In <em>TWN</em> News: Michael Hayden, Bobby Ray Inman, and Richard Armitage

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(Former NSA Director Bobby Inman speaking at George H.W. Bush Presidential Library)
Michael Hayden’s CIA Director confirmation hearings start today in the Senate Intelligence Committee at 9:30 a.m.
I’ll be listening.
I will be having a half hour discussion about the Hayden hearings and the NSA eavesdropping controversy on New York Public Radio, WNYC on the “Brian Lehrer Show” with Dafna Linzer of the Washington Post, Kevin Whitelaw of US News & World Report, and Holly Baily of Newsweek at 11:30 a.m.
On other fronts, I spent much of the day yesterday at a conference exploring the rise and fall of liberal internationalism in American foreign policy at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School.
It was one of the more substance-packed meetings I have been to in some time and included such personalities as Princeton University Professor and After Victory author G. John Ikenberry, Woodrow Wilson School Dean Anne-Marie Slaughter, Georgetown Professor and Council on Foreign Relations Senior Fellow Charles Kupchan, author and political provocateur Kevin Phillips, UT Austin LBJ School and former Deputy National Security Advisor James Steinberg, UT Austin Professor Peter Trubowitz, Princeton Professor and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, blogger and professor on the way to Tufts Daniel Drezner, Princeton European Program Director Andrew Moravcsik, Council on Foreign Relations Senior Fellow Walter Russell Mead, New Republic Editor-at-Large and author of the forthcoming The Good Fight Peter Beinart, and many other interesting people.
But one other who was there was former National Security Agency Director Bobby Ray Inman.
Here is where it gets complicated. Inman told many of us a number of interesting things which I am going to treat off the record.
However, he said one very provocative thing about the CIA Valerie Plame outing investigation that I have confirmed that he has stated at other venues, publicly. I don’t feel that Admiral Inman was guarded about his comments — nor did he ask anyone he was speaking to to treat his comments with discretion.
So, I am only reporting this because he said it elsewhere.
But before I get into that, Inman also had some interesting things to say about the NSA domestic spying program at a recent New York Public Library program, the transcript of which is here.
A short report on Inman’s comments:

Ex-NSA Head Bobby Ray Inman on the National Security Agency’s Domestic Surveillance Program: “This Activity Was Not Authorized”
Admiral Bobby Ray Inman has become the highest-ranking former NSA official to speak out about the domestic spy program. “There clearly was a line in the FISA statutes which says you couldn’t do this,” said Inman last week in remarks that have received little attention.
On Thursday the Senate Intelligence Committee will open its confirmation hearing for General Michael Hayden to become the next director of the CIA. Hayden is the former head of the National Security Agency who authorized the agency in 2001 to begin monitoring the phone calls of U.S. citizens without legally required court warrants.
While Hayden and the Bush administration have defended the secret domestic surveillance program, it is now being criticized by an unlikely source — a former director of the NSA. Last week Admiral Bobby Ray Inman, who headed the NSA from 1977 to 1981, spoke in New York at a forum sponsored by the New York Public Library and the Century Foundation. It was part of the library’s Live at the NYPL series.
Besides an article at the website Wired News, Inman’s statements have received almost no media attention even though he is believed to the highest ranking former NSA official to speak out about the program. At the forum he disputed the Bush administration’s claim that Congress authorized the secret spy program when it authorized the president to use force following the Sept. 11 attacks. Inman also said the program clearly contradicts the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act which Congress passed in 1978 — at the time he was head of the National Security Agency.

I think that Admiral Inman’s insights into the NSA eavesdropping program are important — and given his self-admitted penchant for candor, I think that many of his comments on other fronts are fascinating, insightful and informed by his considerable analytical abilities and high quality relationships in America’s national security bureaucracy.
But like any of us, he could be wrong.
What Inman shared with some of us — and this was a repeated assertion from comments that I have confirmed that he made in Austin — is that the person in Patrick Fitzgerald’s bull’s eye is Richard Armitage.
I have written about Armitage many times in the past and hope that this rumor is incorrect.
But I do believe that Armitage was possibly a key source for Dana Priest and Mike Allen early in the Plame outing story and wrote such in November 2005. I don’t have more information on whether Armitage was Novak’s source or not — and what legal consequences there might be, if any, if that was the case. I always assumed that Armitage was cooperating closely with Fitzgerald and would not be in any legal jeopardy.
After all, Armitage was recently knighted and a new oil firm board member.
But Inman stating this matters.
For those who attended the Princeton meetings who will no doubt read this and who may be surprised by my reporting Inman’s comments — do understand that I have been able to confirm that Admiral Inman made the same comments in other venues.
Inman stating that Richard Armitage is the target of indictment is news and could have some veracity because of who Inman is.
More later.
— Steve Clemons
Update: Here is an interesting related post by Dan Drezner who also attended the Princeton meeting which Inman attended.

