A forthcoming book by journalists Michael Isikoff and David Corn offers an answer to a question that has bedeviled Washington for two years: Who told columnist Robert Novak that the wife of Joseph Wilson was a covert CIA agent?
In Hubris, Isikoff and Corn suggest that Richard Armitage, Deputy Secretary of State in 2003, may be the missing link in the story that has been called "Plamegate." Said to be a notorious gossip, Armitage told several reporters about Valerie Plame's role with the CIA -- but he reportedly didn't realize for several months that he was the source described in one of their articles.
The story stems from a mission that sent Joseph Wilson, a former U.S. ambassador, to investigate claims that Iraq was procuring uranium in West Africa. Wilson returned unconvinced -- and eventually went public with his skepticism about the Bush administration's claims about Iraq's nuclear ambitions.
Robert Novak then printed a piece in which he identified Wilson's wife as a CIA worker -- in fact, her job at the time was at the classified level. Novak has written of learning about Wilson's wife from someone who was not "a partisan gunslinger."
Robert Siegel talks with Michael Isikoff, who writes for Newsweek. Corn is the Washington editor at The Nation.