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September 14, 2007


Question? Is the person who Novak claims to be friend of Joe Wilson's the same person who he bumped into outside or in the park or something? I remember thinking something was odd about the 'accidental' meeting. I don't have the link to the original story, but I remember it came up very early on. Do we know who this 'person' is? or am I just suffering from a lack of sleep/coffee????

Rove, Rove, Rove, Rove, and Rove.

"actively forgetting"

there's a chuckle...

Says volumes, in two words...


Yes, that's the guy. Jason Leopold had what I think is a reasonably credible story on the guy about a year ago.

EW, apologies for both my bad memory and my thick skull, but can you refresh us a bit about Armitage as well? Ie, does the role that he played, the role that has fit so well into the talking points, not continue to be bothersome?

i loved reading this,

partly for the additional bit of understanding i got,

but mostly for the satisfaction of seeing e'wheel refusing to let novak up off the ground.

just keep pounding him, gal.

Would Novak lie under oath and in his column to keep his bread and butter source safe from prosecution especially when he believes the prosecution is a political witch hunt because no underlying crimes have been charged? Would he?

Didn't Novak make some assertion to Rove that Novak would protect Rove from being harmed by the investigation? "Protection" implies that Novak would have to take an affirmative measure beyond would follow naturally. What do you suppose he meant?


Rove-Novak Call Was Concern To Leak Investigators

By Murray Waas, National Journal
© National Journal Group Inc.
Thursday, May 25, 2006

On September 29, 2003, three days after it became known that the CIA had asked the Justice Department to investigate who leaked the name of covert CIA officer Valerie Plame, columnist Robert Novak telephoned White House senior adviser Karl Rove to assure Rove that he would protect him from being harmed by the investigation, according to people with firsthand knowledge of the federal grand jury testimony of both men.


I'm completely agnostic on Armitage's role. Though I can tell you the dominant narrative--that Armitage was "first"--is a big shiny object. The question about Novak's column was who told him Plame was covert (and telling Novak Plame was CPD is tantamount to telling him she's covert). Here are several possibilities:

  • After Libby had a conversation with Armitage on June 2, they knew he knew of Plame's connection. After that point, OVP twice set up journalists (Woodward and Novak) to ASK Novak leading questions, and true to his blabby self, Armitage leaked
  • OVP learned that Armitage leaked to Woodward, and afterwards got Ken Duberstein--who's in a weird GOP hack group with Hohlt, who brokered the Novak article--to set up a meeting with Armitage
  • Armitage actually isn't the first source for Novak--the first source was someone Novak spoke to on July 7, almost certainly someone in OVP
  • Armitage is a liar just like the rest of them, and was part of a deliberate leak
  • Armitage was just a big dummy and got played by OVP, but when someone needed to bail out the Administration in Fall 2003, he was willing to help out
  • Obviously, not all of these are mutually exclusive. One thing appears clear, though: Novak had at least the conversation with Libby on July 9, and probably another conversation, that were relevant to the construction of his article--but he's not talking about those conversations.

No way Novak is going to 'own' the 'counter-proliferation' quote - the price tag ("Was Top Secret only Days Before") is too steep for him.

He'll throw that hot potatoe around another six times if he has to...

The other Bush speech announced he had doubled the size of CIA and planned the same thing for PC. Plame blew, again, right here because she blew IIPA. The agency is now using the doubling of the number of employees to double the size of the budget and not hire military personnel, which is a tradition. If you knew Joe was PC, Plame was CIA blowing PC and Ames violated IIPA like Plame he was PC; and, yes her dad was Air Force NSA and Joe's dad was a diplomat(CIA) in Spain and she had visited countries who don't have nukes as a nuke specialist ordered by the Direcctor of Operations; why wouldn't she be mentioned if she had already blown IIPA with Ames, how she was blown, and used IIPA from there on as her excuse for constantly being blown, Ames PC IIPA violation and hers, by Joe PC, her husband, making it a legal issue?


Novak. Wilson. Will this never end?

Emptywheel, please write another book and get Plame off your mind.


I am glad to see you never give up, Jodi. Good to see you around.

1. Oh man, just wait until you get to the last chapter on Plame.
2. It's inconvenient for Novak that the central plank of his refusal to acknowledge any wrongdoing on his part, any need to apologize to the Wilsons, and his effort to cast himself as the victim in all this has fallen apart since his book went to press: Toensing's claim that Plame was not covert under IIPA and investigators knew it from the outset.
3. This from his original column:

Wilson never worked for the CIA, but his wife, Valerie Plame, is an Agency operative on weapons of mass destruction. Two senior administration officials told me Wilson's wife suggested sending him to Niger to investigate the Italian report. The CIA says its counter-proliferation officials selected Wilson and asked his wife to contact him.

is actually potentially circumstantial evidence that he knew just what he was doing insofar as he doesn't attribute the information about CPD - that Plame worked on the DO/clandestine side of the Agency - to anyone, and the closest he comes is attributing it not to his SAOs but to the CIA, and even then, as polly notes, he leaves it as an eminently plausibly deniable implication. It's also interesting because the longstanding Maguire hypothesis was that Novak just made a deduction - Novak was told by CIA that not Tenet or the VP sent Wilson but rather CPD officials sent him; Novak learned from Armitage and Rove that Wilson's wife worked at the CIA and sent him; and Novak deduced that Plame was CPD and sent him or something like that - and now we know that Novak's official story is that in fact Armitage told him CPD.
4. For me, the name issue also is really interesting. Novak says Armitage told him her first name and that's it. He also says he didn't look in Who's Who until Friday, July 11 in the morning. Armitage says he did not give Novak Plame's first name at all. Novak in his book appears to indicate he did not use her name with Wilson's friend on the street. But in his book, Wilson indicates that his friend told him that Novak did indeed use her first name. Furthermore, Novak in his book says that, when Wilson told him that he had heard from his friend about their encounter, it sounded like Wilson had notes (and WIlson too says in his book that they wrote down what happened immediately upon his friend telling him that afternoon of July 8), and that Wilson gave a pretty accurate account via his friend. So if Novak did indeed use Valerie's name with WIlson's friend, he knows it and he has to explain where he got it from: he either got it from Armitage - which Armitage denies - or he got it from someone else previously. Same goes with if Novak gave Rove Plame's first name.

