Tom Maguire agrees that the Woodward testimony creates substantial problems for the continued prosecution of the Libby case:
Based on the Woodward story, we have clear indications that at least one reporter, Woodward, knew about a Wilson and wife connection and kept quiet. Is he the only one?
If Fitzgerald lacks for names, we have some here: In addition to Ms. Mitchell, Martin Peretz, Hugh Sidey, Cliff May, and General Vallely may be worth a chat.
The defense is going to hammer this point — reporters are not interested in giving up their sources, and the best way for reporters to avoid a court fight is to conceal the fact that they have relevant information. If Fitzgerald was waiting around for volunteers, that wasn't going to get it done.
Fitzgerald blew it — he had White House phone logs, he had sign in sheets, he had Libby's notes, he had testimony from many, many people, he had two years, and still, somehow, he did not include Bob Woodward on his contacts—of—interest list.
As to the specifics of the Libby indictment, a bold prosecutor might press ahead — arguably, Libby's statement that he believed he was hearing about Plame for the first time when he spoke to Russert is still false, and arguably, Libby's assertions that he sourced his knowledge to other reporters when he spoke to Miller and Cooper are also false.
But it will take a mighty straight—faced jury to focus exclusively on that if the defense can bring in a parade of reporters that may have, directly or indirectly, put the Wilson and wife story in Libby's ear.
And in the court of public opinion, a Bush pardon in Jan 2009 becomes a lot less politically charged if earnest Reps are convinced that the prosecution was deeply flawed.
Clarice Feldman 11 16 05