working backward from Woodward

Woodward’s printed statement on the CIA leak case (“Bob Woodward’s Public Statement,” Washington Post, Nov. 16) was so puzzling that I ran it backward, to see whether it would parse better that way. Excerpting from the final graf backward to the beginning clarified some questions, as follows:


“It was the first time in 35 years as a reporter that I have been asked to provide information to a grand jury.”

  • So why did you think you would be subpoenaed this time?


“I answered all of Fitzgerald’s questions during my testimony without breaking promises to sources or infringing on conversations I had on unrelated matters for books or news reporting _ past, present or future.”

  • How could any comprehensive reporting on the invasion of Iraq be unrelated to the leak case?


“My testimony was given in a sworn deposition at the law office of Howard Shapiro of the firm of Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr instead of appearing under subpoena before a grand jury.”

  • Why?
  • How was this deposition arranged?


“When asked by Fitzgerald if it was possible I told Libby I knew Wilson’s wife worked for the CIA and was involved in his assignment, I testified that it was possible I asked a question about Wilson or his wife, but that I had no recollection of doing so. My notes do not include all the questions I asked, but I testified that if Libby had said anything on the subject, I would have recorded it in my notes.”

  • Do your prepared lists of questions show which questions you asked?
  • So your notes include everything Libby said?
  • Did he say anything about the CIA front co. called Brewster-Jennings?


“I testified that on June 27, 2003, I met with Libby at 5:10 p.m. in his office adjacent to the White House. I took the 18-page list of questions with the Page-5 reference to “yellowcake” to this interview and I believe I also had the other question list from June 20, which had the “Joe Wilson’s wife” reference.”

  • Why? Why did you take these references with you to see Libby?
  • Did the two questions lists have other questions in common that you did not ask?
  • Did you take any other lists or prepared material?
  • Did you ask about Brewster-Jennings?


“I testified that on June 20, 2003, I interviewed a second administration official for my book “Plan of Attack” and that one of the lists of questions I believe I brought to the interview included on a single line the phrase “Joe Wilson’s wife.” I testified that I have no recollection of asking about her, and that the tape-recorded interview contains no indication that the subject arose.”

  • Was the entire interview tape-recorded?
  • Did you take notes at this interview?
  • Do you still have any notes or notations you made during all these interviews?
  • Did you jot down anything from the interview on the list of questions, including which questions you asked?
  • Did you omit asking about Mrs. Wilson because the item about her looked like a plant?
  • Have you kept all notes and recordings you made at these interviews?


“Fitzgerald asked if I had discussed Wilson‘s wife with any other government officials before Robert Novak’s column on July 14, 2003. I testified that I had no recollection of doing so.”

  • Aside from what you yourself discussed, did you hear anything else about Wilson’s wife from any other government officials before Novak’s column?
  • Did you receive anything in writing/print about Wilson’s wife before Novak’s column, from any other government officials?
  • What about after Novak’s column?


“I have not been released to disclose the source’s name publicly.”

  • Why not?
  • Since the source has already gone to the prosecutor, doesn’t the public have a right to know?


“I was first contacted by Fitzgerald’s office on Nov. 3 after one of these officials went to Fitzgerald to discuss an interview with me in mid-June 2003 during which the person told me Wilson’s wife worked for the CIA on weapons of mass destruction as a WMD analyst.”

  • Why did the official go to Fitzgerald?


“All three persons provided written statements waiving the previous agreements of confidentiality on the issues being investigated by Fitzgerald. Each confirmed those releases verbally this month, and requested that I testify.”

  • By “verbally,” do you mean “orally”? Or are you saying that they confirmed those releases using words rather than, for example, sign language?
  • Did they confirm those releases to you directly?


“On Monday, November 14, I testified under oath in a sworn deposition to Special Counsel Patrick J. Fitzgerald for more than two hours about small portions of interviews I conducted with three current or former Bush administration officials that relate to the investigation of the public disclosure of the identity of undercover CIA officer Valerie Plame.”

  • How could you be sure that only small portions of interviews about the lead-up to the Iraq war relate to the CIA leak investigation?


A call to Woodward at the Post, last week, and several emailed requests that messages be forwarded to him have not been answered.

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