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Washington Post exec editor repeats Woodward's lies

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So at this point either Leonard Downie, Jr., the executive editor of the Post, is covering for Woodward or he's just not that bright a guy. Today, in an online chat on the Post site, Downie just repeated Woodward's absurd excuse for not coming clean about Valerie Plame:

Sarlat La Caneda, France: One cannot help but think that Bob Woodward in this instance either deliberately held back this information for his own purpose - he does after all need to have access to the President and his cabinet to complete research on his new book.

Leonard Downie, Jr.: His reasons were that he wanted to avoid being subpoenaed in the Fitzgerald investigation and being forced to reveal his source. I understand that, but he nevertheless should have come to me and we would have decided together how to proceed. It is quite possible that if he had come to me, as he should have, we still would not have been able to publish anything if his source had refused to release Woodward from their confidentiality agreement, as indeed the source has so far.
Uh, Len. The Fitzgerald investigation didn't even begin until December 2003. Woodward found out in mid-June 2003. So there was no risk of subpoena and being forced to reveal his source. In fact, the subpoenas didn't start flying until May 2004. So that excuse doesn't fly. And in fact, Woodward had no problem - so he claims - telling Walter Pincus of the Post that he was told Valerie Plame was CIA, but he can't tell you, his top editor? If he was so afraid of revealing the source and of getting subpoenaed if anyone found out, then why did he so cavalierly tell Pincus?

At this point, I'm getting more and more angry about this entire affair. Woodward lies to us for 2 years, while publicly campaigning against the investigation. And now how his editor is out there spreading even more lies in an effort to justify how their top reporter took part in one of the biggest conflicts of interest in journalism history.

I've been losing respect for the Washington Post for a while, due to their neo-con editorials ever since Katherine Graham died, but this is really the last straw.

One more thing from Downie:
Chicago, Ill.: If Woodward lied about this issue. What makes you think he has not lied before or will continue to lie? Do you think Woodward was covering up for the Vice President?

Leonard Downie, Jr.: Bob Woodward never lied. He failed to come to me sooner and tell me something he should have told me. Once he did tell me last month, he told me everything about it. I've worked with Bob for 33 years, and he has always been truthful in person and in his work. He is also one of the most careful, accurate and fair journalists I have every worked with.
Really Len? He never lied and he told you everything? That's fascinating. Then I challenge you to read the analysis I did the other day of Woodward's explanation and tell me with a straight face that I didn't blow his entire lie out of the water? It doesn't hold up to any logical scrutiny.

Again, either Downie is covering for Woodward's lie, or he's not a very bright man.

Ok, I just read more of this transcript - Downie has to be lying. Read this:
Leonard Downie, Jr.: Initially, Bob didn't tell me about this brief conversation, which was part of a long interview on other subjects, because it seemed unimportant. It was before the Novak column about Valerie Plame and before anyone knew about her covert CIA status. It was later, after the Fitzgerald investigation was underway, that Bob became concerned about being subpoenaed. In the meantime, however, once the relevance of his conversation became clear because of the controversy over the Novak column, Bob should have told me about his conversation, even if we would have been unable to publish anything about it because of his confidentiality agreement with his source.
Did you get that? Woodward never told Downie because he thought it was "unimportant," and he didn't realize how important the conversation was until Fitzgerald began his investigation in December, and that's when he got afraid of being subpoenaed, so now he had a new excuse for not telling Downie.

Well, Mr. Downie. For those of us who weren't living under a rock for most of 2003, the Valerie Plame story was a big deal BEFORE Fitzgerald was appointed. You might recall that the story really heated up in September 2003 when the Justice Dept had to launch an investigation because the CIA demanded it. It was a big story MONTHS before Fitzgerald was appointed. So instead of just telling us that Woodward SHOULD have told you in late 2003 when the story heated up but before Fitzgerald was appointed, tell us WHY he didn't tell you. Really. Tell us why. Because at this point, it looks fishy as shit that Woodward was covering for the administration in order to protect his access.

Oh but it gets worse for Downie and Woodward.

It was in the first few days of October, 2003 that Scott McLellan told reporters that he had talked to Libby, Rove and Elliot Abrams, and that "those individuals assured me they were not involved in this."

So by early October, Plame was a BIG story, McLellan was getting peppered with questions about it, and the White House was openly lying about the story and Woodward KNEW they were lying. But he didn't tell his editor because it wasn't a very important story, or so Downie says.

Again, Leonard Downie needs to come clean. Is he lying to us in order to defend Woodward, or is he just a bit stupid. Because Woodward has now become the next Judith Miller. He is destroying any credibility the Washington Post had left.

More on this from Arianna here.

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