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Former State Dept. Official Admits Role as CIA Leak Source

Former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage confirmed that he was the primary source for Robert Novak's New York Times article that revealed the identity of a CIA officer and sparked a criminal leak investigation. A Washington correspondent discusses the story.

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  • SPENCER MICHELS, NewsHour Correspondent:

    Just who did reveal the identity of CIA operative Valerie Plame to the media has been an open question for more than three years. Syndicated columnist Robert Novak identified Plame in a Washington Post piece in July 2003. His source: two unnamed Bush administration officials.

    The column was about Plame's husband, Joe Wilson, a career diplomat, who had criticized the administration for using faulty intelligence to justify the Iraq invasion.

    Novak's naming of a covert CIA operative touched off a political firestorm and a federal investigation. Special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald never did indict anyone for leaking Plame's name. But New York Times reporter Judith Miller was jailed for refusing to testify to a grand jury about what she knew.

    And Vice President Cheney's aide, Lewis "Scooter" Libby, was charged with perjury, obstruction of justice, and lying to investigators. Novak appeared on NBC's "Meet the Press" this past Sunday.

  • ROBERT NOVAK, Syndicated Columnist:

    I want to say one thing, though, I haven't said before, and that is I believe the time is way past for my source to identify himself.

  • SPENCER MICHELS:

    Yesterday, former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage was identified through lawyers and associates as the one who told Novak that Plame worked for the CIA. Armitage, who was number two at the State Department at the time, left his government post in February 2005.