Richard Armitage was an internal critic of the White House's war policy concerning Iraq when he invited columnist Robert Novak to his office in July 2003. In an hour-long interview, he revealed that Valerie Plame (wife of Joseph Wilson) was working for the American CIA.
Although at the time of this revelation the fact of Plame's CIA employment was classified, no charges were filed against Armitage by the non-partisan special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald appointed to investigate the leak. Rather, media attention relentlessly repeated claims by Democrats and other opponents that the White House was behind the leak. These claims specifically targeted Karl Rove and Dick Cheney.