Politics

Woodward Reveals Important Clues About White House Smear Campaign

From Woodward’s appearance on Larry King “Live” tonight:

Question: Your source, did the source indicate whether Ms. Plame was an undercover agent or a desk analyst?

Woodward: Good question. And specifically said that — the source did — that she was a WMD, weapons of mass destruction, analyst. Now, I’ve been covering the CIA for over three decades, and analysts, except — in fact, I don’t even know of a case. Maybe there are cases. But they’re not undercover. They are people who take other information and analyze it. And so — and if you were there at this moment in mid-June when this was said, there was no suggestion that it was sensitive, that it was secret.

This exchange is extremely important. From the indictment, we learned that Vice President Cheney told Scooter Libby that Plame worked in the “Counterproliferation Division,” an agency in the CIA’s Directorate of Operations (DO) – see fact #9. The DO is well-known as the clandestine arm of the CIA.

Working at the CIA as an analyst on “weapons of mass destruction,” however, is part of the Directorate of Intelligence (DI), which is “on the overt side of the CIA.” Recall, Novak’s source also told him Plame worked as an “Agency operative on weapons of mass destruction.” Matt Cooper was similarly told that Plame worked at the “Agency” on “WMD.” And Judith Miller? Same deal — she was told Plame worked at “WINPAC” (the more formal acronym for the Agency’s work on weapons of mass destruction).

So, at some point along this chain, someone in the Bush administration changed Valerie Plame’s job affiliation with the CIA, possibly to convince reporters that it was OK to report on her. Were Woodward, Miller, Novak, and Cooper all intentionally deceived about Plame’s status? If so, it strongly suggests the outing of Valerie Plame was not unintentional.

UPDATE: Crooks and Liars has video of Woodward’s appearance.