Robert Novak has finally revealed what he knew about Valerie Plame before he wrote his infamous column, when he knew it, and (mostly) who told it to him. And if Novak is to be given credibility, here’s how it unfolded.
- Novak was interviewing an unnamed high-level source (let’s call him “Skippy”) about various matters. During the course of the investigation, Skippy casually let slip that former Ambassador Joseph Wilson’s trip to Africa to investigate the possibility that Iraq was attempting to obtain material for weapons of mass destruction was pushed forward by Wilson’s wife, who worked at the CIA.
- Later, Novak realized the significance of Skippy’s slip when it started being passed around that Wilson’s public accounts of his investigation — that it turned up nothing — were at odds with reports of his classified report. The notion that Wilson and his wife might have had their own agenda for his trip started looking more and more likely.
- Novak called Karl Rove to confirm that it was Wilson’s wife who had pushed for Wilson to get the job, and not Vice President Cheney’s office, as Wilson was saying. Rove confirmed it.
- At this point, Novak consulted Joseph Wilson’s entry in Who’s Who to determine the wife’s name — up until now not stated by anyone — and published his infamous column.
- Novak then calls the CIA to confirm that Valerie Plame works for them, and the CIA’s spokesman confirms it.
- Special Prosecutor Fitzgerald has the names of the CIA spokesman, Karl Rove, and Skippy, but declined to pursue any charges against any of them.
- To date, the only person charged with anything in this matter is Vice President Cheney’s former chief of staff, “Scooter” Libby (who may or may not also be “Skippy” — nobody is saying who Skippy really is), for perjury. Libby, in essence, is accused about lying about telling the truth about a liar, namely Joseph Wilson.
- Joseph Wilson will not get to see Karl Rove, Skippy, or anyone else “frog-marched out of the White House.”
To sum up:
- The Wilsons arranged for Joseph Wilson to take the trip to Africa on behalf of the CIA for their own reasons. Whether this was to jump-start his career or make a political attack against the Bush administration is unknown.
- Wilson himself began politicizing his trip when he started lying about two things: who chose him to go, and what he found.
- The exposing of Plame’s employment at the CIA was a direct consequence of her and her husband’s actions, intended to prove the lies Wilson was telling about who sent him and what he found.
- Although he has not publicly stated so, the actions of Special Prosecutor Fitzgerald indicate that he does not believe that the publicity that Plame worked for the CIA violated any laws.
- Scooter Libby is once again proof of the old adage that “it isn’t the crime, but the coverup.” If Libby had simply told the truth about telling the truth about Joe Wilson’s lies, he most likely wouldn’t be under indictment.
Now, I’m no expert on all the minutiae of the Plame case. But I think this sums it up fairly well.