"I spent three years hyperventilating about Valerie Plame and all I got was this lousy T-shirt." So says most of the Washington media establishment. But one particular ideologue is not ready to throw in the towel just yet, CNN reporter Jeff Greenfield.
To conservatives, this Armitage disclosure is proof that there never was any effort to smear Joseph Wilson, or to injure Valerie Plame. The Wall Street Journal editorial page Wednesday pointedly asked why Armitage never let Fitzgerald know of his role. The National Review says the whole controversy was much ado about nothing.
But does this put an end to the mater? Liberal bloggers say maybe not. Maybe others were out to punish Wilson and his wife even if Armitage's talk with Novak was wholly innocent.
And there is this curious report from a Washington Post piece of September 2003:
"Before the Novak column was published," the Post said, quoting a senior administration official, "two top white house officials contacted at least six reporters and disclosed the identity and occupation of Wilson's wife." If that reporting is right, the questions remain.
At the least, though, this story suggests that passionate opposition to a policy or an administration is no guarantee that every suspicion will be borne out.
Conspiracy is a great plot device for TV shows like "24"; it's a much less reliable guide to what happens in Washington.