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November 20, 2005

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sideshow joe

I'll tell you why Woodward's source was reluctant to come forward...because the source is no fan of the neocons in the Bush Admin. The source figures he made a comment in passing to Woodward and knew he was part of no scheme, so why bother coming forward to talk to the Prosecutor. Plus his testimony may help out Libby...and the source did not want that to happen.

As two other unreliable MSM reporters note today:

"So who is Novak's source—and Woodward's source—and why will his identity take the wind out of the brewing storm? One by one last week, a parade of current and former senior officials, including the CIA's George Tenet and national-security adviser Stephen Hadley, denied being the source. A conspicuous exception was former deputy secretary of State Richard Armitage, whose office would only say, "We're not commenting." He was one of a handful of top officials who had access to the information. He is an old source and friend of Woodward's, and he fits Novak's description of his source as "not a partisan gunslinger." Woodward has indicated that he knows the identity of Novak's source, which further suggests his source and Novak's were one and the same.

If Armitage was the original leaker, that undercuts the argument that outing Plame was a plot by the hard-liners in the veep's office to "out" Plame. Armitage was, if anything, a foe of the neocons who did not want to go to war in Iraq. He had no motive to discredit Wilson. On "Larry King Live" last month, Woodward was dismissive of the special prosecutor's investigation, suggesting that the original leak was not the result of a "smear campaign" but rather a "kind of gossip, as chatter ... I don't see an underlying crime here.""

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/10117465/site/newsweek/

Anonymous Liberal

What I found interesting about that story was Woodward's assertion that he's attempted on multiple occasions (including in 2004) to get his source to release him. If that's true, it's not good news for Woodward's source, particularly if that person has already testified. It will be pretty hard to utilize the "I forgot" defense if Woodward is saying he reminded this guy about the conversation several times of the last few years.

And by the way, Isikoff has a new article at Newsweek that suggests that Armitage was the source for both Woodward and Novak. And the Times of London, apparently citing the same lawyers from the Raw Story article, claims Hadley is Woodward's source. Isikoff's version sounds more plausible to me.

Marcel

It is unlikely that Woodward’s source (about Wilson’s wife) was someone currently working inside the White House. Otherwise, the White House would have followed their normal “no comment on an ongoing investigation” policy. Instead, they began to issue denials for specific individuals, a process that by a process of elimination would ultimately lead to the actual source. So the source was more likely to have been someone from State or the CIA.

The White House most likely knows the identity of the source and the date of the “mid-June” 2003 interview with Woodward. Otherwise, Cheney’s office would not have been able to state that he “did not talk to Woodward that day”.

If the source was State or CIA, that could help to distance the leak from the White House unless it was someone with a close connection to Cheney, such as Fred Fleitz or Bob Joseph (another Cheney connection, John Bolton, has denied it was him).

Syl

I had such high hopes that Fitz understood the press/govt relationship. And in his presser Fitz alluded to that when he spoke of how careful a prosecutor had to be in bringing forth a case that pitted the release of classified info against the 1st amendment rights of the press.

Yet, even though Fitz is full aware that he can't get all the information he might need from the press, he behaved as though there was no information there to get.

And, thus, my hopes re Fitz were dashed.

'This is what I need, I don't need any more' is not encouraging.

topsecretk9

What I found interesting about that story was Woodward's assertion that he's attempted on multiple occasions (including in 2004) to get his source to release him.


AnonLib
I thought this was interesting too.

Just a thought, but I wondered if this reflects Woodwards animosity towards the investigation over all and perhaps he had been prodding his source so he could write a story that detailed his(Woddwards) view. In other words he was prodding his source for a story. not going to the investigator.

Woodward has always been pessimistic about the 'investigation" and that this all about gossip, no smear and still continues to express that. He maintains that his source said this in a casual manner with no intention of outing. He says when all the information comes out it will make sense, or some such.

Just a thought to Woodwards motivation.

topsecretk9

What I found interesting about that story was Woodward's assertion that he's attempted on multiple occasions (including in 2004) to get his source to release him.


AnonLib
I thought this was interesting too.

