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On Richard Armitage and Plame Investigation

The New York Daily News reports today that former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage may be a key witness for the Government in the case against Scooter Libby and may have incriminating evidence against Karl Rove.

Raw Story adds:

The Daily News' story comes just a day after a post by Washington insider Steve Clemons and coverage by RAW STORY which signaled that Armitage's role in the CIA leak investigation had been understated. According to Clemons, Armitage testified three times before the grand jury.

I have speculated for a while that Armitage is the person Patrick Fitzgerald refers to in pleadings as "the innocent accused." [Again here.]

Empty Wheel at The Next Hurrah and Tom Maguire have written extensively about Armitage.

Also, it's interesting to note that Libby has written in several filings that he intends to call Armitage as a defense witness. From the May 12 Libby filing (pdf):

So far, the defense has identified by name the following current and former government officials as potential defense witnesses: (1) Richard Armitage; (2) Colin Powell; (3) Stephen Hadley; (4) Bill Harlow; (5) Karl Rove; (6) Joseph Wilson; and (7) Valerie Wilson. See Mot. at 15-16. All of these persons were discussed by Mr. Libby during his grand jury testimony, and the indictment refers to the latter four either by name or by implication.

The defense seeks documents from the files of these witnesses - and others - that relate to former Ambassador Joseph Wilson's trip to Niger and his wife's role in planning it. During oral argument, defense counsel agreed to limit these requests to the category of documents that is most critical to the defense: documents created, sent or received after May 6, 2003, when the controversy relating to the "sixteen words" erupted, and certain government officials began to discuss Mr. Wilson and his wife with reporters.

In a pleading filed yesterday (pdf), Fitzgerald writes of Libby's requests for documents concerning these individuals:

With respect to documents relating to Mr. Wilson's trip, the government has declined to produce only documents that were created during the investigation and are protected from discovery pursuant to the Jencks Act, and documents which relate solely to individuals other than the defendant, including innocent accused, and have no connection with or relevance to the defendant.

So, is Armitage not only a defense witness but an unannounced Government witness for whom Fitz doesn't have to turn over his statements except as provided under the the Jencks Act? Or is he just an innocent accused with no connection or relevance to Libby?

On a related note, Tom Maguire analyzes the last round of Libby filings, in which Libby says he never saw Dick Cheney's handwritten notes on Joe Wilson's July 6 op-ed that Fitz is seeking to introduce into evidence.

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  • Re: On Richard Armitage and Plame Investigation (none / 0) (#1)
    by Che's Lounge on Sat May 20, 2006 at 08:28:01 PM EST
    Could it be the Rove/Bush camp vs the Libby/Cheney camp with Powell/Armitage coming down on one side or the other? I don't like Armitage but I acknowledge his integrity.

    Re: On Richard Armitage and Plame Investigation (none / 0) (#2)
    by squeaky on Sat May 20, 2006 at 08:40:46 PM EST
    Che's Lounge-It is very hard to tell between these creeps. Good creeps? I dunno.

    Re: On Richard Armitage and Plame Investigation (none / 0) (#3)
    by Tom Maguire on Sat May 20, 2006 at 11:03:56 PM EST
    I was chatting with a (very left) former prosecutor who assured me that perjury/obstruction infuriates prosecutors because it undermines the process. Now, my impression is that some think Fitzgerald will only go after the architects of the war (others think Congress or the voters have that job). For folks who think that Fitzgerald actually cares about obstruction of his investigation, consider this: There is an excellent chance that Armitage leaked to Woodward and Novak, but only testified about the Novak leak to the GJ; after prodding from Woodward, he went to Fitzgerald in Nov 2005 (AFTER the Libby indictment) and copped to the Woodward leak. But consider this - *SUPPOSE* Armitage also leaked to Tim Russert, that the Libby version of the Russert phone call is accurate, and that Russert gave false/misleading testimony. By waiting until after the Libby indictment, Armitage got to see the outline of Russert's testimony - he knows Russert is (subject to careful parsing) on record as not knowiong about Plame, so Armitage can go in to Fitzgerald confident that Russert has protected him. Slick, yes? And just how is Fitzgerald supposed to be sure that did *not* happen? Maybe ask them again, but real nicely? Double promise, and crossies don't count? Fitzgerald is stuck, the defense can look for reasonable doubt on this point, and all because Armitage obstructed the investigation by making it perfectly obvious that he was willing to sit back with incomplete until all the cards were exposed. Well - clearly, I have made some unprovable assumptions there - we don't know, for example, just what Fitzgerald asked Armitage. But it seems to me to be entirely likely that Fitzgerald ought to have a real beef with him.

    Re: On Richard Armitage and Plame Investigation (none / 0) (#4)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Mon May 22, 2006 at 10:30:08 AM EST
    Would someone please tell me how to pronounce "Plame." Does it rhyme with "blame," or "bomb," or is it "plah-may?"

    Re: On Richard Armitage and Plame Investigation (none / 0) (#5)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Mon May 22, 2006 at 10:32:30 AM EST
    Or perhaps like "play me?"