Reidblog [The Reid Report blog]

Think at your own risk.
Monday, August 01, 2005
The prince of whiney darkness
Robert Novak finally breaks his silence, in order to carp about the recent WaPo article by Pincus and VandeHei, which portrayed him as a lout who can't follow directions, for apparently disregarding the strong admonition of the then- CIA spokesman not to publish Valerie Plame Wilson's name. Said the P.O.D. in his column today:

In the course of a front-page story in last Wednesday's Washington Post, Walter Pincus and Jim VandeHei quoted ex-CIA spokesman Bill Harlow describing his testimony to the grand jury. In response to my question about Valerie Plame Wilson's role in former ambassador Wilson's trip to Niger, Harlow told me she "had not authorized the mission." Harlow was quoted as later saying to me "the story Novak had related to him was wrong."

This gave the impression I ignored an official's statement that I had the facts wrong but wrote it anyway for the sake of publishing the story. That would be inexcusable for any journalist and particularly a veteran of 48 years in Washington. The truth is otherwise, and that is why I feel compelled to write this column.

We're listening, Mr. Darkness...

Harlow said to the Post that he did not tell me Mrs. Wilson "was undercover because that was classified." What he did say was, as I reported in a previous column, "she probably never again would be given a foreign assignment but that exposure of her name might cause 'difficulties.' " According to CIA sources, she was brought home from foreign assignments in 1997, when agency officials feared she had been "outed" by the traitor Aldrich Ames.

I have previously said that I never would have written those sentences if Harlow, then-CIA Director George Tenet or anybody else from the agency had told me that Valerie Plame Wilson's disclosure would endanger herself or anybody.
Novak goes on to pick up the administration trash talk against Joe Wilson, which isn't really worth repeating since it probably abuses Novak's integrity as a journalist to be caught mouthing Bush-bot talking points.

But here's the thing, Bob old boy, the point isn't just whether publishing Ms. Plame-Wilson's name would "endanger herself or anybody," the point is that the endangerment question was not for you to decide based on your impressions of a telephone conversation. The CIA spokesman made it pretty clear to you, it seems, that the information about Ms. Plame-Wilson -- not just the name of Joe Wilson's wife, but the association between the name of Joe Wilson's and the CIA -- was secret. In other words, the CIA did not want it known. How much clearer could it be? You shouldn't have had to have been given threats of mortal danger to her person or to anybody else in order to follow the clear request of the CIA spokesman not to do what you did: namely, publish her name after they asked you not to "in the strongest possible terms without revealing classified information."

Knowing only what we all know now, I think the Chicago Sun-Times should have Jim DeFede'd Mr. Novak long ago. Either that or the left-wing blogs should have Dan Rathered him...

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posted by JReid @ 9:44 PM  
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"I am for enhanced interrogation. I don't believe waterboarding is torture... I'll do it. I'll do it for charity." -- Sean Hannity
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