Skip to comments.Novak: My role in Plame leak probe (LEAKER = JOE WILSON ???)
Posted on 07/12/2006 3:55:19 AM PDT by Chi-townChief
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 Novaks column in June 2003. Roves button reads, Im 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.
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.
"The lastest AP article does not even MENTION Joe Wilson!"
Local DC Fox News 5 just ran it, focusing on Rover and leaving it unresolved whether he may or may not be indicted in the future.
Not one word about Novak.
But then again, Novak still hasn't disclosed the name of his "primary" source.
It is unfortunate, that this matter has resulted in a circus over a non-issue.
The truth here is that the yellowcake assertion still has merit and that Joe Wilson was sent by his wife on a political mission, not a fact-finding mission.
"So, the leaker isn't Wilson but Mr. X, and we're none the wiser."
Novak is being deliberately obtuse, but that's the way I read it as well.
The "primary source" provided a waiver to Fitzgerald, but apparently not to Novak.
Seems to me that Novak and the NYSlimes of two of the same ilk.
"The news items was How did a nut like Wilson get the gig to Niger? Well, his wife set it up for him."
Which, if I read the FAR (Federal Acquisition Regulations) correctly and all the training I have had on the regulations would mean that she violated a federal law in getting a sole source contract for her husband. She and he should be in court for violation of a federal law, which several people have been tried, convicted and sent away for a long time for violating.
But then she and Joe are Democrats and Democrats can steal TOP Secret Documents and lie to federal Judges and commit Treason and no one seems to care.
When I got up this morning this is the headline on Yahoo Home page: "Novak: Rove was a source in outing Plame"
No bias here!!!
He has to be in order to write his book that is unless some old FBI agent comes out and discloses himself before the book is written a la Deep Throat. I still get a laugh that Woodward and Bernstein were scooped by their own source. Ha, Ha, Ha!
Actually Wilson found that there WAS substance to the Niger yellowcake claim. And that's what he reported at the time. It was only later when it became politically expedient to do so that he started going around de-bunking his own report.
Joe Wilson is an opportunistic liar through and through.
Why are all they all running with this carefully crafted "analysis" by the AP? (I know, no surprise really). Who ever wrote this one stayed up all night cleaning it up just the way they wanted it.
So Novak was sposed to just say that 'Mrs. Wilson recommended Mr. Wilson for the mission to Niger' and leave it at that?
And wouldn't that be overlooking one of the rules of journalism...the WHO? As in, WHO is Mrs. Wilson (to have the stroke to be recommending folks for CIA missions)?
Yeah, I think the cover looked like this:
The Rats will go nuts over "a form different from my recollection." Also I heard on the local news radio station (a CBS affiliate) that Novak revealed the source of the leak...it was Rove. That's all they said, nothing about Wilson, nothing about a still unknown "primary source". But then they had to move on to cover more important things like sports, weather and traffic reports. ;-)
....Why are all they all running with this carefully crafted "analysis" by the AP? (I know, no surprise really). Who ever wrote this one stayed up all night cleaning it up just the way they wanted it.
It's the same when W picked Dick Cheney, every network, cable news outlet and Newspaper all said the same thing...
he brings 'gravitas' to the ticket.
I had to look it up when I first heard it.
Rush frequently mentions this. They must have a 'think tank' where they (MSM) decide HOW something is reported !!!
Too bad the AP is running "Rove is the source in outing Plame" headline without a mention of the actual "who's who" entry..
These people are pathetic.
And Wilson's CIA paymasters were grossly negligent in not requiring a written report (instead of oral debriefing) or having JW sign a confidentiality agreement. It had to be classified that CIA wanted to know about yellow cake vis a vis Iraq. How was JW freely able to spread his story, then lie about it to boot? That is totally wrong.
"He has to be [obtuse] in order to write his book"
Fitzgerald brought him a waiver from the primary source.
Novak says he still needed to protect his primary source.
But he did reveal the names of Rove and the CIA staffer as confirming sources.
Did he ever reveal the name of the *primary* source to Fitzgerald or to the grand jury?
That's what I mean by obtuse. We don't know. And he's sure not telling.
I suspect his conversation was on the phone. Recording phone conversations in DC is not legal unless both parties agree to it.
We know that Rove's attorney said Rove told the Grand Jury that "I heard the same thing!" when asked to confirm Plame being Wilson's wife and that she had gotten her husband the job.
I suspect that Novak only told the Grand Jury that Rove did not confirm that Plame was Wilson's wife who got Wilson his job. "I have heard the same thing!" is not a confirmation. So Novak then contacted Harlow who did confirm that Plame was Wilson's wife and that she got her husband the job.
Note that Novak also says his recollection of his conversation with Harlow differs from Harlow's recollection.
If Rove "Remembered" things from their converstation that Novak "Forgot", then that explains the differences.
You can not indict Rove for "Remembering" something that Novak "Forgot."
It is also likely that Harlow "Remembered" things from his conversation that Novak "Forgot."
I think Novak is just saying to both Harlow and Rove... I tried not to "Remember" anything that might have given Fitzmas a reason indict you. If Novak "didn't remember" there can be on purjury indictment for Harlow or Rove.
Now we know why no one has been indicted for outing Valerie. No indictment because they couldn't indict anyone in the Bush Administration.
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