Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Perhaps Libby Didn't Lie

Something bordering on a bombshell in the Libby/Plamegate story today. According to the Washington Post, Bob Woodward knew of Plame's identity months before Libby and, get this, had a meeting with Libby during which Plame may have been discussed:
[Woodward] also told Fitzgerald that it is possible he asked Libby about Plame or her husband, former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV. He based that testimony on an 18-page list of questions he planned to ask Libby in an interview that included the phrases "yellowcake" and "Joe Wilson's wife." Woodward said in his statement, however, that "I had no recollection" of mentioning the pair to Libby. He also said that his original government source did not mention Plame by name, referring to her only as "Wilson's wife."

Woodward's testimony appears to change key elements in the chronology Fitzgerald laid out in his investigation and announced when indicting Libby three weeks ago. It would make the unnamed official -- not Libby -- the first government employee to disclose Plame's CIA employment to a reporter. It would also make Woodward, who has been publicly critical of the investigation, the first reporter known to have learned about Plame from a government source.
Hmmm. What did Libby say? He said he first learned of Plame's identity from a reporter. Now, before we get too worked up, the facts presented in the indictment suggest Libby sourced the information to other journalists, specifically Tim Russert. But Libby's a busy guy who talked to many reporters. He may have simply misremembered the specific source. In any event, this bears watching. Closely.

More from Blogs for Bush, those who will always be the CrushKerry guys to me, Captain Ed, and, of course, Tom Maguire at JustOneMinute who also thinks this borders on good news for Libby:

As to the specifics of the Libby indictment, a bold prosecutor might press ahead - arguably, Libby's statement that he believed he was hearing about Plame for the first time when he spoke to Russert is still false, and arguably, Libby's assertions that he sourced his knowledge to other reporters when he spoke to Miller and Cooper are also false.

But it will take a mighty straight-faced jury to focus exclusively on that if the defense can bring in a parade of reporters that may have, directly or indirectly, put the Wilson and wife story in Libby's ear.

And in the court of public opinion, a Bush pardon in Jan 2009 becomes a lot less politically charged if earnest Reps (and John McCain!) are convinced that the prosecution was deeply flawed.

Good round-up at Decision 08 and the panopticon of the blogosphere, Memorandum.