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November 19, 2005


So maybe Woodward, against his will at first, winds up playing a key role bringing down a second corrupt administration -- the "Journalist with a Conscience" scenario. There's also, again, the "Journalist as Conspirator" scenario which thus far hasn't been proven in the cases of Judy, Andrea Mitchell, Novak, et al. but which can't be ruled out.

I don't quite know why, but I so want to believe that Woodward isn't a shill.

As I see it, there's a shocking, and growing, number of journalists and news organizations who had, and withheld, information which would have prevented the reelection of George Bush. Woodward, as one of them, is eternally damned in my book, but at this point, I'd be happy to see him or any of the others repent and do something to partially repair the damage they've caused.

A few more comments. I think this paragraph...

Asked if this was the first time his source had spoken with Fitzgerald in the investigation, Woodward said "I'm not sure. It's quite possibly not the first time." But it is the first time Woodward had contact with Fitzgerald, even though Woodward's name shows up on various White House officials' calendars, phone logs and other records during June and July, 2003, the time frame that is critical to determining whether a crime was committed when information about Plame's employment was shared with reporters. Those White House records were turned over to Fitzgerald long ago.

...suggests Mr. X may have come forward because he was caught in a perjury trap. It suggests 1) Mr. X has "spoken with Fitzgerald" and 2) that there was evidence of a conversation between Mr. X and Woodward that may have come up in that early conversation.

Also, I suspect I'll be asked, "is this Condi, is this Hadley, is this Cheney." I think all are possible. If Woodward's scoop really relates to a Rove play, it makes it less likely it's Hadley (remember, Hadley thought he'd be indicted anyway, which suggests Fitz didn't need Rove to indict Hadley). Condi is more likely because--recall--she rushed back to DC, all in a crabby mood, early in Fitzmas leak. But I still vote Dick. In another TV appearance, Woodward said,

Now there is a hitch, and--and we've been talking about this, but Joe Wilson, Ambassador Joe Wilson, has a book that's out now, which goes after Cheney's top guy: Scooter Libby, his chief of staff, who is--also has a long history with many of the other people who have been advising the president. And it--there's an ongoing investigation into who leaked Wilson's wife's name, an undercover CIA agent, to reporters and made it public. And his is pointing the finger at Scooter Libby in his book.

Mr. WOODWARD: Does--does he have any evidence, though? Or is this just a guess, surmised?

Ms. BROWN: It is--he...

Mr. WOODWARD: I wish it was Scooter Libby.

Granted, he wasn't asking directly about who his very own personal Mr. X was. But why would he wish this was Libby? I can see him wishing it was Libby if he knew it was someone bigger, Bush or Cheney...

Meteor: Daily Howler is your site for a defence of Woodward. Indeed, the BS case is compelling if you assume that any light thrown on the process is sure to reflect badly on Bush. But as to Woodward's real intentions, I'm inclined not to be quite as generous.

OT, but I don't know if the amazing article by James Bamford has been mentioned on this site, but I'm taking the liberty of doing so, with a link to my discussion of it:

Wow. My head spins. Great analysis.

Wow. My head spins. Great analysis.

Wow, emptywheel, you're really on fire this past week.

I don't see how Woodward isn't a shill, given everything we know (pace, with tiresome consistency these days, Bob Somerby). I find it incongruous that Woodward would even confront Mr. X about having been lied to (I'm sure Woodward would conceive the action more charitably), let alone consider that grounds for outing his source. (Perhaps he called up to get clarification.) So I don't see that as the least bit problematic for the rest of your theory. If he was so ruffled by the lie, to the point where he might even have considered whether it warranted outing his source, I don't see why he would have been blithely parroting that very lie on national television scant days later.

And I'm not sure why the "mid-June" thing should be taken so strictly. Perhaps there is some powerful journalistic code against such misattributions that I'm not aware of, but given Woodward's past deceptions, and the Miller mould he seems bent on following, I don't see why he can't be dissembling on this point. Certainly he must have known that to have written "early June" would constitute at least as great a bombshell as the initial revelation of his involvement.


