But despite the lengthy post and 110+ comments, the discussion managed to miss what seems to be new details about the State Dept. memo ... details passed on by Colin Powell and/or his top aides to point a finger at Rove et al.
Stirling seems to want to accuse Powell of collaborating with the other Bushites to out Plame, but I think Powell was actually was pissed off by being used as a conduit (kind of like the WMD thing in general), and is belatedly exacting his revenge.
After a June 12 Washington Post story made reference to the Niger uranium inquiry, Armitage asked intelligence officers in the State Department for more information. He was forwarded a copy of a memo classified "Secret" that included a description of Wilson's trip for the CIA, his findings, a brief description of the origin of the trip and a reference to "Wilson's wife."
The memo was kept in a safe at the State Department along with notes from an analyst who attended the CIA meeting at which Wilson was suggested for the Niger assignment. Those with top security clearance at State, like their counterparts in the White House, had been trained in the rules about classified information. They could not be shared with anyone who did not have the same clearance.
Less than a month later, Wilson went public with his charges.
The next day, July 7, this memo and the notes were removed from the safe and forwarded to Powell via a secure fax line to Air Force One. Powell was on the way to Africa with the president, and his aides knew the secretary would be getting questions.
Fitzgerald has become interested in this memo, the earliest known document seen by administration officials revealing that Wilson's wife worked for the CIA. Powell told prosecutors that he circulated the memo among those traveling with him in the front section of Air Force One. It is believed that all officials in that part of the aircraft had high-level security clearance.
I've written before that Powell and his immediate aides were behind previous Plame news leaks, especially those about the State Dept. memo, as a way of "putting the smoking gun within reach of the suspected criminals" -- and it doesn't get much clearer than the phrases highlighted above.
Look at the information that couldn't have come from anyone but Powell and his team: We kept the memo in a safe ... we knew the information couldn't be shared ... Powell showed it to other officials on Air Force One, but everyone had proper clearance. They want the world to know that the White House spin team got its hands on the info about Valerie Wilson, and that it couldn't have leaked out any other way.
There's no doubt about it: Powell wants Rove, Libby et al. to take the fall on this. And each of these leaks is just another little twist of the knife.