Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Plamegate, Watergate, fossil fuel, and Dick Cheney

There were a couple of items that broke late yesterday that seem to be more bad news for the Cheney administration regarding le affaire Plame. First, from the front page of this morning's WaPo:

Washington Post 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.

So you really ought to go and read the whole piece, because there are several things revealed that portend to be big trouble for a lot of people. More:

Woodward did not share the information with Washington Post Executive Editor Leonard Downie Jr. until last month, and the only Post reporter whom Woodward said he remembers telling in the summer of 2003 does not recall the conversation taking place.

"The only Post reporter" is Walter Pincus, who among the members of the MSM has done the yeoman's labor unwinding this tangle. Still more:

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.

The testimony, however, does not appear to shed new light on whether Libby is guilty of lying and obstructing justice in the nearly two-year-old probe or provide new insight into the role of senior Bush adviser Karl Rove, who remains under investigation.

Mark Corallo, a spokesman for Rove, said that Rove is not the unnamed official who told Woodward about Plame and that he did not discuss Plame with Woodward.

Got all that?

"A senior administration official" -- not Libby, not Rove -- told Woodward about Valerie Wilson first. Beforethe leak trickled to Novak, Judy Miller, Tim Russert, or any of the other reporters. Woodward didn't think it was important enough to mention this to his boss until a month ago -- coincidentally about the time Patrick Fitzgerald indicted Scooter Libby -- but Woodward claims he did mention it to the WaPo writer leading the CIA leak investigation, who claims he doesn't remember that happening.

Bob Woodward is on the record as having called the special prosecutor's investigation into the leaking of a CIA agent's name "laughable" and the consequences of that leak "quite minimal".

Editor and Publisher has more.

There is certainly a few best-selling books' worth of irony here, with Bob Woodward being eyebrows-deep in the government's deception as opposed to his '70's role as intrepid reporter, but for now I'd rather speculate on the unnamed official who leaked to him.

It's "Big Time" Dick Cheney, I'm guessing.

Speaking of Vice President Marquis de Sade, his oil task force is also Page A-1 in the Post today:

A White House document shows that executives from big oil companies met with Vice President Cheney's energy task force in 2001 -- something long suspected by environmentalists but denied as recently as last week by industry officials testifying before Congress.

The document, obtained this week by The Washington Post, shows that officials from Exxon Mobil Corp., Conoco (before its merger with Phillips), Shell Oil Co. and BP America Inc. met in the White House complex with the Cheney aides who were developing a national energy policy, parts of which became law and parts of which are still being debated.

So you're telling me that the oil company CEOs lied about this? Imagine that. Lying to Congress is still a crime, though since they weren't sworn, the crime isn't perjury.

Where's the Vice President going to be for the next few days?

Yesterday he got jeered at a ceremony in Tennessee honoring Howard Baker, who had a small role in Watergate if I recall correctly. Something related to a question regarding 'what did the President know and when did he know it' kinda thing. I hear he's planning on being in Houston next month ...

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