He may not have perceived himself to be a shill. But I think it's safe to say, he was taken for a ride on this--may still be on that ride. Is it fair to call Bob Woodward naive?

It is not clear what you are surmising. Appears to be:
1. Mr. X is Fleitz
2. Timing is June 8 or so for X to tell Cheney
3. Leakers are Rove, Libby and Fleitz
4. Rove outed Woodward/Cheney on indictment day to Fitz
If so, there are two rings here. One is the WHIG ring of Rove, Libby, etc. But they were tools in the hands of the higher ring of Cheney, Fleitz, and maybe others. Fitz paused his indictments of the lower ring because Rove just gave him the higher ring? 'Splains everybody's behavior, but is all speculation, of course.

The new information Woodward received was quite simple, that he had been outed. The gig and jig were up. He would soon be called to testify before Fitzgerald and had to tell Downie.

emptywheel - I saw over at fdl that you were asking for the article that stated that Woodward's source had not talked to the grand jury. Here it is from Entous at Reuters.

One question. Unless I am missing something, there is a problem with your intriguing guess as to what the new information Woodward learned was. If Woodward had learned that Fleitz had passed along info the effect that Plame was a NOC, then there's no way that Woodward would still be so dismissive of the whole investigation on Larry King on Oct. 27, would there be?

I don't know if this is self-evident or not, but it just leapt out at me: in Woodward's comments on Larry King:

"First of all this began not as somebody launching a smear campaign that it actually -- when the story comes out I'm quite confident we're going to find out that it started kind of as gossip, as chatter and that somebody learned that Joe Wilson's wife had worked at the CIA and helped him get this job going to Niger to see if there was an Iraq/Niger uranium deal."


" and I think it's quite possible that though probably unlikely that he will say, you know, there was no malice or criminal intent at the start of this. Some people kind of had convenient memories before the grand jury. Technically they might be able to be charged with perjury."

in the bold passages, he's really talking about HIMSELF. He's laying the groundwork for his own defense, trying to convince himself that everything was innocent and that he will not face any legal jeopardy.


No, I'm saying Mr. X is Cheney, but he found out about it from Fleitz. Fleitz is the one who knew of Plame's NOC status who passed it on to Dick.


Yeah, it could be as simple as that. Which would help out answering Jeff.


Yeah, you're right. I felt like there was a hole and you've pointed right to it. Woodward know of Fleitz' role on October 27 and not realize he'd been lied to yet know he'd been lied to as soon as he saw the indictment on October 28.

Or could he? Was Woodward aware of the other leak chronology in the indictment? He almost certainly was aware of when Grossman briefed. But could he have known that Libby wasn't claiming to have learned of Plame's DO status until June 12?

In any case, you're right. That part doesn't make sense.


Yeah, those passages are telling. Add in my speculation that Woodward may have passed information TO the get-Wilson people, and it might be very telling.

Maybe I am confused. To me, Mr. X is the third leaker who has been speaking with Fitz all along. You think that is Cheney, not Fleitz or (Raw Story) Hadley?

Damn, ew! Great sleuthing. My brain hurt so hard last night by the time I finished that post I simply could not connect the dots any further.

Condi -- I specifically heard Len Downie on CNN repeatedly use "he" and "him" with regard to Woodward's source. If he was being intentionally misleading about gender I would be quite shocked.

I'm also a firm member of the Rove gave somebody up theory. But I have to say I really like the Occam simplicity of Mimi's theory. It feels right.

As I understand it, Mr. X is Woodward's first source. Which is kind of confusing, because Rove's first source and Pincus' source have also been called Mr. X.

I think it's much more likely to be Hadley than Fleitz. I can't even imagine Woodward talkign to Fleitz. Too junior, and too far away at State/CIA. Also, someone did an index search on Woodward's book and Fleitz doesn't show up at all.

