The Facts Machine

"And I come back to you now, at the turn of the tide"

Sunday, November 20, 2005

WOODWARD'S SOURCE

Ever since Bob Woodward testified to Fitzgerald's grand jury last Monday that someone told him about "Joe Wilson's wife" way back in June 2003, even before Libby went on his leak-fest, everyone has been atwitter as to the mystery of who Woodward's source was.

(And for the reality-impaired, the Woodward revelation does nothing to mitigate Scooter Libby's legal jeopardy. Libby told a bullshit story, repeatedly, to Fitz's grand jury, and he got indicted for it.)

Over at Newsweek, Evan Thomas and -- uh oh -- Michael Isikoff speculate as to the source's identity, and the guess they offer up is...
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.
Color me highly skeptical. With it already being proven that Libby and Rove were involved, and with a series of reporters told first-hand by senior administration officials about Plame in 2003, the Armitage scenario doesn't add up. It increasingly doesn't add up given the exact qualifiers offered up by the report; it's counterintuitive to the point where it's most likely wrong. Armitage's greatest loyalty (for many years) was to Colin Powell, his immediate boss.

Frankly, given that all we're going on is a "no comment", this strikes me as more Isikoff stenography, just as his "Rove's in the clear!" reporting a few weeks ago was.

On the other hand, there's the London Times, which reports that "lawyers close to the investigation" say Woodward's source was Stephen Hadley, which makes a little more sense.

We'll see.

UPDATE: Raw Story called Hadley's spokesman, who issued a denial as to whether Hadley "[met] Woodward on the dates in question."

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