THE SPINE SEPTEMBER 13, 2006
Apropos my second posting on The Spine ("Patriot Games," September 11), Robert Novak has written a column, "Real Story Behind Armitage Story," published in this morning's Chicago Sun-Times, that expands in intricate and fascinating detail the circumstances of Colin Powell's now-former-deputy secretary of state, Richard Armitage, becoming a sieve for classified information.
It wasn't actually a big thing, this leaking that Valerie Plame was a (sort of) closeted CIA intelligence official. But her husband and the war critics, abetted by the self-inflamed anti-Bush press, made of her some kind of Joan of Arc. But she was not burned at the stake, although it is likely that she did have visions. When she and hubby Joe drove around Washington in their slick, open sports car, they seemed destined for stardom ... and, at least in some quarters, for sainthood. But this depended on those who outed her being someone like Scooter Libby. Alas, for the couple, no can any longer pretend it was Libby or, for that matter, anyone else in Richard Cheney's tent who committed the crime, such as it was.
Armitage has now chosen contrition. But Novak's article shows that Armitage is still--how shall I put this gingerly?--shading the truth. What no one has yet explained, however, is why Armitage and, through him, Powell, would make trouble for someone more or less on their side of the war debate. If Armitage is truly looking for forgiveness of sin, he should go the special prosecutor and insist that he has picked on the wrong man ... or he should go public and demand that Patrick Fitzgerald withdraw the preposterous charges against Libby. That would be some measure of justice. As for Plame and Wilson, maybe they can go into the lobbying business ... although it is hard to imagine that they'd have clients, even in the event that Democrats take power in Congress and beyond.