Comments

98 comments on “In <em>TWN</em> News: Michael Hayden, Bobby Ray Inman, and Richard Armitage

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  16. YG Michaels says:

    The FDICs illegal wiretap program On April 14-15, 2004. I was illegally tape recorded because I quoted a verse from the Bible. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation has engaged into illegal wire tap and interception of my oral communications without a court order with the use of an unlicensed contract security guard whom lied and said he was an investigator.
    I was denied counsel. Interrogated for 3 hours. The DOJCriminal Division confirmed that the contractor didn’t have a Court Order. The wiretap office confirmed that only Federal Investigators are allowed to engaged into wiretaps; not interception of oral communications. The FDIC approved for an unlicensed contractor to place a Sony Cassette tape recorder inside a pocket book of a student intern.
    The FDICs unlicensed contractor documented how I was framed-up and conspired against. He wrote…”I again contacted JOHNSON and arranged to meet her in the lobby of 1717 H Street, NW at 12:10p.m. On April 15, 2004. We met at that time and then moved to vacant FDIC office space on the 1st floor. I placed a Sony Cassette Recorder with a 90 minute tape (45+ minutes per side) into her purse. I attached an omni directional power condenser microphone to her recorder and positioned the microphone so that it extended slightly, but unobrusively from her purse. I suggested the way in which she could begin a conversation with GIBSON-MICHAELS might be to tell her she had been thinking about what she told her the day before. I then allowed JOHNSON to look at some notes I had handwritten on a piece of paper with potential ideas on how to begin a conversation with GIBSON-MICHAELS…”
    The FDIC reiled upon evidence (tape recording)collected by a 3rd party unlicensed contractor interception of my oral communication (illegal tape recording) which is prohibited under 18 U.S.C. Code Section 119. The contractor did not have a court order, was unlicensed, and used tape recorded evidence collected against me without an attorney. The FDIC ignored evidence provided to the deciding official on January 19, 2006 to effectuate my removal from Federal Service because I quoted a bible scripture to a 25-year old intern involved in a Federal theft.
    FDIC illegally effectuated my removal from Federal Service on March 31, 2006 with the reliance on prior challenged evidence collected by a 3rd party. FDIC was not approved to engaged into a Federal Surveillance Program by the U.S. Congress or Senate.
    The FDIC had no right to engaged into a sting operation of the interception of my oral communication, 3 hour interrogation (false imprisonment/false arrest) by a fake contractor.
    Please investigate the FDICs illegal spy program against FDIC Federal Civil Service Employees without a court order. This is not an isolated incident. The FDIC must be investigated. I also blew the whistle on FDICs bank fraud, inside trading, money laundering, receivership fraud, and signatory to Enron Kenneth Lay.
    I am demanding a full investigation into FDICs illegal easedroping program, interception of my oral communications without a court order by an unlicensed contractor. FDIC now has illegally effecuated a removal of a 25-year outstanding Federal Service employee as the FDIC attempt to cover-up its Fraud, Deception, Impropriety, and Corruption (“FDIC”) Whistleblowers Must be Protected Against Retailiation and Reprisal.

    Reply

  17. pollyusa says:

    Tom & Cecil
    Yes, I was making the point that Jeffress statement could be taken to read that UGO told two reporters in mid June and that I think that reading of Jeffress statement would be incorrect.
    I think UGO told 1 reporter (Woodward) in mid June and another reporter (unknown) at some other unknown time.
    I don’t believe that Fitzgerald has said that Woodward’s source and Novak’s source are the same person. I think they probably are, but don’t think Fitzgerald has made that claim. The 3/1/06 ex parte with the redactions never says that Woodward and Novak sources are the same.

