Friday, February 11, 2005
Editor & Publisher, today, published an interview with the infamous “Jeff Gannon”.
Regarding the classified memorandum, that “Gannon” referenced in an October 28, 2003 interview with Ambassador Joseph Wilson, identifying Valerie Plame as a NOC or nonofficial cover operative for the Central Intelligence Agency, “Gannon” told E&P:
I never said I had it or had seen it.” But when asked if he had in fact seen it, he declined to say…"I am not going to speak to that. It goes to something of a nature I do not want to discuss.
A transcript of “Gannon’s” Wilson interview found in the Men’s News Daily archive shows “Gannon”, in his longest question, saying to Wilson:
An internal government memo prepared by U.S. intelligence personnel details a meeting in early 2002 where your wife, a member of the agency for clandestine service working on Iraqi weapons issues, suggested that you could be sent to investigate the reports. Do you dispute that?
If Mr. “Gannon” did not possess or read the top-secret memo it is certainly clear from his question that, at the very least, the memo was described to him in detail.
Bob Novak in his infamous July 14, 2003 column did not directly reference a memo:
Wilson never worked for the CIA, but his wife, Valerie Plame, is an Agency operative on weapons of mass destruction. Two senior administration officials told me Wilson's wife suggested sending him to Niger to investigate the Italian report.
E&P could have advanced this story by asking “Gannon” the identity of the individual who had provided the, still, top-secret information from the memorandum.
It would also have been interesting to ask Mr. “Gannon” if he had discussed the memo’s classified information with others, at Talon or elsewhere, prior to the Wilson interview.
Regarding his role as a “reporter”, E&P wondered, “If anyone in the White House staff or leadership planted, offered, or suggested questions”.
Curiously, “Gannon” replied:
Absolutely not…I only met Karl Rove once, at the media Christmas party at the White House in 2003. I was waiting in line for my 'grip and grin' [photo] with the president and he passed by. I introduced myself to him, he said hello, and he moved on…The only connection I had with Scott McClellan was when he got married and I sent him a card and left it at the press office for him.
“Gannon” seemed to somewhat contradict White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan’s statement from yesterday’s briefing regarding knowledge of the “Gannon/Guckert” dual identity.
Although Press Secretary Scott McClellan and others at the White House knew that Gannon was not his real name, they always referred to him by that name, he said in the interview.
Here is the relevant portion of yesterday’s briefing:
Q: Were you aware that he had another name?
MR. McCLELLAN: Was I aware? I had heard that. I had heard that, yes, recently.
Q: But did you know during all this time that he really wasn't Jeff Gannon?
MR. McCLELLAN: I heard at some point, yes -- previously.
“Gannon” also described to E&P the curious and relatively easy procedure he used every time he entered the White House to acquire a temporary day pass; passes he described as not carrying the name of the bearer:
I requested clearance each day via an e-mail to the White House Press office the night before. I gave them my professional name, my legal name, my social security number, my address and phone number, and the news service where I worked…They never asked me for more information…I would go to the guard gate and show my driver's license with my legal name, and they looked me up on the computer and let me in.
A parenthetical remark by E&P also, curiously, implied they were unsuccessful in their web searches for “Gannon” material:
An E&P search of online archives at MichNews turned up no articles by Gannon, and a Google search turned up no Gannon articles at either MichNews or Frontiers of Freedom.
Two days ago I located a 400+ item archive of “Gannon” material at the Men’s News Daily site and this search engine is still providing links to “Gannon”-bylined articles such as his interview with Ambassador Wilson.
Image: jeffgannon.com, Editor & Publisher