While Woodwardgate rumors swirl around both Richard Armitage and Steven Hadley, it's becoming clear that it was Armitage who informed Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward that Valerie Plame worked covertly for the CIA.
In his -press conference last week, Bob Woodward stated that he'd been questioned by Plame leak presecutor Patrick Fitzgerald about inteviews Woodward had with "three current or former Bush administration officials that relate to the investigation of the public disclosure of the identity of undercover CIA officer Valerie Plame."
According to Woodward, Official #1 made a "casual and offhand" comment that "Wilson's wife worked for the CIA on weapons of mass destruction as a WMD analyst," in a "mid-June 2003" conversation.
Official #2, White House Chief of Staff Andy Card, was interviewed by Woodward on June 20, 2003, and Woodward's "tape-recorded interview contains no indication that the subject" of Valerie Plame arose.
Official #3 was Scooter Libby, currently under indictment for perjury allegedly given to Fitzgerald's grand jury in the investagation of the unauthorized leak of Valerie Plame's CIA status. Woodward conducted two interviews with Libby, June 23 and June 27, 2004, and doesn't recall discussing Plame with Libby, nor do his notes indicate he did.
All three officals released Woodward from confidientality agreements in order for him to testify under oath with Fitzgerald, but only Official #1 has not released the reporter to disclose his name publicly. Based on the scorecard below of information regarding 42 "current or former Bush administration officials," it's clear that Armitage was Official #1, the source of the leak.
Among the criteria for inclusion on this list was that an offical was either contacted by Fitzgerald in the investigation, has denied being Woodward's source, has been mentioned as having knowledge of Plame's CIA status before it became public knowledge, or was a member of the nine member White House Iraq Group (WHIG), and early focus of Fitzgerald's investigation. Much of the information came from earlier lists by National Journal, and also from Think Progress, though this is the largest and most current list that is publicly available. Since Woodward has said that Libby was not is Plame source, I've linked denials or non-comments from other officials where I could find them:
***Update, 9:00 pm,11/21: In light of tonight's inadvertent disclosure by Bob Woodward that his source was a man, the five women who'd yet to deny they were Woodward's source--Susan Ralston, Mary Matalin, Catherine Martin, Claire Buchan, and Jennifer Millerwise--have been eliminated from any possibility of being the original leaker to Woodward of Valerie Plame's employment with the C.I.A.***
Armitage's failure to deny that he was Woodward's Plame source is a rather loud non-barking dog. Evan Thomas and Michael Isikoff write in Newsweek:
So who is Novak's source-and Woodward's source-and why will his identity take the wind out of the brewing storm? One by one last week, a parade of current and former senior officials, including the CIA's George Tenet and national-security adviser Stephen Hadley, denied being the source. A conspicuous exception was former deputy secretary of State Richard Armitage, whose office would only say, "We're not commenting." He was one of a handful of top officials who had access to the information. He is an old source and friend of Woodward's, and he fits Novak's description of his source as "not a partisan gunslinger." Woodward has indicated that he knows the identity of Novak's source, which further suggests his source and Novak's were one and the same.
If Armitage was the original leaker, that undercuts the argument that outing Plame was a plot by the hard-liners in the veep's office to "out" Plame. Armitage was, if anything, a foe of the neocons who did not want to go to war in Iraq. He had no motive to discredit Wilson. On "Larry King Live" last month, Woodward was dismissive of the speCIAl prosecutor's investigation, suggesting that the original leak was not the result of a "smear campaign" but rather a "kind of gossip, as chatter... I don't see an underlying crime here."
The obscurity of Armitage's contact with Fitzgerald is another interesting point, since there is also confusion about Official #1's prior contact:
Woodward, November 16: "Asked if this was the first time his source had spoken with Fitzgerald in the investigation, Woodward said 'I'm not sure. It's quite possibly not the first time.'"
Washington Post, November 18: A lawyer in the case said Woodward's source had not previously testified before a grand jury in the leak case.
Washington Post, November 19: but a person familiar with the investigation said the source had testified earlier in the case.
Just One Minute has some great information on Armitage.
What of Robert Joseph, who has also declined to comment? According to a New York TimesSelect article, which is also posted here:
In other confirmation hearings, both Condoleezza Rice, who was national security adviser in 2003 and is now secretary of state, and Robert Joseph, who was a member of the National Security Council staff and is now under secretary of state, acknowledged to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that they had been interviewed about the leak.
Hard to imagine that getting by Woodward or anyone else at all familar with the case or Woodward's source.
But what of Hadley?
From Decision '08" "The Times of London becomes the first major media outlet I'm aware of to confirm - sort of - the scuttlebutt that Stephen Hadley was the source for Bob Woodward."
This from that:
THE mysterious source who gave America's foremost journalist, Bob Woodward, a tip-off about the CIA agent at the centre of one of Washington's biggest political storms was Stephen Hadley, the White House national security adviser, according to lawyers close to the investigation.
