Watergate II : Fitzgerald : Is there a ‘deep throat’?

2005-11-26

Richard Moore

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http://www.thewashingtonnote.com/archives/001099.html

Who is Patrick Fitzgerald's "Deep Throat" Source?  Is
there a Counter-Leaker on Plame Case Working for the Side
of Good?

There is a high level official in the Bush administration
who helped give the "inside scoop" on the earliest moves
by the White House in the Valerie Plame investigation --
but who is it?

On September 28, 2003, Washington Post writers Dana Priest
and Mike Allen clearly note the existence of a source with
knowledge about the outing campaign conducted as "a
vendetta" against Joe Wilson by senior officials in the
Bush White House.

This source clearly had concerns about the behavior of
these officials, and to some degree, this Washington Post
source appears to be a key "counter-leaker" in  the
Valerie Plame investigation, i.e. someone attempting to
make sure that the real story about the Plame leak and
reasons for it were told.

From the Washington Post story on September 28, 2003: 

    At CIA Director George J. Tenet's request, the Justice
    Department is looking into an allegation that
    administration officials leaked the name of an undercover
    CIA officer to a journalist, government sources said
    yesterday.
    
    The operative's identity was published in July after her
    husband, former U.S. ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV,
    publicly challenged President Bush's claim that Iraq had
    tried to buy "yellowcake" uranium ore from Africa for
    possible use in nuclear weapons. Bush later backed away
    from the claim.
    
    The intentional disclosure of a covert operative's
    identity is a violation of federal law.
    
    The officer's name was disclosed on July 14 in a
    syndicated column by Robert D. Novak, who said his sources
    were two senior administration officials.
    
    Yesterday, a senior administration official said that
    before Novak's column ran, two top White House officials
    called at least six Washington journalists and disclosed
    the identity and occupation of Wilson's wife. Wilson had
    just revealed that the CIA had sent him to Niger last year
    to look into the uranium claim and that he had found no
    evidence to back up the charge. Wilson's account touched
    off a political fracas over Bush's use of intelligence as
    he made the case for attacking Iraq.
    
    "Clearly, it was meant purely and simply for revenge," the
    senior official said of the alleged leak.
    
    Sources familiar with the conversations said the leakers
    were seeking to undercut Wilson's credibility. They
    alleged that Wilson, who was not a CIA employee, was
    selected for the Niger mission partly because his wife had
    recommended him. Wilson said in an interview yesterday
    that a reporter had told him that the leaker said, "The
    real issue is Wilson and his wife."
    
    A source said reporters quoted a leaker as describing
    Wilson's wife as "fair game."
    
    The official would not name the leakers for the record and
    would not name the journalists. The official said there
    was no indication that Bush knew about the calls.
    
    It is rare for one Bush administration official to turn on
    another. Asked about the motive for describing the leaks,
    the senior official said the leaks were "wrong and a huge
    miscalculation, because they were irrelevant and did
    nothing to diminish Wilson's credibility."


Stepping back for a moment, it seems that this source
noted above would not be the source that Bob Woodward has
suggested -- not if Woodward is being truthful that the
information about Plame was passed off as a side-bar in a
larger, longer conversation.  Clearly, the source for Dana
Priest and Mike Allen knew that the information on Plame
was secret -- and was angry about its promulgation.

Thus, there is a political personality out there -- who is
on the side of good -- who is part of this story.  Who is
it?  And is this person a "Deep Throat" source for Patrick
Fitzgerald?  Is this source helping guide Fitzgerald
through the terrain?

TWN contacted Dana Priest today to ascertain whether she
was either interviewed by Patrick Fitzgerald or his legal
team -- or whether she testified before the Plame case
grand jury -- and she would not comment on this.

Through another source close to Fitzgerald's
investigation, TWN was informed that Dana Priest and Mike
Allen were not interviewed as far as the individual
commenting to me knew.  Specifically, he said, "I am
unaware of any interviews with Dana Priest and Mike Allen
of the Post, and I'm certain that they did not testify
before the grand jury."

This is interesting because it would be unlikely given the
tenaciousness that Patrick Fitzgerald has shown towards
reporters with important knowledge of players involved in
the Plame outing that he would have ignored the important
article by Priest and Allen.

Deduction leads one to surmise that this source for Dana
Priest and Mike Allen is already known to Fitzgerald --
and thus their testimony about this source would be both
disruptive and unimportant.

So, if someone is engaged in helping Fitzgerald, it would
be useful to know who it was.  This seems to be someone
who was not compelled to cooperate like David Wurmser and
John Hannah were forced to do -- but rather someone who
cooperated out of conscience.

Could this insider source be Stephen Hadley?  Seems odd to
me.  To many, Hadley still ranks fairly high as Bob
Woodward's source -- and at least to my knowledge --
Hadley has only " hinted " that he was not Woodward's
source.  Unlike Rumsfeld, Rice, and others, he has not
"denied" he was Woodward's source.

If he was Woodward's source, I don't think he would have
taken the moral tone that laces the commentary in the Dana
Priest/Mike Allen story.

Might it have been John Bellinger , who was Senior
Associate Legal Counsel to the President and Legal Adviser
to the National Security Council?  He is now Legal Adviser
to the Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice.  Bellinger is
a straight-shooter, fair, and not an ideologue.  The
activities of Libby and Rove would have offended his
sensibilities.

Another potential person is Richard Armitage , who is as
publicly loyal to the President as one can be -- but who
deploys brilliant knife-in-hand tactics against others
inside the bureaucracy and administration whom he thinks
are undermining the nation's interests.

Of course, Rich Armitage was Colin Powell's Deputy at
State.  It is unclear to me how much Armitage would have
known about Libby's and Rove's campaign against Plame --
but his sources throughout the Bush White House, in the
national security and intelligence communities are
legendary -- and Armitage is one of the few people who
would have had early warning about the Libby/Rove efforts.
 So, is Armitage secretly helping Fitzgerald?

Again, there are many reasons to doubt that these
individuals are the sources for Dana Priest and Mike Allen
-- but they also might be.

The hunch I have now is that Fitzgerald knows the source
and has squeezed a lot from him or her.  What is important
now is whether or not the Woodward revelations fill in
pieces for Fitzgerald or disrupt the entire picture.

More later.

-- Steve Clemons 
-- 

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