Got it.Woody's X is Cheney - no doubt in my mind; the other X is either Fleitz or Hadley or ? You think Hadley. But if it were Fleitz, it rounds off the whole thing, don't you think? (see my upstream post)

Thanks Jane.

My brain hurts now. Do you think you can figure out the answer to the big hole Jeff shot in this theory above?

One answer for Jeff is, Woodie would still be dismissive if he thought he had gotten away scot-free. After all, everyone thought the investigation was over at that time.

I'm curious why nobody in this thread thinks Richy Armitage might be involved here, maybe not as X but as a source along the way. He and Woody were close, at least back in 03/04 and so far I haven't heard a denial from him, and the WSJ and other point out he was definitely in the know about Plame's id. Somebody didn't like him at the WH since he and Colin "resigned". Something about Hadley being X doesn't compute at this end.

emptywheel -

I only have one small, perhaps irrelevant quibble. It doesn't seem to me that from Fitzmas Day to Nov 3 is really "a fairly long time" for Mr. X to come forward - depending on what exactly "come forward" means.

Presumably if you're Mr X, you don't just see what came down on Friday, then take a cab to the Prettyman Court House on Monday morning (Oct 31) for a chat with Fitz. You call your lawyer, and your lawyer calls Fitz.

And Fitz doesn't say to come right down. He realizes he just shook an unexpected apple out of the tree. (He expected apples to start falling, but the whole sand-in-the-ump's-face point is he wasn't quite sure which ones.) So he has to review his own notes, and make sure exactly what he wants to ask Mr. X. All of which easily gets us to Thursday the 3rd.

Which probably has no bearing on your overall line of argument, but I thought I'd mention it anyway. :)

-- Rick

KM: And I'm not sure why the "mid-June" thing should be taken so strictly. Perhaps there is some powerful journalistic code against such misattributions that I'm not aware of.

I agree, in fact I've been rather surprised to see previous arguments built on the notion that "mid-June" must refer to a fairly small time window in the middle of the month. Unless there is a journalistic convention here, I would draw exactly the opposite conclusion, as follows:

First assume the speaker needs to refer to a subset of the month, but does not want to state precise date ranges. Next assume that the only three options to hand are 'early', 'mid', and 'late'. If these assumptions are reasonable (which they seem to be in this case), they rule the existence (in the speakers mind) of portions of the month that do not fall into any of the three subsets. That is, the three subsets must partition the entire month.

So how (mentally) would a speaker do that? If they have a very mathematical mind, they could possibly describe June 1-10 as 'early', 11-20 as 'mid', and 21-30 as 'late'. But actually, this allocation, although perfectly logical, is not ideal semantically. In the context of a mental partitioning scheme like this, the terms 'early' and 'late' are semantically more precise than 'mid'. I believe many people would naturally tend to restrict the label 'early' to the first week, and 'late' to the last week of the month. 'Mid', being a much less precise term, is left to cover a much wider range of dates -- in June, potentially as wide as the 8th through the 23rd.

This may seem counter-intuitive if you have been thinking of 'mid' as implying "in the middle of the month". That line of thinking suggests that 'mid' should refer only to small date ranges either side of the 15th -- 13-17, 12-18, the 'middle week', etc. But I don't think that is how the term is being used in the context of a mental partitioning scheme. Rather, I believe 'mid', because of the greater precision of 'early' and 'late', actually just means "not early, and not late".

So in my mind, any logic based on a stated event "in mid-June" should allow the speaker a wide range of legitimate possible meanings. That is, we should not consider that the speaker was being deliberately deceptive if the actual date turns out to have been the 8th or the 23rd. Because the same speaker might consider it more deceptive to describe the 8th or 9th as 'early June', and that line or reasoning would take precedence when deciding which label to use.

Just my $0.02.

Woodie has not suddenly found a conscience in my opinion. The reason he has changed his tune with respect to Fitz is that he is now part of the investigation and is scared shitless that he might get nailed. There is no doubt in my mind that he and Judy and many others were active participants in the information war against the American public.

