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The Plame Game
July 11, 2006 3:37 PM   Subscribe

"I learned Valerie Plame's name from Joe Wilson's entry in 'Who's Who in America.'" Bob "Prince of Darkness" Novak comes clean (sort of) on his role in the Plame scandal. Novak asserts that Fitzgerald knew the identities of his source for Plame's identity. "That Fitzgerald did not indict any of these sources may indicate his conclusion that none of them violated the Intelligence Identities Protection Act," Novak says. Further, he says that his source spilled the beans inadvertently: "After the federal investigation was announced, he told me through a third party that the disclosure was inadvertent on his part."
posted by Heminator (48 comments total)

 
Does anyone really still care what Novak has to say? He's just an old and busted ultra-con windbag. Coulter has become the new right-wing hotness, which in itself is damning to the Radical Right in that "skank ahoy" kind of way.
posted by illiad at 3:40 PM on July 11, 2006


Fuck that greasy pig Novak.

I don't care what his excuses or reasons are, and he's got zero credibility with me.

He'll be next up against the wall, as far as I'm concerned.
posted by Relay at 3:53 PM on July 11, 2006


I presume he was looking for his own name in Who's Who.
posted by DenOfSizer at 3:58 PM on July 11, 2006


so who d'ya think his primary source was? "not a political gunslinger," so cheney's definitely ruled out, right? i mean, dude is an actual gunslinger. my face!

so which of the other skunks do you suppose it was? addington? feith? someone else at OVP?
posted by Hat Maui at 4:00 PM on July 11, 2006


Novak hasn't committed suicide yet? Huh.
posted by boo_radley at 4:04 PM on July 11, 2006


I really don't see in the actual article where any of this is mentioned. Does Herminator somehow know the contents of tomorrow's column?

In any case, when I consider the Plame story and then read stories like this one, I have a very tough time considering this administration as anything but an assemblage of toadies and war profiteers who seem to consider hypocrisy a virtue. Where's the right-wing lynchmob calling for Novak to be brought up on charges of treason? Oh, I forget. Truth and honor have nothing to do with it. They never did.
posted by clevershark at 4:06 PM on July 11, 2006


One link to a non-existent article on a right-wing blog? And why the hell should we believe anything that Novak has to say about this? He's not coming clean, he's protecting his own ass and his source's ass.
posted by octothorpe at 4:20 PM on July 11, 2006


Bunk link, Hemi. A non-story speculation on something you've been saying is a non-story for months?
Lemme know when something fit to print prints.
posted by klangklangston at 4:23 PM on July 11, 2006


Yeah, Jason Leopold called. Said something about Bigfoot and Amelia Earhart.
posted by Smart Dalek at 4:33 PM on July 11, 2006


Simmer down now people. Geez, clearly MeFi has exhibted an interest in the story I thought that Novak's thought's on the matter would be of interest whether you believe him or not.

And Klang, I never meant it was a non-story; clearly it is just by virtue of how many people are interested in it. Speculation and ass-covering it may be, but there's still a lot of clues in there I would think.
posted by Heminator at 4:36 PM on July 11, 2006


Lemme guess.....it was none other than Bill Clinton!
posted by edverb at 4:38 PM on July 11, 2006


Ah, I see what's going on here... When I linked it the full column appeared when you clicked on the link. I don't know why they embargoed it:

My Leak Case Testimony

by Robert Novak
Posted Jul 11, 2006

Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald has informed my attorneys that, after two and one-half years, his investigation of the CIA leak case concerning matters directly relating to me has been concluded. That frees me to reveal my role in the federal inquiry that, at the request of Fitzgerald, I have kept secret.

I have cooperated in the investigation while trying to protect journalistic privileges under the First Amendment and shield sources who have not revealed themselves. I have been subpoenaed by and testified to a federal grand jury. Published reports that I took the Fifth Amendment, made a plea bargain with the prosecutors or was a prosecutorial target were all untrue.

