Friday, October 13, 2006

armitage and plame, again.

* Liz De La Vega follows up her 'pardon libby?' article with another:
"And what of Armitage's voluntary trip to the FBI in October 2003? The nonconfession confession, such as the one he offered that day, is an old ploy in multiple-defendant cases. You offer up one person as a fall guy – a scapegoat – who suffers only minor scratches because he admits to nothing more than inadvertence or confusion, all the while appearing to be remorseful and disarmingly honest. Everyone else then blames that person, maybe even seeming to be angry with him. If the plan works, the case will go away and all can ride off happily together into the sunset.

The recent entrance of Richard Armitage into the CIA leak story as if he were a new figure – when he was not – looks less like a case of deus ex machina than of deus ex machinations. Despite his official refusal to be interviewed for Hubris, Armitage obviously allowed his friends and confidants – including the head of the State Department's intelligence branch Carl Ford, who (by his own admission in the book) has known about Armitage's involvement for at least a year – to leak the story in a way favorable to him.
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Perhaps more significant, Wilson's persistent comments were inviting inquiry into the entire case for war and, in the process, potentially jeopardizing Bush's chances for reelection. Keeping a Republican president in office and a Republican majority in Congress was – it now seems clear – the overriding motivation of all of the actors, including Armitage, in this whole sordid affair. Ultimately, every phase of the CIA leak case, including the propaganda campaign that is occurring right now, has been about maintaining the wealth and power of the Republican Party.

Remember I mentioned how everyone may be able to ride off into the sunset if one person offers himself as a scapegoat? Consider some of Richard Armitage's activities these days. He is on the board of ManTech International, whose U.S. defense and homeland security contracts have increased roughly 20 percent each quarter since he signed on in the spring of 2005. Along with his good friend – and everyone else's – lobbyist Kenneth Duberstein, he is also on the board of ConocoPhillips, the company that has now been able to reopen its oil pipelines in Libya. Finally – just to round out the family circle – Duberstein is a trustee emeritus of the Hudson Institute, the corporate-funded conservative think tank where Scooter Libby now works.
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Given that our chief executive has demonstrated an utter disregard for the truth and the law in the execution of nearly all of his presidential duties, there is every reason to believe that an October surprise is not the only one in the offing. I dearly hope I am completely wrong about this, but if the Libby trial remains set for January, a December surprise (a pardon) may also be in store."
You should all read this article, even if you are not plame obsessed.

i look forward to emptywheel's response (I hope she's flying home in style and can get lots of work done on the way).

Here's what she said last week about Armitage's role or otherwise in a coverup:
And again, I'm not opposed in principle the Armitage's involvement, but there is abundent evidence that he's not.

A few things to think about.

First, the way administrations have worked for some time and this on in particular is that the Deputies do the real work, while the principals serve as figureheads. So Wolfie and Libby and Hadley and Armitage met very frequently to hammer out policy disagreements on the part of their bosses. That's one of the reasons you can't separate Armitage from Powell (in addition to their well-documented friendship)--Armitage really did functionally serve as Powell's right hand. And in doing so, he had to fight Wolfie and Libby on all these issues. And those issues really do go back quite a ways. In April 2003, for example, DOD/OVP had decided they were going to impose Chalabi on Iraq. Bush had agreed, but hadn't told anyone else. When Powell found out, he got Blair to intervene, and spent a lot of time trying to prevent that by sponsoring all these conferences in Iraq. This is also one of the factors leading to Bremer's appointment. And a lot of this activity really pitted Armitage against OVP/DOD.

[]

Third, I'd be careful of believing that Rove + Armitage thing until we see it in more places. The Parry article is the only place I've seen it, and it doesn't fit with what we know about Rove's personality in general. More likely, Armitage tries not to let factionalism guide his judgments, which allowed him to work with Rove.

And in any case, you need to look beyond Rove to explain why Rove and Libby's behavior doesn't make sense with Armitage involvement. Had Armitage been designed to take the fall, then he would have done so in such a way that also covered up Libby's involvement. He would have come forward and admitted to it all. Because at the same time, Libby was doing the things that Armitage would have been doing if he were really the designated fall guy, such as hiding Rove's and Dick's involvement. Remember too that Rove and Novak were fairly shameless about sharing stories. So far as we know, the Duberstein conversation was not as shameless. Armitage's efforts to coordinate stories (if his Duberstein call was that) just don't look like Rove's and Novak's, which suggests it's not the same thing.

