Richard Armitage has finally broken his silence, and he says he remained silent about his role as the Plamegate leaker at the request of prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald.
Fitzgerald's request raises questions in and of itself; why did he suppress the truth and carry on with an investigation when the matter was "solved" from the time he was assigned the case?
But setting that aside for the moment, Armitage's self-defense is too cute for words -- in essence, "The President made me do it."
As described by the New York Times: "Expressing irritation over assertions in some newspaper editorials and on some Internet blogs that, by his silence, he had been disloyal to the Bush administration, Mr. Armitage said that he had followed Mr. Bush’s repeated instruction to administration officials to cooperate with the Fitzgerald inquiry. 'I felt like I was doing exactly what he wanted,' he said."
Yes, Mr. Armitage, I'm sure the President wanted you to remain completely silent while his closest friends and advisors had their jobs threatened, racked up huge attorneys' bills, and had their reputations trashed. Not to mention the distractions and problems it caused for the Administration as a whole.
I'd like to know, at any time in the last few years did Mr. Armitage ever try going back to Fitzgerald, prior to this week, and see if Fitzgerald would consent to him speaking out about his role? Was there anyone in the Administration, such as the counsel's office, he could ethically have spoken to, to receive advice on his dilemma?
Armitage seems proud of not having hired a lawyer. Maybe, as he saw his colleagues' mounting legal bills, he should have spent some money on a lawyer himself to see if there was anything he could do to help them, given the truth he knew? What would the legal ramifications have been if he had spoken out despite Fitzgerald's request? Was he afraid of irritating Fitzgerald and being prosecuted, so he saved his own hide by keeping silent and letting others take the blame for his actions?
Saturday Update: Many thanks to Michael Weiss of Slate for the kind mention.