Despite news reports Thursday asserting National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley was not the source who told Washington Post Assistant Managing Editor Bob Woodward that Valerie Plame Wilson was a CIA agent, sources with direct knowledge of the case still maintain that Hadley was the “senior administration official” who met with Woodward.
The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and Reuters published stories late Thursday in which anonymous officials denied that Hadley was Woodward’s source. Asked Friday if he was the source, Hadley remarked, "I've also seen press reports from White House officials saying that I am not one of his sources." Leaving the room, he refused to answer directly.
“It is what it is,” he quipped.
Earlier this week, Woodward, the Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter whose investigative stories on the Watergate scandal forced the resignation of President Richard Nixon, said he had first learned about Plame’s identity in June 2003. The name was divulged in a period when Vice President Dick Cheney and his aides had sought to find out who she was in an attempt to discredit her husband, Joseph Wilson, who had called into question the veracity of the administration’s prewar intelligence.
Attorneys close to the CIA leak investigation reasserted late Thursday that Hadley approached Fitzgerald after Libby’s indictment and alerted him to the June 2003 conversation he had with Woodward, and that he subsequently told Woodward he could testify.
When pressed further, the sources told RAW STORY there is a record at the National Security Council of Hadley’s meeting with Woodward.
A National Security Council spokesperson denied Friday that Hadley was Woodward’s source. The individual declined to go on the record by name, saying the issue is sensitive, but denied categorically that the National Security Adviser had told Woodward of Plame.
The official asked that RAW STORY not use direct quotes, and said they had given similar instructions to other reporters. When asked about Hadley's comments to the press Friday, the official said ambiguity was not intended.
Lawyers familiar with the case said that Hadley spoke to Woodward in June 2003 about Plame and had revealed her identity in an off-handed manner during an interview Woodward was conducting for his book, “Plan of Attack.”
The sources did not, however, have information as to what prompted Hadley to suddenly come forward.
The individuals said Hadley was the senior Bush official who met with Woodward Wednesday. They previously identified Cheney aides John Hannah and David Wurmser as individuals cooperating in Fitzgerald’s probe; said that Libby and senior Bush advisor Karl Rove were targets; and were the first to reveal that the grand jury was probing Cheney’s role.
Hadley was privy to a June 10, 2003 Intelligence and Research memo prepared by INR head Carl Ford for Undersecretary of State Marc Grossman at the request of Vice President Dick Cheney’s former Chief of Staff I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby. Libby was indicted on five counts of obstruction of justice, perjury and false statements related to his role in the leak.
Reporters at the Times and Reuters told RAW STORY their sources were anonymous White House officials. The Wall Street Journal cited an NSC aide. None acquired denial directly from Hadley’s office.
Leonard Downie, Executive Editor of the Washington Post, declined to comment on the Hadley report.
"There's no discussion of confidential sources," he said.