Nov 16 2005

Plame Woodward

Published by at 9:52 am under All General Discussions,Plame Game


Check out Jack Shafer’s take at Slate, some great questions: (Hat Tip Real Clear Politics):

But first a digression: What sort of journalist publishes a “statement” in his paper as opposed to writing a story? What sort of journalist refuses to talk to his own newspaper when making such a revelation, as Woodward did? Today’s story reads, “Woodward declined to elaborate on the statement he released to the Post late yesterday afternoon and publicly last night. He would not answer any questions, including those not governed by his confidentiality agreement with source.”

Well, an answer may come from something Woodward said on Larry King Live in October and mentioned by Shafer:

As long as Woodward is coming clean, he should revisit his appearance on the Oct. 27, 2005, Larry King Live, in which he responded to a question from Newsweek’s Michael Isikoff about a scoop he was allegedly preparing for the Washington Post. Woodward said:

    I wish I did have a bombshell. I don’t even have a firecracker. I’m sorry. In fact, I mean this tells you something about the atmosphere here. I got a call from somebody in the CIA saying he got a call from the best New York Times reporter on this saying exactly that I supposedly had a bombshell.ol>

This CIA person is someone to examine. I keep thinking the Novak (and Knight Ridder Source) was Tenet. But I am convinced Novak talked to someone at the CIA. The Knight Ridder Story which is very accurate for the time and refers to a CIA source. Now Woodward refers to a CIA source. A source who sounds spooked or concerned Woodward is about to drop a bombshell. And this would be the time around when Woodward’s source was releasing him to talk to Fitzgerald but not identify the source.

All roads appear to point towards the CIA. And this would make sense in terms of the late breaking news. Fitzgerald has not been one to investigate the CIA – just the White House. A WH source would be open to Fitzgerald’s wrath. But maybe not a CIA person. Is this someone trying to get out of the way of some news breaking on the CIA side? Is there some other reason a CIA person would not feel threatened surprising the prosecutor this late in the game? Did Fitzgerald turn someone?

All speculation of course.


Lots of new links and the end of the UPDATE section!


Lots of great links to posts in the comments section of this post – check them out. The laughter at Fitzgerald is most impressive.

Tom Maguire has his take here. I was at meetings this morning and will be adding my two cents on Tom’s comments later this afternoon. Check back!


OK, reading through Tom’s post I note some interesting points and questions. The first key question is this one by Tom:

This disclosure by Woodward raises many questions, starting with, why is he only coming forward now, and why is the “senior Administration official” only coming forward now [Note – it seems to be an “Administration official” in Woodward’s statement].

Woodward has said he did not want his source exposed so did not come forward on his own. But it is clear his source provided him immunity to testify, as other administration officials did with other reporters like Miller and Cooper, and I am not sure this holds water. But Woodward’s hand was forced by his source – who alerted Inspector Clousseu Fitzgerald of his meeting with Woodward.

This news definitely threw a wrench into Fitzgerald’s case against Libby, so that would be a reasonable motive in itself. But the administration source would be exposed to withholding evidence if they had been interviewed and not mentioned Woodward earlier. So it is not clear why this is coming out now.

Something else Tom notes:

Per the WaPo story, Woodward spoke with “a senior administration official”. But in Woodward’s statement, he “testified under oath…about small portions of interviews I conducted with three current or former Bush administration officials”.

Current or former officials? Well, it could be Libby as a ‘former’. This quote is repeated below but worth repeating:

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.”

If this interview was held prior to Judith Miller’s discussions with Libby – Libby is vindicated. Here is more information from the Washington Post today:

Woodward said today he had gotten permission from one of his sources, White House chief of staff Andrew H. Card Jr., to disclose that he had testified that their June 20, 2003 conversation did not involve Plame, the wife of administration critic Joseph C. Wilson IV.

OK. So Woodward talked to Andrew Card on June 20. Libby talked to Miller June 23rd. That establishes Woodward as a reporter who knew about ‘Mrs. Wilson’. I hate it when the media use Clintonesque statements like the one above and do not write ‘did not involve Wilson’s wife’. Speaking of being ‘clear as mud’, try parsing this sentence:

He [Woodward] said he had “pushed” his other administration source, without success, to allow him to discuss that person’s identity, but that the source has insisted that the waiver applies only to Woodward’s testimony.

