Turns out that Dick Armitage was Novak's source for Valerie Plame's CIA membership. Which means that Dick Cheney and his minions are more or less off the hook.
Of course, conservative gloating about all this is understandable--if only in the sense that liberal lamentation might be understandable: One expects fans to root for the home team.
Predictably, though, certain, well, hacks are trading on the Armitage revelation to leverage a more ambitious claim, viz., that Armitage's inadvertent leak somehow contravenes the theory (favored ex ante by liberals) that if Karl Rove did leak Plame's information, he likely did so with illicit intent.
I hope such essayists will excuse me if I opt not to join them in reasoning--how to put it?--like an idiot. Theirs is the sort of argument that admits of refutation by ostension. (One need only point to the argument and say, "Look!" QED.) But...okay, let's explicate. The fact that Armitage apparently only negligently betrayed classified information says next to nothing--no, it says just plain nothing--about whether or not Rove similarly had a nonculpable mens rea in the case he also betrayed the classified information. The reason, of course, is motive, which matters not only in criminal investigations but also (I would have thought) in common sense. In short, Armitage had no conspicuous, colorably illicit motive. Rove did. Thus, if Rove divulged the classified information, one would be perfectly justified in drawing a different inference about his intent in having done so.