There is much more to all this than meets the eye. As Fitz continues the investigation and as each of these rocks get turned over more of these venomous snakes get uncovered. If we can get another indictment or two, then I believe the conspirators will really start to get worried about the heat that is so close to them and start flipping.

Unlike what Booby told Larry King, when all is said and done this will turn out to be an even larger conspiracy than we could have imagined. The reason these guys reacted so viciously to Wilson is because that was the first breach of their conspiracy to intentionally and actively deceive the country and even the world to war. Another dot in this conspiracy is the Rolling Stone story linked to on firedoglake on the role of John Reddon, Judy Miller and Chalabi in the propaganda war. This is an absolute must read to understand the scope of the deception campaign.



I guess I assumed the leadup to "coming foward" wasn't that elaborate. And we're not sure what "coming foward means." It doubtfully means testimony (otherwise it'd be easier to pin down Mr. X, particularly since Bush's admin has been travelling so much lately). It might just mean a call on the 3rd. But your scenario works, too.


Two reasons I don't buy the Armitage line.

First, the most detailed and best sourced description of the INR memo states that Armitage (and, incidentally, Powell) hadn't seen the memo:

Armitage called Ford after Wilson's op-ed piece in The New York Times and his TV appearance on July 6, 2003 in which he challenged the White House's claim that Iraq had purchased uranium yellowcake from Niger.

Armitage asked that Powell, who was traveling to Africa with Bush, be given an account of the Wilson trip, said the former official.


The June 2003 memo had not gone higher than Grossman until Wilson's op-ed column for The New York Times headlined "What I Didn't Find In Africa" and his TV appearance to dispute the administration.

You could argue that Armitage was the source for this story and he was anticipating in July that he would need plausible deniability. But otherwise, this is the gold standard description of the INR memo--particular wrt what happened with it in State.

And there's also a tidbit from Laura Rozen's site.

My best source on this stuff says he's heard differently. Thinks those who have issued denials may not be telling the truth. Imagine that

Keep in mind Laura is personally friends with the best source on this, period, Murray Waas. So I'm guessing that this is Waas saying that not only is Armitage not the guy, but the guy who IS Mr. X issued a denial.

Cymro, glad to see I'm not the only one. Among other things, I'm trying to suggest that excessive parsing of, or reliance on, the locution "mid-June" is probably a bit risky; we shouldn't hang too much analysis on some defined notion of what "mid-June" is likely to refer to. However, I do think deliberate deception is going on, and that's precisely why I think we don't get much out of an attempt at a strict definition of "mid-June". The very point of saying "mid-June" (as opposed to specifying dates, as he did with the other meetings) is to be deliberately vague and ambiguous. Likely the point is, as EW has put it, to carry water for Mr. X (and for others, I'd suggest), which Woodward is quite clearly doing (perhaps it is also self-protective?). So why shouldn't we assume that "mid-June" is being used precisely to cover the most expansive possible range, in order publicly to conceal information Woodward, X and others obviously consider potentially harmful?

cymro and km

Thanks for making that argument. It is very coherent. I agree with it totally, but since I usually parse very closely, it's not my strength to make an argument like that. But, yeah, it makes sense. He's hiding something. Why do we believe he's trying to be anything but vague.

KM, you may be right about the presence of an actual attempt to deceive in this instance. In my comments about deception, I was really just thinking about the plausible meanings of the term 'mid-June'. So use of that term, whether or not in an attempt to deceive, provides the speaker with plausible deniability of any attempt to deceive, because of the wide range of plausible interpretations it offers.

If Rove giving Fitzgerald something at the last minute is related to Woodward, it has to be Cheney (or Bush) he's giving up, right? Giving up Hadley, say, couldn't get Rove off, because he's more powerful than Hadley (I think). Saw something developing about the the public editor at the NYTimes questioning the use of an anonymous denial on Bush's behalf (Raw Story).


