In a rather bizarre article in Thursday's Washington Post, the newspaper claims that Woodward's testimony could be a "boon" to Scooter.
The revelation that The Washington Post's Bob Woodward may have been the first reporter to learn about CIA operative Valerie Plame could provide a boost to the only person indicted in the leak case: I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby.How? Well, the article doesn't really tell us that. Though it does say in the second paragraph:
Legal experts said Woodward provided two pieces of new information that cast at least a shadow of doubt on the public case against Libby, Vice President Cheney's former chief of staff, who has been indicted on perjury and obstruction of justice charges.Pretty damning stuff, if the Post article actually said what the first two paragraphs of the article allege. Unfortunately, it does not.
First off, the article doesn't cite legal EXPERTS saying this is a boon to Libby. It cites ONE SINGLE legal expert saying this helps Libby. Then the article cites another legal expert saying the first guy is full of crap. Yes, a tie. But the Post concludes that this means "legal experts" say this is a boon to Libby!
Of course, the Post adds at the end of the paragraph from the pro-Libby guy, "Other legal experts agreed." Other legal experts? Who? What did they say? No idea, because the article doesn't cite them. Well here's a newsflash. Even other legal experts don't agree. So where does the Post get off spinning this as the majority of legal experts think this helps Libby?
Then, check out what the pro-Libby guy tells the Post:
"I think it's a considerable boost to the defendant's case," said John Moustakas, a former federal prosecutor who has no role in the case. "It casts doubt about whether Fitzgerald knew everything as he charged someone with very serious offenses." Other legal experts agreed.Wow. You mean in the middle of an ongoing investigation where the first guy indicted is charged with obstructing justice, his defense is going to be that the prosecutor doesn't have all the facts of the underlying case? Uh, duh - that's kind of the point of an obstructing justice case. And the Post quotes this as the damning expert they're going to wrap an entire pro-Libby story around? Nice.
Of course, it wouldn't be a Post story if they didn't throw in the gratuitous paragraph about what a great thing Bob Woodward has now done coming forward two years too late. This from the "legal experts" who are really only one guy:
Moustakas said Woodward also has considerable credibility because he has been granted "unprecedented access" to the inner workings of the Bush White House. "When Woodward says this information was disclosed to me in a nonchalant and casual way -- not as if it was classified -- it helps corroborate Libby's account about himself and about the administration," Moustakas said.Really, Woodward has considerable credibility? In whose opinion? Woodward has had disdain for Fitzgerald from the beginning and has hardly been shy about letting that fact be known publicly on TV. He's a credible objective source here? Not to mention, Woodward doesn't appear to have given us the real story about why he never came clean about his role in the Plame case (see my post below), so that also casts doubt on his veracity. And finally, Woodward's inside access to the White House does not enhance his credibility, it actually diminishes it because it has been increasingly of concern whether Woodward has compromised his integrity to get the "inside" stories from this White House. And one final point - if this was such a non-chalant, casual disclosure, that intended no harm, then why did Woodward treat is as being top secret for the past two years, not even telling his executive editor about it? Pretty serious treatment he gave a non-chalant, insignificant conversation.
But in any case, it was nice of the Post to gratuitously throw that little "Woodie is so darn credible!" paragraph in the day after we find out he lied to them and us.
There's lots more wrong with this story, but let's finish with one of the closing paragraphs:
Rove's defense team also believes he could benefit tangentially from the Woodward disclosure because it shows other officials were discussing Plame in casual ways and that others have foggy recollections of the period as well, according to a Republican close to Rove.Yeah, right. So now we have a third senior administration official telling very important reporters about Valerie Plame being a CIA agent, all within the same time period in 2003, and we're to believe that this somehow implies they're all innocent? Uh, what this suggests to anyone with half a brain, legal or otherwise, is that now there's increasing evidence of a criminal conspiracy. Three senior White House officials leaking the same classified information at the same time ONLY to reporters working for the major media. Yeah, that's evidence of it all just being one big coincidence.
And tomorrow in the Washington Post: Room full of monkeys types Hamlet.