    Reply

  18. Con George-Kotzabasis says:

    It will be a fascinating subject, if not tragic, for future historians to record and make their judgments about the legal musings of some intellectuals, pundits, and political leaders, when America was under a lethal threat, whether the monitoring of the “ringing” spying phones were legal or not.
    In our contemporaneous times, when lightning speed determines so many areas in our life, especially in war against phantom enemies, such as the terrorists, to adopt primarily–all in the name of freedom from spooks, but at the expense of life–the involved, slow, and litigiously argumentative legal process, before one could fight global terror, is the apex of absurdity.
    As to Bobby Inman’s dispute that “Congress authorized the secret spy program when it authorized the president to use force following Sept. 11”, is itself not only highly disputable, but also highly illogical. That Congress would authorize the President to go to war without giving him at the same time effective means to fight the enemy in all fields of battle, including the spying field, is beyond credulity. And if Congress did not give him the authority, then this dereliction of its duty had somehow to be corrected by the President.
    Yet it’s by such absurdities that the critics of the Bush administration are making their case.

    Reply

  19. Tom Maguire says:

    Ok, got it – my point was that the Mystery Man apparently told one reporter in mid-June (presumably Woodward), and another in July (probably Novak).
    For Ari to have provided both leaks, he would have had to know about Plame in mid-June.
    (I happen to think Ari leaked to Pincus. BTW).

    Reply

  20. Cecil Turner says:

    You’re talking past each other. TM is saying Fleischer couldn’t be the source, because he didn’t know in time to leak to Woodward in mid-June. Polly is saying (correctly) only one of the leaks was in mid-June, but that doesn’t answer TM’s objection. I think you’re both right (especially since Armitage-as-UGO is bolstered by the document redaction evidence).

    Reply

  21. pollyusa says:

    Tom
    No question official one told Woodward in mid June.
    I’m saying the second reporter that Jeffress refered to probably wasn’t told in mid June.
    First, there is the identify of a particular government official, obviously not in the White House, who told two reporters as early as mid-June of 2003 about Mrs. Wilson.

    Reply

  22. Tom Maguire says:

    Polly, you’re rarely wrong, but this time I think you aren’t right.
    Fitzgerald said Libby was the “first known” leaker in his press conference (and later said, roughly, “first leaker”.)
    Howver – that was before Woodward came forward in November, after the indictment.
    Woodward admitted to receiving a leak in mid-June, and explained that he came forward (and exhorted his source to come forward) in part because he was troubled by Fitzgerald’s erroneous timeline.
    So the mid-June reference in the courtroom was almost surely to Woodward.
    This WaPo story has flaws about just what “innocent accused” is being protected (as Jeff noted above), but they have the other stuff.

    Reply

  23. pollyusa says:

    Tom
    First, there is the identify of a particular government official, obviously not in the White House, who told two reporters as early as mid-June of 2003 about Mrs. Wilson.
    If the second reporter Jeffress refers to is Novak, then Novak couldn’t have known before June 24, 2004 because Fitz said that Libby was the first to tell reporters and the earliest that could be is Miller on 6/23.
    If the second reporter refered to by Jeffress as being told by mid June is not Novak, then we have another reporter to consider. Again this reporter couldn’t have heard before 6/24 unless this second reporter was unknown to Fitz.
    I think Jeffress likely meant to say something more like “who told two reporters, one as early as mid-June”, Jeffress goes on to say this in that same hearing.
    And here is a key person, the first person that we know of, according to the evidence, actually discussed Mr. Wilson’s wife’s employment with a reporter and not only did it then but did it again with a separate reporter later.
    2/24/06 Hearing
    I guess I’m saying I wouldn’t hang my hat on the second reporter being told in mid June. Could even be July.

    Reply

  24. Tom says:

    Armitage being knighted means absolutely nothing in his favor legally.

