Skip to comments.Woodward Claim on CIA Leak Disputes Charge
Posted on 11/16/2005 4:25:17 PM PST by notes2005
WASHINGTON (AP) - Bob Woodward's version of when and where he learned the identity of a CIA operative contradicts a special prosecutor's contention that Vice President Dick Cheney's top aide was the first to make the disclosure to reporters.
Attorneys for the aide, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, described Wednesday's statement by the Washington Post's assistant managing editor as helpful for their defense, although Libby is charged with lying to a grand jury and the FBI, not with disclosing the CIA official's name.
"Hopefully, as information is obtained from reporters like Bob Woodward, the real facts will come out," lawyer Ted Wells said Wednesday.
Woodward, a Pulitzer Prize winning reporter, said he had not told his bosses until last month that he had learned about Valerie Plame's identity and her work at the CIA more than two years ago from a high-level Bush administration official.
When Woodward learned Plame's name, he told The Associated Press Wednesday, he was in the middle of finishing a book about the administration's decision to go to war in Iraq, and didn't want to be subpoenaed to testify.
"The grand jury was going and reporters were being jailed, and I hunkered down more than I usually do," Woodward said, explaining why he waited so long to tell Post Executive Editor Leonard Downie Jr. what he knew about the Plame matter.
Woodward made his name with his coverage of the Watergate scandal during the Nixon administration. He kept secret for decades the identity of "Deep Throat," a key source in that reporting.
Woodward said he had apologized for not giving Downie much earlier notice of his reporting on Plame.
To critics who are taking shots at him, Woodward said, "Journalism is a contact sport. I was 29 when people who really knew how to shoot were around," referring to Watergate.
Because his source in the leak case has refused to be identified publicly, Woodward said his hands are tied. "We can't tell the whole story. I would like to. It's one that will be told some day," he said.
Columnist Robert Novak disclosed Plame's identity and her work at the CIA on July 14, 2003, eight days after her husband, Joseph Wilson, a former ambassador, had accused the White House of misrepresenting intelligence to justify the Iraq war.
Libby, Cheney's former chief of staff, was indicted last month on charges that he lied to FBI agents and a grand jury about when he learned Plame's identity and how he subsequently disclosed it to reporters.
Special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald, in announcing the charges, portrayed Libby as the first high-level government official to reveal Plame's identity to reporters in summer 2003.
Legal experts said Wednesday the disclosure that Woodward had a source - who was not Libby - could be used by Libby's lawyers to bolster their claim that Plame's identity was common knowledge among government officials and reporters.
"Much was made of the fact that Libby set all of this in motion, that he was the first government official to reveal this," said former Deputy Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., now a defense attorney in Washington.
"As a defense attorney, I'd try to make as much of this as I possibly could to call into question the completeness of the investigation and raise concerns about a rush to judgment." However, he said, "I'm not sure at the end of the day that it hurts the trial of this case."
Robert W. Ray, a former independent counsel, said the Woodward disclosure won't help Libby if his defense is that he wasn't the only official leaking Plame's identity. "The point was: Did you make false statements and perjure yourself?" Ray said.
The Washington Post said Wednesday that Woodward had given a sworn deposition to Fitzgerald on Monday. According to the Post, Woodward's source told Fitzgerald after Libby's indictment that the source had talked to Woodward in mid-June 2003. Woodward also talked to Libby and White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card at about the same time in connection with his book. But Woodward said in a statement printed in the Post that he didn't recall talking about Plame with Card or Libby.
Card, Libby and the remaining source - still unidentified - released Woodward from promises of confidentiality so he could answer Fitzgerald's questions. But the remaining source - at least as of Wednesday - refused to allow Woodward or the Post to identify him or her publicly.
Fitzgerald's investigation was bogged down for months while he sought testimony from reporters who had gathered information about Plame, whose husband was sent to Africa by the CIA in early 2002 to check out allegations that Iraq had tried to buy uranium "yellowcake."
Judith Miller, a former New York Times reporter, spent 85 days in jail last summer after refusing to testify before a grand jury about her conversations with Libby in June and July of 2003.
Elsewhere on Wednesday, Libby spent several hours at the federal courthouse in an area designated for lawyers to review classified or sensitive government evidence.
Accompanied by his legal team, Libby walked into the courthouse without the crutches that he'd been using during a court appearance two weeks ago when he pleaded not guilty.
Other top Bush administration officials, including Karl Rove, have testified before the grand jury.
Mark Corallo, a spokesman for Rove's legal team, said Rove was not the official who talked to Woodward. Rove was referred to, but not by name, in Libby's indictment as having discussed Plame's identity with reporters.
Woodward is now assistant managing editor of the Post. In October, he was dismissive of the Plame revelation, telling CNN's Larry King that the damage from her exposure was "quite minimal."
Meanwhile, The Associated Press on Wednesday joined other news organizations in asking U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton to deny a court motion by Fitzgerald for a blanket protective order keeping all pretrial evidence in Libby's case out of public view.
I bet MSDNC Matthews is going to cry himself to sleep tonight.
Hey Woody, how long were you prepared to let Libby twist in the breeze?
Yep. The spin will be Ray's take in the article. In any event, it hurt Kneepad Yost to write this article....
Until Woodward put two and two together and realized he was going to be called by Libby's lawyers to testify. If Fitzgerald has any brains whatsoever, which I seriously doubt, he would drop the charges against Libby right now, and close the investigation with an explaination that it was all a waste of time and the taxpayers money. If he doesn't, Libby's lawyers are going to make him look like the idiot he is!!! Fitzgerald is toast, he just doesn't know it. What a loser!!!
How long is Novak gonna let everyone 'twist' in the breeze?
Shhhhh don't say anything
Did he know about plame for two years also?
Did Fitzgerald say this?
I've been looking for the transcript of that interview...appears not to be available yet.
He says pretty much the same thing you've just said...he should drop all charges against Libby sooner than later...or he'll really end up in the poopoo pile.
Notice another MSM whore coming OUT after the INDICTMENTS are made.
Their game plan will probably be to just ignore the statement in public and chastise him in private at the coming holiday cocktail parties.
Not sure. ???? This stuff is going to lead right back into the DNC and Joe Wilson himself. Wait and see.
Yep. In his presser at the time of the indictment. Hence, methinks he is going to be p*ssed by being gamed by the presstitutes....
I bet Bill Casey told him about Plane during one of their deathbed conversations!
One must assume that Woodward's source is not in the White House.
My guess is the State Department.
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