Just a thought, but I wondered if this reflects Woodwards animosity towards the investigation over all and perhaps he had been prodding his source so he could write a story that detailed his(Woddwards) view. In other words he was prodding his source for a story. not going to the investigator.

Woodward has always been pessimistic about the 'investigation" and that this all about gossip, no smear and still continues to express that. He maintains that his source said this in a casual manner with no intention of outing. He says when all the information comes out it will make sense, or some such.

Just a thought to Woodwards motivation.

Patrick R. Sullivan

Fox News Sunday had both Wm. Kristol and Paul Gigot ridiculing Fitzgerald's case, and both raised the issue of Joe Wilson's role in outing his own wife. So Thomas and Isikoff might not be the only MSMers reading Just One Minute.

Jeff

That comment from your email is completely ridiculous regarding Fitzgerald. If you look at Woodward's account of (presumably some of) what he was asked by Fitzgerald, you can see that Fitzgerald specifically asked questions that, had the answers been different, may very well have led him to drop charges against Libby and even discredit the case against Libby.

And your own comment about Fitzgerald's pondering speaks against your emailer's perspective on Fitzgerald. Woodward may be another matter. He is, after all, a professional flatterer, so he knows what he's doing.

JM Hanes

Jeff -

I'm not sure it's completely ridiculous. It seems to me that Fitz is trying to wrap this thing up rather than embark on a major new fishing expedition. Even your own comment about his questions suggests that he's primarily interested in testing/confirming the current storyline.

cathyf
Yet, even though Fitz is full aware that he can't get all the information he might need from the press, he behaved as though there was no information there to get.

And, thus, my hopes re Fitz were dashed.

'This is what I need, I don't need any more' is not encouraging.

I've got to agree with Syl here -- what the heck is he doing prosecuting the case if he's not pursuing information with anything like the aggressiveness that the defense will (and should) pursue information? The whole point of innocent until proven guilty, burden of proof, prosecutorial descretion, etc. is that the prosecutor, as an officer of the court, has a sworn duty to justice. If the DoJ guidelines are in the way of that, he should either make his case and go on fishing expeditions with reporters until he knows who first leaked Plame's identity to reporters, or he should close up shop and say that he can't do his duty as a prosecutor and keep to the guidelines, drop the charges against Libbey, and refuse to charge anyone else. If Fitzgerald has some idea that somehow he's going to force Libby to prove himself innocent and find out who the leakers were, after a 2-year investigation where Fitzgerald did a 3-monkeys act, then he is way off the reservation. I keep telling myself that there has got to be some other explanation for his behavior, but I sure can't figure it out...

cathy :-)

narciso

Add to the fact, that Armitage is Powell's man, much more than Wilkerson; the first
time I heard of him, was a mouthpiece for
Powell, in an Esquire piece, and this was
pre-Iraq war, Armitage, shares with Powell,
three tour in Vietnam;(including as advisor
to the South Vietnamese marines)and long
time Pentagon ties; which sparked at least one of Perot's crazy Christic Institute
conspiracy rants. Personally, my hunch is
with Carl Ford, formerly of INR, who turned
on his fellow Taiwan booster John Bolton;
was it last spring. It seems so long ago.

clarice

Well, llo at this--in a substantial backtrack from his earlier filings this is how Fitz now describes the genesis of his investigation:
“The charges arose from an investigation concerning alleged leaks to reporters of classified information regarding the employment OF A PURPORTED CIA OFFICAL by one or more government officials.” (Emphasis added.) http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/iln/osc/documents/fitzgerald_affidavit.pdf

clarice

Better cite--http://tinyurl.com/9ovra

Gary Maxwell

http://tinyurl.com/9ovra>Clarice's court filing hotlinked!

JM Hanes

Try this on for size:

1) Fitz is not going to indict anyone for leaking classified information.

In addition to the points made in his press conference, he knows it will bring whistleblowing & newsgathering as we know it to an end. Not to mention that the ensuing deluge of charges, all extraordinarily difficult to pursue, would be a DoJ nightmare.

2) Fitz is not going to indict anyone for outing a covert agent.

