Wednesday, November 16


This NYTimes article about Bob Woodward's revelation that he was told by an unnamed source that Valerie Plame was a C.I.A. operative reveals Woodward to be a sycophantic journalist...but then we didn't need any more evidence to prove that to us. It is unconscionable that although he had this knowledge all along, he continued to publicly, and repeatedly, make the "it's no big deal" argument about the outing of Plame as an intel agent -- EVEN AS LATE AS LAST WEEK.

Nearly everyone has denied being his source except Dick Cheney.

He says that he was told in mid-June 2003 that Ms. Wilson worked as a C.I.A. weapons analyst, from an official who made an offhand reference that did not appear to indicate her identity was classified or sensitive.
In a telephone interview, Mr. Woodward said he had apologized to Mr. Downie for not disclosing his own part in such a long-running story long ago and said he had kept a deliberately low profile to protect his sources. "The terms of engagement change when a reporter and reporters are being subpoenaed, agreeing to testify, being forced to testify, being jailed," Mr. Woodward said. "That's the new element in this. And what it did, it caused me to become even more secretive about sources, and to protect them. I couldn't do my job if I couldn't protect them. And to really make sure that I don't become part of this process, but not to be less aggressive in reporting the news."

Bob Woodward BECOMES part of the process, he MAKES news, when he pooh-poohs the leak story on national TV while with full knowledge that some unnamed administration source has told him the same thing that other journalists have been told and not disclosing that information to the public. That's NOT "aggressive reporting the news." That's suppressing it. He could protect his source by not naming him. He didn't have to pretend (because that's exactly what he did) that he wasn't among those who'd been on the receiving end of the leak.

Mr. Woodward, perhaps the nation's single most famous reporter, never wrote about the case, even after it became the most prominent story in Washington, although he made public statements dismissing its importance.
The indictment says that it was Mr. Cheney who specifically first told Mr. Libby, on or about June 12, 2003, that Ms. Wilson worked in the counterproliferation division at the C.I.A., a fact that meant that she worked within the agency's clandestine service, where many employees are undercover. It says that Mr. Libby understood that Mr. Cheney had learned the information "from the C.I.A.," and people who have been officially briefed on the investigation say that notes taken by Mr. Libby at the time say that Mr. Cheney learned it from Mr. Tenet.
[Emphasis mine]

I especially like this part:

Mr. Woodward's statement could help Mr. Libby counter one of the main charges against him, that he lied to the grand jury about a conversation with Tim Russert, NBC's Washington bureau chief, in which Mr. Libby asserted that it was Mr. Russert who told him about Ms. Wilson. The lawyers said that they could say he merely misspoke, never intending to mislead the grand jury because he honestly believed he had heard about the C.I.A. officer as the subject of gossip in news media circles.

In other words, if lots of reporters were told by administration officials that Valerie Plame was a C.I.A. operative, they can be excused for telling because lots of reporters were told?

That's some catch, that Catch-22.

UPDATE: Having reread my own post, I see that I called Woodward "sycophantic" and suggested that Cheney might be his source. Juxtaposing the two, the thought came to me that perhaps the real reason Bobbo didn't come clean is (1) early on he didn't want to anger or implicate his good buddy and often-source for other stories, Mr. Big-time; and/or later on, when the story blew out, (2) he didn't want to become better known as the reporter who was too chicken to follow the story that could have brought down a Vice President instead of the reporter who DID help bring down a president.

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