1. Anonymous says:

    Every time I venture back into these and other musings in the â€reality based community†I am grateful that I’m able to spend most of my time and intellectual and creative energy in the writing of fiction.

    In my world I make LOVE the true driving force of the universe, and all these humorless evil fucks in the end are revealed for what they truly are, and never get away with anything.

    Carry on! I sense that love is behind this blog and the others, like FDL…you all are a breath of fresh air.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I noticed that Woodward gave a better time estimate about what the midde of June meant on Larry King Live. He talked about the 26th then said the Plame conversation happened a week to ten days before that. So that gives the 13th to the 26th June.

    But it was also odd the way he said it. First he said a week then suddenly blurted out to 10 days like he was correcting himself. So that would imply the conversation was between the 13th and the 16th otherwise why define these 3 days to King.

    So then why pick 10 days as a figure? That might means the real date was 13th June, a very sginificant date.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Sorry I meant a week to 10 days before the 23rd of June. Woodward says this around 8 minutes 20 seconds into his Larry King interview.

  4. Anonymous says:


    And then he goes on to say he asked Mr. X about Wilson in response to Pincus’ article, which presumably means June 13 or after. Once you get to June 13, then you’ve got the folks at the WH aprised of Plame’s identity as well.

  5. Anonymous says:

    I also was wondering if the pattern of the calls is evidence of conspiracy. For example Mr. X tells Woodward, and Libby tells Miller. Then Rove tells Cooper. This implies 4 possibilities:
    1. They got together and decided who should call which journalist.
    2. Someone, presumably Cheney organised each one to call a different journalist.
    3. They each tended to talk to different journalists anyway.
    4. Coincidence.

    I get the impression Mr X said to Libby that he had already told Woodward, so not to mention it again.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Carol, dear. No. The reporters called the officials. The officials clearly had other things on their mind, although they were embarrassed that they were getting blamed for sending an incompetent blabbermouth on a sensitive trip so did want the word that it was just typical CIA nepotism involved.

    Libby…in 2 separate conversations with Woodward did not even mention Plame/Flame
    Rove..fat boy Cooper called to talk about welfare reform about brought up Wilson in a 2 minute conversation w/Rove trying to get him off the phone so he could go on vacations;

    Mr X…offhand and didn’t really care;

    Now, the real scandal is the left involved in a conspiracy to show that Cheney=Mr. X.

    Let’s get Fitzgerald to investigate.

  7. Anonymous says:

    My point was why did Libby talk twice to Woodward and not mention Plame? Clearly Libby was trying to spread the story. So maybe Mr X said he had spoken to Woodward and told Libby not to bother.

    The next part is a bit long, but there is a kind of vibe I get off Woodward I’m trying to explain.

    Mr X may well be Bush. The key may be the way Woodward talks about X.
    1. Woodward likes X. He has no trace of anger at X for dragging him into this. I can’t imagine Woodward likng anyone else like this, but he fawns on Bush. Bush is the only one Woodward gets mushy like this about.
    2. Whoever forgot the date of the conversation about Plame is a flake, and Woodward had to remind X. Who else in the White House would be likely to forget what they did from day to day and have a job.
    3. Woodward wasn’t angry at X for forgetting. He rang X and reminded him as if it was nothing unusual for X to be this flaky. No one else gets a free pass like that but Bush.
    4. Woodward went to great lengths to describe their conversation as gossipy and without malice. It sounds like X is a gossipy shallow kind of guy who is expected to put his foot in it from time to time. That sounds like Bush not Cheney. In fact I doubt Cheney gossips to anyone ever. Woodward would expect Cheney to be up to something.
    5. Woodward had lots of questions for Cheney because Cheney is somewhat intelligent. With X he doesn’t even seem to have notes but just gets gossip. Who else but Bush is so flaky it’s not even worth taking notes while talking to him?
    6. Woodward doesn’t seem concerned about the fate of X, and Bush can always pardon himself.
    7. Woodward sees no malice in X. Everyone sees malice in Cheney and Rove surely.
    8. X did not tell Woodward that he resented Wilson or was angry, which was Cheney’s message to get out there. Bush had no reason to be angry that Cheney looked bad.
    9. Woodward considers X to be under no legal jeopardy, and to be above any problem with this. Woodward said what he knew to the grand jury and clearly believes he has no further problem. He is not worried for X.
    10. Woodward doesn’t seem to associate X with any intellectual conversations at all. He talks about putting the puzzle together with a secretive white house and the people there are formidable adversaries. He could have spoken about X like some formidable, secretive, puzzling person he was trying to unravel. Instead he talks about X like he’s the janitor.
    11. Woodward defends what X did even though most people would think of X as a traitor. Who else but Bush inspires such loyalty and flattery?
    12. Woodward has attacked Fitzgerald for months, the only reporter to do this. This now appears to be a desperate desire to apologise for X and defend him to the point of possibly ruining his own career. Who else but Bush makes people sacrifice themselves for him?

