Robert Novak: My role in Plame leak probe

Novak tells his story.

[quote]Novak: My role in Plame leak probe

WASHINGTON – Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald has informed my attorneys that, after 2-1/2 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.

Presidential adviser Karl Rove talks with columnist Robert Novak at a party celebrating the 40th anniversary of Novak’s column in June 2003. Rove’s button reads, “I’m a source, not a target.” (AP)

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.

Sources signed waivers

I was interrogated at the Swidler Berlin offices on 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.


(enlargement available on web site)

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.

Testified before grand jury

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.

Primary source not revealed

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.[/quote]

Joe Wilson should be looking at some handcuffs sometime soon.

Not done our homework, have we? … index.html

How do you figure?

[quote=“Rascal”]Not done our homework, have we?

Novak: Rove confirmed Plame’s identity

Columnist reveals cooperation in probe, won’t name first source
Tuesday, July 11, 2006; Posted: 9:32 p.m. EDT (01:32 GMT)
WASHINGTON (CNN) – White House political adviser Karl Rove was one of Robert Novak’s sources for the 2003 disclosure of a CIA operative’s identity, the syndicated columnist wrote Tuesday.
Novak said Rove confirmed information from another source, whose identity Novak is still keeping under wraps.
Hard to post info that comes out after I’ve signed off for the night.
And I have you on “ignore”. Why do I still see your condescending passive-aggressive troll boy posts?
Oh…thats right…you’re a ‘moderator.’

Novak: Rove Was a CIA Leak Source
And also…
Novak Checked ‘Who’s Who’ for Plame Name

added 0937- After reading the updates on this story, it is apparent that Rove didn’t tell Novak anything new. He only CONFIRMED information Novak was checking.
The CIA confirmed her employment to Novak when he called them. If the CIA reveals your employment over the phone, you are not covert.

Oh, we’re back to that tired, old argument? The one in which you try to say that the fact that it was “no secret” that Wilson had a wife? :loco:

I can imagine how the “confirmation” of info to Novak went:

Novak: Can you confirm that you know the names of CIA officers?

Rove: I confirm that I do know the names of CIA officers.

Novak: Can you confirm that one officer’s name starts in the range A-L?

Rove: No.

Novak: M to Z?

Rove: Yes.

Novak: I’m going to go through the last half of the alphabet, and you nod when we get to the right letter to confirm. M? N? O? P?

Rove: (nodding frantically)

Novak: Now, I want you to confirm the second letter of the officer’s name. A-L or M-Z?

Rove: A through L. (winking furiously at “L”)

Novak: OK. Is the second letter L? …

Uh, maybe you should have read the article you posted because it’s in there, too, just not as obvious as the big, bold letters from the source where I quoted.

[quote]And I have you on “ignore”. Why do I still see your condescending passive-aggressive troll boy posts?
Oh…thats right…you’re a ‘moderator.’[/quote]
If you have any problems regarding my posts and/or status as moderator please feel free to contact the administrators, but make sure you have something to show for except your accusations. Stating them as you did above is against the rules btw:

Uh, maybe you should have read the article you posted because it’s in there, too, just not as obvious as the big, bold letters from the source where I quoted.[/quote]
Then you should have been able to see that the headline of the article you posted is wrong - Novak did NOT identify Rove as his source.
Let me make it simple for you…from another source, here’s the play:

[quote]1. Novak found out about “Wilson’s wife” setting him up for the trip to Niger from a yet-unnamed source,
who Novak repeats is NOT in the White House and NOT a political gunslinger. He goes on to say this source
did not intend to “leak” anything.

  1. Novak called Karl Rove for confirmation that “Wilson’s wife” set up his trip and he did not go at Dick
    Cheney’s request as he had told everyone.

  2. Novak says Rove answered “oh, you know that too” while Rove told the investigators and the grand jury
    he said “oh, I heard that too.”

  3. Novak then looked up Joe Wilson in “Who’s Who in America” and found his wife’s name right there in print.

  4. Novak called Harlow at CIA to confirm Valerie Plame worked there. Harlow confirmed.

  5. Novak had his story and ran it.

Novak goes on to say that Fitzgerald already knew about all three of his sources before he was questioned by investigators
or the grand jury. In other words, Fitz knew this whole story was a crock very early on, but carried on for two years anyway
and spent millions of our dollars for nothing. And the whole “White House War on Wilson” and nefarious plot by Karl Rove to
“retaliate” against Wilson by “outing” his wife was a complete fiction peddled by the Kerry campaign and bought by Matt Cooper,
the Washington Post, the New York Times, and the rest of the MSM.[/quote]
It appaears thet Fitzgerald may have perpetrated fraud on the court…and the judge winked and let it slide.

The headline does not say Novak identified Rove as his source, it reads: ‘Novak: Rove confirmed Plame’s identity

A summarization of the lies of the Plame & Wilson and Novaks involevment wrapped by Chris Hitchens.

