Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Bob Woodward Also Told of Plame's Identity

My new friend, Taylor Marsh, checks in this morning with the story of famed Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward's deposition on Monday in the Valerie Plame/CIA-leak case. It seems that Woodward was given Plame's name and identity almost a month before it was disclosed by right-wing columnist Robert Novak and that Woodward learned of Plame's covert CIA status from an unnamed senior Bush administration official – but one not named Scooter.

Go to Taylor's site to read the rest and to get other links on this story. She also sent along a link to Woodward's official statement on his testimony.

But a couple of notes before you go to visit Taylor's excellent blog:

I met Bob Woodward while speaking at a conference earlier this year and, as a writer, was as impressed as anyone to meet a journalist of his reputation and significance. There's a lot about all of this that leaves me disillusioned with Woodward and with a taste in my mouth worse than if I just kissed Katherine Harris.

Woodward was on the record all summer – most notably on Larry King Live – minimizing the importance of Plame's covert status being disclosed and making statements like "When I think all of the facts come out in this case, it's going to be laughable because the consequences are not that great."

How can Woodward stand by such an ignorant statement given that we now know as a matter of fact that Plame was indeed a covert CIA officer and that exposure of her identity caused years of work and information gathering to go to waste? At worst, her identity being spilled may also have resulted in the indirect outing of all covert agents associated with her.

Sounds pretty serious to me.

In addition, Woodward – my childhood hero of investigative journalism – said in his statement that references he had heard to Plame "... did not appear to me to be either classified or sensitive." That would have been fine at first blush, but why would a reporter with Woodward's background not question why Plame was the head of a CIA front-company, Brewster Jennings & Associates, if her role was not covert and important to national security? Strange question indeed.

Where have you gone, Bob Woodward?

One other note on the Washington Post coverage in which Scooter Libby's lawyer, William Jeffress Jr., questioned why his client was indicted (based on this new information) saying "Why did Mr. Fitzgerald indict Mr. Libby before fully investigating what other reporters knew about Wilson's wife?"

Yet another case of a smart man, acting stupid. The last time I looked, Libby was indicted for, among other things, obstruction of justice and perjury – not outing Valerie Plame. So, while Woodward's disclosure raises more questions about how widespread Bush administration divulging of Plame's name truly was, it does nothing to mitigate the lying and duplicity for which Libby was charged.

Good try though, Mr. Jeffress.

Now, on to Taylor Marsh's site to