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Monday, November 21, 2005

Woodward's LKL gaffe reveals source was a man

In an interview on Larry King Live tonight, Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward inadvertently revealed that his unnamed source in the Valerie Plame case was a man.

I've transcribed the following exchange from about the middle of the interview:

Larry King: "Your source, did the source indicate whether Mrs. Plame was an undercover agent, or desk analyst?"

Bob Woodward: "Good question, and specifically said, uh, that-- the source did-- that she, uh, was a WMD, weapons of mass destruction analyst."

...If you were there at this moment in mid-June when this was said, there was no suggestion that it was sensitive, that it was secret, that--"

Larry King: "How'd it come up?"

Bob Woodward:"It came up because I asked about Joe Wilson, because, uh, a few days before, my colleague at the Washington Post, Walter Pincus, had a front page story saying there was an unnamed envoy--there was no name given--who had gone to Niger the year before to investigate for the C.I.A. whether there was some Niger-Iraq uranium deal, or yellowcake, uh, deal. Uh, uh, I learned that the ambassador's name was Joe Wilson, which was, you know, Wilson eventually surfaced, I, I guess a few weeks later. So I said to this source--long substantive interview about the road to war--uh, you know as, at the end of an interview like this, after you're doing an interview, uh, on television, you might just shoot the breeze for a little while, so I asked about Wilson, and he said this. Most, uh, uh, kinda offhand, uh, one of those things, and so I, I didn't think much of it."

Clearly, when Woodward says "he" here it's a reference to Woodward's source, not to Joe Wilson.

As he had in his November 16 press conference, Woodward had been careful tonight avoid gender specific personal pronouns up until this exchange, and had referred to his source as "the source," "this source," "my source," etc. Throughout the interview, Larry King had been careful to phrase his questions of "him or her," and "he or she." King didn't follow up on Woodward's gaffe.

This new information, though not altogether surprising, simply increases the likelihood that Woodward's source was Ex Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage, as it eliminates Susan Ralston, Mary Matalin, Catherine Martin, Claire Buchan, and Jennifer Millerwise as possible sources for the leak of information about Valerie Plame's C.I.A. employment to Woodward.


Additional Woodward/Plame links at The Tar Pit:

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


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