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Iskikoff: Novak and Woodward's Source May Be the Same

Michael Isikoff and Evan Thomas, writing for Newsweek, suggest that Novak's source and Woodward's source are the same, and that former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage is the likely suspect. Their reasoning:

  • He is no partisan gunslinger as Novak described his source
  • He's been a frequent source for Woodward
  • He has thus far refused to give a denial
  • Woodward has indicated he knows Novak's source
  • He had access to the information

Andrea Mitchell said on Tim Russert's Saturday show the day after the Libby Indictment (via Lexis.com):

There was a State Department memo that was circulated on Air Force One back in July '03, that day when the president was flying to Africa. And that memo very clearly was labeled with an X on the lead paragraph that describes...Meaning secret, so it was classified. It was faxed aboard Air Force One by Armitage, the deputy, to Colin Powell. Powell then showed it to Ari Fleischer and to other officials. It was also sent to the White House. So there was a large circle of officials in the National Security Council and on board the plane and back in the White House who had seen that memo and were then aware...

The memo was written because the State Department, undersecretary named Marc Grossman, said, `I'm getting questions from Dick Cheney's office,' from Scooter Libby and from the vice president's office, `about Valerie Plame and Joe Wilson's trip.' And so Marc Grossman goes to the State Department's intelligence official, unnamed, still possibly covert--not sure about that--who had participated in the meetings a year earlier when Wilson and Mrs. Wilson were all talking about the trip over at the agency. He had been the State Department's representative that day at the CIA, and Grossman says, `Write a memo about exactly what happened that day, so that we have something to show the vice president's office.' And so he wrote it out a year later, to the best of his recollection, what Wilson's role was, what Mrs. Wilson's role was. And it's that memo that widened the circulation about the whole thing. ....The State Department agreed with Wilson's description of his findings [of the Niger claim] that it was unambiguously a false report.

As an aside, also interesting is Andrea Mitchell's statement as to her own involvement:

MITCHELL: You know, I should have spoke--'cause there's been a lot blogged about all of this--I was called by the CIA because it was erroneously reported in The Washington Post that I was the recipient of the leak before Novak's column came out, and I had not been. So I was never questioned because I simply told the FBI--and, you know, NBC put out a statement that night--that I had not been a recipient of the leak; in fact, I had learned about it from Novak's column like everyone else. Then after the fact, a lot of us had gotten calls and conversations with people, you know, `Hey, how about the Novak column?' But that was after the fact.

Back to Armitage, the LA Times reported on August 25, 2005:

After a June 12 Washington Post story made reference to the Niger uranium inquiry, Armitage asked intelligence officers in the State Department for more information. He was forwarded a copy of a memo classified "Secret" that included a description of Wilson's trip for the CIA, his findings, a brief description of the origin of the trip and a reference to "Wilson's wife."

The memo was kept in a safe at the State Department along with notes from an analyst who attended the CIA meeting at which Wilson was suggested for the Niger assignment. Those with top security clearance at State, like their counterparts in the White House, had been trained in the rules about classified information. They could not be shared with anyone who did not have the same clearance.

Less than a month later, Wilson went public with his charges. The next day, July 7, this memo and the notes were removed from the safe and forwarded to Powell via a secure fax line to Air Force One. Powell was on the way to Africa with the president, and his aides knew the secretary would be getting questions.

Time Magazine reported on August 8, 2005 (lexis.com):

A source familiar with the memo says neither Powell nor Armitage spoke to the White House about it until after July 6. John McLaughlin, then deputy head of the CIA, confirms that the White House asked about the Wilson trip, but can't remember exactly when.

The AP on July 19, 2005 (lexis.com):

Armitage called Ford after Wilson's op-ed piece in The New York Times and his TV appearance on July 6, 2003 in which he challenged the White House's claim that Iraq had purchased uranium yellowcake from Niger. Armitage asked that Powell, who was traveling to Africa with Bush, be given an account of the Wilson trip, said the former official.

The original June 2003 memo was readdressed to Powell and included a short summary prepared by an analyst who was at a 2002 CIA meeting where Wilson's trip was arranged and was sent in one piece to Powell on Air Force One the next day.