Yeah. Absolutely. If Rove is dealing, he's dealing someone more important (or senior) than he is.

Plus, rumor has it that Fitz already had Hadley.

Heh. Good one, I have to admit I hadn't read the full King-Woodward transcript.

Woodward just happened to have a copy of the report in his pocket...imagine that. What a flipping coincidence.

Nice work here, EW, this is convincing stuff, puts lots of meat on the bones.


You say: "Fitzgerald didn't caveat the Libby was first claim"...

Actually, he did. He said that Libby was first person *known* to have leaked Plame's identity. That's an important caveat in my mind. It may suggest that he did not know enough to be certain that there was an earlier leaker, but knew enough to know that an earlier leaker was *possible*.

Just a thought here about Booby's motivations in this whole thing and why he was so confident that this was nothing more than shop talk.

His entire career has been built on unparalleled access to sources no one else gets anywhere as close to. He's the insider's insider and he gets to see and hear things no other journo can.

So in "mid-June" of '03 his source lets this fly, just off the cuff (Columbo always did things off the cuff too). He's privy to a deep dark secret that might help him with his next book, whatever it is. A month later, though, Novak blasts it all over the known universe. But he can live with this because Novak is a heavyweight with sources of his own who often has his own dark agendas. Might be good publicity background for the book, too.

Last summer, though, it became obvious that lots of people in the DC press corps knew about Plame. Okay, maybe they picked it up from each other, the way Libby said? No; it becomes obvious only sometime in October that they got it direct from official sources. No exclusives for Booby! They *all* got fed.

Not only that, but once Miller is forced to testify and gives up Libby, it's clear that Fitzgerald knows that officials gave up the info, knows who the journalists were, and is going to be relentless in getting them to finger their official sources. With Cooper, remember, it was only that *he* didn't tell Libby.

For Fitzgerald, that was round one-- dismantling the round-robin gossip story that Libby got his name from, oh, some reporter somewhere, sometime.

Now Fitz knew from the logs that Woodward was practically living in the executive offices. He should have called Booby, right? But why would he pick a fight with America's most famous hero journalist? Especially when he didn't need anything from him for round one?

Booby, meanwhile, had to be stewing and had to be re-evaluating what he thought of his buddies in the White House. It's only in this two-week period that he really understands that his "exclusive access" has been retailed to a whole bunch of other reporters, at least on this point. He's been professionally betrayed here.

He also understands that since it isn't just cocktail gossip, he might really be in some jeopardy; classified information is one of his main stocks in trade and he knows this particular piece. Why hasn't he been called? His name is all over the visitor logs, it's just a matter of time unless his official source will go to the wall for him. But how can he trust a source who's already betrayed him on the exclusive and will be under enormous pressure?

This might explain why he'd finally go to Downie, and why he'd want to synchronize stories with his source then. It doesn't explain what he said on Larry King, which might just have been wishful thinking or maintaining consistency until his appearance was squared away, I don't know about that.

Thing is, it seems to me that Fitzgerald only needs Woodward for round two, nailing the official sources. If so, he was smart to be patient and let Booby come to him out of wounded repertorial ego, fear of prosecution, or whatever. Booby can only say who told him, and that he didn't tell anyone else except his editor (but which one?).

And it may be that the WH leaks about his "big story" were attempts to get Fitz to call Booby before he needed him, just to muddy the waters. One thing no one should lose sight of is that Rove really cares most about manipulating how the public is going to see things. Setting up a fight between a then-relatively unknown Fitz and the hero of Watergate would be just his style.

For what it's worth, I don't think Woodward was repeating talking points when he was on Larry King Live the night before the indictment. I think he was trying to communicate with his source. He was trying to convince his source that "things weren't so bad" and that he should come forward. In other words, Woodward was letting his source know exactly what his testimony would be if it ever came to that. He could have done this privately, of course, but it's more effective when it's on the record, in public. That would reassure the source that his story wasn't going to suddenly change when he talked to the proscecutor. If Woodward's TIME interview is to be believed, he was trying to talk this source into releasing him for some time. I think Woodward's indictment-eve performance was aimed directly at his source. He was saying "I know you didn't intentionally out this woman, so let me talk about."

