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Wednesday, October 1, 2003
Novak Speaks Again

By Steven Taylor @ 6:50 am

Bob Novak’s column today explains the whole Plame situation in more detail.

First, he describes how he got the name:

During a long conversation with a senior administration official, I asked why Wilson was assigned the mission to Niger. He (ed., note the gender-the “leaker” ain’t Condi) said Wilson had been sent by the CIA’s counterproliferation section at the suggestion of one of its employees, his wife. It was an offhand revelation from this official, who is no partisan gunslinger. (ed.: i.e., NOT Karl Rove) When I called another official for confirmation, he said: “Oh, you know about it.” The published report that somebody in the White House failed to plant this story with six reporters and finally found me as a willing pawn is simply untrue.

Second, he clarifies his contact with the CIA:

At the CIA, the official designated to talk to me denied that Wilson’s wife had inspired his selection but said she was delegated to request his help. He asked me not to use her name, saying she probably never again will be given a foreign assignment but that exposure of her name might cause “difficulties” if she travels abroad (ed., hardly the “gun to ther head” described by Senator Schumer yesterday). He never suggested to me that Wilson’s wife or anybody else would be endangered. If he had, I would not have used her name. I used it in the sixth paragraph of my column because it looked like the missing explanation of an otherwise incredible choice by the CIA for its mission.

If this is all true, then the “much ado about nothing” (at at least, much ado about not all that much) thesis comes into play. At least in terms of actual harm. The law may still have been broken, but not in a devastating fashion. Again, this may not be the case, But consider, if Ms. Plame’s duties were extremely sensitive, to the degree that having her identity revealed could jeopardize senstive intelligence on WMDs, then why in the world would the CIA want to use her husband for a high profile mission in that same topic area? And why, if having her identity revealed would lead to mass chaos, would Wilson draw attention to himself by writing an op-ed for the NYTs?

Filed under: US Politics

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6 Comments»

  1. You should really listen to last night’s news hour (audio clip here) with Larry Johnson and then see if you really want to keep quoting Novak on this matter.

    And then you might want to revise your position.

    Comment by JohnC — Wednesday, October 1, 2003 @ 10:03 am

  2. Hey goofball

    Your source (Larry Johnson) claimed she had been undercover for “over 3 decades.”

    The problem is she is 40. Does the CIA use 10 year old agents???

    Get a freaking fact then you can have a position to revise.

    gezze you are ignorant.

    Paul

    Sorry Steven, I just see this guy spouting non-fact after non-fact and it just wears me out.

    Comment by Paul — Wednesday, October 1, 2003 @ 12:48 pm

  3. Man, if I lost my credibility every time I make imprecise time references, I’d be up the creek.

    Well, whatever credibility I have, still. . .

    Comment by Brett — Wednesday, October 1, 2003 @ 1:05 pm

  4. Novak’s most recent and everchanging story actually raises more questions than it answers.

    First, Novak states the leak wasn’t planned. Question is, how does he know?

    Second, Novak claims the report that at least 6 other reporters were approached with the story is false. Again, how does he know? The CIA and WH counsel seem to believe otherwise.

    Third, Novak claims he initiated the conversation. This is in direct contradiction with an earlier claim by Novak that he was approached with this story.

    Fourth, Novak attempts to smear Wilson as anti-Bush by stating Wilson supports John Kerry. Of course, this is irrelevant and also ignores the fact Wilson was a contributor to Dubya in 2000.

    Fifth, Novak claims the fact Plame worked for the CIA was well-known around Washington. This sort of defense is often used by children: ‘Mom, all the kids are doing it.’ In reality, Novak only cites Cliff May-a Repug operative and honesty-challenged person.

    Comment by JadeGold1 — Wednesday, October 1, 2003 @ 2:06 pm

  5. JohnC,

    I listened to the clip, and there is not doubt that Johnson is passionate on the subject, as I would expect a former CIA agent to be. And I am not saying that there isn’t a problem here-what I meant was in terms of the “much ado” refs is that to listen to Senate Democrats, Novak leaked the name of an operative who had infiltrated al Qaeda or something and the result has been the death of agents and the losig of vital information.

    Johnson’s comments help clarify the situation, but do nothing to change my basic position-that 1) we still don’t really know what the damage is, and 2) that the attacks from some quarters are disproportionate to the situation.

    Comment by Steven — Wednesday, October 1, 2003 @ 2:20 pm

  6. Man, if I lost my credibility every time I make imprecise time references, I’d be up the creek.

    Brett,

    When you PASSIONATELY tell the story of how this woman was working for the CIA WHEN YOU STARTED and that it was 30 years ago, shouldn’t you be right to within a decade or 2?

    This is not like saying it was last Tuesday when it was last Wednesday. He is off by at minimum a decade. (minimum)

    Ever held a long term job?

    I bet you remember who was there when you started and you think of all the people after you as “the new ones.” I find it impossible to believe that he remembers her as being there before him. Anybody that comes to a job 10-15 years after you will always be “the new one” in your head even if they serve 20 more years. That is just the way your brain works. The first week on a job makes a strong impression.

    This story is full of holes and this is just another one.

    Paul

    Comment by Paul — Wednesday, October 1, 2003 @ 9:35 pm

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