Cheat-Seeking Missles

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Bush-Bashing Behind Plame Leak

Christopher Hitchens continues to report on the Plame Game, long after just about everyone but foaming-mouth leftists have left the story behind. And that's a good thing.

Hitchens' latest Slate column is a flood of great info, some new, some old. At the top is this picture of Richard Armitage, Colin Powell's deputy at the State Department, whom Hitchens and others identify as the undisputable source of the original leak to columnist Robert Novak. Why did Armitage leak the Wilson/Plame info? Not to discredit Wilson or out Plame, but to undermine Bush's Iraq policy. So the scandal that wasn't, wasn't for all the wrong reasons.

Further explains Linda Chavez in Town Hall:

The credit for unearthing this information goes to David Corn and Michael Isikoff in their forthcoming book, "Hubris: The Inside Story of Spin, Scandal and the Selling of the Iraq War."

Corn's role is noteworthy because he is the Washington editor of the left-wing magazine The Nation and an outspoken critic of the Bush administration. What's more, he did much to transform the Plame incident into the national scandal it became.

Stand back ... the media stampede to cover this news might crush you. Or not.

Hitchens says Justice and Fitzgerald knew of Armitage from the beginning, but played out the Libby/Cheney card to the end. Why?

What does emerge from [the Isikoff and Corn book] Hubris is further confirmation of what we knew all along: the extraordinary venom of the interdepartmental rivalry that has characterized this administration. In particular, the bureaucracy at the State Department and the CIA appear to have used the indiscretion of Armitage to revenge themselves on the "neoconservatives" who had been advocating the removal of Saddam Hussein. Armitage identified himself to Colin Powell as Novak's source before the Fitzgerald inquiry had even been set on foot. The whole thing could—and should—have ended right there. But now read this and rub your eyes: William Howard Taft, the State Department's lawyer who had been told about Armitage (and who had passed on the name to the Justice Department)

also felt obligated to inform White House counsel Alberto Gonzales. But Powell and his aides feared the White House would then leak that Armitage had been Novak's source—possibly to embarrass State Department officials who had been unenthusiastic about Bush's Iraq policy. So Taft told Gonzales the bare minimum: that the State Department had passed some information about the case to Justice. He didn't mention Armitage. Taft asked if Gonzales wanted to know the details. The president's lawyer, playing the case by the book, said no, and Taft told him nothing more.

Aarrrgh! Can we just fight the war on Islamofascism here, and leave these childish rivalries behind? Of course we can't. This is a story as old as Caeser, as old as Cain and Able, and nothing's changed.

Hat-tip: Memeorandum
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