Then Powell stood up.
Powell said that Armitage responded to a question by Novak about Wilson, saying "I think she works for the CIA..."Perfect timing. Tom Maguire just highlighted comments from Novak's new book, where he discusses that infamous meeting as follows:
I then asked Armitage a question that had been puzzling me but, for the sake of my future peace of mind, would better have been left unasked.Novak claims Armitage made reference to his quip being "real Evans and Novak" stuff, which he took to mean it was intentional. Back to Aspen:
Why would the CIA send Joseph Wilson, not an expert in nuclear proliferation and with no intelligence experience, on the mission to Niger?
"Well," Armitage replied, "you know his wife works at CIA, and she suggested that he be sent to Niger." "His wife works at CIA?" I asked. "Yeah, in counterproliferation."
Powell said that Armitage later called him and told him he had been the one who had talked to Novak about Wilson. Powell and Armitage then met with the FBI on the matterBut what Powell apparently didn't explain was why Armitage was confirming such a thing to begin with, in an "Evans and Novak" kind of way, or why he told Bob Woodward the same nearly a month earlier (a discussion withheld from the prosecutor). It's been assumed all along he was just a gossip... a gossip with a top secret security clearance.
He also didn't elaborate on why the prosecutor, after learning that the gossip had been less than candorous, seemingly had no curiosity as to whether other reporters might have been informed. Or perhaps it never mattered because "no crime had been committed" by the good guys. Libby, however, was another matter.
The General also didn't explain why his deputy was suddenly meeting with Novak after refusing many previous requests for interviews in the past. He didn't touch on why their meeting with the prosecutor was kept quiet from Bush, since the prez had stated that anyone associated with the leak would be fired. But remember, there was no crime!
Whatever, the irony in that place must have been dripping from the walls. Recall that Aspens were mentioned in Scooter Libby's odd jailhouse letter to Judy Miller years earlier when begging her to testify. Not only that, but many Plameologists believe Andrea Mitchell, also in attendance, might possibly know more than claimed. After all, she and hubby are good friends with the Colin Powells. Everything is so cozy and professional in DC.
It's tempting to dismiss this whole thing as a typical Washington ego spat and go back to watching TV. The difference here is a war, possible coup or coverup, and the relative accuracy in media, stuff like that.
Maybe one day the time period between May and July 2003 will be scrutinized closely by historians. Thanks to Saddam's duplicity many houses were in disarray--the administration was beginning to panic that WMDs would not be found (assuming they ever expected such); the media was beginning to panic because they might soon be forced to explain years of WMD reporting, maybe to include insinuations they were just using them to cover Clinton's Monica problems; the CIA was at a loss to explain how their 2002 NIE could have been so wrong when their Director had said "slam dunk"; and the Secretary of the Department of State was wondering if he'd been taken for a fool and a scapegoat. Is it any wonder such a kerfuffle erupted?
Oh well. Perhaps all these questions will soon be answered in Congress, to include why Valerie Plame ever suggested her husband to begin with and then lied about it at least twice. The breathless public awaits!
The link to the Aspen Daily News story is now redirecting to their home page for some reason. Hey, it's a small-town paper. Anywho, looks like the quotes saved in various blockquotes here, there and yon may soon be all that's left of the Q&A session.
Meanwhile, here's a link that does work listing all the attendees to the event. A lot of a policy wonks, a few stars, and a few others. One of the others was Dr. Anthony Fauci, an expert on bio-terrorism and one of the many who wrote Judge Walton a supportive letter on behalf of Scooter Libby. More on this topic soon.