THE LIBBY SMOKESCREEN….Yesterday Bob Woodward admitted that someone in the Bush administration had told him about Valerie Plame in mid-June 2003, a few days prior to the date that Scooter Libby leaked Plame’s CIA status to Judith Miller. Media Matters has an exhaustive rundown of media figures who have now repeated the notion that this somehow hurts Patrick Fitzgerald’s case against Libby. I sure don’t see how.

Fitzgerald didn’t indict Libby for being the first person to tell a reporter about Plame. In fact, he didn’t indict Libby for leaking Plame’s status at all. He was indicted for lying about how he found out about Plame. Libby testified to the grand jury that Tim Russert had told him about Plame in July, when in fact he found out about her in June from CIA and State Department sources.

I don’t blame Libby’s lawyer for trying to throw up some smoke over this. That’s his job. But the facts in the indictment are pretty straightforward, and I don’t really understand why anyone not connected with Libby is falling for the smokescreen. It’s pretty thin stuff.

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