Bob Woodward's latest bombshell — this one about the CIA leak investigation — touched off a furor in Washington on Wednesday, raising questions about the noted journalist's previous failure to disclose what he knew, the completeness of the government's investigation of the case, and the identity of yet another top Bush administration source.
Woodward, an author and assistant managing editor of the Washington Post, disclosed that he had been told by a senior Bush administration official in mid-2003 about CIA operative Valerie Plame, which made him the first journalist known to have been leaked information about Plame, the wife of an administration critic.
Some observers said the disclosure abruptly altered the picture in the criminal case against I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, the top aide to Vice President Dick Cheney. "Woodward's disclosures are a bombshell to Mr. Fitzgerald's case," Ted Wells, an attorney for Libby, said in a statement.
Libby's lawyers jumped on the Woodward disclosure as helpful to their client and hurtful to the prosecution's case. "First, the disclosure shows that Mr. Fitzgerald's statement at his press conference of Oct. 28, 2005, that Mr. Libby was the first government official to tell a reporter about Mr. Wilson's wife was totally inaccurate," said a statement released by Wells. "Second, Woodward's disclosure that he talked to Mr. Libby during this period and that Libby didn't discuss Plame undermines the prosecution's claim that Libby was actively seeking to discredit Wilson by leaking information about his wife."