Monday, November 21, 2005

PLAME WATCH Back in July, I mused about the mysterious, rebellious and anonymous "senior administration official" who spoke once to Washington Post reporters Mike Allen and Dana Priest before immediately going back underground.

Among the claims that the reporters attributed to that source:

Yesterday, a senior administration official said that before Novak's column ran, two top White House officials called at least six Washington journalists and disclosed the identity and occupation of Wilson's wife.


"Clearly, it was meant purely and simply for revenge," the senior official said of the alleged leak.


It is rare for one Bush administration official to turn on another. Asked about the motive for describing the leaks, the senior official said the leaks were "wrong and a huge miscalculation, because they were irrelevant and did nothing to diminish Wilson's credibility."
Strong words.

In any event, Steve Clemons has just revisited that article in a blog post over at The Washington Note. But he's added a some reporting--and some informed speculation--to the mix:

TWN contacted Dana Priest today to ascertain whether she was either interviewed by Patrick Fitzgerald or his legal team--or whether she testified before the Plame case grand jury--and she would not comment on this.

Through another source close to Fitzgerald's investigation, TWN was informed that Dana Priest and Mike Allen were not interviewed as far as the individual commenting to me knew. Specifically, he said, "I am unaware of any interviews with Dana Priest and Mike Allen of the Post, and I'm certain that they did not testify before the grand jury."

This is interesting because it would be unlikely given the tenaciousness that Patrick Fitzgerald has shown towards reporters with important knowledge of players involved in the Plame outing that he would have ignored the important article by Priest and Allen.

Deduction leads one to surmise that this source for Dana Priest and Mike Allen is already known to Fitzgerald--and thus their testimony about this source would be both disruptive and unimportant.
Seems to me like a strong possibility, if not the only one.

One thing we know for certain, though, is that Fitzgerald did subpoena the White House for records of all contacts with both reporters. So it's possible that, far from the "senior administration official" having come forward, Fitzgerald learned the identity of the source through these records.

In other words, even if Fitzgerald knows who the source is, it isn't necessarily true that the source has volunteered information, or is even being especially cooperative.

CONTRAPOSITIVE is edited by Dan Aibel. Dan's a playwright. He lives in New York City.