Joseph Wilson's "Who's Who In America" Entry

Many have wondered what was the purpose of the “Who’s Who In America” sitting on the desk in yesterday’s Robert Novak walk-off incident on CNN’s Inside Politics.

novakzoom400.jpg

Josh Marshall points out this tidbit from an a Chicago Sun-Times piece on the incident explains:

In a column that ran in the Sun-Times on Monday, Novak suggested he learned Plame’s identity partly from reading Who’s Who in America. A CNN source said a producer had placed a copy of Who’s Who on the set Thursday prior to the taping, apparently so it could be consulted while Novak was asked about the issue.

So what would they have found?

Here’s what’s inside the book siting on that desk…


“Copyright (c) 2002 by Reed Elsevier, Inc.”

Melvin Schuetz from Baylor’s Moody Library forwarded Joseph Wilson’s bio from the 2003 edition of Who’s Who in America [Volume 2 (L-Z)]. He notes:

Wilson’s entry carries over about 5 lines to the next column, which is why it cuts off in mid-sentence at the end. The relevant text is “m. Valerie Elise Plame, Apr. 3, 1998,” which not only appears in the 2003 edition, but ALL editions from 1999-2005!

So, via Who’s Who, the name “Valerie Plame” has been associated publicly with Joe Wilson since the Clinton era – nice secret… ***

Coverage Elsewhere

Mickey Kaus
Tom Maguire
Josh Marshall
Jay Rosen

Update: For the commenters and blogs tracking back saying variation of, “Plame’s identity was never a secret,” (a point I address below at the ***) this post originally related back to what the book was doing on the table [See yesterday’s post on the Novak meltdown]. Was it supposed to scare Novak? Given the content of the book why would it? It says what he said it said…

Update 2: More on Novak and Plame later, but perhaps the raging debate in the comment section can dissect what effect, if any, Novak’s piece would have had if he used Valerie Wilson instead of Valerie Plame? Also do you think Novak, on hearing of the wife’s involvement got her name from Who’s Who and stuck with it OR found the Who’s Who reference to backup his source(s)?

*** Evidently one cannot even make a snarky remark about the Plame affair without having to explain oneself ad nauseum. OK here goes…

I’m over generalizing here, but it seem like there wasn’t an outing of an agent until two non-secret bits of information were combined.Joseph Wilson’s wife’s maiden name, most would now agree, was not a secret. That Wilson worked at the CIA was not widely known, but it was hardly a secret [See Cliff May at NRO and Just One Minute]. That Wilson’s wife was (or had been) a covert operative was only known to (if reports are to be believed) the Cuban government and perhaps those receiving information form Aldrich Ames, but it was still a secret. Novak puts two pieces of non-secret information together and gets this flashpoint.

But how did that combination “out” a covert agent? I turns out the the Valerie Plame name (remember, according to many commenters her name’s no big deal) was her cover. If her cover name was Valerie Jones how exactly would Novak’s column as it was written have “outed” her? It’s wouldn’t have. As former federal prosecutor Joesph DiGenoa contends it sure looks like the CIA didn’t exactly bust a nut to “take every conceivable step to protect this person’s identity.”

Wikipedia Looks To Eject Trolls
Time for New Hampshire to get over the hump

411 Comments

  1. MikeSC August 6, 2005
  2. MikeSC August 6, 2005
  3. ed August 6, 2005
  4. Lonevoice August 6, 2005
  5. The Ace August 6, 2005
  6. Chris August 6, 2005
  7. MichaelC August 6, 2005
  8. POed Lib August 6, 2005
  9. Jay Tea August 6, 2005
  10. bullwinkle August 6, 2005
  11. POed Lib August 6, 2005
  12. MichaelC August 6, 2005
  13. Edwin August 6, 2005
  14. ed August 6, 2005
  15. bullwinkle August 6, 2005
  16. bullwinkle August 6, 2005
  17. MikeSC August 6, 2005
  18. ed August 6, 2005
  19. ed August 7, 2005
  20. Jay Tea August 7, 2005
  21. The Dude August 7, 2005
  22. POed Lib August 7, 2005
  23. POed LIb August 7, 2005
  24. ed August 7, 2005
  25. The Ace August 7, 2005
  26. The Ace August 7, 2005
  27. Edwin August 7, 2005
  28. ed August 7, 2005
  29. ed August 7, 2005
  30. gnusman53 August 7, 2005
  31. ed August 7, 2005
  32. chad August 7, 2005
  33. The Ace August 7, 2005
  34. Truth to Power August 7, 2005
  35. MikeSC August 7, 2005
  36. Chris August 7, 2005
  37. nogo postal August 7, 2005
  38. ed August 7, 2005
  39. BR August 8, 2005
  40. BR August 8, 2005
  41. POed Liberal August 8, 2005
  42. POed Liberal August 8, 2005
  43. The Ace August 8, 2005
  44. nogo postal August 8, 2005
  45. Independent thinker August 8, 2005
  46. Nescio August 9, 2005
  47. BR August 9, 2005
  48. Jeff October 24, 2005
  49. TMF July 11, 2006
  50. Chuck Simmins July 11, 2006