repressive to its own people (and not in a ‘argument-on-a-blog-about-dissent-being-patriotic’ kind of way), Hussein forced our hand to do what we did and now the big ticket item—that Hussein had active WMD—turns out to be a dud. That the US still had just cause regardless is why Bush was reelected, and hasn’t been revolted against. Instead, a lot of people are pissed at him. If it took just WMD and WMD alone to make me go along with the Iraq war, I’d be pissed too. But for those reasons I think that’s all the proof that he made a mistake on the side of caution and with the right intentions.

The CIA and a lot of other nations believed that Hussein had hidden WMD facilities and/or stockpiles. Bush didn’t do anything wrong because he acted on what he and a lot of other people thought was the situation. Sadly, if people (like the Kos crowd)invested the same amount of time looking into the claims of Joe Wilson as they did into the deceptions and, hell, everyday actions of Saddam, they’d find their righteous anger. I think this Plame/Rove/Wilson thing is the country looking into every detail of the action of our President, even looking beyond reasonable explanation and proof and into less feasible allegations. Which—while as a somewhat-conservative, is a really frustrating thing to watch unfold and state my side of the story—is a great testament to the openness of our government. The Angry Left are getting their inquiries (which they deserve), and I get to find out that Bush isn’t the nefarious character the Angry Left tell me he is. Everybody plays, everybody wins. Sorry for the long post!

Are the charges against Sco... (Below threshold)

Are the charges against Scooter being dropped?
No, HE LIED UNDER OATH!!!! Regardless of who leaked what, Darth Vader's man should have been up front and honest with the Special Prosecuor. Like WTF was he hiding?

There are legal consequences when you lie under oath. Just ask your favorite whipping boy Bill ;)

Lied about what under oath?... (Below threshold)
914:

Lied about what under oath? How the hell do You know? There was no crime but for Armitage and Wilson's so take off Your dunce cap..

No, HE LIED UNDER OATH!!... (Below threshold)
MikeSC:

No, HE LIED UNDER OATH!!!! Regardless of who leaked what, Darth Vader's man should have been up front and honest with the Special Prosecuor. Like WTF was he hiding?

Except the case against Libby is a joke and when he's acquitted, it won't make a difference in your monologue about the situation.
-=Mike

914, I actually have on a T... (Below threshold)

914, I actually have on a Texas Rangers hat. It just looks like a dunce cap because it happens to have a picture of frat boy on it ;)




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