Finally, Novak is accusing Armitage of one thing about which there is much contestation--he's saying Armi was the source of the CPD information. Aside from the fact that Novak hasn't always said that (indeed, he keeps changing his story there), that is an accusation that Armi is thought not to have possibly made, and it is an accusation that would put Armi at risk for IIPA violation. That's a pretty aggressive attack against Novak, and we have all reason to believe it is an inaccurate attack. Further, it's an attack that helps out Rove and/or whatever other source told NOvak Plame was covert. So even in recent days, Novak's behavior treats Armi as outside to the cover-up involving Libby and Rove.
The bolded emphasis above is mine, and AFAIC is the core of EW's argument (or at least, the part that resonated most with me) - it'll be interesting to see if she can maintain that position given De La Vega's article, or if they can be reconciled or whatever.

FTR, pow wow at EW's place appears to have been pretty close to DeLaVega's current offering.

Here's pow wow, aug 23:
But I should clarify that I do not necessarily buy Novak's story that he got most of his information from Armitage, or even got the information he did get from Armitage 'as if for the first time.' That may be Novak's story, but with his history with Rove, I imagine he had lots of background information before he started interviewing Armitage. The judgement shown by Armitage in giving an hour-long interview and some information about Plame to Robert Novak is beyond me as well. As are firm conclusions that Armitage was either set up or on the fringes of things, provided it is true that he met with Novak the week of July 6th in addition to his earlier tip-off to Woodward. But I haven't done the research and careful analysis to back up my position the way emptywheel has repeatedly done here - I'm skimming the surface on this one, and theorizing about Armitage being some sort of cut-out Fall Guy or double dealing both-ends-against-the-middle agent, in order to try to make it all make sense... [e.g.: If Armitage was really such a skilled bureaucratic in-fighter, and so very, very loyal to Powell, why did Powell seemingly lose every single major and meaningful battle with his foes (Cheney/Rumsfeld/Armitage's PNAC pal Libby et al) in the administration, until he was apparently finally pushed out, along with Armitage?]
and here's pow wow, sep 13:
As to Armitage being a fall guy, willingly or otherwise: First, Armitage would have to be part of the original conspiracy to play that part, wouldn't he? If he was really an 'innocent bystander' at heart, he couldn't play the role of willing (or unwilling) fall guy in a way that would seriously damage anyone else, or save anyone else for their role in a separate conspiracy [except by saying something that would unknowingly contradict Novak, say, if Novak tried to lie about what Armitage said to him - but that's a scenario imposed by others, and only 'he said, she said' evidence]. Meaning that if Armitage did play the role of a willing fall guy in October, 2003, that too would be as a result of the plot, and would be Armitage acting out what he considered to be his most viable avenue of escaping charges. [At the moment that's what I'm assuming has happened.] And it is Armitage's fall guy role (of fake, partial cooperation) that has so far safeguarded Armitage, because the investigation has not been able to seriously crack his cover story - or else Armitage would be in very serious legal jeopardy indeed. Which is my explanation for why Fitzgerald hasn't prosecuted Armitage on either the Novak or the Woodward leaks to date (basically, because of a lack of independent, credible evidence that would hold up in court).
emphasis mine. if we assume delavega's basic hypothesis, then we have 2 main possibilities. either a) armitage was in it from the beginning, or b) he was set up originally, and then joined the conspiracy later to help save the people who, he presumably realized by then, had set up in the first place. on balance, i'm leaning toward a) for a variety of reasons - including that Armitage (with the omniscience of hindsight) should probably have been wary that this interview (his first) was set-up in leak week, and his antennae should have been on high-alert when he was (effectively) asked about plame. (again, i'm acknowledginf hindsight bias here)

and here's pow wow today on delavega:
It happens to fit my bias/view of Armitage's role, but it is a very meaty, well-researched analysis of the Armitage spin, and the mysterious involvement of 'master fixer' Ken Duberstein in all this. Very informative and very helpful in revealing some of the hidden connections of these people [Duberstein could be behind Libby's new job at the Hudson Institute, for example]. I think I agree with most of her points, although I don't really accept that the '04 election was uppermost in the leakers' minds in the summer of 2003. They weren't thinking that far ahead, when it came to rebutting Wilson - something much more immediate was on their minds, I think.

