Novak and Plame (07/14/06)

The photo  of Valerie Plame by Mandel Ngen of Getty shows her with her husband at the White House Correspondents Association  dinner in  April 2006. 

Yesterday was Valerie Plame day in the news.  According to yesterday’s story on NPR’s All Things Considered Valerie Plame and her husband Joe Wilson  sued Dick Cheney, Karl Rove and Scooter Libby alleging    

 a conspiracy to hurt Plame’s career….[through]  “an anonymous whispering campaign” meant to retaliate against Plame and Wilson.

The suit, Case 1:06cv01258, filed in United States District Court for the District of Columbia also charges the three and  ten “John Doe”  co-defendents with first and fifth amendment violations, civil rights conspiracy, failure to prevent civil rights violations, public disclosure of private facts and civil conspiracy.

Simon & Schuster also announced publication of Plame’s book, Fair Game, after a deal broke down with Crown Publishing.  I can’t find a copy of the press release, but the AP’s Hillel Italie reported in his July 13 story, “Ex-CIA officer finds new memoir publisher,” that Simon & Schuster spokesman Adam Rothberg said

It will be a very interesting book by a key figure of our time.

Simon & Schuster, you may remember just published Helen Thomas’s book; they also announced March 22, 2005 that they had hired conservative stategist Mary Matilan’s Threshhold imprint. 

  

 

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Three years ago today, a column by conservative pundit  Robert Novak, “Mission to Niger”  triggered Patrick Fitzgerald’s Department of Justice Special Counsel investigation into the leak of CIA operative Valerie Plame’s identity.  

On June 29, 2005, William Saffire wrote in “The Jailing of Judith Miller,”  that:

 Mr. Novak should finally write the column he owes readers and colleagues perhaps explaining how his two sources – who may have truthfully revealed themselves to investigators – managed to get the prosecutor off his back.

In reponse to questioning by Ed Henry on CNN by the next day,  Novak  said,  

Well, that’s what I can’t reveal until this case is finished. I hope it is finished soon. And when it does, I agree with Mr. Safire, I will reveal all in a column and on the air.

At the request of the Special Prosecutor on October 28, 2005, a grand jury indicted  Cheney aide Scooter Libby on obstruction of justice, two counts of making false statements  and two count of perjury. 

But for some reason, , on June 10,  2006, according to Washington Post staff writer Jim VandeHei in his June 14, story, “Rove Will Not Be Charged In CIA Leak Case, Lawyer Says”  Fitgerald delivered a letter to Karl Rove  indicating that he would not be indicted.

So when Novak published his  column, “My Role in the Valerie Plame Leak Story.”  July 12, folks expect “all.”  Instead they got more evasion.  Novak didn’t reveal his primary source, and he failed to detail how Rove and CIA spokesman Bill Harlow testimony differed from his recollections, only that

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.

While Novak maintains that the source conveyed that leak was “accidental,” Novak was not the only reporter to receive the information.  For instance,  as NYU journalism professor Jay Rosen pointed out in his weblog PressThink  on July 7, 2005,  Walter Pincus of the Washington Post has also protected his source, but in article in the Summer 2005 issue of Harvard’s   Nieman Reports, “Anonymous Sources: Their Use in a Time of Prosecutorial Interest How are decisions made about publishing information from confidential sources?”  Pincus explains,

I didn’t write about that information at that time because I did not believe it true that she had arranged his Niger trip….The call with me had taken place two days before Novak’s column appeared.

 I wrote my October story because I did not think the person who spoke to me was committing a criminal act, but only practicing damage control by trying to get me to stop writing about Wilson.

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Daily Kos readers have compiled a timeline at  Dkospdia.  

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