Saturday, October 31, 2009

Amateur Hour at the AP on Cheney and the Outing of Valerie Plame

Associated Press reporter Pete Yost apparently doesn't know who outed Valerie Plame--or thinks it's not an important issue in the controversy over the leaking of her identity as a CIA agent.

In an almost 800 word article on Vice-President Dick Cheney's testimony on the leaking of Plame's identity, Yost raises the issue of Cheney's knowledge of the leaker.
Citing faulty memory, former Vice President Dick Cheney told federal investigators in a 2004 interview he had no idea who revealed to reporters that Valerie Plame, the wife of a Bush administration critic, worked for the CIA.
It turns out that Cheney didn't know the leaker was Richard Armitage. It's unclear whether Yost knows it even now since he never once mentions Armitage in his long article on the issue.

More than three years ago Armitage publicly admitted he leaked Plame's identity to Robert Novak. Upon reading Novak's column Armitage immediately admitted to his boss, former Secretary of State Colin Powell, and to FBI agents that he was Novak's source. From a September 7, 2006, CBS interview (easily googled):
He says he was reading Novak's newspaper column again, on Oct. 1, 2003, and "he said he was told by a non-partisan gun slinger."

"I almost immediately called Secretary Powell and said, 'I'm sure that was me,'" Armitage says.

Armitage immediately met with FBI agents investigating the leak.

"I told them that I was the inadvertent leak," Armitage says. He didn't get a lawyer, however.
Actually Yost mentions every one but Armitage:
According to courtroom testimony, Rove was one of Novak's sources for his column disclosing Plame's CIA identity and Rove and Libby were sources for Time magazine reporter Matt Cooper, who also wrote a story identifying Plame.
One of the first rules of Journalism 101 is to include key facts. That Yost doesn't speaks volumes about the quality of his reporting and the Associated Press.

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