Novak had a question and answer period with regular joe shmoes via IM yesterday at WaPo and there was some quite interesting exchanges:
Floris, Va.: Here’s what I’ve never understood about the Valerie
Plame Wilson issue. Most reporters don’t print information without
having at least two sources. Did you have more than one source
regarding Mrs. Wilson’s CIA status before you published the information
in your column?
Robert D. Novak: You must not have followed the case very
closely to ask that question. I have answered it in my columns, in my
memoir and in many TV and radio interviews. My three sources were
Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage, presidential aide Karl Rove
and CIA spokesman Bill Harlow.
Chambersburg, Pa.: Do you think that Joseph Wilson’s information
about yellow cake from Niger was correct? Did he do the job that he was
asked to do?
Robert D. Novak: Pretty poor job, as the material released now
indicates. Based on his report, you could not definitely Iraq was not
seeking yellowcake uranium.
Kennett, Mo.: How do you rationalize the Bush administration’s
need for secrecy and the way the administration used you to out Ms.
Plame? The end justifies the needs.
Robert D. Novak: I was not used. The information was given me by
Deputy Secretary of State Armitage, who was out of phase with the White
and, like me, a critic of the Iraqi intervention.
San Francisco: Isn’t it true, though, that CIA spokesperson
Bryce Harlow asked you twice not to publish Valerie Plame’s name? How
can this request from a U.S. intelligence agency to a presumably
patriotic American be construed to make him a “source”?
Robert D. Novak: Bill Harlow, not Bryce Harlow.
He confirmed to me that she worked for the CIA in the Counter-Proliferation Division.
Denver: Have you rethought the admiration you expressed for
Ambassador Joseph Wilson in the column that he still claims ruined his
Robert D. Novak: Yes, I was much too kind to him.
Minneapolis: I found your book very entertaining reading. Since
you finished writing it, it has been disclosed publicly by the
government both that Valerie Wilson was a covert employee by the CIA’s
own standards, and that investigators determined early on that she was
in fact a “covert agent” covered by the Intelligence Identities
Protection Act — in part because, contrary to what you say in your
book, she indeed had performed missions abroad undercover in the period
immediately preceding the public blowing of her cover in your column.
She was not, as you assert in your book, a desk-bound analyst at CIA
headquarters. (And by the way, it is investigators’ and prosecutors’
responsibility, not the CIA’s, to determine whether Wilson was covered
by the IIPA legislation.) How does that change your view of the case
and of your own role in it? Have you revised your view of whether what
you did was regrettable?
Robert D. Novak: Special Counsel had three years (and millions
of dollars) to determine whether anybody violated the IIPA. Of course,
Also, do you take seriously the claim that a person driving her car
every day from her home to CIA headquarters at Langley was a covert
I love that last one. The left is constantly trying to bring up the fact that the CIA considered the desk-jockey “covert” and is covered by IIPC. Only problem with that is then there would have been some criminal charges filed against the person who leaked the name right?
Common sense right?
Alas, we all know who lacks common sense in this debate.
Tom Maguire with some thoughts:
If I had availed myself of the opportunity to brighten the Prince of
Darkness’s day, I would have asked him whether he had followed up on
the question of Ms. Plame’s covert status with Rep. Hoekstra. When last we looked, the CIA Counsel was still unclear as to her status, but that was many months ago.
And if I had a follow-up, I would query him about Ms. Plame’s pension situation
– her pension gets increased based on service abroad and the CIA has a
formal record of what they consider (by their guidelines, which may not
fully overlap with the intent of the Intelligence Identities Protection
Act) to be the dates of her service abroad, so my question would be,
has Novak talked to Hoekstra or anyone else about just what the CIA
considers to be her official dates of service abroad?
And that, BTW, is my response to Jeff – it may well be the case
that in the first wave of investigation the FBI took for granted that
Ms. Plame was “covert” as defined by the IIPA; however, the only time
that Fitzgerald actually asserted that was in the sentencing phase
after the case had gone to verdict and after the defense had forgone
their opportunity to challenge that point. My view – Fitzgerald
clearly ducked the point about her pension dates of service, which he
would not have done had they gone in his favor.
In the end it doesn’t matter to the left in this country that this lady was not covert, that she was just a desk-jockey doing her best to bring down our President with lies. The duo lied about who sent Joe to Niger, he lied when he wrote that the rumors about yellow-cake were not real when in fact he told the CIA he could not debunk the rumors.
So sure, there were plenty of lies to go around on this story. The biggest being that these two were just some innocent Washington insiders wanting to do the “right thing.”