11/16/2005

Daily Kos: The Woodward Bombshell is a Disaster for the White House

The Woodward Bombshell is a Disaster for the White House
by GlennGreenwald [Subscribe]
Wed Nov 16, 2005 at 05:47:06 AM CST

The primary focus in the aftermath of Bob Woodward's Plame bombshell seems to be on the deserved destruction of Woodward's last bits of credibility as a journalist.


But the most glaring and far more important question raised by the new revelation is this: What can possibly account for the fact that Patrick Fitzgerald is only learning of this central fact now - after more than 2 years of a sweeping, comprehensive investigation that entailed subpoenas to every significant and not-so-significant figure in this story? The White House clearly knows who Woodward's source is -- or can find out with little effort -- or should at least be forced to genuinely try to find out -- and the White House cannot possibly be permitted to withhold this information from the public.


All of this leads to 4 critical points, analyzed below:


(1) Another WH senior official committed perjury and obstruction;

(2) There is no justification for the WH to conceal the identity of this Senior Administraiton Official;

(3) Could this new SAO leaker be the VP?

(4) Woodward's attempt to minimize the leak makes no sense.

* GlennGreenwald's diary :: ::
*

It is almost certainly the case that whoever the Senior Administration Official is who first told Woodward about Plame, he testified at some point before Fitzgerald's Grand Jury. The bulk of the speculation among some of the most obsessive and knowledgeable of the Internet Plameologists centers around names which have long been at the center of this story: David Wursmer, John Hannah or Fred Fleitz (but are these really SAOs?). While some have speculated that perhaps the original leaker was never called to testify, it seems highly improbable that Fitzgerald would have simply overlooked someone who: (a) is a SAO; (b) learned of Plame's employment very early on and (c) leaked it to Bob Woodward. All of the officials who are the potential original leakers to Woodward testified before the Grand Jury, including even unlikely but still possible sources (Ari Fleisher, John Bolton, Colin Powell, Dick Cheney).


Thus, unless Fitzgerald was unconscionably sloppy in simply neglecting to ask the witness the right questions which would have provoked disclosure of the Woodward conversation -- a possibility which everyone, Fitzgerald admirers and critics alike, believes is extremely improbable -- then the following facts are necessarily true:


(1) Another WH senior official committed perjury and obstruction


This is yet another Senior Bush Administration Official who failed to testify truthfully before the Grand Jury on a central issue in this investigation. Whoever the official is obviously remembers the Woodward conversation, since the Post article reports that Woodward's testimony before Fitzgerald was prompted by this official notifying Fitzgerald about the conversation.


The "I-forgot-and-then-remembered" defense which Libby is now forced into invoking would be even less credible for this SAO than it is for Libby. The conversation with Woodward occurred in June. Intense controversy arose over the Plame matter a mere one month later in the aftermath of the publication of Bob Novak's column. The Justice Department began investigating the CIA criminal referral in September. It is simply ludicrous to think that the SAO who first disclosed the information that sparked the controversy -- by disclosing the information to Bob Woodward, no less -- would have forgotten that fact as this controversy unfolded. And once the controversy turned into a full-fledged scandal with the referral by the CIA to the Justice Department, it goes without saying that the SAO responsible for the very first leak would not have forgotten about this conduct.


Moreover, nothing credible could account for the SAO talking to Woodward, then temporarily forgetting that he did so, then suddenly remembering again more than two years later. That would be like some sort of Repressed Memory Defense which nobody could attempt with a straight face. It has to be the case that whoever this SAO is, simply failed to testify about his disclosure of Plame's employment to Bob Woodward when testifying before the Grand Jury.

Daily Kos: The Woodward Bombshell is a Disaster for the White House

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