Here is a stray thought I can't seem to turn into anything of GREAT IMPORT - from reading the transcript of the chat between Armitage and Woodward where Armitage mentioned Valerie Plame, it seems virtually certain that Armitage actually showed the INR memo to Woodward. Since the memo was marked as Top Secret, one wonders about the propriety here. [I am advised that Woodward has denied this via email. See UPDATE.]
From the transcript with emphasis added:
3:2 ARMITAGE: Because his wife's a [ ] analyst at
3:3 the agency.
3:4 WOODWARD: It's still weird.
3:5 ARMITAGE: It---It's perfect. This is what she
3:6 does she is a WMD analyst out there.
3:7 WOODWARD: Oh she is.
3:8 ARMITAGE: Yeah.
3:9 WOODWARD: Oh, I see.
3:10 ARMITAGE: [ ] look at it.
3:11 WOODWARD: Oh I see. I didn't [ ].
3:12 ARMITAGE: Yeah. See?
3:13 WOODWARD: Oh, she's the chief WMD?
3:14 ARMITAGE: No she isn't the chief, no.
3:15 WOODWARD: But high enough up that she can say, "Oh
3:16 yeah, hubby will go."
3:17 ARMITAGE: Yeah, he knows Africa.
Here is a link to the redacted July 7 version of the INR memo.
HELP WANTED: I am mentally composing a rip-roaring post titled "Fitzi's Dishonor: (Cleverly going for the movie tie-in this weekend).
The obvious outrages of this "investigation" seem to me to be:
(1) The decision to not call John Dickerson or David Gregory to test Ari Fleischer's credibility. The idea that this was out of deference to the lofty profession of journalism does not pass the laugh test, since Fitzgerald subpoenaed Pincus, Kessler, Russert, Cooper (twice) and let Judy Miller sit in jail for 85 days.
My guess - as of the summer of 2004, Ari was the *only* witness with an unambiguous
story that Libby spoke about Ms. Plame prior to his Russert reminder (eventually, Judy made two). Ari had denied leaking to Pincus and Pincus had contradicted that; one or two more contradictions and Fitzgerald may have had an ethical problem presenting Ari as a witness (he would not, however, have a problem presenting Ari as part of a SNL skit).
So, better to keep those two at bay and allow some reasonable doubt then to call them and torpedo the "case" against Libby. In addition, when jockeying with Libby in pre- or post-indictment negotiations, Libby might not know how weak the case was - it was only into the discovery process that the problems with Fleischer emerged.
(2) The Judy Miller affidavit - this was the affidavit explaining the importance of compelling her testimony. The judges ruled in his favor, but their opinion (link?) clearly suggested a balancing act between a free press and a serious national security investigation. Had the judges been told the truth - Fitzgerald was targeting Libby for perjury - perhaps the ruling would have been different.
Dow Jones and the AP (?) are suing to have this affidavit released, so we may find out soon enough.
(3) The Russert shenanigans: Russert clearly filed a highly misleading affidavit resisting his subpoena, telling the judge that his cooperation would be chilling without mentioning the awkward fact that he had already talked to the FBI. And Fitzgerald played along. Odd. Of course, Fitzgerald also declined to call David Gregory, which might have undercut Russert's story about learning about Ms. Plame from Novak's columns. Yes, Mr. Gregory is in an odd spot - whatever his story, he will either discredit Russert or Fleischer (OK, let's look for Gregory to say "I was hopped up on cold medicine and sleeping pills, I don't have any useful memory of that conversation either way." Could work!)
(4) The outrageous press conference suggesting that getting Libby for perjury was adequate, since it was hard to get him on the underlying leak. Please - none of the other leakers were charged, so let's not pretend leaking was a crime.
(5) The outrageous close which stepped over the "don't speculate about her status" line in exactly the way Ted Wells had predicted he would months earlier at some hearing for which I lack a link.
I welcome other suggestions. And I had a lovely stray thought about Judy Miller, but I should have written it down...
UPDATE: Centralcal emails Bob Woodward and gets this back:
From Bob Woodward: that's a good question, but there was no document or note or anything on paper that he was referring to. I so testified under oath to Fitzgerald. Because some of the colorful words were deleted, there may also be a garble in the transcript you have.
thanks, Bob Woodward"
MORE: In the comments I am chided for not mentioning the non-investiagtion of State. Good point - after Armitage had confessed to leaking to Novak in July, a serious investigator might have askewd for his calendar for June (as Fitzgerald did with Libby).
Had that step been taken, the Woodward-Armitage appointment on June 13 might have been discovered, Armitage might have recalled that leak, it may have dawned on Fitzgerald that as State in June, the spousal link was not considered to be a secret and it was considered to be an answer to the question of who sent Joe Wilson.
In such an environment, a different investigator might have opened his mind to the possibility that State leaked like a sieve about Wilson's wife, and tried to pin that down.
Or, why bother - the leaks weren't a crime, and Joe had not accused State of smearing a heroic whistleblower, so why bother? In Fitz-world, the White House was Hell's Gate.