"It was a terrible error on my part," Armitage told The New York Times. "There wasn't a day when I didn't feel like I had let down the president, the secretary of state, my colleagues, my family and the Wilsons. I value my ability to keep state secrets. This was bad and I really felt badly about this."
Armitage was the first person to discuss the identity of former CIA official Valerie Plame with reporters after her husband, former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, criticized the Bush administration's Iraq policy in a New York Times opinion piece.
Knowingly disclosing the identity of a covert CIA agent is against the law, but no officials have been charged with leaking Plame's identity to the news media in 2003.
Former vice presidential aide Lewis "Scooter" Libby has been charged with lying to investigators as they sought to find out who leaked Plame's identity. Armitage is expected to be a witness at his perjury trial, according to a court motion by the defense.
Armitage said he wanted to disclose his role in the leak as soon as he realized he was the main source for a Robert Novak column which named Plame as a CIA intelligence officer, the Times reported.
But he told the newspaper he kept quiet at the request of Patrick Fitzgerald, the prosecutor investigating the leak.
Please, somebody tell me if I'm misunderstanding here, but according to this guy he went to Fitzgerald at the very beginning and told him he was the inadvertent source of the leak???
And if this is true, why the big investigation?
Does anybody else feel like once again some nudge is falling on his sword for Bush?
There's this from the New York Times:
The revelation tells us something important. But, unfortunately, it is not the answer to the central question in the investigation — whether there was an organized attempt by the White House to use Mrs. Wilson to discredit or punish her husband, Joseph Wilson. A former diplomat, Mr. Wilson debunked the claim that Saddam Hussein tried to buy uranium from Niger to make nuclear weapons.
Mr. Armitage, a White House outsider, would be an odd participant in such a plot. He is said to have learned from a State Department memo that Mrs. Wilson had recommended sending her husband to check the Niger story since he had worked there as a diplomat. The memo was prepared for Mr. Cheney, who was eager to prove that there was an Iraqi nuclear weapons program and to silence critics.
It’s conceivable that Patrick Fitzgerald, the federal prosecutor, has evidence that suggests the information in the memo was used in some illegal manner. Or his investigators may have learned something troubling about the second, unknown, source cited in Mr. Novak’s column, or about some other illegal activity. But whatever it is needs to be made public. The Armitage story is mainly a reminder that this investigation has gone on too long.
While this page opposed calls for reviving the special prosecutor law for this case, we did say that someone outside the White House orbit should be in charge, rather than Attorney General John Ashcroft. Like most others, we saw Mr. Fitzgerald as a good choice. Now we fear he has succumbed to the prosecutor’s foot-dragging disease. He kept the case open after I. Lewis Libby, Mr. Cheney’s chief of staff, was indicted. At the time he hinted that he would have more to say on the original crime he was investigating. That was last October.
It’s time for Mr. Fitzgerald to provide answers or admit that this investigation has run its course. Otherwise, he risks being lumped in with the special prosecutor who spent a decade investigating the former Clinton cabinet member Henry Cisneros, and wound up with nothing more than his conviction that he had yet to get to the bottom of things.
The part I bolded may be the answer to my question - if Fitzgerald knew all along this guy was the primary source of the leak, why the circus? Unless, of course, he knows something we don't about the other source.
Edited by Rhea, 07 September 2006 - 11:08 PM.