Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Can You Hear Me Now

Well, it would seem that since the Libby indictment didn't really resonate with the public that the Plamegate matter would slide into the fringe of media coverage as the opening stages of the trial are still well into the future. However, the revelation that Bob Woodward (yes, Bob Woodward of the Watergate Woodwards) may have known more about Plame and her status far earlier in the timeline than Fitzgerald put forth throws a huge wrench into the works. And puts the Plamegate matter back into the blogging consciousness - on both sides of the issue.

Before we continue, let's recap what basic journalists must be asking of this story:
Where did Woodward learn about Plame?
How did Woodward come to learn this information?
Who told him?
Why did Fitzgerald not call Woodward to testify sooner?

Those questions go to the heart of how Woodward learned of Plame and affects the timeline, which was part of the Libby indictment. That raises additional questions:

Does this information help Libby?
Does it hurt someone else in the Administration?
Who else in the Administration talk to Woodward that would be considered a 'senior official'?
Are there other journalists who knew of Plame's status well before the Kristof article or even the Novak article but haven't come forward?
Why would any journalist willingly come forward to testify about their sources, knowing that they may put themselves or others into legal jeopardy?

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.
Curious. Thus far, many of the questions remain unanswered, or pose conflicting information.

What we do know is that this investigation just took a very interesting turn.

There are tons of other people blogging this story. A sampling: Wizbang, Myopic Zeal, Tom Maguire, Marc Cooper (who's more concerned that Woodward will try to hawk another book out of his involvment), AJ Strata

Michelle Malkin's guest poster Betsy Newmark makes the smart observation:
So, if Woodward and Pincus both testify to different memories of their conversations, how is that different from Libby and Russert both testifying to different memories of their conversations? If we can believe that the great Bob Woodward is misremembering when he told someone something, isn't it possible that Tim Russert could misremember something, too? Or that Scooter Libby could? Why is one discrepancy worthy of indictment and the other one chalked up to "confusion about the timing"?
The answer is that it all depends on the prosecutor's confidence in the statements made by all the parties. And Woodward's comments should send up red flags to everyone that the issues are far from clear.

MacsMind seems to think that there's going to be a race among editors and reporters to get their version of the story out there first - Woodward's comments being the opening salvo. Ace thinks that Woodward may have set Pincus up for perjury. Ace may be right.

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