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

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Woodward Had Recently Denied He Had 'Bombshell' and Downplayed Plame Probe

By E&P Staff

Published: November 16, 2005 12:45 AM ET

NEW YORK Bob Woodward and The Washington Post revealed late Tuesday that he had testified before the federal grand jury probing the Plame/leak scandal on Monday, saying that he, indeed, had talked to an unnamed official about the CIA operative in June 2003, among other revelations (see Bob Woodward Now Embroiled in Plame Scandal). This came as a surprise to most, including his editor, Leonard Downie Jr., particularly since Woodward had downplayed the scandal in numerous TV appearances.

He has called Patrick J. Fitzgerald a "junkyard dog prosecutor" and said in interviews this year that the damage done by Plame's name being revealed in the media was "quite minimal." He told NPR this past summer, "When I think all of the facts come out in this case, it's going to be laughable because the consequences are not that great."

Here are excerpts from his recent appearance on Larry King's CNN show, with Mike Isikoff of Newsweek, just before the Libby indictments came down. The date was Oct. 27, 2005. Woodward also revealed there, "I'm trying to do a book on the Bush second term."


KING: We're in Washington where things are hopping and we're going to follow up again tomorrow night. We're going to lead this round with Bob Woodward as we turn to tomorrow.

But, Michael Isikoff whispered to me during the break that he has a key question he'd like to ask Mr. Woodward, so I don't know what this is about.

ISIKOFF: No, look, this is the biggest mystery in Washington, has been really for two years and now as we come down to the deadline of tomorrow the city is awash with rumors. There's a new one every 15 minutes and nobody really knows what's going to happen tomorrow. Nobody knows what Fitzgerald's got.

I talked to a source at the White House late this afternoon who told me that Bob is going to have a bombshell in tomorrow's paper identifying the Mr. X source who is behind the whole thing. So, I don't know, maybe this is Bob's opportunity.

KING: Come clean.

WOODWARD: I wish I did have a bombshell. I don't even have a firecracker. I'm sorry. In fact, I mean this tells you something about the atmosphere here. I got a call from somebody in the CIA saying he got a call from the best New York Timesreporter on this saying exactly that I supposedly had a bombshell....

But Michael's point is exactly right. There is deep mystery here. It only grows with time and people are speculating and there are -- there is so little that people really know.

Now there are a couple of things that I think are true. First of all this began not as somebody launching a smear campaign that it actually -- when the story comes out I'm quite confident we're going to find out that it started kind of as gossip, as chatter and that somebody learned that Joe Wilson's wife had worked at the CIA and helped him get this job going to Niger to see if there was an Iraq/Niger uranium deal....

I don't see an underlying crime here and the absence of the underlying crime may cause somebody who is a really thoughtful prosecutor to say, you know, maybe this is not one to go to the court with.

KING: You're saying this is a maybe.

WOODWARD: A maybe, only a maybe....


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