Wednesday, November 16, 2005
Bob Woodward is just like Judith Miller
Yesterday I quoted ex-CIA officer Larry Johnson on The Washington Post's Bob Woodward who claimed that the Plame leak caused "minimal damage" at the CIA:
"So, either you had real news and didn't share it with your reporters or you are just making this up?"
Today's Washington Post reveals that Woodward has been holding back other news...for over two years.
Apparently, Woodward Was Told of Plame More Than Two Years Ago:
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.
For how long did Bobby keep this 'insensitive' information?
Citing a confidentiality agreement in which the source freed Woodward to testify but would not allow him to discuss their conversations publicly, Woodward and Post editors refused to disclose the official's name or provide crucial details about the testimony. Woodward did not share the information with Washington Post Executive Editor Leonard Downie Jr. until last month, and the only Post reporter whom Woodward said he remembers telling in the summer of 2003 does not recall the conversation taking place.
Just like Judy, Woodward can't get his fellow employees to back up his stories.
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.
Just like Judy, Woodward can't totally remember details.
He also said that his original government source did not mention Plame by name, referring to her only as "Wilson's wife."
Just like Judy, Woodward does remember that the government officials refrained from using Valerie Plame's full name.
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 sources.
Just like Judy, Woodward's not talking about stuff that he isn't legally blocked from discussing.
Downie said in an interview yesterday that Woodward told him about the contact to alert him to a possible story. He declined to say whether he was upset that Woodward withheld the information from him.
Just like Judy's bosses, Woodward's boss seems to be biting his tongue in the early stages.
Bob Woodward - who, just like Judy, didn't write about it - against Walter Pincus - who did:
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.
Remember that July 11 Woodward interview with Larry King while Judith Miller languished in prison (CNN transcript):
WOODWARD: I would have done it, too. And in fact, you know, maybe I shouldn't say this, but I will...
KING: Go ahead.
WOODWARD: ... because it came to mind. If the judge would permit it, I would go serve some of her jail time, because I think the principle is that important, and it should be underscored. It's not a casual idea that we have confidential sources. It is absolutely vital. And I'll bet there are all kinds of reporters out there, if we could divvy up this four-month jail sentence -- I suspect the judge would not permit that, but if he would, I'll be first in line. It's that important to our business.
Let the record show that unlike Judy, Bob Woodward caved pretty damn quick.
Atrios posted juicy excerpts from another Larry King interview that took place on October 27, 2005, a week before Patrick Fitzgerald was alerted to Woodward's involvement (the same interview in which Bobby claimed that he had the Senate Report on the U.S. Intelligence community's prewar intelligence assessments on Iraq in his pocket, though Larry King didn't ask him to prove it or - at least - explain how a 500-plus page report could fit inside his pocket).
Atrios, among other excerpts, highlights this strange exchange:
KING: We're in Washington where things are hopping and we're going to follow up again tomorrow night. We're going to lead this round with Bob Woodward as we turn to tomorrow. But, Michael Isikoff whispered to me during the break that he has a key question he'd like to ask Mr. Woodward, so I don't know what this is about.
ISIKOFF: No, look, this is the biggest mystery in Washington, has been really for two years and now as we come down to the deadline of tomorrow the city is awash with rumors. There's a new one every 15 minutes and nobody really knows what's going to happen tomorrow. Nobody knows what Fitzgerald's got.
I talked to a source at the White House late this afternoon who told me that Bob is going to have a bombshell in tomorrow's paper identifying the Mr. X source who is behind the whole thing. So, I don't know, maybe this is Bob's opportunity.
KING: Come clean.
WOODWARD: 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.
No wonder that Jane Hamsher at firedoglake is calling bullshit on Bobby. Over a month ago, Jane wrote:
Note to self: do not EVER play poker with Patrick Fitzgerald.
But I guess she'd allow Bobby to sit in for a few hands, at least (perhaps Bobby could play with his Wired royalties).
Computer problems prevented me from examining the pdf containing the text of Bob Woodward's version of what he testified to before writing this post but John at Raw Story forwarded it to me...so here's a few more thoughts on all this.
Evidently, Woodward's "testimony was given in a sworn deposition at the law office of Howard Shapiro of the firm of Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr instead of appearing under subpoena before a grand jury." Again, it's odd that Woodward backed Judy's stand but he himself barely raised a finger in defense.
I testified after consulting with the Post's executive and managing editors, the publisher, and our lawyers. We determined that I could testify based on the specific releases obtained from these three people. I answered all of Fitzgerald's questions during my testimony without breaking promises to sources or infringing on conversations I had on unrelated matters for books or news reporting past, present or future.
It was the first time in 35 years as a reporter that I have been asked to provide information to a grand jury.
But Bobby really isn't being truthful here.
Earlier in his statement he wrote:
All three persons provided written statements waiving the previous agreements of confidentiality on the issues being investigated by Fitzgerald. Each confirmed those releases verbally this month, and requested that I testify.
Woodward did break promises. Those promises were the original "agreements of confidentiality." Even though Bobby got written and verbal waivers that doesn't change the fact that he went back on his word.
See if you can spot something interesting in this part of Bob's statement:
I testified that on June 27, 2003, I met with Libby at 5:10 p.m. in his office adjacent to the White House. I took the 18-page list of questions with the Page-5 reference to ``yellowcake'' to this interview and I believe I also had the other question list from June 20, which had the ``Joe Wilson's wife'' reference.
I have four pages of typed notes from this interview, and I testified that there is no reference in them to Wilson or his wife. A portion of the typed notes shows that Libby discussed the October 2002 National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq's alleged weapons of mass destruction, mentioned ``yellowcake'' and said there was an ``effort by the Iraqis to get it from Africa. It goes back to February '02.'' This was the time of Wilson's trip to Niger.
When asked by Fitzgerald if it was possible I told Libby I knew Wilson's wife worked for the CIA and was involved in his assignment, I testified that it was possible I asked a question about Wilson or his wife, but that I had no recollection of doing so. My notes do not include all the questions I asked, but I testified that if Libby had said anything on the subject, I would have recorded it in my notes.
Did you catch it?
Unless Bobby brought his typewriter (in his pocket I imagine) to the Libby interview these aren't his original notes.
Why doesn't Bobby mention what happened to those original notes?
And the larger question: Did Patrick Fitzgerald ask about what happened to Bobby's original notes?
More on the "typed notes" and how The Office of the Vice President may be complicit of obstruction of justice at - the aptly named - More on Cheney and Woodward.