For nearly the entire time of his investigation, Fitzgerald knew -- independent of me -- the identity of the sources I used in my column of July 14, 2003. A federal investigation was triggered when I reported that former Ambassador Joseph Wilson's wife, Valerie Plame Wilson, was employed by the CIA and helped initiate his 2002 mission to Niger. That Fitzgerald did not indict any of these sources may indicate his conclusion that none of them violated the Intelligence Identities Protection Act.

Some journalists have badgered me to disclose my role in the case, even demanding I reveal my sources -- identified in the column as two senior Bush administration officials and an unspecified CIA source. I have promised to discuss my role in the investigation when permitted by the prosecution, and I do so now.

The news broke Sept. 26, 2003, that the Justice Department was investigating the CIA leak case. I contacted my longtime attorney, Lester Hyman, who brought his partner at Swidler Berlin, James Hamilton, into the case. Hamilton urged me not to comment publicly on the case, and I have followed that advice for the most part.

The FBI soon asked to interview me, prompting my first major decision. My attorneys advised me that I had no certain constitutional basis to refuse cooperation if subpoenaed by a grand jury. To do so would make me subject to imprisonment and inevitably result in court decisions that would diminish press freedom, all at heavy personal legal costs.

I was interrogated at the Swidler Berlin offices Oct. 7, 2003, by an FBI inspector and two agents. I had not identified my sources to my attorneys, and I told them I would not reveal them to the FBI. I did disclose how Valerie Wilson's role was reported to me, but the FBI did not press me to disclose my sources.

On Dec. 30, 2003, the Justice Department named Fitzgerald as special prosecutor. An appointment was made for Fitzgerald to interview me at Swidler Berlin on Jan. 14, 2004. The problem facing me was that the special prosecutor had obtained signed waivers from every official who might have given me information about Wilson's wife.

That created a dilemma. I did not believe blanket waivers in any way relieved me of my journalistic responsibility to protect a source. Hamilton told me that I was sure to lose a case in the courts at great expense. Nevertheless, I still felt I could not reveal their names.

However, on Jan. 12, two days before my meeting with Fitzgerald, the special prosecutor informed Hamilton that he would be bringing to the Swidler Berlin offices only two waivers. One was by my principal source in the Valerie Wilson column, a source whose name has not yet been revealed. The other was by presidential adviser Karl Rove, whom I interpret as confirming my primary source's information. In other words, the special prosecutor knew the names of my sources.

When Fitzgerald arrived, he had a third waiver in hand -- from Bill Harlow, the CIA public information officer who was my CIA source for the column confirming Mrs. Wilson's identity. I answered questions using the names of Rove, Harlow and my primary source.

I had a second session with Fitzgerald at Swidler Berlin on Feb. 5, 2004, after which I was subpoenaed to appear before the grand jury. I testified there at the U.S. courthouse in Washington on Feb. 25.

In these four appearances with federal authorities, I declined to answer when the questioning touched on matters beyond the CIA leak case. Neither the FBI nor the special prosecutor pressed me.

I have revealed Rove's name because his attorney has divulged the substance of our conversation, though in a form different from my recollection. I have revealed Harlow's name because he has publicly disclosed his version of our conversation, which also differs from my recollection. My primary source has not come forward to identify himself.

When I testified before the grand jury, I was permitted to read a statement that I had written expressing my discomfort at disclosing confidential conversations with news sources. It should be remembered that the special prosecutor knew their identities and did not learn them from me.

In my sworn testimony, I said what I have contended in my columns and on television: Joe Wilson's wife's role in instituting her husband's mission was revealed to me in the middle of a long interview with an official who I have previously said was not a political gunslinger. After the federal investigation was announced, he told me through a third party that the disclosure was inadvertent on his part.

Following my interview with the primary source, I sought out the second administration official and the CIA spokesman for confirmation. I learned Valerie Plame's name from Joe Wilson's entry in "Who's Who in America."

