ROBERT NOVAK ON C-SPAN
Robert Novak - digging one heckuva hole
Fri Sep 15, 2006 10:27

 
Robert Novak - digging one heckuva hole
TPMCafe, NY - Sep 14, 2006
Latest Novak article - available here - as ever, presents more questions than answers in respect of the Plame investigation. ... Novak says this: ...
Letters, 9/14: Case exposes hatreds Lincoln Journal Star
Papers Say Richard Armitage Told CIA Agent's Identity To Bob Novak CBS News
US Press Bigwigs Screw Up, Again Consortium News
American Thinker - Wheeling News Register
all 275 news articles
http://news.google.com/news?q=Robert%20Novak&hl=en&lr=&sa=N&tab=wn

ROBERT NOVAK ON C-SPAN 9/15/06

Robert Novak - digging one heckuva hole
By Eddie-george | bio


Latest Novak article - available here - as ever, presents more questions than answers in respect of the Plame investigation.

David Corn produced a response to the Novak piece, which frankly failed to point out a couple of glaring inconsistencies - though it made the obvious point that Novak and his primary source are potentially at loggerheads.

Corn does point out that Novak was lying either in this article - where he claimed that Plame's identity was not leaked as "idle chitchat" - or in an October '03 article where he claimed the leak was an "offhand revelation". What Corn doesn't point out is that in between, Novak has reported that leak was inadvertant, but was also provided to him unsolicited. MediaMatters has the rundown here. In short, Novak is flipping like a dying fish every time he tries to explain how he got the information on Plame.

Corn however misses the following:

Novak alleges that Armitage told him Plame was in the CPD and had suggested Wilson for the mission to Niger. Two paragraphs later, he writes:

Mrs. Wilson’s name appeared in my column July 14, 2003, but it was not until Oct. 1 that I heard about it from Armitage.

Unless senile dementia has set in, I have no idea how Novak has produced this logical contortion.

The second piece of Novak bamboozling relates to Armitage identifying himself as his source. Novak says this:

Duberstein [who intermediated between Armitage and Novak] told me Armitage wanted to know whether he was my source. I did not reply because I was sure that Armitage knew he was the source.

Novak, on July 12 this year, meanwhile claimed:

My primary source has not come forward to identify himself.

Now technically, Novak may be right. Armitage had not availed himself publicly - but there's really quite a simple explanation. Armitage did not know he was Novak's primary source because Novak would not confirm it; and of course it was quite likely that Armitage had been advised not to do so given the ongoing investigation. But Novak is also trying to pull a fast one, because technically, Armitage had availed himself to everyone who needed to know, yet Novak had not sought a release from his source to make his identity known.

Novak does however make one quite valid point at the end of his most recent article.

I cannot credit Armitage’s current claim that he realized he was the source only when my Oct. 1 column revealed that the official who gave me the information was ‘‘no partisan gunslinger.’’

I agree. It is extraordinary that between Novak's fateful column and the appointment of a special prosecutor, it had never crossed Armitage's mind that he was the leaker. Or perhaps Armitage simply believed that given Plame's identity (and the fact she was married to Wilson) was widely known within the executive, so he'd reckoned someone else had leaked to Novak - a bona fide partisan gunslinger - as part of a campaign to silence Wilson and any other potential leakers.

Duberstein's role is pretty interesting too - obviously here's someone who knows the ex-Reagan crowd well, and he got Novak access to a senior official who for two years had apparently refused to speak to Novak. Just wondering if he's been part of Fitzgerald's inquiries...

But the key issue here is to point out what Novak's latest column reveals.

1. Novak has no consistent narrative of why Plame's identity was leaked to him. His targeting of Armitage today is both predictable (see 2 below) and specious.

2. Novak is pissed at Armitage because he, wait for it, "caused intense pain for his colleagues in government and enabled partisan Democrats in Congress to falsely accuse Rove of being my primary source." [Oh, be still, my aching heart...]

3. Armitage's bout of amnesia - from mid-July to October 2003 - remains wholly unexplained.

My gut feel is that Armitage is looking increasingly like the lone gunman on the grassy knoll, and the GOP are hoping Fitzgerald is a modern-day Earl Warren.
Eddie-george's Blog | login or register to post comments
Sep 14, 2006 -- 05:27:48 AM EST
On September 14, 2006 - 2:08pm oscar16 said:

Can someone explain to me why that lying sack of shyte Novak hasn't been indicted. He Is the one who leaked Plame's identity in the first place.And his lying since gives him about as much credability as Bob Woodward
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On September 14, 2006 - 10:54am trog69 said:

I refuse to accept that Armitage makes it to the upper echelons of this administration by being as naive as he is pretending to be. Incompetent, perhaps; but still on the same page as his handlers.
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On September 14, 2006 - 9:47am seashell said:

Unless senile dementia has set in, I have no idea how Novak has produced this logical contortion.

