Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Libby Indictment losing altitude

Watergate legend Bob Woodward dealt special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald a potentially significant blow today when the Washington Post reported that:

"...Assistant Managing Editor Bob Woodward testified under oath Monday in the CIA leak case that a senior administration official told him about CIA operative Valerie Plame and her position at the agency nearly a month before her identity was disclosed.

In a more than two-hour deposition, Woodward told Special Counsel Patrick J. Fitzgerald that the official casually told him in mid-June 2003 that Plame worked as a CIA analyst on weapons of mass destruction, and that he did not believe the information to be classified or sensitive, according to a statement Woodward released yesterday.

Fitzgerald interviewed Woodward about the previously undisclosed conversation after the official alerted the prosecutor to it on Nov. 3 -- one week after Vice President Cheney's chief of staff, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, was indicted in the investigation."

This revelation casts doubt into Fitzgerald's 'timeline' and specific wording in the indictment that Libby was the first government official to leak Valerie Plame's name to reporters. Fitzgerald is unlikely to drop the indictment but I think it would be fair to say that the Libby defense has just 'flopped a set'.

The 'official' isn't Scooter Libby and it isn't Karl Rove.

Libby attorney Ted Wells: (courtesty The Corner)

Woodward's disclosures are a bombshell to Mr. Fitzgerald's case. First, the disclosure shows that Mr. Fitzgerald's statement at his press conference of October 28, 2005 that Mr. Libby was the first government official to tell a reporter about Mr. Wilson's wife was totally inaccurate. Second, Woodward's disclosure that he talked to Mr. Libby on June 20 and June 27, 2003 and that Mr. Libby did not mention WIlson's wife undermines Mr. Fitzgerald's key theme that Mr. Libby was involved in a scheme to discredit Wilson by telling reporters about Wilson's wife's employment at the CIA. Hopefully as more information is obtained from reporters like Bob Woodward, the real facts will come out.

Tom Maguire is all over it here.

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