I considered his wife's role in initiating Wilson's mission, later confirmed by the Senate Intelligence Committee, to be a previously undisclosed part of an important news story. I reported it on that basis.
posted by Heminator at 4:40 PM on July 11, 2006


Eh. Sorry if I sounded testy there Heminator, I actually wasn't. I've just become a bit jaded about Novak and the sewage that passes for what he has to say.

I also confess that you provided me a weak excuse to take a shot at Coulter. :-)
posted by illiad at 4:40 PM on July 11, 2006


Heminator writes "Geez, clearly MeFi has exhibted an interest in the story I thought that Novak's thought's on the matter would be of interest whether you believe him or not. "

It would have helped if you could have waited for Novak's thoughts on the matter to have actually been published, instead of a vague promise that said thoughts will only appear tomorrow.
posted by clevershark at 4:41 PM on July 11, 2006


The column was there when I linked it! I swear!
posted by Heminator at 4:42 PM on July 11, 2006


clevershark, when the article was posted and after several comments were made, the full article was available. After the fact, the article was retracted to its current form. (On preview, what Heminator has already said twice.)

Heminator, the thrust of the "Who's Who" quote is a recycled and, I believe, already debunked talking point. I don't have time to dig up the links, but TPM and it's various sites will likely have more consider Josh's work on the Plame case. This might explain some of the reaction your getting.
posted by sequential at 4:48 PM on July 11, 2006


considering
posted by sequential at 4:49 PM on July 11, 2006


I did not believe blanket waivers in any way relieved me of my journalistic responsibility to protect a source.

I'm not sure what's funnier -- the idea of Novak as a journalist or the idea of Novak as responsible.
posted by Slothrup at 4:51 PM on July 11, 2006


There's nothing new in Novak's article. It was known that Rove was one of the two "senior administration officials" and that Harlow (without confirming or denying Plame was CIA) advised Novak in the strongest possible terms not to publish her name.

The only piece left is his primary source, and Novak doesn't name them.

Mark me as believing this is a warning shot across the bow of someone who served at the State Department in Bush's first term.
posted by edverb at 4:58 PM on July 11, 2006


FOR THE LAST FUCKING TIME:

The fact that Joe Wilson was married to Valerie Plame WAS NOT A FUCKING SECRET.

The fact that she was a CIA AGENT was.

Novak: Still a gigantic douchebag.
posted by empath at 5:02 PM on July 11, 2006


There's Novak video on C&L. Not sure as it's related as I'm too lazy to read the article and don't really care all that much. :)
posted by dobbs at 5:26 PM on July 11, 2006


Empath: This point does not seem to stick. At a forum I frequent the Who's Who listing was posted with a sort of "a ha" kind of attitude by one of our lone conservative voices (an otherwise lovely and decent gentleman). For whatever reason, the idea that the liberal community is in an uproar because Plame was revealed to be Wilson's wife has trumped the very real fact that Novak et al outed an American spy.

We knew they were married. Hardly anyone cares about that. We didn't know she was a spy. That is the crime.

Alas, Empath, I don't think that will be the last time we have to repeat that.
posted by Joey Michaels at 5:28 PM on July 11, 2006


I may be a clueless slob who limits her blog reading to Metafilter and Gristmill, but I am grateful for the link to Novak's column. Pig that he is and all, I wouldn't have found it otherwise. Just thought I'd say that in H.'s defense.
posted by judlew at 5:31 PM on July 11, 2006


Joey Michaels writes "For whatever reason, the idea that the liberal community is in an uproar because Plame was revealed to be Wilson's wife has trumped the very real fact that Novak et al outed an American spy. "

Indeed. Where he found that Valerie Wilson = Valerie Plame is completely besides the point. Looks like ol' Bob isn't done obfuscating yet. What a douchebag.
posted by clevershark at 5:41 PM on July 11, 2006


The fact that she was a CIA AGENT was.

