Post editor says he was told of Plame in June 2003
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Washington Post editor Bob Woodward testified that a senior Bush administration official told him about CIA operative Valerie Plame about a month before her identity was publicly exposed, the Post acknowledged Wednesday.
Woodward told Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald, who is investigating the leak of Plame's identity, that the official talked to him about Plame in mid-June 2003, the Post said. Woodward and editors at the Post refused to identify the official other than to say it was not I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney's former chief of staff.
Libby was indicted last month on one charge of obstruction of justice and two counts each of false statement and perjury in connection with Fitzgerald's investigation.
Plame's husband, former U.S. Ambassador Joseph Wilson, had criticized U.S. intelligence efforts before the Iraq war. On June 23, Libby told The New York Times reporter Judith Miller that Wilson's wife might work at the CIA. Robert Novak, in a column published July 14, identified Plame as a CIA operative.
Woodward's testimony in a two-hour deposition Monday would mean that another White House official told a reporter about Plame before Libby revealed her identity to Miller. A spokesman for White House adviser Karl Rove told the Post that Rove did not discuss Plame with Woodward.
William Jeffress Jr., one of Libby's lawyers, told the Post that Woodward's testimony raises questions about his client's indictment. "Will Mr. Fitzgerald now say he was wrong to say on TV that Scooter Libby was the first official to give this information to a reporter?" Jeffress said.
Woodward, famous for his investigation with Carl Bernstein of the Watergate scandal during the Nixon administration, is now assistant managing editor of the Post. In October he was dismissive of the outing of Plame, telling CNN's Larry King that the damage from her exposure was "quite minimal."