Friday, September 08, 2006

Fishy Smell to Latest Plame Leak Revelations

Richard Armitrage’s “regretful” revelation that he “inadvertently” shared the identity of CIA agent Valerie Plame with columnist Bob Novak in July 2003 comes at an odd time, just months before Congressional elections. His candid statement to CBS included:

"I feel terrible. Every day, I think I let down the president. I let down the secretary of state. I let down my department, my family. And I also let down Mr. and Mrs. Wilson."

What happened to all the investigations? Did they not find anything? Did the people in charge ever get the word and decide not to do anything about “the leaker”? The timeline shows:

Sept. 16, 2003: McClellan calls "totally ridiculous" the allegation that presidential adviser Karl Rove was the source of the leak.

Sept. 29, 2003: McClellan reiterates his earlier defense of Rove, adding that he had spoken to Rove about the leak.

The CNN blurb on the story also spoke to Karl’s role in the whole affair:

Novak never revealed the original source -- Armitage, who served under Secretary of State Colin Powell between 2001 and 2005. But he did confirm that President Bush's chief political strategist, Karl Rove, confirmed the confirmation and was the second source.

Sept. 28, 2003: CIA Director George J. Tenet calls on the Justice Department to investigate the leak.

Sept. 30, 2003: The Justice Department launches a full criminal investigation into the leaking of Plame's name. President Bush, speaking to reporters in Chicago, says, "If there is a leak out of my administration, I want to know who it is. And if the person has violated the law, the person will be taken care of... "

Taken care of? Yes they were, given a recliner, a hot toddy, and the chance to reveal their own name to the press sans the results of any CIA, Justice Department, or White House internal investigation.

The best of this is the follow up punch. To show Republicans really are the party of morals, Scooter Libby’s lying to the Grand Jury is due to memory deterioration. I guess the Bush team doesn’t keep a calendar, nor notes about discussions with third parties. Those memory aides, if they aren’t there, they can’t help!

As for the whole deal, there is little evidence of competent, ethical leadership. Why should I continue to be surprised?

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