Anyway, that's my guess.

O.K, EW your kung fu is really good!
However I'm of the mind that Condi may be Bobby's source; Condi is the only person whom I think Bobby would give the benefit of the doubt or protect. Hadley already a person of interest by Fitz would have set off alams with Bobby. Note that Bush said that if anyone is invloved in the leak they would not be in the WH. Well she is not "at" the WH. I think she disclosed Plame to Bobby more on giving him an idea of what the WH insiders thought of the whole Niger thing.

I think it has to be Cheney. Like in Sherlock Holmes it's about the dog that didn't bark.

Why didn't Libby call Woodward about Plame? He was phoning so many others wo why not Woodward? The only likely answer is because Libby knew it was someone else's job to talk to Woodward, so there was no point on doubling up. So it had to be someone close enough to Libby for them to work out who they each should call.

No one else appears that close to Libby but Cheney.

Also if Mr X didn't divulge anything illegal then why is he hiding the conversation? At that time Woodward didn't know anything about Plame being covert. So this has to be a conversation that needs to be protected for some other reason, which would be to not involve Cheney in it. If it was Hadley then Hadley had no reason not to tell Fitzgerald earlier.

In any case that Mr X phoned Woodward and Libby was likely told not to, this is conspiracy.

For what its worth these are my present observations:

1. There is something really flip about Hadley's non-denial denial.

2. Likewise there is something very gamey about Downie's willingness only to publish the identity of Mr. X if it is revealed through sources other than Woodward (inasmuch as the Post seems to be honoring yet some kind of confidentiality agreement even in the face of the Miller precedent. Maybe the firewall is the suggestion that there are other sources to get at this information.)

3. Cheney, Hadley and Bush all seemed to be in lockstep this week in their push back against Murtha, Hadley in fact getting more exposure than I can remember.

4. It is obivous that the White House policy of not commenting on the investigation has undergone a nuanced orchestration in light of the revelation of the Woodward involvement. This maybe that because that irrespective of any merits of Woodward's "Bush at War" there is probably no other journalist so closely associted with the idea of unfettered access to the White House.

5. Remember the modus operendi in all administration conversations with reporters was to couch the disclosure of "Mrs. Wilson's" role in a casual gossipy manner, apparently as a agreed to strategy of plausible deniability. And this seems to be the impression that Woodward came away with from his contact regarding the Plame outting. It is notable too that the nepotism theme was being floated past Woodward as well.

6. As purely a speculative note could the zeal of the push back against Murtha be a way to test the water for an argument of executive discrestion in pursuing the war on terror as a political argument justifying the Plame outing if a senior elected official or cabinet secretary turns out to be Woodward's source.

I am not sure where this all leads but if Rove did give someone up the obvious question is was this done with the blessing of the President? All appearances are that Rove continues to be intimately involved in all political decisions (good lord, what happened to his Katrina czarship?) Can there be any doubt that the admistration is dealing with these matters under the cover of the "true beleiver" meme (in other words all things are justified in war.)

At this juncture I think I will just let these points rest in a gesture of understatement. I do agree that something is just not quite adding up. I would be curious as to how anybody would tie all the inferences from these observations together to reach a conclusion. Obviously more will be revealed in time and what I have put together is a restatement of the obvious but I continue to think that the truth of what has happened remains in the "big picture" narrative. You know, it just seems too convenient to have Hadley fall on his sword one more time but Fitzgerald may have a problem getting beyond this offering.

By looking America right in the eye and lying, Woodward has betrayed the public trust. He has one foot in Hell and the other in his mouth, the latter being a welcome relief.
Dr Dave

Woody is eternally damned because he did know better. He never loses an opportunity to tell us how fucking brillant he is. His fawning over the idiot BushBaby in soft ball interviews and his 'book', if you can call it that, should be evidence enough.

