Novak on Crossfire

If what Novak has said on Crossfire is true, it appears there will be a whole lot of Democrats eating crow. Although, in all likelihood, they will not be as concerned with the ‘facts’ should they vindicate all members of the White House, to include Bush. Then, the story will change to cover-up, or the Bush cabal pressuring the Justice Department or muzzling the CIA.

26 replies
  1. 1
    Robin Roberts says:

    John, I missed Crossfire ( … err, that’s a lie. I swore long ago never to watch the silly show. ). What were Novak’s comments?

  2. 2
    John Cole says:

    ‘Nobody in the Bush administration called me to leak this. In July I was interviewing a senior administration official on Ambassador Wilson’s report when he told me the trip was inspired by his wife, a CIA employee working on weapons of mass destruction. Another senior official told me the same thing. As a professional journalist with 46 years experience in Washington I do not reveal confidential sources. When I called the CIA in July to confirm Mrs. Wilson’s involvement in the mission for her husband — he is a former Clinton administration official — they asked me not to use her name, but never indicated it would endanger her or anybody else. According to a confidential source at the CIA, Mrs. Wilson was an analyst, not a spy, not a covert operator, and not in charge of undercover operatives’…

  3. 3
    Robin Roberts says:

    Ah, if HH’s notes in the comments of the thread below are what you are refering to … never mind.

  4. 4
    Robin Roberts says:

    That would end this “scandal” in any reasonable minds.

  5. 5
    Kimmitt says:

    Wait a moment, Novak was asked by the CIA not to use her name, then not only did so, but used the name “Valerie Plame” instead of “Valerie Wilson.” Now he’s using using “Mrs. Wilson?” Let’s keep in mind that part of the allegations is that Ms. Plame used her maiden name when engaged in some of her tradecraft . . .

    I buy that Mr. Novak was not called; it’s entirely possible that six other reporters were called, but Novak happened to stop by that day and became part of the process. I don’t buy much of the rest of his story. Mr. Novak has revealed sources under extraordinary circumstances before; the line is not as brightly drawn for him as he makes it out to be.

    Scandal’s not over. Someone used Novak to blow Plame’s cover, and Novak ignored the CIA’s request not to use her name to do it.

  6. 6
    John Cole says:

    Kimmitt- It will NEVER be over with you. I am not saying this story is over, but the way the reportage has changed in just the past few days (senior administration officials downgraded to administration officials, Wilson admitting he lied about Rove, and this from Novak), it looks like things are falling apart pretty rapidly.

    I am just going to wait and see- but I don’t expect that any amount of exonneration of the White House and Bush will make it over for the left- they have wanted a Watergate from day one- and they will do their best to have one,m even if it did not happen.

  7. 7
    Dean says:


    I think Kimmitt just enunciated the “Blutarsky strategy” of the Dems:

    “It’s not over until WE say it’s over! It wasn’t over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor! Are you with me?”


  8. 8
    Robin Roberts says:

    ROFL, Dean.

  9. 9
    HH says:

    It has already been established on several blogs that the notion that uttering the name “Plame” would have blown her cover is BS, as Wilson’s own bio, which it is now confirmed he has given to at least three organizations, dating at least back to last year, mentioned the name Plame.

    Novak has said more than once that the CIA’s request was a weak one and he was never led to believe that she was undercover or that she might be endangered by the revelation.

  10. 10
    HH says:

    BTW there is the alternatative, that the use of “Plame” would blow her cover, which makes Wilson himself guilty of blowing her cover first.

  11. 11
    HH says:

    BTW there is the alternatative, that the use of “Plame” would blow her cover, which makes Wilson himself guilty of blowing her cover first. Plus Novak now says there was no cover to blow.

  12. 12
    HH says:

    From the linked column:

    “Disclosing confidential sources is unthinkable for a reporter seeking to probe behind the scenes in official Washington, but the circumstances here are obviously extraordinary. The same traitor who delivered American spies into the Kremlin’s hands was expressing concern about the fate of intelligence assets in China.”

    Novak isn’t going around revealing sources willy-nilly… if the left is changing tactics to “get Novak,” that is really pathetic.

  13. 13
    Pauly says:

    “it’s entirely possible that six other reporters were called”

    It’s entirely possible that Mr. Wilson is a woman and his wife is a rhino, too. We could speculate all day but it doesn’t get us anywhere except maybe to high blood pressure-land.

  14. 14
    David Perron says:

    It’s also entirely possible that Wilson’s wife is identified by her maiden name on his webpage in an attempt to deceive people from…dang, I can’t come up with anything.

  15. 15
    HH says:

    NBC News says Andrea Mitchell was called AFTER the Novak column… which makes one wonder if that’s the case with all “6 reporters.”

  16. 16
    Justin Katz says:

    HH has beat me to two punches:

    1) Back when this began in July, a group of we bloggers thought it strange that Wilson would continually identify his wife as “the former Valerie Plame” in his bios if it was treason to do so.

    2) In the WaPo article, Wilson states that he received the reporters’ calls about a week after the Novak column (and the number keeps moving, from six to four to Andrea Mitchell), and just “deduced” the timing.

    Frankly, this is starting to look like yet another completely manufactured controversy. The beauty of it, from a Democrat point of view, is that all of the proceedings are classified. Coincidentally, it originated with our old friend David Corn, who managed to raise the specter of Bush administration criminality in print just two days after the Novak column appeared.

    But wouldn’t it be… interesting… if a central figure of the 16-words controversy (who hadn’t seen the documents that he was supposedly confirming as forgeries) proved to have been lying and spinning about the controversy of retaliation that outed the CIA wife who acted as the catalyst for his mission?