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  • I'd never ask people not to parse language, but the close-grained analysis Isikoff and Thomas do seems kind of silly when at least one of the players involved has demonstrably lied about it.

    Isikoff has been anything but reliable on the Fitzgerald investigation, pretty much just a stenographer for Rove's lawyer a few weeks back. Andrea Mitchell is even worse, she helped spread the lie about it being common knowledge among the DC press that Plame was a CIA agent long before Novak's column ran. So this whole Armitage tie-in looks to be a pathetic disinformation ploy to hide Woodward's actual source.

    Re: Iskikoff: Novak and Woodward's Source May Be t (none / 0) (#3)
    by joejoejoe on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:06:18 PM EST
    The Sunday Times of London is reporting that Steven Hadley is Woodward's source.
    Security adviser named as source in CIA scandal Michael Smith and Sarah Baxter THE mysterious source who gave America’s foremost journalist, Bob Woodward, a tip-off about the CIA agent at the centre of one of Washington’s biggest political storms was Stephen Hadley, the White House national security adviser, according to lawyers close to the investigation.
    Is many ways if Hadley goes down it's worse for the President than Rove, as Steve Soto covers in detail in this fine piece at The Left Coaster.

    Someone please help me out. If there is an additional source why isn't the White house taking some kind of action. Wouldn't it be logical for the Preznit to be concerned one of his top officials is a leaker and continues working for him and maybe is still leaking. Is Armitage still in the Loop? Is he under suspicion in the WH. Does he come to work everyday saying "I didn't leak" to his secretary and anyone he meets at the water cooler?

    Sorry I meant Hadley.

    Re: Iskikoff: Novak and Woodward's Source May Be t (none / 0) (#6)
    by joejoejoe on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:06:18 PM EST
    ED Beckmann - The story just broke today in London. It hasn't been confirmed yet by the WH. My guess is that they will confirm shortly. There are so many stories breaking it's hard to keep straight. - Scanlon flips on Abramoff - LATimes says the Germans told the US Curveball was an unstable alcoholic liar and BushCo used him anyway as a single source for many of their claims - Hadley is the leaker and likely Novak's second source - Iraq still on fire Yikes.

    Re: Iskikoff: Novak and Woodward's Source May Be t (none / 0) (#7)
    by alapip on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:06:18 PM EST
    IF Armitage was the original leaker, what was his motivation, considering he was not one of the 'Bushies'? Is it possible he was leaking in order to get the word out that the Niger Documents had been found to be most likely fraudulent, and had included the fact that Wilson's wife was employed by the CIA, (as a confidential addendum), to give additional weight to his intended message - that the Bush Administration was intentionally using discredited information to push the war? When one is hoping to be believed it is generally a good idea to include potentially negative information to your intended goal. The idea being, "even though this is true, THIS is true". Ultimately, his knowing of the potentially upcoming appearance before the U.N. of his boss, Colin Powell supporting action in Iraq, and of the reputation of Powell of being honest, ethical and unfortunately being positioned for USE by the Administration could, logically, make Armitage take the action of leaking to Woodward and Novak. He, in my opinion, may have been simply trying to protect Gen. Powell's reputation. Of course, if I'm right, it obviously didn't work. His boss's career is pretty much over.

    Has anyone else begun to think that Woodward is not the "hero" he has been portrayed to be? Why is he on the inside of the two most corrupt anti-democratic administrations in modern American history? Doesn't it seem plausible, given his criticisms of Fitzgerald while lying about what he really knew that Woodward has been a part of both cover-ups, gladly keeping a lid on the most heinous plans of Nixon and the post-Nixon cronies now back in power? Didn't Woodward work in Navy intel before he became a "journalist?" His conduct re Plame is so transparent that I think we ought to start looking back to see whether he really was the grand "Revelator" of Watergate, or ballast to keep the ship from catching too much speed. He is not likely to have made the radical change commonly percieved; it is much more likely that his stripes have not changed, espcially given the seriousness of the Plame lies and his recent flaming of Fitzgeral. A much better fit is that he's been a part of the Nixon-Bush-military-Haliburton propaganda machine all along.