  8. Anonymous says:

    Basically, though, Woodward seems to be indicating that he will say he did not speak to a person so long as his conversations with that person were on background.

    emptywheel – I think it was a more straightforward denial from Woodward that Cheney was his source. Not only because Woodward wants and expects the identity of his source to come out, in which case he would not want to be caught having stated something clearly a lie, but also because Woodward’s immediate shift to a refusal to name who he talked to specifically on background for Plan of Attack need not indicate he’ll just deny having spoken with any of his actual background sources for the book. Woodward implies (though not strictly speaking) that he has talked with Cheney at some other time, and we of course know that he eventually talked with Cheney for Plan of Attack, but all Woodward need be implying is that at some other time in the history of the world he’s spoken with Cheney.

    So I think he let his guard down in issuing this denial, in part because he was sitting with Larry, who is no junkyard dog. The smart interviewer would have taken the opening offered by Woodward to run down the whole list, starting with Armitage and Hadley. This would not have nailed down Woodward’s source, necessarily, since I bet he spoke with both of them and multiple others during the relevant period, but it might have and it sure would have definitively eliminated some candidates.

    But I am convinced that we can take Cheney off the list.

    As for unserious Kate, surely you see that your scenario is that exactly exculpatory, right? And surely you can imagine that Libby didn’t say anything to Woodward because he knew that Woodward was working on his book, a medium-term project, so Woodward was of no use to him as a leakee, if Libby wants the information to get out to reporters working on stories for the next day or the next day, or to get out to their reading public, right?

  9. Anonymous says:

    Here’s what may point to Bush for me: the response to the Woodward news has been different from anything else we’ve seen. There’s been a parade of denials, including the anonymous one about Bush which the NYTimes public editor took the paper to task for. So people who weren’t talking are suddenly chatty. But more importantly, there’s been a playfulness that wasn’t there before. Hadley answering questions, saying it is what it is, gave no hint of being in jeopardy, suddenly there was a little extra slack to play with. The tenor now seems to be that they know something we don’t, they may as well have a little fun with it, throw up some smokescreens, it doesn’t matter, because, if it’s Bush, it will all be fine in the end. I hope there are a lot of holes in what I just wrote

  10. Anonymous says:

    I think there is good evidence that Woodward’s unnamed source is Richard Armitage. If so, then that leak is probably what Woodward claims it is, an offhanded remark, and that makes Woodward’s involvement a side show unless he has more information that we don’t know about.

    The leak that came from Libby and the VP’s office, and the leak that came from Rove and the White House, seem coordinated and malicious in intent, truly part of a â€Get Wilson†campaign, but don’t seem to be connected with the Woodward leak.

    I think the Woodward leak was a case of casual elaboration about Wilson, coincidental in timing with the real leaks by Libby and Rove which were premediated leaks meant to discredit Wilson. My conclusion assumes that Armitage is Woodward’s unnamed source, of course.

    If Armitage is indeed the Woodward source, he may have committed a crime, such as violation of the Espionage Act, by disclosing classified information. We know that Armitage had knowledge of the secret INR memo about Wilson’s trip.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Carot’s and Saltinwound’s cases for Mr X being Bush make a lot of sense. Bush is just that flaky. Remember all the classified stuff he showed Woodward? It could have happened like Woodward said, and perhaps been independent of the Cheney/Libby?Rove leak and smear conspiracy. So Woordard wants to protect Bush, and sonehow he is so stupid he doesn’t realize this whole other leak conspiracy is going on? If so, he is really gone off to his own private planet here.

    But it would explain Fitz’s conversatiopn with James Sharp, wouldn’t it? Sharp relayed that Bush remembered having casually talked to Woodward because Woodward reminded him of it, and released Woodward to talk, because Booby was going to say it was all just idle hallway gossip, nothing serious, no connection to whatever Cheney/Libby?Rove did. He just happened to be their boss, sort of like Chance the gardner.