I wouldn't maybe call it senile dementia. How about political dementia? :-)

I think you're just a tad mixed up. Novak writes in this order (bold dates):

* Then, without explanation, in June 2003, Armitage’s office said the deputy secretary would see me.
* I sat down with Armitage in his State Department office the afternoon of July 8 with tacit rather than explicit ground rules:
* Mrs. Wilson’s name appeared in my column July 14, 2003,
* but it was not until Oct. 1 that I heard about it from Armitage. Washington lobbyist Kenneth Duberstein, Armitage’s close friend and political adviser, called me to say the deputy secretary feared he had ‘‘inadvertently’’ (the word Armitage used in last week’s interviews) disclosed Mrs. Wilson’s identity to me in July and was considering resignation.

Another thing I'd like to point out. Armitage doesn't give Novak an interview for 2 years, suggesting Novak is probably not a favorite columnist. And Novak confirms this, "I tried to see him in the first 2 years of the Bush administration, but he rebuffed me — summarily and with disdain, I thought". Finally, he does so at Duberstein's request.

It's a given that Armitage is a gossip, but Novak's outright claim of "He made clear he considered it especially suited for my column" doesn't make sense in light of the freeze and rebuffs in previous years.

Or does Novak try to insinuate something with this,"Then, without explanation, in June 2003, Armitage’s office said the deputy secretary would see me. This was two weeks before Joe Wilson surfaced himself as author of a 2002 report for the CIA debunking Iraqi interest in buying uranium in Africa". Which also doesn't make sense because how would Armitage know Joe Wilson was going to get chatty with the New York Times? (Emphasis is mine.)

Or am I the one now suffering from PD?

Thanks for doing this blog.

"It is unknowable how long that conflict [the war in Iraq] will last. It could last six days, six weeks. I doubt six months."Rumsfeld-Feb.2003
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On September 14, 2006 - 10:24am Eddie-george said:

Thanks for the reply, and yes, PD could well be at work here!

To you first main point, I think that Novak's phrasing might be the problem - if he was intending to say it was the first time he heard again from Armitage, then I don't understand why he couldn't have made that clearer.

To your second point - great catch. Yet another very good reason to question Novak's credibility. If Armitage clearly "considered it especially suited for [his] column" that really does not square with it being an inadvertant/offhand remark.

Novak's insinuation is classic innuendo. Does it mean Armitage couldn't have known about Wilson's plans? Or does it mean he set up the meeting with the intention of giving Novak some serious Iraqi WMD gossip? Who knows.

The closure of the Novak article however isn't ambiguous. It's a crude attempt to lump the whole Plame debacle onto Armitage. It's also pretty seriously flawed.
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On September 14, 2006 - 2:25pm seashell said:

Are you aware of Novak and Rove's prior history of leaks and denials, where GHW Bush ended up firing Rove?

(I've read your comments often enough to know you are very up on things - but still wanted to check.)

Another thing, do you suppose Novak ever contacted Armitage to get the release to name his source after Oct 2003? Somehow, I don't think so. (Pure speculation on my part.)

Thanks, again.

"It is unknowable how long that conflict [the war in Iraq] will last. It could last six days, six weeks. I doubt six months."Rumsfeld-Feb.2003
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On September 14, 2006 - 9:35am davis13 said:

And why is the front company being ignored completely? I seriously doubt Plame was the only one working there. And if she was one of many, how much damage did Cheney and his crew do to the United State's WMD intel gathering capabilities? Why would anyone in any other country cooperate with the US if they know they might have their identities revealed and their involvement with our intel people compromised by our own government?
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On September 14, 2006 - 9:58am Eddie-george said:

The extent of the fall-out is largely irrelevant as far the investigation goes, but obviously if the CIA was ever inclined to make a public statement on Plame, I'd imagine they'd have something to say in this regard.
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On September 14, 2006 - 8:59am Tom Wright said:

Has anyone in this flap suggested where Novak got the name Brewster-Jennings?
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On September 14, 2006 - 9:50am Eddie-george said:

I think it was actually David Corn who originally dug up Brewster-Jennings - but after Novak had exposed Plame. I think there was a public record of her employment, though this record did not of course denote B-J as a CIA-front company.

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