WASHINGTON – Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld on Sunday added his name to the list of senior Bush administration officials who say they were not the source who told Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward that administration critic Joseph Wilson's wife worked for the CIA.
Rumsfeld said he never spoke to Woodward about either Wilson or Wilson's wife, CIA officer Valerie Plame. The Pentagon chief did say that, at the direction of President Bush, he did speak to Woodward while the reporter was working on book projects.
Woodward says that in June 2003, a highly placed administration official told him of Plame's CIA connection. Woodward has said the source was someone other than I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney's former chief of staff and the only person indicted in a federal investigation of the leak case.
"This is quite amusing," Rumsfeld said. "I was asked to speak with Mr. Woodward about a couple of books he's written, and I declined, and finally I was told by the White House, the president, that he thought I should meet with him. So I did. But I did it on the basis that there would be a transcript and it would be public," Rumsfeld told "FOX News Sunday."
"And both of the times that I've met with him, the transcript's there. It's public. You can go read it. And you won't find anything like that in it," Rumsfeld said.
On Saturday, an aide to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Rice was not Woodward's source. Rice was Bush's national security adviser in June 2003.
Rice's successor, Stephen Hadley, would not say if he were Woodward's source. But Hadley volunteered on Friday that some administration officials say he's not the leaker.
The special prosecutor in the case is continuing his investigation and will present additional evidence to another grand jury, according to court papers filed Friday.
The investigation appeared to have cooled after charges were announced on Oct. 28 against Libby, who has pleaded innocent. But last week Woodward disclosed that he had learned the CIA officer's identity from a top administration official before another journalist had published Plame's name.
The revelations from Woodward, who shared this information under oath with Fitzgerald on Monday, contradict the prosecutor's earlier portrayal of Libby as the first government official to leak Plame's identity to reporters.
A person familiar with the investigation has said that Vice President Dick Cheney was not the unidentified source who told Woodward about Plame's CIA status.
Also, a former Pentagon official has said he never spoke to Woodward about Wilson, his wife or anything related. Douglas Feith, once the undersecretary of defense for policy, has helped shape strategies to stem the spread of weapons technology and devise the U.S. response to terrorism.