    Reply

  25. p.lukasiak says:

    2) I would describe Inman’s knowledge of this as coming from sources who would be/would have been in a position to know the fact chain on these events. It’s not simply that a former NSA head still has automatic inside info privileges.
    which leads me to believe that Inman is talking out his ass. The only people who know who the “targets” are are Fitz and his people, and the targets themselves and their lawyers. Inman probably has scuttlebutt concerning Armitage being involved in at least one “leak”, and is concluding that makes Armitage a “target” of the investigation.
    Steve…. are you certain that Inman knows the legal distinctions between a “witness”, a “subject”, and a “target” when it comes to grand jury proceedings?
    IMHO, this has the stench of a deliberate distraction from the upcoming news on a Rove indictment. Steve is too much of an insider to just drop this little bombshell (going to the trouble to investigate whether Inman had made the same claim publicly in order to disclose what was part of an otherwise “off-the-record” conversation, no less!) for there not to be more to this story….

    Reply

  26. Tom Maguire says:

    Since Libby claims not to have told Ari Fleischer about Wilson’s wife, it’s understandable that Libby’s lawyers would be inclined not to credit him as having been a source for Novak.
    Yes, but – do you think they are lying to the judge in open court, in contradiction of facts known to the judge?
    The judge knows exactly to whom they are referring, even though we do not, and they ostensibly do not.
    Here is what they said:
    First, there is the identify of a particular government official, obviously not in the White House, who told two reporters as early as mid-June of 2003 about Mrs. Wilson.
    How did Ari know about Plame in mid-June? Not from his July 7 lunch with Libby.

    Reply

  27. an informed source says:

    Conventional inside the beltway wisdom and widely believed rumors:
    * Armitage is the only senior figure who has not denied leaking to Novak
    * Armitage fits Novak’s description as “no partisan gunslinger”
    * OVP was separately briefing
    * Armitage’s leak was not malacious
    * Armitage was not part of any administration plan
    * OVP’s briefings were malacious
    * There is a memo involved
    * The memo is authored by armitage
    * This memo may have been seen by fleischer on a plane
    * This controversy is why Armitage has not replaced Donald Rumsfeld as Sec Def

    Reply

  28. prabhata says:

    Libby has been trying to implicate Armitage to save his sorry little ass. Libby or perhaps Rove might be the original source of the Armitage gossip that is now being repeated by Inman.

    Reply

  29. donailin says:

    and Pat Fitzgerald remains the man of the hour. Who can hold a candle to his poker skills?
    No one.

    Reply

  30. Swopa says:

    Since Libby claims not to have told Ari Fleischer about Wilson’s wife, it’s understandable that Libby’s lawyers would be inclined not to credit him as having been a source for Novak (especially right after having lunch with Libby).

    Reply

  31. daCascadian says:

    Quite the cute meandering ego driven back and forth here this afternoon/evening
    I doubt many of you folks know half as much as you think you do
    “Proof depends on who you are. We’re looking for a preponderance of evidence, and some people need more of a preponderance than other people.” – John

    Reply

  32. Tom Maguire says:

    Steve – I Know What You Did Last Summer, or at least, I know Dan Drezner heard the same thing from Bobby Ray:
    1) I can confirm Inman’s statements as Clemons reports them. I can confirm them because Inman made these assertions (and others that, like Steve, I will treat as off the record) to me and the others at my lunch table on the second day of the conference.
    2) I would describe Inman’s knowledge of this as coming from sources who would be/would have been in a position to know the fact chain on these events. It’s not simply that a former NSA head still has automatic inside info privileges.
    As to Ari Fleischer – I had a brief crush on him at one time, but this bit from a Feb 2006 court hearing is tough to reconcile with that. The speaker is a Libby attorney:
    First, there is the identify of a particular government official, obviously not in the White House, who told two reporters as early as mid-June of 2003 about Mrs. Wilson.
    …If you take official one, for example. Official one — we know of two reporters that official one talked to. And you know, and I don’t mean, and by the way we talked about innocent accused. And certainly I’m not here to tell you that official one did anything wrong whatsoever. But we do know that he did discuss Ms. Wilson with at least two reporters.
    How many others did he discussed it with? How many others discussed it with him? We don’t have a single piece of information from the government as to what official one said about that. We presume that they have interviewed official one and we presume that he has testified . But we don’t know that and we don’t know a single thing that he has said about that. How would we investigate? We would go talk to official one. If official one won’t talk to us, we would serve him with a trial subpoena. Right now since we don’t even who he is, we can’t even serve him with a trial subpoena.
    I am quite confident that the defense has received discovery material on Flesicher. As to their description of the official as “not in the White House”, I suppose that is ambiguous, since Ari has left.
    And I would like to add – Jeff is slowly winning hearts and minds with his point that this “innocent accused” caveat may *not* mean that “official one” is permanently off the hook.