And more specifically, she was a CIA agent whose job was tracking Iran's weapons programs. Odd how many Iran hawks don't seem to be concerned about that.
posted by homunculus at 5:43 PM on July 11, 2006 [1 favorite]


Speaking of the political spectrum, what do you think would happen if Free Republic.com was accelerated into MetaFilter in a WorldWideWeb-Cyclotron?
posted by illiad at 6:01 PM on July 11, 2006


In related news, the National Journal reports that Bush told prosecutors he directed Cheney to disclose classified information that would not only defend his administration but also discredit Wilson.

It's a little over a week old, but I don't think I've seen it posted here before. Apologies if it has been.
posted by Brak at 6:03 PM on July 11, 2006


illiad: Metafilter is not liberal. It's solidly centrist.

If you want to find an anti-free-republic, you'd look in the direction of Daily Kos.
posted by empath at 6:06 PM on July 11, 2006


I wonder what the White House plans to do about this (yeah right).
posted by clevershark at 6:07 PM on July 11, 2006


One comment noted that the post was useful in that it gave an awareness to the Novak statement that otherwise would not have been known. If Novak is worth reading or reading about, then turn to Drudge, where previous to this post I read what Mr. N had to say. My granny always said: If it ain't oln Drjudge, it ain't worth knowing.
posted by Postroad at 6:11 PM on July 11, 2006


empath: Yes, I know about MF's centrism. I'll admit my remark was less-than-well-thought out.

I'm still curious about how well Freepers would do here, or not. My recent experience with them was eye-opening.

Maybe they're waving Bob Novak banners over there right now.
posted by illiad at 6:34 PM on July 11, 2006


Bob "Prince of Darkness" Novak

Now that's just not fair. Richard Perle already has dibs on the nickname "Prince of Darkness."

Novak, on the other hand, has clearly be given the derogatory nickname "Douchebag of Liberty."
posted by magodesky at 6:37 PM on July 11, 2006


Speaking of the political spectrum, what do you think would happen if Free Republic.com was accelerated into MetaFilter in a WorldWideWeb-Cyclotron?

I think a strong case could be made that Free Republic has several of the key elements of a political cult as measured against Robert J. Lifton's Eight Criteria for Thought Reform. Although MeFi threads can spiral out of control, I think in general we aren't structured to create the positive feedback loops & information cascades that lead to the pathological atmosphere they seem to thrive on.
posted by scalefree at 8:37 PM on July 11, 2006


magodesky, I don't know which really got the nickname first -- Novak is my guess -- but in either case it's long before recent events.
posted by dhartung at 9:14 PM on July 11, 2006


centrist?
posted by tsarfan at 5:09 AM on July 12, 2006


Metafilter may not be in the Kos range of left, but its pretty darn left. I would consider Dios to be pretty "centrist" and man, does he stir the hive here with his comments...

Back on topic:
Am I wrong in understanding him as saying that in the rush of discovering a journalistic scoop in Who's Whohe basically accidentally outed a CIA agent?
posted by stratastar at 7:06 AM on July 12, 2006


Am I wrong in understanding him as saying that in the rush of discovering a journalistic scoop in Who's Who he basically accidentally outed a CIA agent?

It's a switcheroo meant to fool the casual reader. The fact that Joe Wilson had a wife named Valerie Plame was never a secret, as witnessed by the Who's Who entry. The fact that she was a CIA NOC was the secret (her cover story was working as an energy analyst for Brewster-Jennings & Associates). But if you're not too careful about how you read the story & think about it, you could easily miss that point & conclude that it was Who's Who & not Bob Novak who gave her up as a spy. It's a black propaganda technique called the "excluded middle" - you mention two unrelated things closely together & many people will create an association between them where there really isn't one. Novak never actually says that Who's Who outed Plame, because he doesn't have to. He lets your own lazy mind do it for him. If everybody isn't fooled by the trick that's OK, he's not shooting for 100% here, just enough to keep the controversy going.
posted by scalefree at 7:50 AM on July 12, 2006


I understood the switcheroo subtext, I was just wondering what - if pressed on his actual writing, he would admit to saying.

