Plame, Plame, Plame

PLAME, PLAME, PLAME….It’s funny, isn’t it? Every time we learn more about the Valerie Plame case, we also end up with more questions.

Richard Armitage spoke with three reporters today and confirmed that he was the original source for Robert Novak’s column outing Plame as a CIA operative. Armitage said he learned Plame’s role from a State Department memo written in June 2003, a memo that referred to her as “Valerie Wilson”:

In the interview with McClatchy Newspapers, CBS News and The New York Times, Armitage said he had no partisan intent in mentioning that Wilson’s wife worked at the CIA at the end of an interview with Novak on other subjects in the summer of 2003. He didn’t know her by the name Valerie Plame or that she was working undercover.

I know I’m flogging this horse over and over, but where did the name “Plame” come from? The proposition that Novak looked it up in Who’s Who and decided to use her maiden name just for kicks has never struck me as plausible. What’s more, we also know that someone gave the name “Plame” to Judith Miller, though she now pretends not to know who she got it from.

So who was it? Who was it who knew that Valerie Wilson used the name “Valerie Plame” when she was on CIA business? And who passed this tidbit along?

POSTSCRIPT: For those who think that Armitage’s admission makes the whole Plame affair a nonstory, note that Warren Strobel included the following in his account:

The administration’s defenders have claimed that Armitage’s acknowledgement of his role, which has been speculated about for months, takes much of the sting out of those allegations.

But interviews and documents also portray the White House ? in the persons of Bush aide Karl Rove, Cheney chief of staff I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby and others ? as furiously trying to get information about Wilson and Plame, then discussing it with reporters.

See? That wasn’t so hard, was it?