    Reply

  33. Swopa says:

    If Armitage talked about Wilson’s wife to both Woodward and Novak, he should be under Fitz’s microscrope — whether he was part of a conscious smear campaign or not, he was blabbing about classified information to multiple reporters, and tried to hide one of the conversations from prosecutors.
    Which is exactly why I don’t think he was a source for Novak … if he was, IMO he wouldn’t have been foolish enough to hide the Woodward conversation, especially after Bob W. brought it up to him.
    It seems clear to me from the sequence of events in the Libby indictment that Novak’s first “senior administration source” was Fleischer. Novak called Ari, then Libby had lunch with him and told him what to say to Novak.

    Reply

  34. Cecil Turner says:

    . . . the “fact” she sent Wilson to Niger on a junket . . .
    The way Novak said it, “Wilson’s wife suggested sending him to Niger.” And that would appear to be a fact . . . no scare quotes required.

    Reply

  35. Tom Maguire says:

    Well, “gospel” may mean something else to a secularist…
    Some of the Libby court filings do have a distinct “Get Grossman” feel, which certainly did not subtract from the Leopold suggestion/”report”.

    Reply

  36. marky says:

    Remember,
    Novak’s original column had three separate pieces of information. Swopa at Needlenose.com has written about this in detail.
    I don’t quite remember how it parses, but the fact Wilson’s wife was at the CIA, the fact her name was Plame, and the “fact” she sent Wilson to Niger on a junket are apparently things that Novak learned from distinct sources.

    Reply

  37. Cecil Turner says:

    Finally, I just note that one of the quirks of Maguire’s commenters is that they love/hate the Leopold debacle, but are happy to accept his reporting as gospel when it is something that serves their worldview – i.e. Grossman as 1x2x6.
    Yeah, Jeff, we’re always three days behind on this sort of thing:Do we have any other source besides Leopold for the Grossman= Mr 1x2x6? Or do we need to re-think that bit as well?

    Reply

  38. Kathleen says:

    Carroll,
    MMMMMM, MMMMM, good!!!

    Reply

  39. joe says:

    May 18, 2006
    Steve,
    General William Odom, former Director of NSA, doesn’t ” .. see justification for them..” “them” meaning warrantless wiretapping and use of torture.
    http://www.moreliberty.org/more_liberty/2006/week10/index.html
    On March 2, 2006, General Odom spoke to congressional staff members as guest of The Liberty Committee.
    General Odom opened his remarks by saying, “I think we’re in a time of strategic drift and dwarfish leaders.”

    Reply

  40. RichF says:

    Listen to you guys!
    Whatever else may be true about Armitage, Inman, etc., I would urge caution in taking Bob Woodward’s word on anything involving Fitzgerald’s work. It’s likely most readers here know that Woodward made numerous, public, consciously false assertions about Fitzgerald’s investigation — while he was, in fact, leaked to. Don’t believe for a minute that’s the limit of Woodward’s lack of forthrightness.

    Reply

  41. RichF says:

    Dude cited Pacifica Radio…. Can I get a witness?

    Reply

  42. Shaneekwa says:

    Has Ann-Marie Slaughter wiped the egg off her face from her public spat with Philip Allott in 2003? Very messy.

    Reply

  43. Jeff says:

    emptywheel – There is some ambiguity in the relevant transcripts, but at least Judge Walton in the 2-24-06 hearing makes it very clear that the business about innocent accused relates most directly precisely to a case that is still open, where it is unclear who is and who is not going to end up being in legal jeopardy and who is going to be fully exonerated. His point seems to be that you need to protect innocent accused in an open investigation not because they are definitively innocent, but precisely because they are not. It’s true that Fitzgerald at one point appears to refer to official one – i.e. Armitage – as innocent, but it may just be in this context. And in any case, Walton ruled against Team Libby’s effort to get info on who official one is on the basis that it was too attenuated to his case, not specifically because official one was innocent.
    But we’ll see.