5. Really, the last chapter on Plame contains so many doozies, it's remarkable. Why, for instance, would Rove be so flabbergasted when he found out that Fitzgerald had figured out that Armitage and Rove were his two SAOs? Was the "one of my best Bush sources" he called on September 29 2003 to ask about 1x2x6 - to be told that it was almost certainly Adam Levine, who would be gone soon - Karl Rove, whom Waas reported had a weird conversation with Novak that very day and whom Novak describes elsewhere in the book in very similar terms? Speaking of which, why does Novak have nothing to say about the purported conversation with Rove on September 29 - he called the Waas story a lie on tv back in the day, but did not explain what was false about it? Why does Novak characterize Armitage in the book as having a steel trap memory to suggest he knew very well that he had been a source for Novak on Plame, when in his review of Hubris in the Weekly Standard Novak had argued that he had better recall than Armitage of their conversation because he (Novak) wrote notes down shortly afterward whereas Armitage only recalled it for investigators several months later? Just politeness? Novak says he made one regrettable comment to Corn and Phelps in july 2003, but, especially with the quote to Phelps, he doesn't explain why it was wrong. Does Novak seriously not understand the flaw in his logic when he tries to suggest the investigation was all Armitage's fault because he could have gone public because he had no fear of criminal vulnerability because Victoria Toensing had decided that Plame was covert and that therefore the IIPA could not have been violated? Why does Novak neglect the fact that unlike others, Armitage did exactly what President Bush had urged repeatedly, that anyone with information go forward to the DoJ as the appropriate agency? And so on.

the question that is central for me in all this is:

why does novak keep trying out a new lie in public?

in washington, which he knows better than i by logarithmic scales,

if you say something stupid, or do something stupid,

you do not bring it up again and again.

you keep very quiet about it, unless someone forces you to comment and then you (or your spokesperson) unleash your most recent, carefully constructed lie, aka "parsing".


why in the world does novak keep on reinventing his lie in public?

why not lie (so to speak) low?

what is he afraid of?

what prospective event(s) is he trying to counter?

Let me put a finer point on Novak's story about CPD, and put it as mild criticism just for the fun of it. I'm not really sure Novak's various version of his story are in this regard inconsistent - especially if you allow that on live TV Novak might have simply slipped and said Nonproliferation instead of counterproliferation. (As Fitzgerald pointed out in his rebuttal closing, even the very best of national security reporters like Walter Pincus can and did make just that mistake, in print no less. So, the obvious implication goes, what can you expect from Novak on live TV.) Apart from that, all the versions are consistent, even if they're not all identical. However, and here is my point, you can pretty much only make the original story consistent with the rest on the assumption that Novak affirmatively did not want to attribute the CPD tidbit to any of his administration sources, and even with the CIA he was coy about it. And that pretty much only makes sense if Novak knew very well that to attribute the information that Plame was CPD to someone was to attribute to that person knowledge that Plame was or, at the least, very likely was undercover.

That being the case, it of course becomes all the more interesting that Novak attributes that tidbit to Armitage, and Armitage denies it.

I meant to add to my earlier post, that both with regard to the CPD element and with regard to Plame's first name, Armitage can point to the fact that his description of her to Woodward a month earlier included neither of those. On the other hand, recall that Fleischer's testimony was that on July 7 Libby definitely described Plame with one of those elements (CPD) and probably used the other (her name - even "Valerie Plame," no less). On the third hand, however, recall that what Fleischer told Pincus on July 12 was not CPD and the name but rather WMD analyst and just Wilson's wife - tracking what he appears to have heard from Bartlett on July 11, and also what Armitage told Woodward back in June, which might be explained by the common source of that information, apparently, in the INR memo (though for the life of me I cannot figure out how people decided on the basis of the INR memo that Plame was a WMD analyst).

Jeff - For what its worth, I stand in constant awe of your and Marcy's ability to grasp, keep track of and relate the most minute, yet critical, details on the Plame case. It really is pretty remarkable.

do not invoke the Diety's name in vain, jodi, you pestilent piece of pus. how DARE you ??? you insigificant arrogant pos. god, how we wish you would go away and never darken the comments ever again !!!!


business is the dissemination of information. He makes money by doing it. He likes it. He thrives on it. He likes the attention.

He likes the money.

Jason Leopolds story IS credible because he actually spoke to "the friend" and leopold confirmed it with Wilson. No need to include "reasonably" in there emptywheel.

I still challenge people to look at all of the stories leopold wrote and you will see he was way ahead on many, many stories. He was the first to get evidence that cheney was involved and he spoke to joe wilson regularly


awe, or pity. Either one works.

Nope, bmaz is absolutely right and took the words right out of what I was thinking as I read -- quite remarkable. Awe. Definitely awe.

I will grant that they have a tension toward the incompleted task and will probably have it forever, I suppose.

Just another 2nd shot from the Knoll.

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