Did Bradlee spill the beans on Plame source?

The former Post editor steps back from comments attributed to him in Vanity Fair.


Tim Grieve
March 14, 2006 9:02PM (UTC)

Matt Drudge fronted news Monday that former Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee has identified former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage as Bob Woodward's -- and probably, by extension, Robert Novak's -- source in the Valerie Plame case.

The reporting on which Dudge relied -- a snippet from an upcoming piece in Vanity Fair -- struck us as a little less than all that: What Vanity Fair quotes Bradlee as saying is that it's a "fair assumption" that Armitage is "the likely source." While others have pointed the finger at National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley, many have suspected Armitage all along, mostly through the process of elimination; he's on a very short list of likely suspects who haven't affirmatively denied that they leaked to Woodward.

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But is Bradlee guessing, too, or does he know? He says he knows. In an interview in today's Post, Bradlee says that he learned the identity of Woodward's source from someone other than Woodward. While that suggests that the Post isn't the bastion of source protection it once was, Bradlee is insisting that he hasn't given up the goods. Asked about the Vanity Fair quote, Bradlee says: "I don't think I said it. I know who his source is, and I don't want to get into it ... I have not told a soul who it is."

Vanity Fair tells the Post that its writer is traveling and unavailable for comment.


Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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