National Security Adviser was Woodward's source, attorneys say
National Security Adviser was Woodward's source,
Larisa Alexandrovna and Jason Leopold
National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley was the
senior administration official who told Washington
Post Assistant Managing Editor Bob Woodward that
Valerie Plame Wilson was a CIA officer, attorneys
close to the investigation and intelligence officials
tell RAW STORY.
Testifying under oath Monday to Special Prosecutor
Patrick Fitzgerald, Woodward recounted a casual
conversation he had with Hadley, these sources say.
Hadley did not return a call seeking comment.
Woodward said he was told that it was no big deal
that former Ambassador Joseph Wilson was sent to Niger
to investigate the veracity of the Bush
Administrations claims that Iraq was seeking uranium
from Niger. According to the attorneys, he said Hadley
dismissed the trip by saying his wife, a CIA officer
who worked on WMD issues, had recommended him.
At the time, Hadley was working under then National
Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice.
We think that Mr. Woodward was going to write a story
about it, but discussed it with some other people
within the Bush Administration and was told that it
wasnt anything big, one attorney told RAW STORY.
Woodward did not return a call for this article. He
did not identify his source in an article in todays
Washington Post, instead dubbing him a senior
administration official. The veteran Pulitzer
Prize-winning reporter made his name investigating the
Watergate burglary which eventually led to the
resignation of President Richard Nixon.
Woodward got access to classified information
In his most recent book, Bush at War, Woodward says he
was given access to classified minutes of National
Security Council meetings. Both Rice and Hadley were
major players in these meetings.
President Bush sat for lengthy interviews for his
book, often speaking about classified information,
Woodward later said. The Post editor added that he was
surprised by Bushs frankness.
"Certainly Richard Nixon would not have allowed
reporters to question him like that, he said. Bush's
father wouldn't allow it. Clinton wouldn't allow it.
Hadley served as Deputy National Security Advisor
during the first term of the Bush presidency under
then-National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice.
Former chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney,
I. Lewis Scooter Libby, who is now under indictment
in Fitzgeralds case for obstruction of justice and
perjury, along with Rice and Hadley, were members of
the National Security Council and of the White House
Iraq Group, which was tasked with selling the war in
Iraq to the public.
In March 2003, the White House Iraq Group began doing
a work-up on Joseph Wilson. Hadley was present at some
of these meetings.
Hadley has previously drawn fire for a meeting in
September 2002 with the head of Italian intelligence
Nicollo Pollari, who was implicated in pushing bogus
claims that Iraq had sought uranium from Niger. Hadley
denies they discussed uranium.
Nobody participating in that meeting or asked about
that meeting has any recollection of a discussion of
natural uranium, or any recollection of any documents
being passed, he told reporters earlier this month.
Pollari had been trying to provide the CIA with
evidence that Iraq was reconstituting its nuclear
weapons program, citing the now debunked documents.
The CIA had previously rebuffed his claims, asserting
they were unfounded.
Prior to the Iraq Niger claims, a strange meeting in
late 2001 whose purpose is unknown links a former Iran
Contra figure and Iranian arms dealer Manucher
Ghorbanifar with Michael Ledeen, then an alleged
consultant to the Under-Secretary of Defense, Douglas
Feith. Feith informs Hadley (Hadley later claims that
Ghorbanifar was not involved).
CIA director George Tenet later intervenes, and Hadley
asks Ledeen to end the meetings. The agency believed
Ghorbanifar was a serial liar and barred its officers
from engaging him; the meetings continue regardless.
Timeline of events
On Jan. 28, 2003, Bush claimed that Iraq had attempted
to purchase uranium from Africa in his State of the
Union address. It is the very claim that Hadley had
seen from Pollari and the very claim that the CIA
Two days later, the Washington Post reports that
Hadley is acting as liaison between the White House
and the Senate Intelligence Committee in helping to
sift through intelligence with the help of the CIA,
and trying to determine what can be released without
damaging the agencys ability to gather similar
In March 2003, the International Atomic Energy Agency
(IAEA) discredits these documents as forgeries. It is
also in March that the US begins combat operations in
According to sources, Woodwards meeting with Hadley
occurs in mid-June of 2003, around the same time that
Libby begins to meet with New York Times Judith
Miller, who has since left the paper.
In early July, Wilson writes his New York Times op-ed,
entitled What I did not find in Niger. The White
House responds on two fronts, according to an article
published at the time in the Washington Post.
Behind the scenes, the White House responded with
twin attacks: one on Wilson and the other on the CIA,
which it wanted to take the blame for allowing the 16
words [on uranium] to have remained in Bush's speech.
As part of this effort, then-national security adviser
Stephen J. Hadley spoke with Tenet during the week
about clearing up CIA responsibility for the 16 words,
even though both knew the agency did not believe Iraq
was seeking uranium from Niger, according to a person
familiar with the conversation.
A former senior CIA official said yesterday that
Tenet's statement was drafted within the agency and
was shown only to Hadley on July 10 to get White House
input. Only a few minor changes were accepted before
it was released on July 11, this former official said.
He took issue with a New York Times report last week
that said Rove and Vice President Cheney's chief of
staff, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, had a role in Tenet's
Several days later, columnist Robert Novak outs
Valerie Plame as a CIA operative.
On July 22, Hadley takes full responsibility for the
Niger claims in the Presidents State of the Union,
even though Tenet had already done so on July 11.
The same day, Pat Roberts (R-KS), chairman of the
Senate Intelligence Committee, calls Hadley to testify
in closed door hearings.
The chairman of a key congressional committee says he
will look closely at new evidence that aides in the
White House mishandled communications from the CIA
casting doubts on information used by President George
Bush to support his case for military action in Iraq,
Voice of America reported.
Roberts has yet to complete the second stage of his
investigation into prewar intelligence.
Clarification: Due to an editing error, the first
edition of this article was unclear about whether
Woodward was told Plame was covert. Woodward was only
told she was a CIA analyst.