  12. Anonymous says:

    I totally agree with Carot and Salinwound and Mimikatz. This is the END OF FITZMAS:

    1. Bush was the source for Woodie (Cheney denial, Bush & Rummy comments)
    2. Nobody else is at risk for outing Plame. Woodie was the source for all the leakers, perhaps through secondary sources such as Libby who would pass on Woodie’s name as the source of the leak, and hence they were right, they â€heard it from a reporter†as â€gossipâ€
    3. Rove gave this up to Fitz on the last day. Hence the visit to Bush’s lawyer by Fitz.
    4. Woodie may be the only one facing a leak conviction: he passed on the outing knowing the law prohibits him from doing so. Rove, Libby, etc were only â€indulging in gossipâ€
    5. Libby may still be nailed on the perjury charge.
    6. Maybe an impeachment if Woodie sings (don’t hold your breath!).

    Fitzmas is over. Merry Christmas.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Contra the story going around, the fact that Woodward interviewed only Bush and Rumsfield on the record means that Bush was not the leaker during those on-the-record interviews. We know that Woodward’s source was talking with Woodward on background and covered by a confidentiality agreement, which Bush’s on the record interviews were not covered by, by definition. The only way Bush could be the source would be during a different interview on background, and personally I think that is not likely.

  14. Anonymous says:

    I don’t believe a damn thing Woodward says.


    So all speculation has to be outside anything he spouts.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Jeff, that assumes you believe that the hallway gossip story was on the record. The conversations with Bush were mostly on the record, but I bet Woodward considered some stuff too sensitive to tell. This would be one of those items, once Woodward realized what he had.

  16. Anonymous says:

    My brain in going in vicious circles.

    There’s a lot of evidence to point to Armitage unwittingly, but not maliciously, divulging Plame to Woodward. This leads to the unhappy â€End of Fitzmas†scenario where the WHIG/Cheney gang is off the hook except for Libby and conceivably Rove. I hope this scenario isn’t true, but let’s say it is and try to tie up the loose ends:

    1) I can see Armitage â€casually†telling Woodward, but I can’t see him telling Novak at all and if Woodward told Novak, or Woodward told some other reporter who told Novak, then Fitz would have known long what he has now just learned about Woodward. We know that Fitz knows who told Novak.

    2) Fitz went back to the GJ after interviewing Woodward, so he must be going to indict somebody for something, even after becoming fully aware of the air that has (in the Fitzmas is Over scenario) been let out of the balloon. Of course, it could be completely unrelated and he could be going back to indict Rove based on the (unconfirmed) new testimony of Susan Ralston, or based on whatever else.

    3) We still have no idea why Fitz went to see Bush’s lawyer.

    4) We still have no idea what the 3-judge panel meant by â€the plot against Wilson†and â€the gravity of the suspected crimeâ€.

  17. Anonymous says:

    I think Jeff is onto something. Also, WW interviewed Bush much later than this period. I agree that this sounded like a specific denial–it’s only the way he treated the background interviews, as if they hadn’t existed, that makes me wonder. But here’s a different question. Am I right in thinking that WW may have issued the denial for Cheney? Or am I misreading that?

  18. Anonymous says:

    If Armitage is the Woodward unnamed source, and thus that part of the story is tangential and not related to the Libby/Rove involvement, I don’t buy that the Fitzgerald investigation is over.

    There is still the leak to Novak, and I don’t think Armitage is the one who leaked to Novak. My gues is that either Rove or Elliot Abrams (who Joe Wilson named as a probable leaker in his book) leaked to Novak. Abrams has a long history with Novak, as does Rove.

    If either Abrams or Rove is the Novak leaker, then Fitzgerald better have a big pile of indictment papers because that means conspiracy in the White House if Fitzgerald can get the pieces authenticated.

    I think he will stick with it until he does. He seems to believe in honest government, and I think he is tired of holding his nose in Washington!

  19. Anonymous says:

    emptywheel – I think you must be right that someone in Woodward’s camp issued that denial with regard to Cheney, assuming we can rule out anyone from Fitzgerald’s side seeking to quash political hysteria over the prospect of the VP’s involvement. When I first read that denial, it sounded just so weird I figured it had to be some kind of non-denial denial from Cheney. But your explanation that it came from Woodward makes perfect sense.

    Just at a gut level, I came away from watching LKL thinking Woodward had pointed a big fat finger at Powell — which frankly would fit with the idea of his loyal subordinate drawing attention from himself as well as with the rumors that one of the public deniers is actually the leaker — but it is no more than a gut reaction. But if it’s anyone in Powell’s vicinity, you can give up any remaining hopes of anyone being indicted on the underlying plot against the Wilsons.

  20. Anonymous says:

    There is still the leak to Novak

    I find it almost unimaginable that Novak’s leaker and Woodward’s are one and the same, no matter what Isikoff says. What possible motivation could that person — presumably known to Fitzgerald as the leaker to Novak — have to not disclose that he also leaked to Woodward? The only thing I can imagine, come to think of it, is that that person wanted to maintain the fiction that his first leak — to Novak — came only after a bunch of others had done so. But that strikes me as extremely risky and stupid.

