Bob Woodward, once a muckraker and now largely a stenographer to power, has become the person a network news show turns to when they want to know what the administration thinks about something but can’t get Dan Bartlett. In that light it makes sense that he’d turn up in the Plame story somewhere, but until now that hasn’t happened.
As it turns out, that’s because Woodward hid what he knows from us and from prosecutors and, oddly enough, from his editors:
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.
I bet it felt good to get that off his chest. Why now?
Fitzgerald interviewed Woodward about the previously undisclosed conversation after the official alerted the prosecutor to it on Nov. 3 — one week after Vice President Cheney’s chief of staff, I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, was indicted in the investigation.
Even stranger, the article sets up an odd situation where one or the other of two highly-regarded journalists is either lying or lacking in fundamental journalistic skills:
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.”
“Are you kidding?” Pincus said. “I certainly would have remembered that.”
The experienced kremlinologists can parse whether this helps Libby, or expands the potential conspiracy, or who knows what. Kevin Drum is stumped, Armando at Kos says that this buries Woodward’s credibility, while Tom Maguire claims that this helps Libby’s defense. They may both be right.
Incidentally, in the same post Maguire recommends that Fitzgerald interview the two folks who claim that Joe Wilson told them about Plame. I think that’s a great idea. Testifying under oath is a big step up from testifying to a reporter.
Good commentary from Carpetbagger, of course.