Former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage was the first Bush administration to reveal undercover CIA officer Valerie Plame's name, the New York Times reports.
A lawyer involved in the CIA leak case confirmed Tuesday that Armitage was the first and main source of columnist Robert Novak, who disclosed Plame as a CIA officer in 2003.
Journalists Michael Isikoff and David Corn also indicate in their forthcoming book, "Hubris," that Armitage has been the "missing link" in the CIA leak case.
A former Armitage colleague at the State Department told The Washington Post that Armitage had, indeed, told Novak in the summer of 2003 that Plame worked for the CIA. The colleague told The Post that Armitage had told Novak about Plame "in an offhand manner, virtually as gossip" and he did not know at the time that Plame's identity was considered secret information.
Meanwhile, Plame's attorney says that she is considering adding Armitage to the lawsuit in which she accuses members of the Bush administration of conspiring to leak her identity to the media.
Plame has sued Vice President Dick Cheney, White House aide Karl Rove and "Scooter" Libby on the allegation that they leaked her name to punish her husband, former U.S. Ambassador Joseph Wilson, for criticizing the administration's march to war with Iraq.
Plame attorney Melanie Sloan said that the Armitage news would not get Libby or others off the hook in the civil case, but it would widen the conspiracy.
"The question is just what was Armitage's role?" Sloan said.
Plame's attorneys plan to seek depositions from the defendants and others, including Armitage, about the leak.