He is Armstrong Williams in 'White Face'. Bought n' sold.

Has been for many full moons.

Come on folks, smell the java.

Bob 'Judy' Woodward is a shameless Presstitute.

Use your words Katie: A lot of this parsing seems to me to revolve around whether Mr X did or did not testify to Fitz or the Grand Jury...it’s important to remember “these people” are some of the world’s best wordsmiths so it’s pretty much fun to note the shiny keys. and all the other distractions...
This Mr X and Woodie and others for that matter must have lost their water when they finally realized their conspiracy charges were safe but they were screwed on obstruction, perjury and lies because it’s not just the grand jury or Fitz, but any communications to anyone investigating this. There were FBI and John freakin Asscroft and who remembers who all was there before Fitz. So after they saw poor Scooter gimping out of the courthouse it might have taken a while, as previous commenters here have said, for they and their lawyers, or their family-remember Mrs. Libby’s expression?(Bob- do you have anything to do with this? Bob?Snore...) to decide whether to shit or go blind.
So just cause Mr X didn’t talk to the GJ doesn’t mean he or her hadn’t talked to someone who can hurt them, and they may have finally got the stink of fear. Tough talk don’t do a man much good if he’s the only one listening.
Now it’s an obvious possibility that Woodie called his Mr X , but unless eX talked to someone other than the grJury..... he could just go all Brer Rabbit and not say nuthin’.
That’s my theory of this bit - that X told Woodie he was going to Fitz because there was already a record he had to correct for whatever points that might get him.
He’d have realized it or Woodie coulda pointed that out to him, you know, like an email to John Asscroft “it wasn’t me” or an initial talk, sworn or not , to an FBI agent- anything like that could be enough for Fitz to get at him.
My side obsessions are still these:
1. When was the CIA call to Downie?I asked this last
night, but no takers. It may not be important, but
Maybe they’re buds, but was it just to gossip
about a “bombshell”?
I still wonder if the guy who Novakula called to
verify at the CIA, twice, didn’t do more than put his
feet back up on the desk. Maybe he-CIA guy
called around and asked Downie, and Downie
punted at the time, and now realizes his lazy ass
had a chance to do some good, but he failed, so
now he doesn’t say the CIA guy called him two
freakin years ago, but implies he just called him...

2. And as for the CIA guy Novak called, what did he
do after he got off the phone? Did he freak,\
runaround with his hair on fire, call somebody? I
woulda flipped and pulled the gdmm fire alarm if
I knew that that gasbag had the id of a
covert op. And if the speculation about
Brewster-Jennings is halfway correct
these assholes are going to get a lot of us
killed...I’da given Novak a free
weekend in Cuba to think about it... seriously
that’s messed up.Hang em.

3. The other shiny key for me is: why Plame not
Wilson? That’s such a goofy pc of the puzzle.. it
may have been answered years ago and i
missed it but I’m still wondering.

4. One last burning question for Ambassador
Wilson, one of my heroes: did
they warn you they were going to do this, or
this was a risk , or anything?
I woulda shut up as soon as the horsehead
from my Jaguar appeared on my
pillow, but these leakers ruined and risked
sooo much, and for what?
As to Woodie’s claim of gossip- I say bs on
that you hack, this was obviously a conspiracy,
I just can’t figure out the scale of the motive?
Shutting Amb Wilson up isn’t enough for me .
I think we’ll find out it has something to
do with what she was doing and who she was
in conflict with. The Rendon angle, linked to
above seems very possible.

Well hell that was longwinded, sorry...

Hey EW-wakeup, post some more stuff, this was great!!!! Y’all here are so smart it makes my brain hurt trying to keep the hell up!


It's the later comment--about the game of telephone--that Fitz doesn't caveat.


Interesting idea. It would fit with all the telegraphing of testimony that has gone on. But then why would he have the SSCI/CIA report?