    Reply

  44. reticulant says:

    We’re not sure why Inman — crème de la crème of Texas cracker barrel crud — rates such credibility on matters Fitzgerald just because of Inman’s “spooky” past.
    That Armitage may be Woodward’s source on Plame would not surprise, given the former’s previous and apparent utility to Woodward in the latter’s books; which may also explain, in part, Woodward’s credulous blather that leaking Plame’s name was all innocence, the stuff of watercooler gossip that someone like Armitage might innocently pass along. Armitage is not and never was part of veep’s “get Wilson” cabal. But Armitage the talking puppet of marionnettes counting on Armitage’s tendency to blab? Very credible.
    If Armitage was anywhere close to indictment, we’d expect charges related to the accuracy or veracity of his testimony; literally similar to Libby, but substantively dissimilar re original motive or intent.

    Reply

  45. emptywheel says:

    Not much to add to what Jim E and Jeff have been saying, since we’ve discussed this ad infinitum.
    But I would point out that Fitzgerald has made pains, on numerous occasions, to imply that Mr. X is an Innocent Accused (at least as it relates to leaking Plame’s identity). Call me crazy, but I put a lot more stock in what Fitzgerald is saying than what someone–however powerful and well-connected–who doesn’t have an obvious link to the people who actually WOULD know if Fitz’ case had Armitage in its sites (Fitz, Novak, Woodward, and Armitage).

    Reply

  46. Dennis Eros says:

    Why would Armitage lend his weight to a Cheney smear campaign? He is one of the neocons and member of the Project of the New American Century who called for the Iraqi war in September 2000.

    Reply

  47. Carroll says:

    Birds of a feather flock together:
    Armitage is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.
    One of the signers of the January 26, 1998, Project for the New American Century PNAC letter.
    A former board member for CACI International, the private military contractor, which “is being investigated by no less than 5 US agencies for possible contract violations” and “employed four interrogators at Abu Ghraib prison” in Iraq.
    One of the Iran-Contra plotters.
    Board member of Database Technologies (DBT)/ChoicePoint Inc before taking office under George Bush Jr.
    U.S. Government stipulations in the Oliver North trial specifically named Armitage as one of the DoD officials responsible for illegal transfers of weapons to Iran and the Contras.
    He’s overdue for jail time. Get him Fitz.

    Reply

  48. Kathleen says:

    I saw the Wayne Madsen Report on May 19th for Rove’s indictment and a possible obstruction of justice charge for Luskin.
    Now woooooodn’t that be loverrrrrly? Keep um coming, Fitz. The more the merrier. He who laughs last, laughs best, and then some.

    Reply

  49. Karl says:

    Free! I’m still Free!!!

    Reply

  50. Jim E. says:

    Another thing that Jeff and Tom Maguire didn’t mention (but each is aware of) is that the name “Armitage” fits several of the redacted spaces in some of Fizgerald’s documents in the case that have been made public.
    So Inman’s comments about Armitage do not at all appear off base. That Inman is making the Armitage-Plame connection, as opposed to speculative bloggers, makes Clemons’ story newsworthy.
    I agree with Jeff that Armitage is probably in hot water for misleading Fitzgerald about his contacts with reporters, not necessarily for outing Plame.

    Reply

  51. Tom Maguire says:

    Hmm, it was more credible as Wayne Madesen…
    Did the Grossman as the One buzz come from Leopold? Kill me now.

    Reply

  52. vachon says:

    that’s Wayne Madsen.

    Reply

  53. vachon says:

    Wayne Madesen reporting that Luskin has been advised he is under investigation and Rove announcement tomorrow.
    http://www.waynemadsenreport.com

    Reply

  54. Kathleen says:

    There is no numerical limit to how many snakes Fitz can catch. Just because Novak cites two administration sources, doesn’t mean that this investigation will not lead to many other crimes against the State. If the WHIG conspired to discredit Ambassador Wilson and further were involved in procuring the Niger forgeries, then it will be fun and games for the whole damned lot of them, whoever the hell they are. The leak is just the opening crime.

    Reply

  55. NSA says:

    Yeah, we’re listening.

