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Victoria Toensing On Armitage And Fitzgerald

Much of what Ms. Toensing writes here will be familiar to regular readers. But it is an excellent summation of the wreck of the Patrick Fitzgerald — with some new information sprinkled throughout.

From the WSJ's Opinion Journal:


What a Load of Armitage!

What did Patrick Fitzgerald know, and when did he know it?

Friday, September 15, 2006 12:01 a.m. EDT

Richard Armitage has finally emerged from the cover-my-backside closet, "apologizing" on CBS for keeping quiet for almost three years about being the original source for Robert Novak's July 14, 2003, column stating that Joe Wilson's wife, Valerie Plame, worked for the CIA and had suggested him for a mission to Niger. He disingenuously blames his silence on Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald's non-legally-based request–any witness is free to talk about his testimony–not to discuss the matter

By his silence, Mr. Armitage is responsible for one of the most factually distorted investigations in history.

There is a reason the old Watergate question–What did he know and when did he know it?–has become part of our investigative culture. It provides a paradigm for parsing a complicated factual scenario.

• Joseph Wilson. In July 2003, when he demanded an investigation of a White House cabal for violating the Intelligence Identities Protection Act by "outing" his wife, Mr. Wilson knew Ms. Plame did not meet the factual requirements for covert status under the act. She was neither covert at the time of publication nor had a covert foreign assignment within five years…

• Richard Armitage. Mr. Armitage now claims he knew only on Oct. 1, 2003 that he was Mr. Novak's source. We should question that claim in light of Mr. Novak's account this week that Mr. Armitage "made clear he considered [the information about Ms. Plame] especially suited for my column."

Mr. Armitage also knew he had met with Bob Woodward on June 13, 2003, telling him about Mr. Wilson's wife's CIA employment and her role in her husband's trip to Niger. But when the FBI interviewed Mr. Armitage on Oct. 2, he admitted to the Novak conversation only, notably forgetting meeting with one of our country's premier investigative reporters. By attributing his longtime silence to Mr. Fitzgerald's request, Mr. Armitage must have forgotten Mr. Fitzgerald was not appointed until Dec. 30, 2003. If Mr. Armitage had come forward during those three months, there might never have been a special counsel.

• Patrick Fitzgerald. What Mr. Fitzgerald knew, and chose to ignore, is troublesome… [Fitzgerald] knew from the day he took office that the facts did not support a violation of the Intelligence Identities Protection Act; therefore, there was no crime to investigate. Although he claimed in Mr. Libby's indictment that Ms. Plame's employment status was "classified," Mr. Fitzgerald refuses to provide the basis for that fact and, even if true, can point to no law that would be violated by revealing a "classified" (not covert) employment. It was this gap in the law that created the need to pass the act in the first place

During the investigation Mr. Fitzgerald learned that a former New York Times reporter, Cliff May, twice told the FBI that, prior to Mr. Novak's column, he had heard in an offhand way from a non-government employee that Mr. Wilson's wife worked for the CIA, a clear indication that her employment was known on the street. Ditto columnist Hugh Sidey, who wrote that Ms. Plame's name was "knocking around in the sub rosa world . . . for a long time."

Mr. Armitage, who came forward after Mr. Libby was indicted, was told in February 2006, after two grand jury appearances, he would not be indicted. Mr. Rove, however, after five grand jury appearances, was not informed until July 2006 he would not be charged. Mr. Fitzgerald made the Rove decision appear strained, a close call. Yet of the two men's conduct, Mr. Armitage's deserved more scrutiny. And Mr. Fitzgerald knew it. Each had testified before the grand jury about a conversation with Mr. Novak. Each had forgotten about a conversation with an additional reporter: Mr. Armitage with Mr. Woodward, Mr. Rove with Time's Matt Cooper. However, Mr. Rove came forward pre-indictment, immediately, when reminded of the second conversation. When Mr. Woodward attempted to ask Mr. Armitage about the matter, on two separate occasions pre-indictment, Mr. Armitage refused to discuss it and abruptly cut him off. To be charitable, assume he did not independently recall his conversation with Mr. Woodward. Would not two phone calls requesting to talk about the matter refresh his recollection? Now we also know Messrs. Armitage and Novak have vastly different recollections of their conversation. Isn't that what Mr. Libby was indicted for? …

Did Mr. Fitzgerald subpoena Ms. Plame? He could have asked her why, if she were truly covert, was she attending an Eastern Shore meeting in May 2003 with Democratic senators. The first journalist to reveal Ms. Plame was "covert" was David Corn, on July 16, 2003, two days after Mr. Novak's column. The latter never wrote, because he did not know and it was not so, that Ms. Plame was covert. However, Mr. Corn claimed Mr. Novak "outed" her as an "undercover CIA officer," querying whether Bush officials blew "the cover of a U.S. intelligence officer working covertly in . . . national security." Was Mr. Corn subpoenaed? Did Mr. Fitzgerald subpoena Mr. Wilson to attest he had never revealed his wife's employment to anyone? If he had done so, he might have learned Mr. Corn's source.

It is not just Mr. Armitage who should apologize. So should Joe Wilson and Pat Fitzgerald.

They should do more than apologize. They should spend some time behind bars. And so should a few other folks, who were involved in the real conspiracy here.

Including also David Corn, the New York Times and the rest of the long sad list of America-hating "journalists" who promoted this egregious lie which aided our enemies for more than three years.

This article was posted by Steve on Friday, September 15th, 2006. Comments are currently closed.

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