[quote]The End of the Affair
Novak exonerates the Bushies in the Plame case.
By Christopher Hitchens
Posted Monday, July 17, 2006, at 4:58 PM ET

Robert Novak’s July 12 column and his appearance on Meet the Press Sunday night have dissolved any remaining doubt about the mad theory that the Bush administration “outed” Ms. Valerie Plame as revenge for her husband’s refusal to confirm the report by British intelligence that Iraqi officials had visited Niger in search of uranium. To summarize, we now know that:

1. Novak was never approached by any administration officials but approached them instead.

2. He was never told the name Plame but discovered it from Who's Who in America, which contained it in Joseph Wilson's entry.

3. Special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald had all along known which sources had responded to Novak's questions.

No reporter or lawyer concerned with the case believes that Novak’s original source was any other than Richard Armitage. I have heard it lamely said that, if true, this would “undercut” the idea that Wilson and Plame were targets of an administration vendetta. No. it wouldn’t “undercut” the idea. It would annihilate it. Mr. Armitage exceeds even his own former boss and current best friend Colin Powell in visceral hatred of the neoconservatives. In that sense, and in his collusion with Bob Woodward on the story of the origins of the war, he actually is a “partisan gunslinger”—but on the Wilson side of the argument. However, in the present instance, that would only lend credence to Novak’s testimony that the “disclosure”—if it was a disclosure and not just a confirmation of something well-known—was inadvertent.

So, after almost three years and an exhaustive investigation by a fairly serious and renowned prosecutor involving the jailing of a distinguished reporter, it has been concluded that there was never any breach of the Intelligence Identities Protection Act to begin with. One official at the White House has allegedly been caught in a secondary or even tertiary conflict of evidence. And the hapless Wilsons have been obliged to file their own civil suit, as if the “discovery” it might afford will surpass what Fitzgerald, armed with a quiver of subpoenas and waivers, has been able to accomplish. Meanwhile, the evidence continues to mount (see my Slate columns on the Zahawie case: here, here, and here) that the original British intelligence on the Niger connection was genuine, and that Wilson missed it. And I have some more material on that, which I shall be sharing with you soon.more[/quote]

And also wraps up the “the Iraqi-Niger “yellowcake” nexus.”

[quote]Case Closed
[i]The truth about the Iraqi-Niger “yellowcake” nexus.[/i]
By Christopher Hitchens
Posted Tuesday, July 25, 2006, at 12:46 PM ET

Now that Joseph and Valerie Wilson’s fantasies of having been persecuted by high officials in the administration have been so thoroughly dispelled by Robert Novak (and now that it seems the prosecutor has determined that there was no breach of the relevant laws to begin with), we may return to the more important original question. Was there good reason to suppose that Iraqi envoys visited Niger in search of “yellowcake” uranium ore?

To summarize, then: In February 1999 one of Saddam Hussein’s chief nuclear goons paid a visit to Niger, but his identity was not noticed by Joseph Wilson, nor emphasized in his “report” to the CIA, nor mentioned at all in his later memoir. British intelligence picked up the news of the Zahawie visit from French and Italian sources and passed it on to Washington. Zahawie’s denials of any background or knowledge, in respect of nuclear matters, are plainly laughable based on his past record, and he is still taken seriously enough as an expert on such matters to be invited (as part of a Jordanian delegation) to Hans Blix’s commission on WMD. Two very senior and experienced diplomats in the field of WMDs and disarmament, both of them from countries by no means aligned with the Bush administration, have been kind enough to share with me their disquiet at his activities. What responsible American administration could possibly have viewed any of this with indifference?

The subsequent mysteriously forged documents claiming evidence of an actual deal made between Zahawie and Niger were circulated well after the first British report (and may have been intended to discredit it) and have been deemed irrelevant by two independent inquiries in London. The original British report carefully said that Saddam had “sought” uranium, not that he had acquired it. The possible significance of a later return visit—this time by a minister from Niger to Baghdad in 2001—has not as yet been clarified by the work of the Iraq Survey Group.

This means that both pillars of the biggest scandal-mongering effort yet mounted by the “anti-war” movement—the twin allegations of a false story exposed by Wilson and then of a state-run vendetta undertaken against him and the lady wife who dispatched him on the mission—are in irretrievable ruins. [i]The truth is the exact polar opposite. The original Niger connection was both authentic and important, and Wilson’s utter failure to grasp it or even examine it was not enough to make Karl Rove even turn over in bed.[/i] All the work of the supposed “outing” was inadvertently performed by Wilson’s admirer Robert Novak. Of course, one defends the Bush administration at one’s own peril. Thanks largely to Stephen Hadley, assistant to the president for national security affairs, our incompetent and divided government grew so nervous as to disown the words that appeared in the 2003 State of the Union address. But the facts are still the facts, and it is high time that they received one-millionth of the attention that the “Plamegate” farce has garnered.(the whole story at the link)[/quote]
Nice summary. I want reparations of my tax money these two yahoos cost the gov’t.