This is a just very valuable, skeptical addition to the information contained in Hubris, etc., from a former federal prosecutor who's seen the 'fall guy' stunt from actors in a conspiracy before. I completely agree with her analysis that the information about Armitage's role that Isikoff was given for Hubris was green-lighted by Armitage himself. I also think it possible one of the conditions for that scoop to Isikoff was that the "spin" Armitage wanted about his role was taken, and printed, at face value in the book. Elizabeth de la Vega deconstructs that spin beautifully in this piece of writing.
i agree with pow wow that DLV's take on the 2004 election is also a stretch - although I'm still far from convinced that 'rebutting Wilson' was first and foremost either.

in any case, lot's of interesting new stuff - I look forward to the next round of analysis from the usual suspects ( and spin from the usual suspects).

update - emptywheel in the comments:
I did make it home safe and sound (ed: yay) . But I don't know when I'll be able to comment at more length on DLV (though I will say--as I said to luke in an email--it is far and away the most compelling argument for Armitage's participation in the coverup I've seen). I, too, don't buy the 2004 argument. But I could see Armitage taking the fall to protect Bush. That would solve the biggest objection I've got (Armitage's strong animosity with OVP--why would he take the fall for LIBBY). And would make his actions consistent with the Iran-Contra pattern, that whatever you do, you protect the President. Of course, that would also mean Bush was directly implicated in this, which he would be if he gave the approval for the leak, which seems to be the logical conclusion for the NIE lies.
the only comment that i have to that is to quibble with "whatever you do, you protect the President" - i wonder if that's an absolute, and if it isn't, then what are the parameters? is it an institutional "protect the Presidency"? or "protect Presidents of our party"? - or "Protect popular presidents"?

IOW - would we see the same "protect the President" thing today now that everyone hates him? separately, we know that they have no real interest in protecting the institution of the presidency (cf clinton).

IOW - EW might very well be onto something with "whatever you do, you protect the President" - but we ought remember that might not be an absolute - and there might be some insight derived from understanding the nature of the edges of the 'relevant range'

3 comments:

emptywheel said...

I did make it home safe and sound. But I don't know when I'll be able to comment at more length on DLV (though I will say--as I said to luke in an email--it is far and away the most compelling argument for Armitage's participation in the coverup I've seen). I, too, don't buy the 2004 argument. But I could see Armitage taking the fall to protect Bush. That would solve the biggest objection I've got (Armitage's strong animosity with OVP--why would he take the fall for LIBBY). And would make his actions consistent with the Iran-Contra pattern, that whatever you do, you protect the President. Of course, that would also mean Bush was directly implicated in this, which he would be if he gave the approval for the leak, which seems to be the logical conclusion for the NIE lies.

lukery said...

thnx ew - and glad you are home - safe from motorbikes and nukes and global warming

post updated, with some extra commentary upstairs

starroute said...

It might be a side issue, but one thing that jumped out at me from your post was Armitage's involvement with ManTech -- which is one of those names that keeps turning up in all sorts of places. I've been thinking more and more that the real key to all this Sibel-related stuff is not the Neocons or the old Iran-Contra gang or even the Bush loyalitists, but the military-industrial-security complex. And ManTech opens a number of windows into that.

For example, there's Admiral Jeremiah:

FAIRFAX, Va.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Nov. 18, 2004--ManTech International Corporation (Nasdaq:MANT), a leading provider of innovative technologies and solutions focused on mission-critical national security programs for the Department of Defense, the Intelligence Community, the Department of State, the Department of Justice, the Department of Homeland Security and other U.S. federal government customers announced today that Adm. David E. Jeremiah, USN (Ret) and Dr. Paul G. Stern have joined its Board of Directors. . . .