Poor Bob Woodward. The only way this makes sense is the other source did not want Woodward to identify him/her because Woodward did not testify about them! I see another visit to the prosecutor on Woodward’s future. And Pincus should be expect an invite too (if Fitzgerald was doing his job).

Woodward said he had passed along a tip about Plame to Post reporter Walter Pincus, who was writing about Wilson in June 2003, but Pincus has said he does not recall any such conversation.

This is because in an October 2003 Priest/Leiby article on the Wilson controversy the reporters give a clear indication one or both of them were at the Wilson’s house on July 4th weekend interviewing the parents of Valerie (who knew where she worked of course). Well, the June 2003 article is a Pincus/Leiby article. Was Leiby someone with very close contacts with the Wilsons? Was Pincus the source for the Priest/Leiby article? In any event, it is very possible Pincus doesn’t remember Woodward telling him about Plame because he already knew and had heard it from many sources. One more would not be memorable. So Fitzgerald should invite a whole host of Washington Post reporters to confirm under oath when they learned Valerie worked at the CIA. Not what she worked on or her role with Wilson – all irrelevant to her exposure.

BTW, Pincus is now on the record admitting to withholding of evidence, obstructing justice, and conspiracy to hide information from a Federal investigation (hint, hint Fitzgerald):

Walter Pincus, the longtime Washington Post reporter and one of several journalists who testified in the Valerie Plame case, said he believed as far back as 2003 that Bob Woodward had some involvement in the case but he did not pursue the information because Woodward asked him not to.

“He asked me to keep him out of the reporting and I agreed to do that,” Pincus said today.

Got that Fitz? More later.

The funniest line from the Washington Post article referenced previously:

Downie said Woodward had violated the paper’s guidelines in some instances by expressing his “personal views.”

bwaahahahahahaa. Reporters never, ever express their personal views!!!

New links coming in: Decision ’08, Mac’ s Mind, Betsy Newmark at Michelle Malkin’s, Ace of Spades, Wizbang and Outside The Beltway. I want to add Kevin Drum to this list because of this question:

Did Woodward tell anyone about this conversation back when it happened? He didn’t tell his editor, but he says he did tell fellow Post reporter Walter Pincus. Pincus, however, says Woodward is delusional: “Are you kidding?” he says. “I certainly would have remembered that.”

I can’t begin to make sense of this.

Pincus makes total sense if Woodward was telling him something he already knew!


Here’s a stunner to add to the Plame/Wilson embraglio: Bob Woodward as recently been testifying about the Plame leak.

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.

If memory serves, Novak’s article was July 14th – which puts this conversation prior to June 14 – or around the time of the Pincus and second Kristof articles.

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.

Could be damning. But I may not be! Keep reading. What I want to know is how could Prosecutor Fitzgerald miss Bob Woodward after two years of groping in the dark? It also depends on where this came from

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.

Well, sounds like the official came forward with a recollection. Is it Rove? It was most probably not Libby. Was it Novak’s original source who has yet to be disclosed (e.g., George Tenet)?

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.

Yep, Libby is still the only one indicted for not leaking Val’s information to the press. Here is the money quote!

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.” Woodward said in his statement, however, that “I had no recollection” of mentioning the pair to Libby. He also said that his original government source did not mention Plame by name, referring to her only as “Wilson’s wife.”

Yep Tom, add Woodward to the growing list of people who knew Plame was Wilson’s wife and she worked at the CIA (because why else would Woodward be concerned about Wilsons wife?).

Woodward’s testimony appears to change key elements in the chronology Fitzgerald laid out in his investigation and announced when indicting Libby three weeks ago. It would make the unnamed official — not Libby — the first government employee to disclose Plame’s CIA employment to a reporter. It would also make Woodward, who has been publicly critical of the investigation, the first reporter known to have learned about Plame from a government source.

Duh! Some of us in the blogosphere have noted for months (or years in Tom’s case) the fallacies in the timeline of the media and their prosecutor. But recall the first probable leak of Valerie’s CIA job was to Pincus by Valerie herself or Joe Wilson.

Mark Corallo, a spokesman for Rove, said that Rove is not the unnamed official who told Woodward about Plame and that he did not discuss Plame with Woodward.

That knocks out Rove. That means it is someone else – possibly the same source as Novak’s given Woodward and Novak are old timers of the DC scene with numerous contacts. And LIbby’s lawyer is right – the Libby case took a massive broadside

William Jeffress Jr., one of Libby’s lawyers, said yesterday that Woodward’s testimony undermines Fitzgerald’s public claims about his client and raises questions about what else the prosecutor may not know. Libby has said he learned Plame’s identity from NBC journalist Tim Russert.