  21. Anonymous says:

    Powell couldn’t have been the leaker. He didn’t have the memo until July.

    And I highly highly highly highly doubt Armitage is either. There are still conflicting reports of whether he had the memo or not (the state-sourced one says he didn’t get the memo). I suspect Murray Waas knows who Mr. X is and says Mr. X denied having been Mr. X. Plus, Armitage is first and foremost a creature motivated by loyalty. Wilson was in his camp. There’s no reason Armitage would have said anything that challenged Wilson’s credibility. Plus, Armitage is a pretty saavy bureaucratic fighter.

    Besides, Mr. X needs to be someone who believes he can avoid indictment. If this were really Armitage, I think Armitage woudl know he couldn’t avoid indictment, not if Libby was going down. He has pointedly refused to comment on a number of other occasions, particularly during teh red herring of Powell holding the INR memo on AF1 phase, so I think he’s doing the same now.

  22. Anonymous says:

    Are we sure Powell didn’t see the memo or hear about its contents until July? And regarding Armitage, you don’t think that August 25 2005 LAT piece was sourced to State? You think that was the WH pointing the finger?

    I will admit that Armitage doesn’t feel right to me either, but I am prone to wishful thinking. I suspect that Murray Waas does not know who Mr. X is, though maybe there is something to those rumors. The point about Armitage not challenging Wilson’s credibility makes a lot of sense.

    Putting aside Powell, I’m going back to holding out for Hadley.

  23. Anonymous says:

    We know for certain that Armitage knew about the INR memo. When the Wilson op-ed piece appeared on July 6, Armitage reportedly jumped out of bed and called someone at State to make sure that a copy of the memo was sent to Colin Powell via the White House, so that he would have it with him on AF1 as he accompanied Bush on the Africa trip. So, Armitage had a very direct link to the INR memo. We don’t know how early he had access to it, but it’s reasonable to think that he knew about it almost immediately after it was generated on June 10, especially since it had been requested by Libby. It also makes sense that Woodward, who has strong ties to Armitage, would ask the Deputy Secretary of State (if he was interviewing him on June 13-16 immediately following the Pincus article) about the mysterious ambassador mentioned by Pincus, doesn’t it? I imagine the conversation went something like this …

    * Woodward: What about this Pincus article that said a former ambassador went to Niger to look at the yellowcake claims? Do you know who the former ambassador is?

    * Armitage: Yeah, that was Joe Wilson.

    * Woodward: Why did the State Department send Joe Wilson to Niger?

    * Armitage: Oh, we didn’t. CIA sent him, they were getting pressured by Cheney. Wilson’s wife works at CIA as an analyst on WMDs, and the word is that she recommended him.

    This would explain why Woodward feels the revelation about Valerie Wilson’s CIA status was essentially an offhand, and not part of a conspiracy. I actually hope I’m wrong, but the pieces do fit.

  24. Anonymous says:

    RoosDem: In that scenario, it would be hard to imagine Fitzgerald indicting Armitage, so why is he going back to the GJ?

  25. Anonymous says:

    If Armitage is the Woodward leaker, and if Fitzgerald can show that he knew about the contents of the INR memo prior to talking with Woodward, then Armitage violated the Espionage Act when he revealed the contents of the INR memo (a classified document marked Secret) to Woodward, a reporter not authorized to have that information. Of course, Fitzgerald may be going back to the GJ for totally different reasons, and I hope and believe he is.

  26. Anonymous says:

    I just don’t see Fitz pursuing it if it were a â€just-between-you-and-me†moment between Armitage & Woodward, with Armitage not anticipating that Woodward would further disseminate it, which he didn’t, until now (why?).

  27. Anonymous says:


    For starters, I find the source for this article more trustworthy than the one from the LAT. The description â€retired [State] department official†is going to point pretty specifically to Powell, Armitage, Wilkerson, Ford, or Grossman.

    I agree that Wilkerson seems to be a source for the LAT story. But he’s a named, on the record source. So why go off the record when talking about the memo? Keep in mind, too, the way that LAT article was put together, drawing (as they say) on Time reporting, media reports, White House and Senate documents. Unlike normal articles, this is explicitly a patchwork of existing reporting, suggesting the source (Wilkerson) for one section might not be the source for another. In other words, anything that isn’t specifically sourced could have come out of Luskin’s bag of tricks. The Wilkerson stuff I would trust. But the memo stuff here is not attributed to Wilkerson. Finally, note how the LAT describes getting the memo:

    The next day, July 7, this memo and the notes were removed from the safe and forwarded via a secure fax line to Air Force One.