Free Thoughts

I think Condi is a possibility (recall that she cancelled a bunch of meetings and returned to DC in a rush the week of the indictment). But she was IN the WH when Bush started making those statements.


I'm awake now. NOt sure how to answer a lot of your points. But the Plame v. Wilson? I'm increasingly convinced that Valerie Flame and Victoria Wilson were Plame's covert names (we all assumed it was Plame, not Wilson, but that's not a good covert name and it's never been verified). Note that, when Novak went out of his way to ruin Brewster Jennings in October, he used Flame, not Plame, even as he was claiming he had gotten the name Plame from Who's Who. So here's a proposal:

Judy has, so far, only revealed the contents of Notes #2, #3, and #4 on Plame. She has not revealed the contents of Notes #1 (which might have been with Libby, or might have been with Mr. X), which is where she first learns of Plame, and learns her name. The Flame and Victoria notations in her notes are NOT random. They're records of the names you use when you really want to get Plame in trouble.

But Plame was close enough to Flame to send a message.

Fitz knew that Novak was not the first reporter to be told about Wilson's wife and it only states that that Libby was the first know person to leak it.

From the Fitz news conderence:

"Valerie Wilson's cover was blown in July 2003. The first sign of that cover being blown was when Mr. Novak published a column on July 14th, 2003.

But Mr. Novak was not the first reporter to be told that Wilson's wife, Valerie Wilson, Ambassador Wilson's wife Valerie, worked at the CIA. Several other reporters were told.

In fact, Mr. Libby was the first official known to have told a reporter when he talked to Judith Miller in June of 2003 about Valerie Wilson"

While I like Woodward, it is a nice convenience to be able to conduct an interview with a WH source - and choose when to define the info the source has given him as "gossip" rather than, what, "real information" (?) gathered as a reporter.

an alternate theory....and one that I think is more than a theory, but HAD to happen.

Remember, the Post's lawyers were involved in the negotiations that allowed Pincus to testify. And those negotiations were based on Pincus having told Downie and the Post's lawyers everything of relevance.

One has to assume that when Woodward told Downie about Pincus, the Post's lawyers got in touch with FitzG immediately. And that threw a spanner into FitzG's work.
Remember, the Grand Jury was about to expire.

Here is what HAD TO have happened.

When Woodward tells Downie that he'd told Pincus about the leak, Downie freaked -- Pincus hadn't told him that he knew about Plame before he'd talked to an adminstration official. The first thing Downie does is call the Post's lawyers -- and because the Post negotiated the Pincus deal in good faith, the lawyers immediately call FitzG, and tell him about the new information from Woodward that raises serious questions about Pincus's testimony (if they withheld this new information as FitzG was preparing indictments, there would be hell to pay.)

The Post won't say more than Woodward found out in mid-June about Plame, and told Pincus because he (Pincus) was working on a story about the Niger-uranium connection. The Post will not say where Woodward got this info from.

FitzG doesn't know what to do -- one of the key witnesses in the case may not be credible, but time is running out on his Grand Jury.

(this part is speculation) FitzG had intended that the centerpiece of his indictments was going to be a conspiracy to obstruct charge against Rove and Libby (and possibly others), but now the main witness against Rove may not be credible.

So FitzG decides to punt -- get the indictment against Libby, because Pincus's testimony is not critical to it, and investigate the Post's new information.

That's one helluva scenario, and could easily be the one that happened. Congratulations!

EW- Excellent work as always. And as (nearly) always, I have a noisome little nit. I don't believe it's accurate to say that Fitz didn't "caveat" the statement about Libby being the first leaker. He did. From the transcript: "In fact, Mr. Libby was the first official *known* to have told a reporter when he talked to Judith Miller in June of 2003 about Valerie Wilson." The modifier "known" makes it clear that he's saying no more than that at this point, Libby's the first official we know to have leaked the information. Doen't much affect the analysis, though, if at all.

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