“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?”

This may be the first shot in response to Fitzgerald’s flimsy indictments. If so it was a good one.

Got to run to meetings – hopefully folks will link to the post. Here is something on the news at Editor & Publisher.

Here is Ed Morrissey’s take on the story.

So much for the covert status of Valerie Plame.

So true.

18 responses so far

18 Responses to “Plame Woodward”

  1. Plame Game – Bob Woodward – Is there ANYBODY who

    The Plame Game just took a RIGHT turn?

  2. Plamegate: Woodward testifies

    This just puts another nail in the coffin on the allegations that a CIA agent was “deliberately outed” in order to put her and her family in harms way as ‘revenge’ towards Joe Wilson for his NYTimes opinion piece. Via the Wash…

  3. BIGDOG says:


    Hey im going to try and connect something so please stay with me.

    A Pentigon official by the name of John Straw was asked to resign because he disclosed information that was detrimental to the Russian Government, a veto wielding power player in the UN and a friend to iraq. Russia according to Shaw, was tied to the dissapearance of Iraq’s WMD. According to Mr. Shaw he was asked to resign for “exceeding his authority” by releasing the information to the public.

    Now to add to the fact France was in deep with Saddam and Shaw makes sharp allegations against Russia. Why was he asked only to resign, for exceeding his authority and for not lieing, or leaking Classified information. However on the surface Russia was only cooperating because France had big plans for the new EU “Eurabia” so named by a french historian. Then i began to search for Russian and French ties dealing in uranium. In April 1996, France signed with Russia, an agreement signed for a period of nine years, and a total of 620 killograms of highly enriched uranium. I began to speculate a few what ifs?

    What if…Frances control over Niger exports of Uranium and the Russians enrichment abilities and the two obvious major benefactors of the oil-for-food scandals. What if this would lead to saddams ability to obtain HEU, once sanctions where lifted.

    “Several Atomic experts familiar with the inspections believe that Iraq could also probably have produced a workable device in as little as 6 to 24 months, had they decided to seize foreign-supplied HEU (highly enriched uranium) from under safeguards and focus their efforts on a crash program in order to produce a device in the shortest amount of time.”…. according to as my source.

    Saddam began to chip away at the UN sanctions around 2000….”With help from Russia, France and the Arab world, Iraq has ended a de facto air travel embargo. In 2000 Iraq began chipping away at 10 -year-old U.N. economic sanctions and seeking more control over its oil riches. Iraq is unlikely to allow inspectors back in”….according to a BBC article.

    What if….Iraq was benefiting from the erosion of sanctions and bribed UN officials. With Russia supplying the special forces to help conceal and remove Saddams WMD in the time of need.

    What if…Wilsons visit in 1999 was the early stages of a huge deal, one Wilson would broker thru the correct channels to provide cover for back door deals saddam was making with the French and Russians. I bet it pays well Mr Wislon.

    You see Mr Wilson said himself on June 16, the testimony of Joseph Wilson after

    “I am, however, an expert on Niger, and know quite a bit about uranium mining in Africa” he went on to say “My particular value added to the US government’s understanding of the issue was my knowledge of the country, its mining industry and my long relationship with key players in Niger’s politics.”

    Well DUH!!! fresh off a coupe im sure they needed someone so well known, a foriegner, to get involved in their number one export. He must have been feeling really safe to be there in 1999. Yepp thats right dollar signs!!!

    I have been under the impression for over the last 30-40 years america has been under siege by outside forces trying to undermine America, because we have become to big for our own britches. Well its true. We have. However these guys are playing for keeps and im not going down without a fight. Valerie plame and Joe Wilson i believe are bought off. The smoke screen is Joe Wilson and her name being outed a ploy. Divert attention and hide it right in front of your eyes, is a CIA specialty.