  17. 17
    Robin Roberts says:

    If the calls pushing the story came after Novak’s column, and Novak’s source isn’t in the White House, then its not a criminal case at all. At least not for White House aides.

    This is starting to sound more like Wilson and his wife are playing games. And if the chronology folds over this way, Wilson is the liar actually.

  18. 18
    Kimmitt says:

    And, just to make sure, the CIA’s request for a Justice Department probe combined with the WaPo’s story are both just window dressing, based exclusively on Wilson’s hearsay?

    Please. You can make all the excuses you want, but at some point, the simplest explanation is the best — that a senior Administration official burned Plame as revenge for Wilson’s whistleblowing. When this is all confirmed with phone logs, subpoenas, and Congressional testimony, will you believe it then? Or will they all be manufactured by the President’s enemies as well?

  19. 19
    Andrew Lazarus says:

    We’re gonna know real soon who the leakers were, because Novak was one of at least six journalists who were approached. And the CIA appears to have concluded they know who did it, if you parse their statement carefully.

    I’m willing to wait, guys. Very sensible. But I don’t expect to be eating any crow, either.

    Did you know Karl Rove was fired from Bush41’s election campaign for leaking to Robert Novak?

  20. 20
    Mark L says:

    Andrwe Lazarus said, “Did you know Karl Rove was fired from Bush41’s election campaign for leaking to Robert Novak?”

    Hmmmm. According to Texas Monthly (free registration required) Rove was in Austin, not Washington during Bush 41’s campaign. Also, if he did get fired (something I find hard to believe after reading this Texas Monthly piece), somehow, within a year, he was rehired to work on Bush 43’s race for the governor.

    From Texas Monthly:

    “He came to Texas in 1977 to do fundraising for Bush’s 1980 presidential bid. Soon he was the deputy chief of staff to Bill Clements, newly elected as the state’s first Republican governor since Reconstruction.

    After two years with Clements, Rove was contemplating going out on his own as a political consultant specializing in direct-mail marketing. Clements brought the issue to a head by asking for Rove’s commitment for the next five years, through what everyone expected would be a successful reelection campaign. Rove replied that he had decided to go out on his own, just as Clements had when he was about Rove’s age. Then Rove asked his boss to be his first client. The answer was yes. Rove handled the mailings for Clements’ 1982 race, but the Texas economy faltered and Clements was upset by Democrat Mark White. Rove was 32 years old, without a major client, and his nonpolitical customers, he says, began to get calls from Democratic operatives who suggested that they might want to find a mail expert who was not associated with an ousted Republican governor.

    In the crush of defeat, it was hard to predict that he was the right person at the right place at the right timethe best-known, the best-connected (and nearly the only) Republican consultant in a major state that was still Democratic but tilting, albeit slowly, to the GOP. “I didn’t see it at the time,” concedes Rove, “but it’s clear in retrospect.” With the help of the Reagan White House, Rove picked up Phil Gramm (then a conservative Democrat on the verge of switching parties) as a client. In 1986 he was the head strategist for Clements’ rematch with Mark White. This time a bad economy proved to be White’s undoing and Clements won.

    It was about this time that Rove began showing up at the Capitol with a young, personable political neophyte named George W. Bush. Terral Smith, now the legislative director for the governor’s office but then an Austin legislator, recalls Rove escorting Bush to receive briefings on state issues from GOP lawmakers. Rove envisioned Bush as the party’s nominee to succeed Clements as governor in 1990, but when the father won the presidency in 1988, the son’s political career was put on hold. Rove had to be content with two significant downballot victories, Kay Bailey Hutchison as state treasurer and Rick Perry as agriculture commissioner. When President Bush lost his reelection bid in 1992, the way was clear for George W. to challenge Ann Richards in 1994.”

  21. 21
    Andrew Lazarus says:

    Mark, my source on 1992 was Josh Marshall who cites an Esquire article on Rove.

  22. 22
    Mark L says:

    Well, then I apologize. Texas Monthly *must* be wrong. I mean, Josh Marshall. And Esquire. Two utterly and always infallible sources.

    I mean what credibility does Texas Monthly have about someone being in Austin, TX? After all, that is where their *offices* are. They must have *imagined* the whole thing.

  23. 23
    Dean says:

    Now, think about this a minute.

    If you were Karl Rove, and you leaked to Novak, a move which cost you your job, what are the chances that you’d leak to him again?

    If you were either of the Bushes, what are the chances, given the premium you place on “loyalty” that you’d bring on-board someone who had leaked?

    Finally, if you were Robert Novak, would you even HINT that it was Karl Rove who had leaked something like this, since EVEN IF IT WERE TRUE, that means that Rove’ll leak even BETTER info. Or, to put it differently, would you burn Deep Throat over the fact that Haldeman had gotten a traffic ticket??

    Something doesn’t pass the smell test, here….

  24. 24
    Robin Roberts says:

    Exactly Dean, someone – I think CIA – is playing a deeper game.

  25. 25
    Andrew Lazarus says:

    Mark L, I don’t see how the Texas Monthly article shows Rove wasn’t fired from the Bush 41 campaign. Just because it doesn’t mention it?

    The Esquire article, as you can see, includes interviews with Rove and his staff. I’m sure they would have asked for a retroactive correction of any mistake this big.

  26. 26
    David Perron says:

    Andrew, do you realize there’s a fairly wide gap between “…Rove was fired…” and “Sources…say…Rove was fired…”? There’s at least three quite different interpretations I could place on the latter. And there’s one other thing that can happen: the sources can be wrong. Not saying they are, but citing an opinion piece that presents secondhand information from unnamed sources is pretty weak.

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