20 Dec 2005

Woodward says Novak’s Source “Not in the White House”

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The Harvard Crimson yesterday reports that Bob Woodward disclosed an interesting bit of gossip, over roast beef and asparagas, during an invitation-only dinner he attended at Harvard on December 5th:

in a conversation at Harvard earlier this month, Woodward hinted that he knows the identity of yet another key player in the case: Robert D. Novak’s original source for his July 2003 column on Plame, which touched off the scandal in the first place.

“His source was not in the White House, I don’t believe,” Woodward said of Novak over a private dinner at the Institute of Politics on Dec. 5. He did not indicate what information, if any, he had to corroborate the claim.

Woodward also denied conventional wisdom about the leak:

At the Harvard dinner, Woodward sparred with his friend and former Washington Post colleague Carl Bernstein, over the motives behind the leak. The pair had just come from the John F. Kennedy Jr. Forum at the Institute of Politics, where they spoke for more than an hour before television cameras and a large audience. The invite-only dinner afterward, which was attended by Harvard students as well as a handful of journalists and politicians, was declared on-the-record from the outset by Alex C. Jones, director of Harvard’s Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics, and Public Policy, who moderated the dinner conversation.

Responding to Bernstein’s claim that the release of Plame’s identity was a “calculated leak” by the Bush administration, Woodward said flatly, “I know a lot about this, and you’re wrong.”

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