Even if Plame was officially covert, a conviction would be a majorly tough go. The defense will argue that her covert status was just an oversight, that she had been outed long ago in the Aldrich Ames business, that she didn't meet the designation's criteria, that the C.I.A. was not actively protecting her identiy (confirmed it in fact) and that they didn't even bother to require a confidentiality agreement from Wilson himself. Throw in the Wilsons' high profile lifestyle (which will include Joe Wilson on the stand!), and the apparent fact that in an, albeit informal, assessment, even the CIA didn't think it posed a real danger. And then of course, they'll also argue that Libby didn't know she was covert. Will a jury really want to send someone to jail on a patently no-harm-done basis?

3) Fitz has already figured this out 3 months into the investigation, when he asks for explicit authority to prosecute ancillary crimes.

The authorization list he gets from the Acting A.G. is meant to look like a routine clarification, but Fitz wants it in hand, because he already knows a lesser crime is what he's going for. He's not about to advertise that fact, or let anybody (in his office or the CIA either) even hint that Plame is not covert, because he's got to give his suspect(s) a reason to lie.

4) Plame's putatively covert status is the Sword of Damocles hanging over every Administration witness's head.

It's a sort of acid test, or a maybe backdoor to justice: if they don't think they were doing anything wrong, they won't lie. This is clearly laid out in the indictment itself, with a series of questions & answers where Libby denies that fear of legal jeopardy has influenced his testimony. Fitz is not just spelling out the crime, he's simultaneously establishing the motive for his eventual jury too.

TexasToast

JMH

Interesting analysis. I would add that its not just legal jeopardy - its political jeopardy. I think Libby took a bullet - for Cheney. Cheney couldn't be seen as mucking around in the mud on something like this.

ISTM that this second interesting point is that Woodward opened the can of worms the very next day after the NYT broke the story that Libby got his info from Cheney. Cheney was now in "play", there was no more reason to keep quiet, might as well throw a wrench into the case against Libby, and redirect attention away from Cheney.

Woodward is a player in this - more so now than Novak.

Cue the Black helicopters on the grassy knoll.

JM Hanes

I thought we knew Libby got info from Cheney ages ago? If Woodward is a player, I'd guess he's in it for Woodward, not running interference for the White House. The next Prez could be a Democrat, and I don't see him looking to burn any bridges.

You're absolutely right about the political jeopardy involved though. It may be as compelling as the potential legal consequences on Libby's end, but it's not something that would figure largely in Fitz's strategy, since it's not something he can control.

Jon H

"Isikoff's version sounds more plausible to me."

Except that Armitage was travelling with Powell in June of 2003, when Woodward got his leak.

MJW

Jon H: Except that Armitage was travelling with Powell in June of 2003, when Woodward got his leak.

Not according to the State Department schedule TM mentioned in this earlier article.

Kate

JM Hanes: Interesting theory. It explains why Fitzgerald's case is such a mess right now.

No crime was committed so let's set a perjury trap for the designated villains of this piece-Rove and Libby.

In addition, let's allow the reporters to only report on their conversation with them.

JM Hanes

Kate -

"In addition, let's allow the reporters to only report on their conversation with them."

Depending on how reporters' testimony is handled at trial, that could conceivably land this case in front of the Supreme Court one day.

akb

Tom M.,

Did you see Woodward on Larry King Alive today at 9pm est, Mon., Nov. 21?

I saw it and have a few questions --

1. Woodward has a lawyer who was a former FBI counsel. Woodward has an assistant (permanent) who was a former JAG lawyer. What does this tell you about Woodward and his passion for secrecy? How come Woodward has a permanent assistant with legal background?

2. Woodward identified his source as her or his and then later as he. Thus, the source is a man. This is known. So, why bother with Rice or Karen Hughes. Focus on the men in the White House.

3. Woodward said that the Post has given him all the time to pursue his books. Is this public? That is, what do other Post reporters have to do to get similar freedom?

That's all for it now.

AKB

Mescalero

I'm having a real hard time figuring out why Valerie Plame's employment by the CIA is a big deal. The liberal Stalino-Fascist wing of the Democratic Party has never been concerned with such things in the past, so why now? Is it because the Ted Kennedys are trying to cover up their bloody tracks at Chappaquiddick? Maybe John Kerry is trying to cover up his less than credible service in VietNam!

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Wilson/Plame