    Sounds like someone who didn’t know what went on in State, even though it had already been published that Ford put together the memo at Armitage’s request. Like maybe someone in the WH press office.

    Mostly, I finally come down on the side of Armitage’s personality. He didn’t have ANY motive for passing on this info, and he is primarily motivated by loyalty, which would mean in the absence of a motive, he would not do anything that would hurt Powell or State more generally. And given the competing sourcing for descriptions of Armitage with the INR memo, I tend to believe those showing him with the memo are based on Luskin.

  28. Anonymous says:

    The folks who think that Woodward cleared Bush should re-read the transcript of his most recent Larry King interview. For example:

    KING: How did it even come up?

    WOODWARD: Came up because I asked about Joe Wilson, because a few
    days before, my colleague at the â€Washington Post,†Walter Pincus, had a
    front page, saying there was an unnamed envoy — there was no name given
    – who had gone to Niger the year before to investigate for the CIA if
    there was some Niger-Iraq uranium deal or yellow cake deal.

    I learned that that ambassador’s name was Joe Wilson, which was, you
    know, Wilson eventually surfaced…

    KING: I see.

    WOODWARD: … I guess a few weeks later. So I said to this source,
    long substantive interview about the road to war. You know, at the end
    of an interview like this, after you do an interview on television, you
    might just shoot the breeze for a little while. And so, I asked about
    Wilson, and he said this.

    KING: I see.

    WOODWARD: Most kind of off-hand.

    KING: All right.

    WOODWARD: One of those things. And so I — I didn’t think much of it.

    Woodward is claiming that his question to his source was not part of the official interview, but came afterwards, thus making the comment off the record. Which makes it far more likely that his source is Bush himself. But Libby’s not off the hook, because Cheney had already told him that Plame worked in the DO. Now, if Bush had told Woodward that Plame was a NOC, then Fitz is case might go down the tubes, because you could argue that Bush was effectively declassifying the information.

  29. Anonymous says:

    Two more reasons I don’t buy that LAT article. First, the description of the memo is somewhat inaccurate. (The memo wasn’t classified secret, the Wilson paragraph was, for example.)

    But also, consider this. LAT says Armitage is â€forwarded a copy†of the memo.

    Um. No. Either it is kept in an SCI safe, or it’s not. Either Armitage was forward THE copy. In which case he would have it to pass onto Powell. Or he went to INR to read it. Again, just an inaccuracy. But a significant one. Armitage can’t have both received a copy of this AND have had to ask Ford to make a copy for Powell. He may have SEEN it, but that’s not what this says.

  30. Anonymous says:

    â€3) We still have no idea why Fitz went to see Bush’s lawyer.â€

    So has this been confirmed beyond a doubt?

  31. Anonymous says:

    I wonder if it would be possible to start a petition in the blogosphere that Bush not pardon anyone in Plamegate. Blogs would have the resources to get a petition going. Also a petition can stay in the news and the numbers can act as pressure on the Republicans.

    Plamegate is going to be totally controlled by whether there is a pardon or not. A few people tried to ask Bush about this, but now the story has died out. Bush can just wait a while and then issue pardons later.

    A petition can keep it in the news though.

  32. Anonymous says:

    â€3) We still have no idea why Fitz went to see Bush’s lawyer.â€

    So has this been confirmed beyond a doubt?

    I’ve only seen it reported as fact, and haven’t seen anything casting doubt on it. It was the morning of 10/28, before the indictment against Libby was announced.

  33. Anonymous says:

    But if Fitz knew that Bush had leaked Plame’s name then why was X surprised when Woodward reminded him? It might be that Bush agreed to give his name to Fitz to stop Rove being indicted, and Fitz then went to see Bush’s lawyer. But then Woodward reminds X and then X realises what his lawyer said to Fitz was not completely accurate. That would explain why X immediately said he needed to tell Fitz about this. Normally Bush would have to ask someone else before knowing to talk to a prosecuter.

    X might have thought the conversation with Woodward took place later on, and then was surpised when he found out otherwise. That sounds like Bush not knowing when he talked to someone.

    Another point is that no one has leaked X’s name. Surely the Post would have found a way to do so unless Woodward is trying to protect X and appear loyal, which points to Bush again.

    It might also explain why Bush has been such a lame duck the last 6 months. He may have been preoccupied with his personal leaking.