  4. Decision '08 says:

    Bob Woodward: The Grinch Who Stole Fitzmas

    The Washington Post has a blockbuster story for PlameGate junkies – Bob Woodward was told of Valarie Plame by an unamed official who was not Karl Rove, and not Lewis Libby, but who was, in fact, the first official to discuss Plame with a reporter:

  5. MaidMarion says:

    Woodward says in his Nov 16, 2005 WaPo article:

    “…I testified under oath…about small portions of interviews I conducted with three current or former Bush administration officials…”

    Was Rand Beers the “former” official who leaked to Woodward the name Valerie Plame ? He’d have been in a key position to have personally worked with her on WMD…as well as the famous Oct 2002 NIE…as well as the President’s SOTU speech. Over the past few months I haven’t seen much blogging about Rand and what his role may have been in the Democratic Party’s flaming over Novak’s Plame article.

    Which is curious! Beers quit the administration five days before the Iraq Invasion and a few weeks later joined the Kerry Campaign.

    He would have been in a great position to help Kerry torpedo Bush.

    I can’t find the link right now, but the other night I was reading up on Rand and he seemed to have spent much of his career “in the intelligence field”, but couldn’t tell if that meant “employed” by CIA but detailed to NSC or simply the field of intelligence as it relates to national security from his positions on the NSC. Later today I’ll try to find that link…

    If Beers HAD been an employee of the CIA, then he could very well have been Seymour Hersh’s unidentified “former high-level CIA official” who was a source for Hersh’s March 24 and October 20, 2003 New Yorker articles. HE could have been the source who claimed to have knowledge that it was a bunch of disgruntled, retired CIA officers who forged the Niger documents in order to setup and ultimately defuse the Bush Administration’s march to war.

    Maybe that was one of the factors behind why he quit… If indeed Beers was Hersh’s source, then the next question would be HOW he found out about the forgery caper…

  6. WoodwardGate

    Richard Nixon is surely roaring with laughter in his coffin. Bob Woodward, the journalist that with colleague Carl Bernstein discovered the Watergate scandal in the ‘70s, is involved in the so-called Plamegate, the investigation carried on by Patrick…

  7. Can You Hear Me Now

    Well, it would seem that since the Libby indictment didn’t really resonate with the public that the Plamegate matter would slide into the fringe of media coverage as the opening stages of the trial are still well into the future. However, the revelat…

  8. sbd says:

    The officer referred to in the story is John Bolton!!


  9. MaidMarion says:


    Are you referring to my post?

  10. MaidMarion says:

    Re. Rand Beers…

    Don’t know the credibility of this website, but it appears the owner was trying to finesse Rand Beers’ 30-year CIA career by saying he was a “30-year intelligence veteran” who held several positions throughout the government (…i.e., as a detailee). Why is this relevant? Because if Beers was in fact CIA, then he becomes a key candidate to be Seymour Hersh’s “former high-level CIA official” source. And it means Hersh was being clever in the way he covered the description of Rand. And it means Rand knows the identities of the Niger document forgers. Joe Wilson, by the way, has claimed to be a good friend of Rand per other online websites.

    “Rand Beers

    Rand Beers is a former Special Assistant to President Bush and Senior Director for combating terrorism. Beers is a 30 year-plus intelligence veteran who has held various positions in the State Department’s Bureau of Political Military Affairs. Additionally, he has served three times on the National Security Council staff and was Deputy Political Advisor to the Supreme Allied Commander, Europe. Beers resigned in March of 2003, five days before the start of the Iraq War, and is currently the National Security Advisor for John Kerry’s campaign. Beers received a BA from Dartmouth and an MA from the University of Michigan.”

  11. axiom says:

    BIGDOG: I’m listening. But I have a vital question.

    What interest does Russia or France have in Iraq developing WMD?

    We know the French were short sellers on atomic energy in Iraq. They were at first rather helpful in developing atomic energy, but they turned sour awfully fast when the Israelis alerted them to Iraq’s centrifuge program.

    Russia too has zero interest in assisting another country in their attempts to acquire WMD, specifically nuclear weapons. Sure, the Russians are down for making money and employing their lot of atomic scientists to spread atomic energy to other countries, but they don’t want nukes in the hands of folks like Saddam. How easily he turns on people is evident in his treatment of Kuwait.

    Concerning the “where did the WMD go” question, Frontpage Mag has an interview with a DIA agent named Bill Tierney. Here is how Tierney answers the question.

    FP: Ok, so where did the WMDs go?

    Tierney: While working counter-infiltration in Baghdad, I noticed a pattern among infiltrators that their cover stories would start around Summer or Fall of 2002. From this and other observations, I believe Saddam planned for a U.S. invasion after President Bush’s speech at West Point in 2002. One of the steps taken was to prepare the younger generation of the security services with English so they could infiltrate our ranks, another was either to destroy or move WMDs to other countries, principally Syria.

