Tom Maguire notes that Tim Russert is about to launch his book tour and offers up a question you may want to ask him if he shows up at your neighborhood bookstore:
Tim, last summer and fall you were criticized for not being forthcoming about your role in the Valerie Plame investigation. Apparently you talked to Lewis Libby (who is now under indictment), and his version of your conversation is different from yours — he claims that you told him "all the reporters knew" that Ambassador Wilson's wife was at the CIA, and you apparently, testified to something different. So different, in fact, that it is now one of the perjury counts against Libby.
However, the NY Times and various critics noted that your actual public denial was a little elusive — you said, and I am quoting the NBC News press release, that you "did not know Ms. Plame's name or that she was a C.I.A. operative and that [you] did not provide that information to Mr. Libby".
What your critics pointed out, without a response, was that publicly denying knowledge of her name and that she was a CIA operative is not at all the same as denying that you told Libby that Wilson's wife, whose name may have been unknown to you, worked at the CIA in a role unknown to you.
So, could you clear that up for us now — will you tell us that, prior to reading Robert Novak's column on July 14, 2003, you had not heard rumors, heard allegations or asked questions about the possibility that Joe Wilson's wife worked at the CIA in some capacity? Will you tell us whether you asked Libby about these rumors, or allegations? Will you tell us whether anyone in your newsroom said they were hearing odd rumors about Wilson and his wife?
Thanks very much.
Tom also shows you how this elusiveness continues in the pleadings filed on Russert's behalf even though by now the phrasing's apparent disingenuousness has been brought into question.
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