So, literally, I am asking if he is claiming that he disclosed something illegal accidentally, thinking it was public knowledge because it was in the "Who's Who"
posted by stratastar at 7:59 AM on July 12, 2006


Dios? Centrist?

The Blue is certainly centrist from my point of view, but I'm from Canada.
posted by illiad at 8:21 AM on July 12, 2006


This is confusing. So Fitzgerald knew that Novak intentionally outed Valerie Wilson like the good right wing tool (douchebag) that he is, but through Who's Who? And Rove was his main source for confirmation? And Novak was "protecting sacred journalistic ethics" because there were waivers from those under suspicion? And Cheney did go after Wilson on instructions from Bush. (And Bush said anyone in his admin who outed a CIA agent would be fired.) and the only one being charged is Libby, because he lied about it a little, but otherwise this is all okay with the independent counsel (Fitzgerald), because the President once again abuse invoked executive power?

And Novak and Rove can make this public now because they're in the clear? How is any of this okay? Was Fitzgerald complicit with the administration? Is there partisanship in his handling of the investigation? How about conspiracy? Can Valerie and Joe Wilson's still sue in civil court? Isn't this the most egregious abuse of executive power since Watergate? Is this story worth even caring about anymore?
posted by Skygazer at 8:45 AM on July 12, 2006


you mention two unrelated things closely together & many people will create an association between them where there really isn't one

Like with Iraq and al Qaeda.
posted by kirkaracha at 8:51 AM on July 12, 2006


Novak: 'I will won't reveal all'
posted by kirkaracha at 9:27 AM on July 12, 2006


Like with Iraq and al Qaeda.

Exactly. It was a deliberate (& successful) attempt to exploit a vulnerability in how we process information. Doesn't matter if it's true, doesn't matter if they get called on it because there are more lazy thinkers out there listening with half an ear than people paying attention (especially among the Republican Base). If I had to guess I'd say the technique came out of the Rendon Group or maybe SAIC. More likely Rendon, they've always struck me as more deliberately amoral & has more real expertise in Perception Management.

I was just wondering what - if pressed on his actual writing, he would admit to saying.

I bet when/if someone actually pins him to the wall on it he'll just say you missed the point & he didn't mean anything like that at all. It's a numbers game, the objective is maximizing the number of people who believe it. If you ever admit that's what you really meant you give up the initiative to a player on another team who can then start winning back your converts.
posted by scalefree at 9:41 AM on July 12, 2006


Metafilter is not liberal. It's solidly centrist.

I'd have a hard time agreeing with that, unless you're talking specifically about the moderators and not the userbase at large. The former may be centrist, but available data suggest that the latter is not.
posted by DWRoelands at 10:09 AM on July 12, 2006


I'm an old skool conservative...which means I'm solidly left in the U.S. (no pre-emptive war? F'king hippy!)

"Joe Wilson's wife's role in instituting her husband's mission was revealed to me in the middle of a long interview with an official who I have previously said was not a political gunslinger. After the federal investigation was announced, he told me through a third party that the disclosure was inadvertent on his part."

When I put my penis through the hole in the shed someone who was not a pervert told me that intercourse with a human was taking place. The donkeyfucking was inadvertant....etc.
So, what, it's no crime then? What tripe.
posted by Smedleyman at 12:45 PM on July 12, 2006


...is/is not liberal...

I should have hoped that all us MeFi participants are by this point at least clueful enough to realize that the liberal/conservative tags are meaningless.

There are far more dimensions to politics, religion, life, and everything else to condense it down to a two-dimensional spectrum.

In fact, I'll wager that the popular concept of left- and right-wing has caused more harm than good.

Let's quit being dumbasses and stop using simplistic terms like "liberal" and "conservative" when addressing complex issues.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:40 PM on July 12, 2006


Let's quit being dumbasses and stop using simplistic terms like "liberal" and "conservative" when addressing complex issues.

Someone give that man a fish.
posted by Skygazer at 9:27 PM on July 12, 2006


Wilsons To Sue Rove, Cheney, Libby
posted by homunculus at 1:33 PM on July 13, 2006


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