Quibbling With Giants

I don't read lefty blogs much, but Andrew Sullivan pointed portentiously to this post by Joshua Micah Marshall on the recent revelations by Bob Woodward and their possible effect on the prosecution of "Scooter" Libby. Saith Marshall:

A lot is being made of the supposed fact that Woodward's revelation disproves one of Fitzgerald's claims, namely, that Libby was the first person to tell a reporter about Plame. …

But look what Fitzgerald actually said (emphasis added) ...

… In fact, Mr. Libby was the first official known to have told a reporter when he talked to Judith Miller in June of 2003 about Valerie Wilson.

Fitzgerald chose his words carefully. He didn't state as a fact that Libby was the first government official to leak Plame's identity. Nor did he hang any of his indictment on Libby's having been the first.

Unfortunately for this argument, Fitzgerald also "actually said" (from elswhere in the same article Marshall links):

He [Libby] was at the beginning of the chain of phone calls, the first official to disclose this information outside the government to a reporter.

So (sorry, Josh) Fitzgerald actually "chose his words" non-carefully on this point, making both the stronger and weaker assertions. Marshall relies on selective (or incomplete) reading to make his point.

[I probably remembered this from reading the Minuteman's post on the topic. He's really the go-to guy on this.]

Not that I know if this is likely to have a significant effect on the outcome of Libby's trial, which was Marshall's larger point.