A spokeswoman for the National Security Council (NSC) denied that Hadley was the journalist's source. However, in South Korea on Friday during an official visit with President George W Bush, Hadley dodged the question.
"I've also seen press reports from White House officials saying that I am not one of his sources," Hadley said with a smile. Asked if this was a yes or no he replied: "It is what it is."
A White House official said the national security adviser's ambiguity was unintentional and repeated that Hadley was not Woodward's source. But others close to the investigation insisted that he was.
The Sunday Times' story is little more than an uncredited rehash of several Hadley stories posted by The Raw Story in the aftermath of Woodward's revelation:
November 16: National Security Adviser was Woodward's source, attorneys say
November 18: National Security spokeperson hones denial of Hadley role on Plame
In a questionable feedback loop, Raw Story links to the Sunday Times' Hadley "scoop" based on Raw Story's stories at the top of their own page this morning. Raw Story hedges a little in the same banner by linking to the Newsweek story that spotlights Armitage as Woodward's likely source:
Confirmation of Hadley's contact with Fitzgerald was rather elusive. From the Washington Post and the Texas Political Resouce Page we get this fragment of a now premium-access L.A. Times story by Tom Hamburger and Sonni Efron:
When the disclosure of Wilson's CIA mission to Niger put the White House on the defensive, one administration official said it reminded a tightknit group of Bush neoconservatives of their longtime battles with the agency and underlined their determination to fight.
Many of those officials also were members of the White House Iraq Group, established to coordinate and promote administration policy. It included the most influential players who would represent two elements of the current scandal: a hardball approach to political critics and long-standing disdain for CIA views on intelligence matters.
The group consisted of Rove, Libby, White House Chief of Staff Andrew H. Card Jr., then-national security advisor Condoleezza Rice and her deputy, Stephen Hadley, and Mary Matalin, Cheney's media advisor. All are believed to have been questioned in the leak case; papers and e-mails about the group were subpoenaed.
The problem with this report is that it omits several members of the White House Iraq Group: Rice aide Jim Wilkinson, Bush legislative liason Nicholas Calio, and Karen Hughes. Hughes was interviewed by Fitzgerald, Wilkinson has not had contact, and there is no indication that Calio was contacted. So was it the blanket understanding of Hamburger and Efron that all WHIG members were contacted? If so, that's clearly an error, but it also seems rerasonable that Hadley was contacted, given his proximity to the story and Fitzgerald's interest in the White House Iraq Group.
In any event, Hadley does sort of seem to fit Woodard's remark that his source's post-Libby indictment discussions with Fitzgerald were "quite possibly not the first time" though he was "not sure."
Interesting that fellow WHIG member Jim Wilkinson denied for Rice that she was not Woodward's, but apparently not for himself, and that he didn't testify. Though he doesn't appear to be a factor in the case, neither do folks like Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz, who've denied on the record. Did anyone bother to ask Wilkinson?
There are reports that Wilkinson did testify, but they appear to be based on an errant Bloomberg News report, which has since been corrected by Bloomberg: "Corrects third paragraph to delete reference to former White House aide Jim Wilkinson." Via ABC News: "According to Bloomberg, 'Wilkinson has said he was not questioned.'"
Though UN Ambassador John Bolton has denied being Woodward's source, it's interesting that apparently "Fitzgerald has not sought to subpoena or interview either John Bolton or Fred Fleitz," given this report:
Lawyers involved in the two year old probe said that two former Cheney aides had a hand in obtaining information about Wilson and shared it with Libby after the chief of staff had personally requested such information.
Those aides, David Wurmser and John Hannah, are now cooperating with Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald's probe into the outing of Plame's identity and CIA status to reporters. Wurmser and Hannah have agreed to cooperate with Fitzgerald after being told that they faced indictment for their role in outing Plame. The officials had told Fitzgerald that they were acting on orders from Bolton to obtain such information. Hannah a key aide to Vice President Dick Cheney and one of the architects of the Iraq war, and Wurmser was Cheney's Middle East advisor and an assistant to Bolton.
It's not clear, if the above is true, why Fitzgerald wouldn't have contacted Bolton.
On another note, from the Washington Post, "Bush and Cheney were not placed under oath -- the reasoning apparently being that they had no direct involvement in the potential criminal activity under investigation: the leak itself. "
Additional Woodwardgate links at The Tar Pit:
Woodwardgate scorecard: Armitage is #1!
WP Woodwardgate editorial spams red herrings
Woodwardgate: cuckolded Downie stands by his man
Woodward and source: chum for the sharks
Howie Kurtz pimps lefty bloggers' "passion" for Woodwardgate
The Political Teen
bRight & Early
BIG DOG's WEBLOG
Stop the ACLU
TMH's Bacon Bits
Stuck on Stupid
The Conservative Cat
third world county
Outside the Beltway
The Business of America is Business!
The Florida Masochist
Common Folk using Common Sense