I find it mildly ironic that Bloomberg reporter Richard Keil, who went jogging with the President the morning of 9/11, has just ripped a hole a mile wide in the Bush administration.
The memo, prepared by the State Department on July 7, 2003, informed top administration officials that the wife of ex-diplomat and Bush critic Joseph Wilson was a CIA agent. Seven days later, Wilson’s wife, Valerie Plame, was publicly identified as a CIA operative by syndicated columnist Robert Novak.
On the same day the memo was prepared, White House phone logs show Novak placed a call to White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer, according to lawyers familiar with the case and a witness who has testified before the grand jury. Those people say it is not clear whether Fleischer returned the call, and Fleischer has refused to comment.
The Novak call may loom large in the investigation because Fleischer was among a group of administration officials who left Washington later that day on a presidential trip to Africa. On the flight to Africa, Fleischer was seen perusing the State Department memo on Wilson and his wife, according to a former administration official who was also on the trip.
It looks like Keil has talked to Powell, and Powell is blaming Ari Fleischer for leaking from a classified memo that Powell requested. Keil makes the obvious surmise:
Powell is fighting back.