"Theory: That October 1, 2003 piece was carefully planned with Novak's sources. "Offhand" became the talking point about the leak (including for Woodward later). Armitage may have known the story was coming that day, and have had his "innocent realization" response planned in advance. This article probably followed up on the discussions between Novak and Rove about how to align their testimony prior to being interviewed by the FBI and DOJ. Novak asserts in that article that Armitage told him Mrs. Wilson worked in the counterproliferation section of the CIA (is that in the INR Memo?).
And of course, two days later, on October 3rd, Novak finishes sinking the ship, by blurting out the information about Brewster-Jennings on CNN [alleging later that he independently obtained this information by researching Mrs. Wilson's campaign contributions to Gore and noting the details -- yet by this time, Novak knew damn well that her unveiling "endangered" people and national security, as would releasing further information about her cover. But he didn't give a damn. Or rather, that was his very agenda, shared with those controlling him]."
* and pdaly, same venue:
"Here's a hypothetical:
Let's say it's past hunting season, but you have a pesky doe that keeps checking out your garden patch. You let fly a silent arrow in her direction, and to your surprise a stray buckshot from a barrel-chested nearby hunter takes down your doe right before your arrow hits its target. Seeing an oppurtunity, you run over and retract your WH email (err, I mean 'arrow'). When the game warden comes a callin' you pretend like nothing happened.
You had motive, oppurtunity and you acted. Have you committed a crime? If you cover up your involvement, lie about what you did, is that a separate crime, irrespective of your involvement in the doe's demise?
What if that barrel-chested hunter was not acting independently of you?"