Admiral Jeremiah began his association with ManTech in 1994 when he was elected to our Advisory Board. He became Chairman of the Advisory Board in 2002. Because of his long association with ManTech, he knows our corporation well and, by virtue of his long, distinguished career in the Navy and industry, has an in-depth knowledge of our marketplace. "His guidance as a member and Chairman of the Advisory Board has been invaluable over the years, and we are pleased to have his expertise on our Board of Directors," said Mr. Pedersen.

During his military career, Admiral Jeremiah earned a reputation as an authority on strategic planning, financial management and the policy implications of advanced technology. From 1990 to 1994, Admiral Jeremiah served as Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff for Generals Powell and Shalikashvili. He has served as a Partner and President of Technology Strategies and Alliances Corporation, a strategic advisory and investment banking firm engaged primarily in the aerospace, defense, telecommunications, and electronics industries since 1994.

Admiral Jeremiah also serves on the board of directors for Alliant Techsystems Inc.; Geobiotics, LLC; Todd Shipyards Corporation; and Wackenhut Services, Inc. He is on the Board of Trustees for MITRE Corporation and he serves as an Advisory Board member for Northrop Grumman Corporation. Further, Admiral Jeremiah serves on various national security panels and boards, including the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board, the Defense Policy Board and the National Reconnaissance Office Technology Advisory Group.


An interesting set of credentials -- but one it doesn't mention is his association with JINSA.

The behemoths of military contracting are also well represented in JINSA's ranks. For example, JINSA advisory board members Adm. Leon Edney, Adm. David Jeremiah and Lieut. Gen. Charles May, all retired, have served Northrop Grumman or its subsidiaries as either consultants or board members. . . .

By far the most profitably diversified of the JINSAns is retired Adm. David Jeremiah. President and partner of Technology Strategies & Alliances Corporation (described as a "strategic advisory firm and investment banking firm engaged primarily in the aerospace, defense, telecommunications and electronics industries"), Jeremiah also sits on the boards of Northrop Grumman's Litton subsidiary and of defense giant Alliant Techsystems, which--in partnership with Israel's TAAS--does a brisk business in rubber bullets. And he has a seat on the Pentagon's Defense Policy Board, chaired by Perle.


And here's something else from my files:

June 29, 2004

ManTech International Corporation (Nasdaq:MANT), a leading provider of innovative technologies and solutions focused on mission-critical national security programs for the Department of Defense, Intelligence Community, the Department of State, the Department of Justice, Department of Homeland Security and other federal government customers announced today the introduction of NetWitness version 5.0, an enhanced version of the popular network wiretap tool that offers improved analytics features and increased capabilities to monitor Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) traffic.

"Terrorists, narcotics groups and other criminals are using the Internet to recruit and run their operations," said Mark Longworth, vice president, Forensics Explorers(R), a division of ManTech Information Systems and Technology. "The Department of Defense, Intelligence Community and law enforcement have the means to intercept such communication; however, interpreting the meaning of these increasingly complex digital communications represents a challenge. With the use of instant messaging, VoIP, anonymous e-mail, and "blogs," the days of intelligence professionals and law enforcement simply "listening" to the bad guy's phone calls are over," said Longworth. "NetWitness version 5 is specifically designed to help investigators be more successful at exploiting Internet intercepts." . . .

NetWitness, which was first introduced and used by the federal government in 1997, is an important addition to ManTech's service and solution offerings, a company well-known for being one of the leading provider's of highly-advanced, information technology services and solutions to the Intelligence Community and the Department of Defense. "Our customers in the Intelligence Community, Department of Defense and law enforcement are asking us for more than just services - they are asking us to identify and develop creative solutions to their persistent problems," said George J. Pedersen, Chairman of the Board, CEO and President, ManTech International Corporation. "The sophisticated and advanced information technology services we provide to our customers have given us unique visibility to some of their needs and challenges. Not only is NetWitness an excellent technology, but it comes with ManTech's extensive knowledge of our customer's environment," he said.


Firms like ManTech and people like Jeremiah are the real power behind the push for endless war and the security state. I don't know what Armitage's precise relationship with them may be -- but I'm willing to wager there are more answers to be found there than in what he may or may not have been trying to do for Libby.