News and events revolving around the ousting of CIA agent Valerie Plame.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Plame's husband wants Post to probe Woodward - Yahoo! News

By Adam Entous

Joseph Wilson, the husband of outed CIA operative Valerie Plame, called on Thursday for an inquiry by The Washington Post into the conduct of journalist Bob Woodward, who repeatedly criticized the leak investigation without disclosing his own involvement.

"It certainly gives the appearance of a conflict of interest. He was taking an advocacy position when he was a party to it," Wilson said.

Woodward testified under oath on Monday to special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald that a senior Bush administration official casually told him in mid-June 2003 about Plame's position at the CIA.

The surprise testimony appeared to contradict Fitzgerald's assertion that Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney's former chief of staff, was the first government official to divulge information to reporters about Plame. The disclosure could prolong the leak investigation as Fitzgerald pursues new leads in the case, lawyers said.

Libby's defense team contended Woodward's story undercut Fitzgerald's case against Libby, who was indicted in late October on charges of perjury and obstruction of justice in the criminal probe, which was launched two years ago.

Wilson, a former ambassador turned White House critic, told Reuters that The Washington Post should reveal the name of Woodward's source, and conduct an inquiry to determine why he withheld the information for more than two years from his editors and the federal prosecutor.

Before publicly disclosing his involvement in the leak case on Wednesday, Woodward was a frequent critic of Fitzgerald's investigation in television and radio appearances. Woodward has described the case as laughable and Fitzgerald's behavior as "disgraceful" and has referred to him as "a junkyard dog."

One day before Libby was charged, Woodward said he saw no evidence of criminal intent.

One of the two Post reporters who led the newspaper's coverage of the 1970s Watergate scandal that brought down President Richard Nixon, Woodward apologized to Washington Post Executive Editor Leonard Downie on Wednesday for failing to tell him for more than two years about his involvement in the Plame matter.

Plame's cover at the CIA was blown after her husband accused the Bush administration of twisting prewar intelligence to support military action against Iraq. Wilson said it was done deliberately to undercut his credibility.

Libby, who resigned from the White House after he was indicted, faces a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison if convicted. He has pleaded not guilty and his lawyers have promised to mount a vigorous defense.

On Friday, Fitzgerald and news organizations will face off in court over Fitzgerald's efforts to keep documents in the Libby case secret.

Dow Jones, the publisher of The Wall Street Journal, and the Associated Press have asked Judge Reggie Walton to deny Fitzgerald's blanket protective order, which would bar public access to grand jury transcripts, witness statements and a wide range of other evidence in the case. Any leaks could result in civil and criminal fines, the order warns.

Libby's attorneys said in court filings that the proposed protective order was "a legitimate effort by the government to maintain the secrecy of grand jury proceedings."

Court officials said a hearing on the issue was scheduled for 1:30 p.m.


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