  12. Snapple says:

    Does anyone know where we can send a donation to Libby’s defense?

  13. Does Fitzgerald need a do-over on Plamegate?

    … Got that people? Scooter Libby was not the first person to tell a reporter that Lyin’ Joe Wilson’s wife worked for the CIA. It seems to me that sort of makes the Plamegate thing a whole new ballgame. It’s going to be interesting, to say the leas…

  14. BIGDOG says:

    Hi axiom. Thanx for listening..:)

    Umm its really about money, i give you a prime example. In 1974 an Iraqi delegation went to France to purchase a nuclear reactor. It was a 40-megawatt research reactor that sources in the IAEA told should cost no more than $50 million. But the French deal ended up costing Baghdad more than $200 million. The French-controlled Habbania Resort project cost Baghdad a whopping $750 million, and with the same huge profit margin. With these kinds of deals coming their way, is it any surprise that the French are so desperate to save Saddam’s regime?

    I agree with you that Russia didnt have a good reason to allow saddam such weapondry, other than money.

    You said

    “Sure, the Russians are down for making money and employing their lot of atomic scientists to spread atomic energy to other countries, but they don’t want nukes in the hands of folks like Saddam. How easily he turns on people is evident in his treatment of Kuwait.”

    Russia expertise in concealment processes. Also known as “dual use” equipment and their advanced covert activities taught Iraq how to have a covert WMD program with the excuse of ” No this equipment is used for civilian purposes.” Then after inspectors leave. They restart R&D. Plus Russia has EU programs. Im sure this advice and covert training isnt cheap.

    Iraq, in my view, had its own “Sarindar” (Sarindar, meaning “emergency exit”.) plan in effect direct from Moscow. It certainly had one in the past admittingly Gen. Yevgeny Primakov had deep ties with saddam. In the late 1970s, Gen. Primakov ran Saddam’s weapons programs. After that, he was promoted to head of the Soviet foreign intelligence service in 1990, to Russia’s minister of foreign affairs in 1996, and in 1998, to prime minister. What you may not know is that Primakov hates Israel and has always championed Arab radicalism. He was a personal friend of Saddam’s and has repeatedly visited Baghdad after 1991, quietly helping Saddam play his game of hide-and-seek.

  15. MaidMarion says:


    We do know through imagery that the Russians were transporting something outta the Baghdad area to Syria during the pre-invasion timeframe…

  16. BIGDOG says:

    Yes MaidMarion this is true. BTW guess what?


    Since 17 March 2003, the IAEA has not been in a position to implement its mandate in Iraq under resolution 687 (1991) and related resolutions.During the period covered by this report, the IAEA has continued to consolidate, restructure and further analyze the information collected by it since 1991, with the objectives of: identifying lessons learned, securing data in paper and electronic archives for improved future access and maintenance of knowledge, and developing strategies for future Security Council mandated nuclear verification in Iraq, should the Security Council direct the Agency to do so.

    The origin of the information obtained with respect to Iraq during the period covered by this report remained principally open sources (for example commercial satellite imagery of facilities and sites formerly monitored under the IAEA´s ongoing monitoring and verification (OMV) plan). Since March 2003, satellite imagery for 141 of the 175 locations identified by the IAEA as primary sites (sites that formerly contributed to Iraq´s clandestine programme or had technical capabilities of some value for the resumption of a nuclear programme) has been reviewed and assessed with a view to detecting and cataloguing changes that have occurred to the infrastructures of those sites. This assessment has revealed significant dismantling and removal activities at 37 of the most capable sites since March 2003. In the course of this assessment, the IAEA also focused on areas where destroyed equipment from the former nuclear programme had been stored or discarded. Satellite imagery has indicated that at least one site containing buried contaminated rubble has been extensively excavated.

    Just a lil more food for thought..:)

  17. MaidMarion says:


    Oh man…I wanna give you a big smooch!

  18. […] I said yesterday that Pincus would be considered obstructing justice or some such charge for stating he hid Woodward’s knowledge. Well, he is gofeeling more heat in the Wen Ho Lee now that a Federal Judge has declared him in contempt: A federal judge found Washington Post reporter Walter Pincus in contempt Wednesday, saying the journalist must reveal his government sources for stories about the criminal investigation of nuclear scientist Wen Ho Lee. […]