    Reply

  56. Jeff says:

    Listen to Tom Maguire. Listen but verify. I would add to or modify his account of Armitage’s motivation in June-July 2003 by observing that a good part of the point of the June INR memo, which is a likely candidate for where Armitage learned of Plame from, was to defend State, and INR in particular, from any role in the reception and (non)dissemination of the results of WIlson’s trip. Wilson had suggested that he’d briefed State as well as CIA. The INR memo, in addition to scoring points against the White House by noting State’s skepticism on the whole prewar Niger story, makes sure to defend itself from claims that it got Wilson’s report and should have told the White House, or from any suggestion that it held it back to set up the White House, or hedge, or whatnot.
    So the point is that INR, and State more generally, were pissed at Wilson for what he was saying about State in June 2003, not just pissed at CIA for insisting on the trip back in 2002. This is part of why it’s important to remember that it’s not the neocons against the (leftwing) world, represented by Joe Wilson and encompassing the State Department he had worked for.
    Finally, I just note that one of the quirks of Maguire’s commenters is that they love/hate the Leopold debacle, but are happy to accept his reporting as gospel when it is something that serves their worldview – i.e. Grossman as 1x2x6. But I also take it Clemons’ suggestion is that we don’t have to go below Armitage even one notch to find 1.

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  57. John says:

    I honestly don’t see how Inman could know where the investigation is heading, does someone in the CIA know the facts better than Fitzgerald, does Fitzgerald leak to the CIA? (Of course it’s easy to get conspiratorial when the CIA is involved.)
    Inman could actually be one of those bloggers on JustOneMinute! (It’s pretty fun thinking of public figures getting grumpy and rude on blogs.)

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  58. Tom Maguire says:

    Well – let me add, listen to Jeff, and listen to Dwilkers when he says to listen to Jeff (Listening to Dwilkers is not a bad play, either, but that is off topic).
    As to Armitage leaking to Woodward and possibly Novak – the EmptyWheel at The Next Hurrah has a left-friendly explanation of how that may have happened.
    My two cent explanation of an Armitage leak to Woodward and/or Novak is this – set aside for a moment Wilson’s characterization of this as a Cheney smear. The INR (State’s Intel branch, sorry if that’s obvious) was peeved with the CIA, which was more hawkish then the INR on Saddam’s nuclear aspirations, and which had misplaced the INR dissent when the NIE was put together in Oct 2002.
    The INR had also objected to the concept of the Wilson trip – they thought it would be inconclusive and duplicate their own Ambassador’s recent report (that is basically in the SSCI.)
    So, when folks asked Armitage about the Niger reporting and the Wilson trip, he would mention the spousal connection to knock the CIA – I’m guessing at his level of snark, but something like “These CIA guys are so under-staffed and over their head in Africa that one of their staffers actually had to recruit her husband, one of our guys, for this trip. Ask State for help, but ignore the INR – your CIA in action”.
    Bonus thought – the latest wrinkle seesm to be that Marc Grossman, one of Armitage’s immediate underlings, may have been the One in the 1 x 2 x 6 leak. Folks have the same issue with that – maybe he was pointing folks away from his boss.
    Anyway – lots of newsies are mentioned in the post, such as Dan Drezner and some TNR guys. Did Inman make the Armitage comment in the full forum, where they heard it too, or was it a semi-private chat?
    Not that I don’t trust you, but I think that Inman is making news here and no one wants another Leopold debacle. Well, we’re a long way from that – I have never heard anyone have a problem with Steve Clemons – but still. “Trust but verify”, as someone or other liked to say.
    Relatedly, is there any way you can document the Austin comment? I presume not, or you would have provided a link, but I thought I’d ask.

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  59. mlaw230 says:

    A theory: Perhaps we are struggling to hard to vindicate Armitage but what appears curious is that other than Novak, the story picked up in the media seems to have been “the War against Wilson” angle rather than the “junket to Niger” idea pushed by the OVP. At that time the media was virtually an armof the governemnt so it is a bit unusual that it would have spun the story 180 degrees all on its own.
    Consequently, Armitage may have got word of the plan to smear Wilson, and also been told that “Everyone knows” that Plame was CIA, so the story he was leaking may actually have been the counter- story that there was a war against Wilson as an effort to push back against CIA. If i his efort to counter the smear, and believing “everybody already knew” he could have unwittingly been the first source to some journalists, i.e. they were playing him just like they were playing the journos.
    BTW, had this not been a shot across the bow of the CIA, rather than Wilson, there is no reason that Plame’s cover employment would have been leaked as well. So, although Armitage may have just been carrying the Administration’s water, in part to protect his boss Powell (who must have known that some of the intel was bogus)he could alsohave been trying to expose the story as a smear.

