Wednesday, November 16, 2005

From Hero To Chump

Bob Woodward

Oh, how the mighty have fallen.

Once upon a time, long ago, Bob Woodward was a reporter. He was a reporter who happened to stumble into the greatest moment in modern journalism: the Watergate scandal. Deep Throat came to him, and next thing he knew, he had become the stuff of legend. He was portrayed on screen by Robert Redford.

I would argue that his articles on Watergate were the primary reason Woodward rode up the ranks at the Washington Post, and became one of the most respected journalists in the nation. Nothing he has done since has come close. But that's ok. Plenty of people coast on the glory from a single accomplishment. Woodward had earned the right.

So it's sad to see him become the next Judy Miller.

Judy, for those of you living in caves (Osama), hid the idenity of the man responsible for outing an undercover CIA agent, Valerie Plame. She inexplicably went to jail, even though that man had released her from promises of confidentiality. Then, she inexplicably reversed her stance, obstensibly because she had finally signed a hefty enough book deal.

Though a notebook with interview notes from her talk with Cheney crony Scooter Libby mentions Valerie "Flame," Judy claims she doesn't remember Scooter saying the name to her, and insists she doesn't know how it got there. Possible theories include:

1) Aliens Wrote It

2) It appeared "by magic"

3) Michael Moore altered the notebook when she wasn't looking.

Libby was indicted anyway. Not content to be the sacrificial lamb, he denied revealing Plame's name. And that was that. He prepared for trial, Judy and fellow Times reporter Maureen Dowd worked out the financial details of their pay per view jello wrestling match.

Then Bob Woodward decided it wasn't fair for Judy to be the only disgraced reporter around.

This morning's Washington Post admitted that Bob Woodward learned Valerie Plame's name from a high-ranking government official waaaayyyy before Judy did. Then Woodward dropped the bombshell... IT WASN'T LIBBY!!!!!

Who was it?

Well, Bob Woodward is just a reporter. It's just his job to tell the news. So he's not going to say who told him. "My source requested he or she be called 'Harriet Fagina,' after the character in the 80's porn flick 'Josie and the Pussies.'"

He seemed to suffer the same memory problems that afflicted Judy Miller (strange, dontcha think?):

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.

[Woodward testified,] "I told Walter Pincus, a reporter at The Post, without naming my source, that I understood Wilson's wife worked at the CIA as a WMD analyst."

Pincus said he does not recall Woodward telling him that. In an interview, Pincus said he cannot imagine he would have forgotten such a conversation around the same time he was writing about Wilson.

"Are you kidding?" Pincus said. "I certainly would have remembered that."

Woodward also told Fitzgerald [the Republican special prosecutor assigned to the case by Republicans] that it is possible he asked Libby about Plame or her husband, former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV. He based that testimony on an 18-page list of questions he planned to ask Libby in an interview that included the phrases "yellowcake" and "Joe Wilson's wife." Woodward said in his statement, however, that "I had no recollection" of mentioning the pair to Libby. He also said that his original government source did not mention Plame by name, referring to her only as "Wilson's wife."

According to his statement, Woodward also testified about a third unnamed source. He told Fitzgerald that he does not recall discussing Plame with this person when they spoke on June 20, 2003.
Earlier this year, Woodward went on Larry King and said he didn't think outing an undercover CIA officer in order to discredit a critic of the administration was a big deal.

"If putting a CIA officer at risk is what it takes to force this country into an ill-advised war, I'm all for it," he said... in not so many words.

So Woodward has gone from someone revealing a massive government coverup to someone who, well... is participating in a massive government coverup.

Robert Redford would be ashamed.

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Food For Thought:

Poor Getting Poorer, Rich Getting Richer, The Middle Getting Poorer

Oil Execs Deny Getting Cozy With Cheney

CPB Chair Tried To Make Elmo Republican

Congressional Indian Givers Stiff 9/11 Victims $125 Million, No Word On Bridge To Nowhere (Somehow, I don't think this is what Glenn Reynolds meant when he pushed congress to cut pork spending)

New Jersey: We'll Win You Over???? That's The Best They Came Up With? I personally like "New Jersey: You Gotta Problem With That?"

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