03 Mar 2006

Decoding Redacted References to Bob Woodward’s Second Source

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Special Prosecutor Patrick’s Fitzgerald’s latest filing contains a paragraph referring to a “transcript of the conversation” between the Washington Post’s Bob Woodward, columnist Robert Novak (who started the whole thing), and an official whose name was redacted. Editor & Publisher infers that this may imply that Woodward taped the conversation, or (at the very least) that he made a very detailed set of notes.

Leftblogger emptywheel took that transcript, converted it to an MS WORD document, and went to work counting spaces in the redacted portion.

Using one inch margins and Times New Roman, I recreated the passages at paragraph 43 and paragraph 52 that name Woodward’s (and Rove’s) source. Richard Armitage fits at paragraph 53, and Armitage fits in both spaces at paragraph 43. Cheney, Bush, Hadley, Rice, Joseph, Bolton … none of those alternatives fit. The one other possibility I can think of (it is slightly shorter than Armitage, but with the non-justified pages, it’s hard to tell) is Fleischer. Update: I think Rumsfeld is an outside possibility, too. Note that the passage at 43:

Moreover, Libby has been given a transcript of the conversation between Woodward and [redacted] and Novak has published an account briefly describing the conversation with his first confidential source ([redacted]).

Which would still allow two different sources for Novak and Woodward.

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Meanwhile Tom Maguire (who is the lead specialist in L’Affair Plame coverage) suspects that Fitzgerald’s lengthy redaction of the overview of his investigation means he’s hiding something significant.

If Fitzgerald is seriously probing some sort of cover-up, that might explain the silence of Bob Novak. And there is surely *something* going on – on p. 2 Fitzgerald promises a detailed overview of the investigation on pages 2-12, all of which are redacted. [NOTE – well, there was something going on at one time – maybe this is water under the bridge now. Fitzgerald did say in a Miller-related filing that his investigation was substantially completed, except for the testimony of Cooper and Miller.]

So, is this all about the Karl Rove angle, with Matt Cooper and the missing Hadley email? Or is there more, and might that “more” explain Novak’s continued silence?

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