Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Plamegate: Novak Names Two Sources

It's about time. Robert Novak has finally named two of his three sources in his outing of Valerie Plame in 2003: Karl Rove, of which Novak writes "whom I interpret as confirming my primary source's information" and CIA public information officer Bill Harlow.

He has not revealed his primary source, however.

Novak chose this time to go public because, he states, the investigation concerning his role in the matter is over, freeing him to reveal sources who had given him waivers to do so.

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.

Novak did not initially out his sources when he was interviewed by the FBI in October, 2003, before the case was handed over to prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald. And, even though his sources signed waivers allowing him to do so, he still felt in December, 2003, that he ought not reveal their names. His unnamed principle source signed one of those waivers at that time.

He continues:

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.

He still believes what his non-'political gunslinger' primary source told him: that the revelation of Valerie Plame's name to him was 'inadvertent'.

Then he pushes this lie:

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.

emptywheel at The Next Hurrah has been following this case very closely and has made many excellent posts about it. She also believes that Novak's primary source is Richard Armitage. I haven't made up my mind on that yet, but her analysis is definitely worth reading.

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