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  60. Marica says:

    An extremely interesting post.
    I don’t want to change the subject but the dismal Senate hearing headed by the even more dismal Pat Robertson is ongoing and makes it dreadfully clear to what point every American citizen is on his own, represented by no one.
    There is nothing between us and the long slide down. This cotton candy Senate is there for all to see.

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  61. Jeff says:

    Dwilkers – Sorry for overreacting. I thought you were pulling what I was saying in a different direction. My mistake. Sorry.

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  62. Jeffhiltzik says:

    Listen to Jeff.

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  63. Dwilkers says:

    Well pardon me for saying you were right Jeff. I promise not to do it again.

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  64. Jeff says:

    Do not listen to Dwilkers. He is mischaracterizing what I have said, and is one of a number of commentators at Tom Maguire’s place who think, ludicrously, that OVP was the victim in all of this. And even more ludicrously, some of them don’t appreciate the fact that Armitage is a rock solid Republican and full-on member of the Bush administration in 2003 (and Armitage of course continues to do lots of freelance diplomatic work for the Bush administration while he avoids talking to the American press). Some of them are in utter denial about the significance of the new revelation that Cheney was passing Libby notes on Wilson’s July 6 2003 op-ed article immediate after its publication detailing exactly the key piece of the hit on the Wilsons – the claim that Wilson’s trip was nepotism on the part of his CIA wife. Tom Maguire himself is a different story, and had the honesty to be rather deflated by that revelation. It drove many of his regular commentators almost literally crazy when that happened.
    The INR memo from June 2003 made clear that State was no more enamored of Joe Wilson than OVP.

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  65. Dwilkers says:

    Listen to Jeff.
    Armitage (if he truly is UGO and Woodward’s source) has nothing to do with the OVP pushback. Armitage’s motive was the State pushback.

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  66. Jeff says:

    I have been saying for a while that there’s no obvious reason why Woodward’s source wouldn’t be in trouble, though no one has seemed to agree with me, on right or left. But the obvious thing he – that is, Armitage – would be in trouble for would not be for the leak, but for obstruction-type charges. We know that Armitage testified in the case, and apparently testified to being a source for Novak, but failed to say anything about being Woodward’s source. That didn’t come out until just after Libby was indicted, when Armitage went to Fitzgerald essentially because Woodward pressured him. We also know from Woodward that Armitage did not simply forget about being his source, since twice between their June 2003 conversation and October-November 2005, when Armitage went forward to Fitzgerald, Woodward pushed Armitage about going public or anyway talked with him about their Plame conversation. One remaining question is whether Fitzgerald asked Armitage any questions where the response would have been a downright lie in omitting mention of the Woodward conversation. Either way, I suspect, Armitage may be on the hook for obstruction-type charges (whether it be perjury, false statements, and/or obstruction etc).
    If Armitage is 1x2x6 – that is, Priest and Allen’s source for the famous September 28, 2003 story – things really don’t look so good for him, as that story looks more like an effort to direct attention to some of the other leakers and away from him. As for underlying crimes, we don’t know nearly enough. But there are several possibilities. One is that there was not a concerted effort on the part of Armitage in conjunction with OVP. There were different things going on. And then once Armitage realized he might be in trouble, he executed a very effective redirection toward the White House. Another is the possibility that OVP knew Armitage was talking about this, and capitalized on that fact – this has been, I think, a working hypothesis of emptywheel’s over at thenexthurrah. And finally, there’s the possibility of active cooperation with OVP on Armitage’s part, though I consider this the least likely possibility. But in any case, we know far too little about Armitage’s role in the original leaks to say confidently what’s going on in that regard.

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  67. lugbolt says:

    Machiavellian. Nothing is as it seems.

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  68. Steve Clemons says:

    Ben — I am confused too. In this case, I’m only issuing what Inman shared in multiple venues. I can’t comment beyond that because I don’t see how this makes sense either. I am putting this out because of who Inman is — and need to ask others who have been following this closer than I have to either destroy the notion or see whether it makes some sense in ways we had not considered.
    Steve Clemons

    Reply

  69. Ben Rosengart says:

    Very confusing. Why would Armitage have lent his weight to a Cheney smear campaign? It doesn’t add up.

    Reply

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