Woodward on TreasonGate: "Move along, people! There's no story here!"
Atrios has been calling Woodward "Booby." Mild-mannered as I am, that seemed a little harsh to me, but know I'm starting to think he's right. I mean, going on Larry King to trash WaPo's ombudsman? Isn't that pushing it? AP:
Special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald portrayed Libby as the first government official to have shared Plame's name and her work at the CIA. But the Post reported that Woodward, who achieved fame for his reporting on the Watergate scandal during the Nixon administration, may have been the first reporter to learn about Plame in mid-June of 2003, before the Novak column ran.
Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward dismissed claims that he should have revealed his role in the CIA leak case when he discussed the investigation on news interview shows.
"I have a great relationship with Len Downie, the editor of the Post, and I was trying to avoid being subpoenaed," Woodward said.
Well, nobody likes to be subpoenaed, but that's hardly the issue, is it? Rule of law, and all that:
"And I should have, as I have many, many times, taken him into my confidence. And I did not."
Well, why not? What's so special about this one case?
The Post's ombudsman, Deborah Howell wrote in Sunday's editions that Woodward erred by publicly commenting on the case on King's show and on National Public Radio without mentioning that a top Bush administration official had told him the name of a covert CIA officer.
Howell wrote that Woodward had committed a "deeply serious sin ... the kind that can get even a very good reporter in the doghouse for a very long time."
"He has to operate under the rules that govern the rest of the staff - even if he's rich and famous," she wrote.
But it gets better:
Woodward again questioned the importance of the case. "When it all comes out - and hopefully it will come out - people will see how casual and offhand this was," he told King.
So "casual" and "offhand" Booby never talked to his editor about it...
"Remember, the investigation and the allegations that people have printed about this story is that there's some vast conspiracy to slime Joe Wilson and his wife, really attack him in an ugly way that is outside of the boundaries of political hardball," Woodward said.
"The evidence I had firsthand - a small piece of the puzzle, I acknowledge - is that that was not the case."
Well. Some questions:
1. If it's "firsthand evidence," why not come forward with it right away?
2. Are we talking "allegations" here, or are we talking about criminal indictments? Did Woodward not get the memo on this?
3. What is Woodward's evidence?
4. Who is Woodward's source?
5. Why doesn't he write this story up for this Post? After all, if the entire basis of the Fitzgerald investigation is false, isn't that news?
NOTE Of course, Miller--with a multimillion dollar payout as more than just compensation for her labors--was a firewall for Sulzberger. No doubt Boobie could have been a firewall for Downie as well. Business as usual now that Bush has restored honor and dignity to the White House: The higherups always get plausible deniability ....