Saturday, September 23, 2006

Walter Pincus

In Progress


Walter Pincus is a reporter at The Washington Post.

A White House official called Pincus [1] on July 12, 2003 and told him that the WH had not paid attention to Wilson's trip because "it was set up as a boondoggle by his wife, an analyst with the agency working on weapons of mass destruction."

Pincus reported that "a Post reporter" received the leak in his 10/12/03 WaPo article entitled "Probe Focuses on Month Before Leak to Reporters". Pincus later acknowledges that he was the reporter who received the leak.

Pincus Deposition

It was first reported that Pincus had been contacted by Fitzgerald on May 15, 2004 in the Washington Post. "Leak Prosecutor Seeks To Question Reporters"

The Washington Post reported on August 10, 2004 that Pincus was served with a subpoena on August 9, 2004. The details of the Pincus subpoena are unknown.

Pincus intially resisted the subpoena and his case was under consideration with Judge Hogan as of 9/3/04, according to the September 3, 2004 Associated Press article entitled "Confidentiality is 'essential,' news media tell judge".

The 8/27/04 Fitzgerald affidavit likely refers to Pincus.

Pincus Source Comes Forward

It is likely that Pincus's source came forward between 9/3/04 and 9/15/04 as Pincus's case was still with the court on 9/3/04 and he gave his deposition on 9/15/04.

Meanwhile, a Bush administration official who was a confidential source for a Washington Post story about Plame and Wilson has come forward to speak with investigators.

As a result, Post reporter Walter Pincus, who had refused to reveal his source's name to prosecutors, provided a deposition in the case on Sept. 15. Pincus did not, however, name the administration official.


"I understand that my source has already spoken to the special prosecutor about our conversation on July 12, and that the special prosecutor has dropped his demand that I reveal my source.
AP 9/17/04

Pincus was interviewed for the Janurary/February 2005 issue of the Columbia Journalism Review. According to CJR 2005 Pincus "agreed to give a deposition in which he confirmed the time, date, and length of his conversation with the source but would not reveal the source's identity".

Additional Information about Pincus Source from Waas

  • Pincus and Novak likely share a White House Source.
  • Pincus's source has testified to telling Pincus and others.
  • Pincus talked to Fitzgerald about more than one source.

Waas interviewed Pincus for this March 22, 2005 article. Waas has additional information from attorneys familiar with the testimony of the WH official who told Pincus.

The WH official who told Pincus may have also talked to Novak about Plame.

Two days before columnist Robert Novak named Valerie Plame as a covert CIA operative, a Bush administration official told a reporter for The Washington Post that Plame's husband, former Ambassador Joseph Wilson IV, had been sent to Niger on a sensitive diplomatic mission only because his wife recommended him for the job. The administration official admitted his role to federal prosecutors during their investigation into the leak of Plame's identity.

The Bush administration official, according to attorneys familiar with his testimony, told a federal grand jury that he made the claim to the Post reporter and others in an effort to undermine Wilson's credibility, who was alleging at the time that the Bush administration was relying on faulty intelligence to bolster its case to go to war with Iraq. But the official just as adamantly denied to the federal investigators that he had ever told the Post reporter, Novak, or anyone else that Plame was a clandestine CIA operative.


Pincus told me in an interview that he did not use the information offered up by his source because he did not believe it to be true. He also said that he cooperated with prosecutors only at the instructions of sources who wanted to clear their names.


Later, when administration officials, such as the one who spoke to Pincus, admitted to investigators that they had told reporters that Wilson had been sent to Niger only as a result of his wife's purported nepotism -- but did not know she had ever been a clandestine operative -- the investigators came to believe that Novak and his sources might be misleading them.
Waas 4/22/05

[1] Pincus NPR Interview 10/23/05


NRP: In Pincus's earliest interviews with officials in the Vice President's office and at the CIA and the State Department, Valerie Plame's involvement never came up.

Pincus: Nobody ever mentioned Wilson's wife playing any role at all and one of the people I talked to then on background and I've since been released to say his name was Scooter Libby who described how the thing came about to the Vice President's office, but never once mentioned Wilson's wife as being a participant.


Pincus: On July 8th, somebody talks to Robert Novak and mentions Wilson's wife's alleged role in setting up the trip. By then that same day there is a conversation between New York Times correspondant Judy Miller and Scotter Libby and the two of them had already talked about this and he had mentioned Wilson's wife.

You then had other reporters being contacted, Matt Cooper was contacted by Karl Rove and given the same story and then I was called on July 12th and a WH source in effect asked why I was still writing about Joe Wilson's trip, didn't I know that his wife had arranged it. And it - since at least two people are invloved in talking about it, those things in this WH - it's assumed don't happen independently.
NRP 10/23/05

Note: Pincus is talking about early interviews with Libby, the CIA, and State in the 1st section of the NPR interview, before Wilson's op-ed


I still have Rove, Hadley, Fleischer, Bartlett, and Martin on my list of suspects for the Pincus source. In that order.

On 7/12/03 the Pincus source wanted to know why Pincus was still writing about Wilson.

According to Hubris

That same day [7/12/03], Walter Pincus was working on a his latest story on the Niger controversy, and he had a scoop the White House wouldn't like: that Tenet had personally intervened with the White House to keep the Niger claim out of the Cincinnati speech.
Hubris Pg 277

Pincus published a story on 7/13/03 entitled " CIA Got Uranium Reference Cut in Oct" that was pointing directly at Hadley.

Tenet argued personally to White House officials, including deputy national security adviser Stephen Hadley, that the allegation should not be used
WaPo 7/13/03

Pincus was writing that Hadley was told by Tenet not to use the Niger uranium allegation in the October 2002 speech. I'm sure he asked Hadley for comment and since Pincus doesn't say Hadley had no comment nor does he attribite any quote to Hadley, it's likely Hadley did talk to Pincus and is probably one of the anonymous sources in the Pincus article.

Pincus attributes one quote to Bartlett in the article. Here are the other quotes which likely come from the WH.

"We followed the NIE and hoped there was more intelligence to support it," a senior administration official said yesterday. When told there was nothing new, White House officials backed off, and as a result "seeking uranium from Niger was never in drafts," he said.


Senior Bush aides [note Pincus has aides plural] said they do not believe they have a communication problem within the White House that prevented them from acting on any of the misgivings about the information that were being expressed at lower levels of the government.


"I'm sure there will have to be some retracing of steps, and that's what's happening," White House communications director Dan Bartlett said


A senior administration official said Bush's chief speechwriter, Michael J. Gerson, does not remember who wrote the line that has wound up causing the White House so much grief.

Officials said three speechwriters were at the core of the State of the Union team, and that they worked from evidence against Iraq provided by the National Security Council. NSC officials dealt with the CIA both in gathering material for the speech and later in vetting the drafts.

Officials involved in preparing the speech said

Pincus 7/13/03 WaPo

I don't think Barlett would be considered "senior".

Rove and/or Libby could be one of the "Senior Bush aides", it sounds like them. they both like to point to "lower levels of the government."

Hubris has this on Bartlett

In a White House meeting that week, communications director Dan Bartlett, just back from Africa, talked about redirecting coverage away from Wilson and his wife--and stopping the Wilson bashing. It was unproductive and demeaning, he suggested. Bartlett, according to Adam Levine, was "against the idea of the wife as a talking point."


"Scooter and Rove are out of control," Levine told Bartlett at the meeting. "You've got to rein these guys in." Barlett rolled his eyes and looked exasperated, but agreed. "I know, I know," he said, according to Levine.
Hubris Pg 291


Post a Comment

<< Home