  34. Anonymous says:

    emptywheel – Thanks for the responses, which I think I find basically persuasive, even though some of the details I’m less persuaded of, such as your account of the inaccuracies in the LAT story with regard to the memo, which either I don’t understand or is wrong. As I read it, the LAT says that in mid-June Armitage was forwarded a copy of the INR memo. The memo as well as the INR analyst notes were kept in a safe. Right after Wilson publishes his op-ed in July, Armitage asks Ford (according to the Guardian article itself) to forward relevant info to Powell, and the memo is forwarded to him. I don’t see the problem you are pointing to.

  35. Anonymous says:

    EW, Apropos of Waas but not of Woodward, Maybe you read a Waas article yesterday, yet another long thumbnail history 1,000 words, re: some of the early inflammatory rhetoric, some variant histories of the 911-commission and SCSI, including some ?current Feith research. Wonder if any of the Waas article frames things uniquely.

  36. Anonymous says:

    Isikoff claims Novak’s and Woodward’s source are the same man. Novak describes him as â€no partisan gunslingerâ€. At the time Bush often referred to his policies as being non partisan. The gunslinger sounds a lot like Bush’s bring em on Texas cowboy demeanour.

    If so, then Bush is in a lot of trouble for denying all of this if he was the one to talk to Novak. There have been a lot of stories of Bush being very worried about Plamegate, to the extent of drinking again, etc. It seems surprising that Bush would care much about Rove or anyone else, and being a lame duck I doubt he wants to accomplish much anyway.

    The problem is though, I thought Novak had cooperated with Fitz and Fitz knew his source, which means he would know about Bush. If so then this second so called casual mention of Plame to Woodward implies Bush was deliberately telling reporters about this.

    This might also explain why Novak wasn’t charged, because Fitz was unwilling or unable to charge Bush. Also Novak always seem to act as though he was being unfairly treated over this, and now Woodward has the same attitude.

  37. Anonymous says:


    The issue is how you deal with Secure Compartmentalized Information (SCI) which, if this was held in a safe, the memo is. You have to sign things in and out. Explains why you have to call Ford to get it. But that means you don’t just copy Armitage on it. Unless the Analyst notes are the SCI, not the memo. Bolton got into trouble doing just what it appears the LAT describes Armitage as doing.


    Don’t forget, that Novak claim came in a column that is 100% disinformation. There is no reason to believe that claim anymore than there is reason to believe the claim that Novak uses the word â€operative†for people all the time.

  38. Anonymous says:

    emptywheel – Ok, now I get it. The point is it makes no sense that in mid-June 2003 Armitage would get a copy of a memo that needed to be kept in a safe. I can imagine a couple of scenarios that make sense of that, including yours that it is the notes not the memo that is the SCI and that Armitage getting a copy just means the memo was readdressed to him in June just as it was to Powell in July. I had also been assuming that the memo that was kept in the safe just was the copy to Armitage and that Armitage put it there, then didn’t feel like going into work on a Sunday or whatever and called Ford instead. But I see that that is wrong, and the idea is that the memo and notes are in a safe at INR. Got it.

  39. Anonymous says:

    Why did the first Cheney denial say that Cheney did not speak to Woodward on the day in question?

    Remember, when Woodward went to his source after the indictments came out, he told the source to check his notes for the date of the conversation, because it was prior to June 23 (when Miller was told).

    Obviously, by the time the denial came out, Cheney knew who the leaker was — and when he leaked, because the leaker told Cheney what he’d done after hearing from Woodward.

    The leaker is Hadley — cheney’s â€operative†on the NSC at the time of the disclosure to Woodward.

  40. Anonymous says:

    p.lukasiak – That makes sense if Cheney is the source of that denial, but emptywheel has made a good case that someone in Woodward’s camp might very well be the source of that denial.

  41. Anonymous says:

    In that scenario, it would be hard to imagine Fitzgerald indicting Armitage, so why is he going back to the GJ?

    because Fitzgerald had to scotch a boatload of indictments when questions arose about Pincus’s credibility VERY late in the game.

    Woodward told Downie on Oct. 24 that Pincus knew about â€Wilson’s wife†before the story was leaked to Pincus by a government official. This is not what Pincus told Downie — or the Post lawyers who negotiated the arrangements that allowed Pincus to be deposed by Fitzgerald.

    In order to protect the paper’s legal position, the Post had to tell Fitzgerald about the allegation concerning Pincus immediately. With the Grand Jury expiring, Fitzgerald did not have time to investigate this new story — he had no choice but to form his indictments without any reference to Pincus’ testimony.

    Now that Fitzgerald has determined that Woodward’s story about Pincus knowing is bullshit, he’s going for a new grand jury so he can do what he originally intended to do…. nail Rove, Hadley, and possibly Cheney on conspiracy to obstruct charges.

