Woodward Comes Clean
There have been a lot of fast-moving stories at the end of this week, and I just simply haven't been keeping pace. Of course, many of them are evolving and developing quickly, so what I would've said yesterday is not what I'd say today. I'll see what I can do over the weekend to add my two cents so that those readers who primarily pop in during the workweek will have a lot to catch up with.
First up is the newest Bob Woodward bombshell (or, to hear him tell it, nondescript yawn). Earlier this week, he was behind closed doors answering questions from Patrick Fitzgerald. What? Since when was he involved in the whole Joe Wilson imbroglio? Who knew? Apparently no one did--not even his editors. Woodward released his own statement on Tuesday, in which he said a Bush administration official had told him about Joe Wilson's wife before Bob Novak wrote his column and before Scooter Libby told Judy Miller. This official approached Fitzgerald to tell him about the conversation, and Woodward was subpoenaed as a result. Although the official came forward to the special prosecutor, Woodward claims he still has to keep the official's identity secret to the public. That's because the discussion was a "confidential background interview" for his book Plan of Attack and another on Bush's second term due out next year. Woodward claimed that the mention "seemed to me to be casual and offhand, and that it did not appear to me to be either classified or sensitive." And yet it's still confidential. Recently, Woodward told Larry King, "When the story comes out I'm quite confident we're going to find out that it started kind of as gossip, as chatter." Since when is gossip and chatter covered by confidentiality agreements? If I'm gossiping and say, "You didn't hear it from me, but . . . ," does that put me on background? If I say, "You really didn't hear this from me . . . ," does that become double super secret background?
So, we don't know who the official is (although a number of officials have come forward themselves or through a representative to deny it's them), and we don't know why he or she decided to open up to Fitzgerald all of a sudden. Woodward told Time magazine today that when he reminded his source that the source revealed Wilson's wife's status with the CIA before Scooter told Judy Miller, "My source said he or she had no alternative but to go to the prosecutor." Why would this person have kept quiet on the matter for more than two years and then, once it was mentioned, immediately want to come clean to Fitzgerald? My best guess is that the source was concerned about getting a perjury indictment to match Scooter's. Feel free to offer your own suggestions in Comments.
There are more twists and turns on this, but I should've started earlier in the evening. I'm too tired right now to do proper justice to the ins and outs, so I'm off to bed, and I'll pick it up again tomorrow.