Valerie Plame is running for Congress in New Mexico. Yesterday, Plame released her first campaign ad which got a lot of attention for the production values and visuals. The ad claims “Dick Cheney’s chief of staff took revenge against my husband and leaked my identity. His name: Scooter Libby.” But as the Washington Post points out today, that claim is false. It’s true that Libby was aware of Plame’s role and did speak to people about it within the government, but the leak that made it into print came from Richard Armitage:
On July 7, Libby had lunch with White House spokesman Ari Fleischer, who was leaving the administration, and told him that Wilson’s wife worked at the CIA, indicating the subject was not widely known but not suggesting it was classified, Fleischer testified at the trial. That same day, Fleischer acknowledged to reporters that the 16 words in Bush’s speech were “incorrect.”
So Libby was talking about Wilson and Plame’s possible role in his trip, at least within the administration. But the leak that tipped the soup came from elsewhere.
On July 8, Armitage told columnist Robert Novak that Wilson’s wife worked for CIA on weapons of mass destruction and suggested her husband for the mission. “I’m afraid I may be the guy who caused this whole thing,” Armitage later told a colleague. “I may have been the leaker. I talked to Novak.”
The Post concludes Plame’s statement that Libby leaked her identity is a three Pinocchio lie:
Plame’s name and CIA role was first disclosed in Robert Novak’s column. Novak’s original source was Armitage, and his confirming sources were Rove and a CIA spokesman. Novak’s column led to the firestorm that launched a federal investigation. But no evidence shows that Libby disclosed Plame’s role to Novak.
That’s not the only dishonest claim made in the ad. As Karen pointed out yesterday, the suggestion that Plame served in hot spots like Iran and North Korea isn’t true (she was stationed in Greece). Also, her reference to her Jewish heritage seems like an obvious attempt to deal with some of her own anti-Semitic tweets.
The ad looks great and I suppose for people who don’t remember anything past last week it’ll be a hit. Maybe that short memory for facts is what Plame is counting on.