Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Was Armitage deliberately chosen as a Plame leaker?

Raw Story’s post undercutting Richard Armitage’s claim to innocence in his leaking of Valerie Plame’s name to Bob Novak got me to wondering whether Libby, or even Cheney himself, didn’t deliberately finger Armitage as a potential leaker.

Add in Novak’s own statement: “Armitage did not slip me this information as idle chitchat, as he now suggests. He made clear that he considered it especially suited for my column.”

First, he’s not a neoconservative. His leak, then, would give the Cheney take on Plame deliberately picking Joe Wilson to go to Africa better legs.

Second, he was in the State Department. Of course, almost all the major and semimajor neocon players, especially on the invasion of Iraq, were either in the Defense Department or Cheney’s office. So, Armitage being at State would be a second way to try to make the story walk better.

That answers the question of why Armitage in particular would be a good outlet for the leak.

So, let’s say Armitage did know what he was doing. The next question is “why”? Why, in the sense of, why did Armitage voluntarily sign up for being a leaker?

Several possibilities, probably related.

First, though not a neocon, other statements by Armitage make him even more a true believer in the idea that Saddam Hussein had WMDs than his boss, Colin Powell. So, purely from his own foreign policy stance, he had reason to push for war.

Second, maybe it was a quid pro quo to keep neocon heat off of Powell.

Third, it was a personal gesture by Armitage to neocons that he thought would deflect some pressure from Powell without being an official quid pro quo. (In this scenario, Armitage chose himself as a leaker.)

Fourth, maybe Powell knows more about all this than he has ever let on. That means Armitage is continuing to dive on his own sword, or else that Powell was in on setting him up to be the leaker.

In any case, taking Novak at his word, or even halfway at his word, about Armitage, it’s clear Armitage was no babe in the woods on this.