Wednesday, November 16, 2005

The unbearable arrogance of Bob Woodward

The latest developments, with links:

Bob Woodward has apologized to the Post's "executive editor for failing to tell him for more than two years that a senior Bush administration official had told him about CIA operative Valerie Plame, even as an investigation of those leaks mushroomed into a national scandal".

Oh, how the mighty have fallen. As a friend put it today, this Woodward is pretty much the exact opposite of the Woodward of Watergate. Redford played him then -- who would play him now? (I'll take your suggestions.)

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Steve Clemons has another great post: "Woodward's celebrity-status has seriously blinded him and affected his judgment about quality journalism and his responsibilities to the public. He should never have been making such comments on television about the Plame case if he was, in fact, involved. He should have RECUSED himself in such discussion. Now, his revelations must become central to the Plame story -- and they threaten significantly the direction that Fitzgerald takes in the investigation. Woodward should tell what he knows -- and he should be responsible to what really occurred -- but he must be held ACCOUNTABLE for his irresponsibility in the Plame case."

And so does Digby: "It turns out that Bob Woodward, who worked hand in glove with the administration to create the hagiography of the codpiece, has known for years that the White House was engaged in a coordinated smear campaign against Joe Wilson. Indeed, he was right in the middle of it. In the beginning he may have thought that it was idle gossip, but by the time he was on Larry King defending it as such he knew damned well that it had been leaked by Rove, Libby and his own source all within a short period of time. He's been around Washington long enough to know a coordinated leak when he sees one."

John Aravosis: "It's... beginning to sound a lot like Bob Woodward is becoming our next Judith Miller. His repeated rants in defense of this administration, and against the special prosecutor, certainly take on a very interesting edge considering Mr. Woodward didn't bother disclosing that he was quite involved in this story, and was hardly the impartial observer his silence suggested he was."

Steve Soto agrees: "What do Bob Woodward and Judy Miller have in common? Both have been stooges for the administration. Both have been complicit in the administration’s disinformation campaign against the American people. Both are more concerned about being on the inside as Beltway Kool Kids than they are about being journalists."

I wonder if Woodward will write a bestseller about his time in the slammer...

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Kevin Drum has a great "Plame Scorecard" to help us keep track: "Just a coincidental series of offhand remarks about the exact same information — all off the record — or a calculated campaign to leak Plame's status? You make the call."

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This is the story of the day in the blogosphere:

See Atrios, Josh Marshall, the Carpetbagger, John Amato, Armando at Kos, Shakespeare's Sister, Firedoglake, Echidne, The Next Hurrah, The Mahablog, Pam Spaulding at Big Brass Blog, liberal Tim F. at conservative Balloon Juice, not to mention Arianna herself.

And Joe Gandelman's overview.

On the right, see Power Line and Tom Maguire (and here).

So much for whatever credibility Woodward had left.

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Meanwhile, Bed Bradlee (Jason Robards) defends Woodward here.

The Times is reporting that "[l]awyers for I. Lewis Libby Jr., the former White House official indicted on perjury charges, plan to seek testimony from journalists beyond those cited in the indictment and will probably challenge government agreements limiting their grand jury testimony".

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But who was Woodward's informer?

The Raw Story says it was National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley.

The Anonymous Liberal responds.

Steve Soto: "If Hadley was in fact the first administration official to talk to a member of the media about Plame’s identity, and knowingly revealing that she was a possible covert operative due to her assignment in the Directorate of Operations, how plausible is it that his boss at the time didn’t know about this either. You know, his boss, the current Secretary of State?"

What does this mean? Let's cut to the chase, as they say:

"This definitely pulls the whole thing inside the Oval Office, and 'high crimes and misdemeanors' is back in the lexicon."

The gloves are coming off.

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