The NY Times rounds up a few “I was not Woodward’s source” denials and sets the fox amongst the chickens:
A senior administration official said that neither President Bush himself, nor his chief of staff, Andrew H. Card Jr., nor his counselor, Dan Bartlett, was Mr. Woodward's source. So did spokesmen for former Secretary of State Colin L. Powell; the former director of central intelligence, George J. Tenet; and his deputy, John E. McLaughlin.
A lawyer for Karl Rove, the deputy White House chief of staff who has acknowledged conversations with reporters about the case and remains under investigation, said Mr. Rove was not Mr. Woodward's source.
Mr. Cheney did not join the parade of denials. A spokeswoman said he would have no comment on a continuing investigation. Several other officials could not be reached for comment.
"Mr. Cheney did not join the parade of denials"! C'mon, where are the spokespeople for Dick Cheney, Stephen Hadley, and Condi Rice, just for starters?
And keep in mind - Woodward’s leak was that Ms. Plame was a CIA analyst, which tracks with the INR memo that circulated at the State Department prior to being discussed at a White House meeting. Colin Powell is by no means the only senior Administration official at State - let’s get denials from Marc Grossman, Richard Armitrage, and a few others (some of whom were apparently out of town in mid-June).
Hmm, I should have kept reading...
In fact, only a small group of officials - at the White House, the State Department, and the Central Intelligence Agency - are believed to have known by early June 2003 about Ms. Wilson's ties to the C.I.A. They included Secretary Powell, Mr. Tenet, Mr. McLaughlin, Mr. Cheney, Mr. Libby; Marc Grossman, then the under secretary of state for political affairs; Carl Ford, then the head of the State Department's intelligence bureau; and Richard L. Armitage, then deputy secretary of state.
...Mr. Fitzgerald's indictment of Mr. Libby provides some clues about the small number of people who were directly involved in exchanging information about the Wilsons. It says that Mr. Libby first sought information about Ambassador Wilson's trip from Mr. Grossman, on May 29, 2003. It says that Mr. Grossman directed Mr. Ford's intelligence bureau to prepare a report about Mr. Wilson and his trip to Niger, and briefed Mr. Libby about that report as it was being completed, telling him on June 11 or 12, 2003, that Mr. Wilson's wife worked at the C.I.A. and that State Department personnel were involved in the planning of the trip. Mr. Grossman declined to comment on Wednesday, and Mr. Ford did not reply to a telephone call and an e-mail message.
...Other administration officials known to have been interviewed by investigators include Condoleezza Rice, who was then national security adviser and is now secretary of state; Stephen Hadley, then deputy national security adviser and now the national security adviser; Mr. Card; and Mr. Bartlett.
The Times is oddly quiet on whether Ms. Rice or Mr. Hadley responded to a request for a denial.
From a different direction, we can also play “Follow the bouncing source”:
(a) In Woodward’s own statement, he spoke with “three current or former Bush administration officials”;
(b) In the WaPo story yesterday, we were told that Woodward’s source was a “senior administration official”. And they must have gotten that from Woodward, right? Not exactly:
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.
Emphasis added for comic effect.
So who promoted Woodward's source - Woodward's attorney, or someone in Fitzgerald's office? Please. Irrational exuberance is my preferred theory.
(c) The NY Times reverted to Woodward’s text in their coverage, telling us that Woodward spoke with “a current or former Bush administration official”;
(d) Today’s WaPo compounded the fun - check this:
Woodward testified Monday that contrary to Special Counsel Patrick J. Fitzgerald's public statements, a senior government official -- not Libby -- was the first Bush administration official to tell a reporter about Plame...
So, the source is “a senior government official”, a “current or former Bush administration official”, or “a senior administration official”? Lacking elaboration from Woodward, I am mystified.
However, I am taking a bold stand here - I am highly confident that Woodward’s source was neither his mailman nor the security guard at the front desk of the EOB.
Let’s note one other (possibly minor and distracting) point - Woodward said that he spoke with three “current or former” officials. Two of them have been identified as Andy Card and Lewis Libby.
So, is the third official the reason the word “former” is used, or was it used simply in a cornucopia of source concealment? [D'oh - Libby is a former official now.]
We await more clues tomorrow.
MORE: The Anon Lib tells us that Raw Story is tapping Stephen Hadley, and who knows? We have also said before that "Raw" may be an underestimate of their cooking time - "Half-baked" might be closer.
UNRELENTING: The Times says this:
Mr. Pincus, who has written that he first heard about Ms. Wilson from a senior administration official in July, said he did not recall that.
Emphasis added, and I don't think so - I question their use of the word "first", and eagerly await evidence that Mr. Pincus denied hearing about a "Wilson and wife" connection earlier.
On July 12, two days before Novak's column, a Post reporter was told by an administration official that the White House had not paid attention to the former ambassador's CIA-sponsored trip to Niger because it was set up as a boondoggle by his wife, an analyst with the agency working on weapons of mass destruction. Plame's name was never mentioned and the purpose of the disclosure did not appear to be to generate an article, but rather to undermine Wilson's report.