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Don’t Blame Me…


(Update:  C&L now has the Novak video up here.) 

Shorter Bob Novak on Meet the Press this morning:

Don’t blame me, I was just the messenger.

Oh yeah, that’s gonna fly.   At what point in our society did we decide that taking no responsibility for the consequences of our actions was even remotely acceptable?  For shame.

Here’s my live-blog summary.  Will link up the transcript when I get it and any video that Crooks and Liars may post in a bit:

"CIA agency operative" — Russert begins the interview talking about how Novak characterized Valerie from the start.

Novak’s history of talking with the FBI, Fitzgerald and the grand jury for sworn testimony: 

10/03 FBI

1/04 Fitz

2/04 Fitz

/04 G/J  (Did anyone catch this date?  I missed it…)

Fitzgerald knew who my sources were prior to talking with him about them, so it wasn’t a matter of giving them up.

Fitzgerald knew the identity of Novak’s sources almost from the very beginning. "Decided that no law was broken." [CHS: I call bullshit.  There was not necessarily a decision that no law was broken, and only Fitzgerald and his team know the criteria used in making the charging decisions.  There is a LOT that goes into this, including a possible decision that laws were broken, but that it would not be a winning case before a jury and that such a case would be a waste of public funds to go forward even though you are certain someone is guilty as hell — without additional evidence, you just can’t move the ball forward.  (Which, honestly, may be the worst possible moment in your prosecutorial career — nothing sucks more than not being able to charge someone that you know in your gut is a sleezeball.)  And stuff like the information that perhaps Scooter Libby is holding back in his obstruction, two counts of lying to federal investigators and two counts of lying to the grand jury under oath might include.  Additionally, there are a number of reasons you might not charge under the primary crime, including problems with very delicate and important issues of national security information, which you just don’t use in a case with no truly good reason to do so, including because you may have graymail issues with your own government trying to protect the flank of its personnel by refusing to turn it over.  I could go on and on with other reasons and strategic problems, etc., but suffice it to say it is not even remotely as clear cut as "no underlying crime," no matter how hard the Babs Brigade tries to spin its way out of this mess.  Period.  Oh, and no announcement from Fitzgerald that the investigation is fully over…well, then it’s not over in my book.  Nice try, Bob, but no one is buying.]

Investigation has been concluded as far as the segment regarding Novak is concerned.

Novak is clearly indicating that his source is a "he" in the interview.

The identity of his primary source will come out sooner or later, probably sooner is a good guess, Novak says. [CHS: Does Novak know something is coming down the pike?]

Portrays Wilson as hostile to the Administration in his Meet the Press interview. Novak says he went to his primary source to find out why they would send Wilson to Niger on this mission – primary source said Wilson’s wife works for Novak says that Harlow told him that Valerie "did not initiate the Wilson trip, but that she facilitated it."  Novak says that it was a free-ranging conversation, just the two of them in the room.  Again repeats his "not a partisan gunslinger" sort of characterization.

Novak now backtracking on the "they gave me the name" from the Newsday article – misstatement on Novak’s part, he says.  (So, he apparently did say it, he’s now saying that he just said it incorrectly.  Oh.  Okay.)

Novak says he has not spoken to his primary source since the interview.

Novak says he testified under oath that he was not given Valerie’s name directly from his primary source.

Harlow asked Novak not to use Valerie’s name. Did not say that she was a covered employee. (Novak claims that Valerie had been outed by Aldrich Ames years ago.) Novak says that Harlow never said that she was covert – but had George Tenet gotten on the phone and said "her life is in danger, we have covert operations running, do not run this story," then I wouldn’t have put it in.  [CHS:  Okay, so the spokesperson for the CIA says "don’t use her name," but that’s not good enough for Novak.  To stop him from printing the name of a CIA agent in a column, it now takes George Tenet begging him not to do so because of many listed dire consequences.  Bob Novak is a dissembling ass.]

Characterizes Harlow as "a novelist, a low-key guy."  [CHS – Think I’ll portray Novak as a blabbermouth who relies on sources who prop up his version of events. As long as we’re doing scene setting, anyway…]

Novak says he doesn’t think he outed Valerie – thinks Aldrich Ames did so previously. [CHS:  There are so many things wrong with that statement, starting with the fact that Ames, if in fact that is even true which I doubt, would have outed her within an intel context, and Novak publicly printed the information which outed her…well, publicly.  Which is a whole other level of outing, now isn’t it?  Let alone the fact that, as I recall, there has been a lot of dispute about any claim that Ames outed Valerie previously.  The CYA Reputation Rehab Tour continues.]

PS — In case you were wondering, Russert did mention his involvement in the case, only to the extent that he claimed some sort of moral superiority for NBC paying his legal bills to fight to quash his subpoena.  Which made Novak huffy.  (See above Fitzgerald already knew his sources, so talking about them wasn’t outing them…)

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Christy Hardin Smith

Christy Hardin Smith

Christy is a "recovering" attorney, who earned her undergraduate degree at Smith College, in American Studies and Government, concentrating in American Foreign Policy. She then went on to graduate studies at the University of Pennsylvania in the field of political science and international relations/security studies, before attending law school at the College of Law at West Virginia University, where she was Associate Editor of the Law Review. Christy was a partner in her own firm for several years, where she practiced in a number of areas including criminal defense, child abuse and neglect representation, domestic law, civil litigation, and she was an attorney for a small municipality, before switching hats to become a state prosecutor. Christy has extensive trial experience, and has worked for years both in and out of the court system to improve the lives of at risk children.

Email: reddhedd AT firedoglake DOT com