    I suspect that Fitzgerald’s use of â€known to†in referring to Libby being the first to disclose the â€wilson’s wife†story was deliberate. It pretty much forced Woodward to go to his source, and get him to go to Fitzgerald. (Fitzgerald would have to disclose to Libby’s attorneys that someone at the Post had claimed prior knowledge, and the defense team would have been all over the Post with supoenas…)

  42. Anonymous says:

    p.lukasiak – Do we have any evidence that the Post went to Fitzgerald before Libby’s indictment and before Woodward went back to his source? Do you have any guesses as to what it was that Woodward learned that prompted him to tell Downie about his source on Oct. 24?

  43. Anonymous says:

    p.lukasiak – That makes sense if Cheney is the source of that denial, but emptywheel has made a good case that someone in Woodward’s camp might very well be the source of that denial.

    I can’t imagine it being â€Woodward’s campâ€â€¦. although its entirely possible that its the â€Post’s camp.â€

    Woodward’s late disclosure to Downie put the Post in a difficult legal position, and their legal interests are not the same as Woodward’s at this point. Woodward is quite vulnerable to obstruction of justice charges, IMHO — he conspired with his source to keep their conversation secret from the investigation, then in October 2004 went to Pincus and asked him (Pincus) to keep Woodward out of the any discussions he had with Downie about the leak.

    The Post will do what it can legally to protect Woodward’s rights as a journalist to maintain the confidentiality of his sources — but I seriously doubt they will go to the wall to protect Woodward from obstruction charges if Fitzgerald decides to play hardball with Woodward.

  44. Anonymous says:

    p.lukasiak – Do we have any evidence that the Post went to Fitzgerald before Libby’s indictment and before Woodward went back to his source? Do you have any guesses as to what it was that Woodward learned that prompted him to tell Downie about his source on Oct. 24?

    The Washingtonian reported that the Post was involved in the negotiations that allowed Pincus to testify (and, common sense tells us this much is true.)

    One has to assume that among the questions that Pincus was asked in the presence of Post lawyers was something along the lines of â€Was the conversation with your source the first time you heard about Wilson’s wife?â€, and Pincus would have answered â€yesâ€.

    With Woodward going to Downie and saying he’d told Pincus before Pincus spoke to his government source, questions about Pincus’s credibility were raised. The Post had two choices — withhold this information from Fitzgerald, or tell him about it. The consequences of not telling Fitzgerald, after having negotiated the agreement for Pincus’s testimony, were potentially enormous, because the Grand Jury’s term was expiring and indictments were about to be handed down based on Pincus’s testimony…

    The Post would have had no choice but tell Fitzgerald what they had just found out.

    as to what Woodward learned on (or right before) October 24th…. this is speculation, but the NYTimes story about Libby’s notes saying that Cheney had told him about Wilson’s wife working at CPD is dated October 24, and may have been the catalyst. If Woodward’s source was someone close to Cheney (like Hadley), what once appeared to be idle gossip took on far greater significance — the possibility that Hadley had gotten his info from the VP (directly or indirectly) was too big to ignore.

  45. Anonymous says:

    oh…one other piece of circumstantial evidence….

    prior to October 24, everyone was saying that Rove would be indicted. I suspect that Pincus’s testimony was crucial to a Rove indictment, and this explains why he wasn’t indicted.

  46. Anonymous says:

    p lukasiak

    Your argument makes more sense if Pincus’ testimony is vital to indict Hadley. Recall that Hadley was sure he was going to be indicted the week of the indictments. And while people are not as interested in indicting him, I think it still bears asking–why wasn’t he indicted?

    Well, if he were Pincus’ July 12 source (and, incidentally, Woodward’s June 15 source), it might give Fitz pause. Time to review the notes, and rewrite the Hadley story.

    The thing is, it still doesn’t make a difference. Novak’s Mr. X (who may be Woodward’s and Pincus’ Mr. X) told Novak of Plame’s identity before July 8, before Rove got to him, and in time for Novak to blab to Wilson’s friend in the street. A conversation with Pincus on July 12 would have no bearing on a conversation with Novak on July 7.

    Btw, the unified Mr.X theory is, IMO, far and away the best argument that Hadley is Woodward’s, Novak’s, and Pincus’ Mr X. It makes sense that he would easily source for showy Woody (and obviously has in the book), for security and spy expert Pincus, and for Rove’s shill Novak. There’s no one else who bridges the Cheney side and Bush side so well.

  47. Anonymous says:

    It’s getting to the point where if I want to fully understand all these great arguments, I’m going to have to read more, do more research, understand more. Any warnings? Is it possible to jump deep into these matters and still have a life?

