Sore Throat

News Media, Valerie Plame

Jim VandeHei and Carol D. Leonnig report in today’s Washington Post that some “administration official” told Bob Woodward about Valerie Plame Wilson a whole month before Scooter Libby blabbed to Judy Miller et al.

In a more than two-hour deposition, Woodward told Special Counsel Patrick J. Fitzgerald that the official casually told him in mid-June 2003 that Plame worked as a CIA analyst on weapons of mass destruction, and that he did not believe the information to be classified or sensitive, according to a statement Woodward released yesterday.

The unnamed official, not Bob Woodward, alerted Patrick Fitzgerald to this conversation on November 3. Woodward testified to a grand jury Monday. (So I guess Fitz got himself another grand jury, huh?) Woodward hadn’t bothered to tell even his editors at WaPo about what the official told him until last month.

WaPo held off reporting about Woodward’s testimony until today because they hoped the official would release Woodward from a confidentiality agreement. I guess that didn’t happen.

A spokesperson for Karl Rove says the official wasn’t Karl. And we have absolutely no reason to believe anything a spokesperson for Karl Rove says, do we?

Of course, there’s not much reason to trust anything Woodward says, either. According to Woodward, back in June 2003 he tipped off Walter Pincus of WaPo about Joe Wilson’s wife, but Pincus says that’s not so.

Woodward’s statement said he testified: “I told Walter Pincus, a reporter at The Post, without naming my source, that I understood Wilson’s wife worked at the CIA as a WMD analyst.”

Pincus said he does not recall Woodward telling him that. In an interview, Pincus said he cannot imagine he would have forgotten such a conversation around the same time he was writing about Wilson.

“Are you kidding?” Pincus said. “I certainly would have remembered that.”

Pincus said Woodward may be confused about the timing and the exact nature of the conversation. He said he remembers Woodward making a vague mention to him in October 2003. That month, Pincus had written a story explaining how an administration source had contacted him about Wilson. He recalled Woodward telling him that Pincus was not the only person who had been contacted.

Ol’ Bob seems confused about many things. As reported by Jane Hamsher at firedoglake:

Woodward isn’t just reluctant to criticize the Administration — he’s become the water carrier of choice. Schanberg doesn’t report the big, fat whopping lie that Woodward went on to tell in that interview, that he had seen the CIA damage report done on the Plame leak:

    They did a damage assessment within the CIA, looking at what this did that Joe Wilson’s wife was outed. And turned out it was quite minimal damage. They did not have to pull anyone out undercover abroad. They didn’t have to resettle anyone. There was no physical danger to anyone and there was just some embarrassment.

Two days later, the WaPo ran a story saying that no such CIA report was ever done. I guess that was the official answer as to what Woodward’s “news room colleagues” thought of his put-down of their efforts.

Larry Johnson went further:

    I have spoken to some people who are in a position to know. There has been damage. My source, however, declined to share classified information.

As Josh Marshall points out, this story shows that the integrity challenged Woodward, who has been pooh-poohing the Plame Wilson story all along, was part of it from the beginning.

Scooter’s lawyers are now claiming that this disclosure somehow exonerates their client.

“If what Woodward says is so, will Mr. Fitzgerald now say he was wrong to say on TV that Scooter Libby was the first official to give this information to a reporter?” Jeffress said last night. “The second question I would have is: Why did Mr. Fitzgerald indict Mr. Libby before fully investigating what other reporters knew about Wilson’s wife?”

Of course, if ol’ Bob was keeping this disclosure a secret even from his editors, how exactly was Fitz supposed to know about it? But Fitz is still shaking the trees; the Libby indictment is not just a result but is part of his tree-shaking strategy, no doubt.

We are left to wonder who the unnamed official is and why this person waited until after the Libby indictment to reveal the Woodward connection to Fitzgerald. Guesses?

Update–hack sighting: CNN just reported on this story. They exhumed Bob Barr, of all people, to interview about the Energy Task Force. Lame.

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6 Comments

5 Comments

  1. Rick  •  Nov 16, 2005 @8:59 am

    An oficial who says he can remember conversations??!!? Amazing. I thought anyone with enough money to buy all the justice they need never remembered anything before this mornings breakfast.

  2. Swami  •  Nov 16, 2005 @10:36 am

    Nice title….LMAO. It.s good to see that Fitz is still beating the bush.

  3. joanr16  •  Nov 16, 2005 @11:38 am

    Yeah, maha’s got some genius post titles today. I think the big news is, Fitz is still pursuing. The fact that Bob Woodward is full of himself, and sometimes makes stuff up, isn’t news to me.

    So… Rove???

  4. Donna  •  Nov 16, 2005 @1:23 pm

    Whoa, hold those Jeffress [Scooter lawyer] feet to the factual fire…he just misquoted Fitzgerald’s statement when he stated, “If what Woodward says is so, will Mr Fitzgerald now say he was wrong to say on TV that Scooter Libby was the first official to give this information to a reporter?”
    What Fitzgerald said on TV was the following: “Mr Libby was the first official KNOWN [all caps emphasis mine–Donna] to have told a reporter when he talked to Judith Miller in June of 2003 about Valarie Wilson.”
    Even with sand thrown in his eyes, Fitz stayed within the precise fact of what was KNOWN at the time…..unlike Jeffress who surely can read the Fitz press conference transcript as well as I can, yet Jeffress chose to alter Fitz’s prcise statement and meaning in order to try to denigrate Fitz.

  5. Bonnie  •  Nov 16, 2005 @4:40 pm

    When Plan of Attack came out and it seemed nothing but a shill for Bush, I believed the “real” Bob Woodward died some time ago. This guy running around claiming such is an imposter.

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