From yesterday’s “Meet the Press” :
MR. RUSSERT: Before we go, Robert Novak, the story that will not go away. Newsweek today has a story that on the morning of October 1, ’03, “Secretary of State Colin Powell received an urgent phone call from his No. 2″ Richard Armitage.
“Armitage had been at home reading the newspaper,” a column by one Robert Novak. “Months earlier Novak had caused a huge stir when he revealed that Valerie Plame, wife of Iraq-war critic Joseph Wilson, was a CIA officer.
“Ever since, Washington had been trying to find out who leaked the information to Novak. … Now in a second column, Novak provided a tantalizing clue: his primary source, he wrote, was a ‘senior administration official’ who was ‘not a partisan gunslinger.’ Armitage was shaken. After reading the column, he knew immediately who the leaker was. On the phone with Powell that morning morning, Armitage was ‘in deep distress,’ says a source directly familiar with the conversation.” “‘I’m sure he’s talking about me.'”
The article goes on to quote State Department Intelligence Chief Carl Ford as saying Armitage said, “I’m afraid I’m the guy who may have caused all this,” and that he had met with one Robert Novak on July 8, Mr. Armitage did. Are you now prepared to say, confirm Newsweek that Richard Armitage was one of your sources?
MR. NOVAK: I told Mr. Isikoff, the investigator–he’s a very good investigative reporter, by the way–but I told him that I do not identify my sources on any subject if they’re on a confidential basis until they identify themselves. I don’t say that somebody was or wasn’t. I’m going to say one thing, though, I haven’t said before. And that is that I believe that the time has way passed for my source to identify himself.