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updated 9/13/2006 5:21:25 PM ET

Politics

Armitage added to CIA leak civil suit
Claim former deputy secretary of State comments damaged covert career
By Joel Seidman
NBC News

WASHINGTON — Lawyers for former Ambassador Joe Wilson and his wife, Valerie Plame filed court papers Wednesday in their civil suit to include former State Department top official Richard Armitage as an additional defendant.

The suit does not accuse Richard Armitage, who was deputy secretary of state in the Bush administration, of participating in an administration conspiracy to blow her cover.

Plame added Armitage’s name to a civil suit in U.S. District Court against Vice President Dick Cheney, his former chief of staff I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby and White House adviser Karl Rove.

It took three years for Armitage to publicly admit, last week, that he was the first to leak the identity of Valerie Plame Wilson to reporters.

Melanie Sloan, an attorney for Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics, who are representing the Wilson's, tells NBC that is was not okay for Armitage to leak Plame's name to Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward and columnist Bob Novak.

But, Sloan says, Armitage's apparently inadvertent leak did in fact damage Plame's covert career at the CIA.

The Plame-Wilson suit
In July, the Wilson's filed a civil suit against Vice President Dick Cheney, his former top aide I Louis "Scooter" Libby and presidential adviser Karl Rove.

Plame and her husband, former Ambassador Joe Wilson accuse them and other White House officials of conspiring to destroy her career at the CIA.

In their lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court, Plame and Wilson accuse Cheney, Rove and Libby of revealing Plame's CIA identity in seeking revenge against Wilson for criticizing the Bush administration's motives in Iraq. They are demanding a jury trial and compensatory damages.

Armitage says he told Novak because it was "just an offhand question." "I didn't put any big import on it and I just answered and it was the last question we had," he says.

Now he says he made a terrible mistake in revealing Plame's employer at the time. Artmitage says, "Oh I feel terrible. Every day, I think I let down the president. I let down the Secretary of State. I let down my department, my family and I also let down Mr. and Mrs. Wilson."

"I didn't know the woman's name was Plame. I didn't know she was an operative," he says.

Joel Seidman is an NBC Producer based in Washington, DC

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