Friday, November 18, 2005

Woodward Was Told of Plame More Than Two Years Ago

And so the plot thickens....

Washington Post Assistant Managing Editor Bob Woodward testified under oath Monday in the CIA leak case that a Senior Administration Official told him about CIA operative Valerie Plame and her position at the agency nearly a month before her identity was disclosed.

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.

Fitzgerald interviewed Woodward about the previously undisclosed conversation after the official alerted the prosecutor to it on Nov. 3 -- one week after Vice President Cheney's chief of staff, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, was indicted in the investigation. (snip)

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.

Woodward said he also testified that he met with Libby on June 27, 2003, and discussed Iraq policy as part of his research for a book on President Bush's march to war. He said he does not believe Libby said anything about Plame.

He also told Fitzgerald that it is possible he asked Libby about Plame or her husband, former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV. He based that testimony on an 18-page list of questions he planned to ask Libby in an interview that included the phrases "yellowcake" and "Joe Wilson's wife."

Of interest, Woodward said he MAY have told Libby about Plame and her work for the CIA but he couldn't remember for sure. At the very least it casts doubt as to whether Libby was lying about hearing the information originally from "journalists". Instead of Russert he may have heard it from Woodward and just been mistaken.

Secondly, it shows direct contradictions of recollections within the MSM. Since a significant amount of the evidence against Libby is MSM testimony, any discredit brought upon them concerning the facts weakens the case as a whole. Proving the charges against Libby beyond a reasonable doubt has now become more difficult.

Any speculation as to who the Senior Administration Official was? If I was betting man, I'd put my money on George Tenet.

UPDATE: The more I research this the stinkier it gets. Woodward has been shooting up warning flares since "Plamegate" began. His colleagues chose to ignore it. He said early on "don't go down that road."

I suspect he knows the truth and I also suspect that it's not going to make the MSM look very good when it's exposed.

UPDATE II: OpiniPundit is ready to make a prediction.....the leak of Valerie Plame to Woodward (and likely Novak) came from State, either Grossman or Armitage. Now let's wait and see.

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