The Corner

Is Walter Pincus in Trouble?

The new Fitzgerald grand jury has everybody buzzing. Clearly the

prosecutor wants and needs to check out the meaning of the revelation

that Bob Woodward was the first reporter to have been told about

Valerie Plame’s CIA employment. People in DC are focused on the

identity of Woodward’s government source — but maybe they should be

looking somewhere else.

One person who might conceivably be in some jeopardy is Woodward’s

own colleague, Walter Pincus. Pincus testified before Fitzgerald’s

grand jury last year about his government source for his stories.

Woodward now says he told Pincus about Plame some time in mid-June.

Pincus says he doesn’t remember that.

Which is what Pincus has to say. Because if Pincus acknowledged

remembering Woodward’s words, he would (one presumes) be admitting to

having perjured himself before the grand jury. Fitzgerald will

presumably not indict Pincus based on Woodward’s words alone (that

would be a he-said-she-said situation, and there’s no way of proving

Pincus knew).

But if Fitzgerald now subpoenas a whole bunch of new executive-branch

officials who never testified before — including some people at

State and CIA — he will surely be doing so to find out whether

Pincus spoke to them, and whether Plame’s name came up. He might also

want to see Pincus’s contemporaneous notes, which he did not insist

on in the first place.

Fitzgerald indicted Scooter Libby for supposedly lying to his grand

jury. Why should Walter Pincus be held to a lesser standard?

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