  48. Anonymous says:

    Your argument makes more sense if Pincus’ testimony is vital to indict Hadley. Recall that Hadley was sure he was going to be indicted the week of the indictments. And while people are not as interested in indicting him, I think it still bears asking–why wasn’t he indicted?


    I think Pincus’ testimony was vital to a conspiracy indictment that included Rove, Hadley, and Libby. Rove’s apparent story is the same as Libby’s (i.e. â€I was just repeating what I heard from reportersâ€). That works for whoever Pincus’ source was on July 12, because by that time it was well known among the people who were asking about the Pincus story.

    I’m starting to like the â€grand unified theoryâ€, although I’m not ready to embrace it quite yet. Hadley is certainly a suspect in both the Novak and Woodward leaks — and would have reason not disclose his conversation with Woodward if his explanation for his disclosure to Novak was â€I was just repeating to Novak what I’d heard from other reporters.†But for some reason I just can’t put my finger on, I have the feeling that Rove was Pincus’ source.

  49. Anonymous says:

    EW, your case for Hadley is good. We do know that Rove esentially reported to Hadley about the Cooper conversation, so perhaps Hadley was the coordinator of the leak, and perhaps a leaker as you suggest. There was obvious coordination going on since Libby and Rove were leaking the same info at the same time, and it seems others as yet unnamed were similarly involved. That’s too much of the same thing by many people to be simple coincidence. I’m sure Fitzgerald came to the same conclusion long ago and is trying to ferret out the proof needed to indict and convict.

  50. Anonymous says:


    Don’t forget that Libby and Rove were doing SOMETHING at the beginning of the week that they tried to explain away as involvement in Tenet’s statement. I’m guessing there are emails between the two of them and Hadley that basically reflect the changing strategy of how to deal with Wilson. But they’re trying to pretend it more closely involved Tenet.

  51. Anonymous says:

    So, in accordance with this lovely new scenario, it wasn’t Luskin & Rove, but the Post which â€gave Fitzgerald pauseâ€.

    question: can this scenario be reconciled with
    a) fitz’s weird visit to Bush’s attorney
    b) hannah being promoted by cheney
    c) other unsolved mysteries

    Thinking optimistically, this could actually be a dream scenario, because the indictment of only Libby, on no underlying crime, and the current Woodward confusion, has emboldened the Rush Limbaugh echo machine to start reassuring its base that the whole â€Plame Farce†is amounting to nothing.

    If, after all this time, Fitz were to come out with the originally rumored â€22 indictmentsâ€, it would do some serious damage to the echo machine itself, as well its operators.

  52. Anonymous says:

    I would suggest that Luskin had been told that Rove was likely to be indicted, and when FitzG got the Post’s information, he was obligated to inform Luskin that the situation appeared to have changed.

    I don’t think anyone has come up with a satisfactory explanation for the visit to Bush’s criminal attorney, other than as a courtesy call to notify him that Bush’s chief aide would not be indicted that day.

    Hannah got promoted because somebody had to be.

    As to other mysteries, well, I’m sure that we’ll all know….but not soon enough!

  53. Anonymous says:

    All I do is ask dumb questions, but…

    Have you folks seen the Andrea Mitchell/Imus clip on crooksandliars.com?

    I’m trying to figure out just exactly what the usually vile and arrogant Andrea Mitchell is apologizing about so sheepishly.

  54. Anonymous says:

    p.lukasiak – I floated the idea a little while ago, which no one noticed, about what might have gotten Woodward’s attention that I think fits better with what you’re suggesting than the NYT article. My alternative suggestion is that Woodward learned — either from Fitzgerald’s posting on the previous Friday or from Pincus’ reporting on Sunday and Monday — that Fitzgerald had explicitly obtained authorization from DoJ to include obstruction-type offenses in the ambit of his investigation. Woodward then realized that he was potentially in a lot of trouble, pr-wise at least and perhaps even legally, as per your theory. (For my part, I think Fitzgerald has every intention of avoiding indicting any journalists. But you can still imagine that Woodward got scared.)

    At least some of the time, I do think that a number of people, including Cheney, came within a hair’s breadth of being indicted on the underlying crime. I remain skeptical that that will change. But you have fully persuaded me that there was a huge amount going on in the week before the indictment that we have no idea of.

  55. Anonymous says:

    I came across this as I was surfing across the Woodward stories and thought I should draw the group’s attention to it. It seems Mr. Woodward is hiding a lot of skeletons from the past. Beyond being interested in your comments, there may be some good background information for the Woodwardian profilers here.

    A Nixon Era Times Exclusive
    by Len Colodny

    You can read more of this at http://www.watergate.com/

    Blog away ….