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Novak Changes His Story–a Fourth Time

Bob Novak, faced with the evidence that his story is BS, has now changed his story … a fourth time. And even while he changes his story, he suggests Armitage is the unreliable one.

Novak’s Changing Story, Part One

Novak wrote this column, clearly, to insist that Armitage told him that Plame worked in Counter-Proliferation, probably because if Armitage didn’t say that, then either someone else did, or Novak was high when he used the word "operative." Novak makes this claim twice:

First, Armitage did not, as he now indicates, merely pass on something he had heard and that he "thought" might be so. Rather, he identified to me the CIA division where Mrs. Wilson worked, and said flatly that she recommended the mission to Niger by her husband, former Amb. Joseph Wilson.

[snip]

He had told me unequivocally that Mrs. Wilson worked in the CIA’s Counter-Proliferation Division and that she had suggested her husband’s mission.

But Novak has been utterly inconsistent in his story about what Armitage said. Here’s what he said in 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 suggestedsending him to Niger to investigate the Italian report. The CIA saysits counter-proliferation officials selected Wilson and asked his wifeto contact him.

Note, the only attribution he gives to the CPD identification is to the CIA [update–and as pollyusa notes below, they don’t clearly say Plame is a CPD employee]. He changed his story the first time when he switched his attribution that Fall, when he blamed Armitage:

During a long conversation with a senioradministration official, I asked why Wilson was assigned the mission toNiger. He said Wilson had been sent by the CIA’s counterproliferationsection at the suggestion of one of its employees, his wife.

He didn’t make any claims as to how Armitage described Plame when he first started speaking this summer.

Joe Wilson’s wife’s role in instituting her husband’s mission

But then he changed that story when Bret Hume interviewed him, now describing what Armitage said as something which would be either WINPAC or CPD.

His wife worked in the office of nuclear nonproliferation in the CIA, and she suggested he go.

In short, Novak’s version of what Armitage said to him has taken 5 different forms since he first published this leak in July 2003.

  • CIA labels Plame as Counter-Proliferation (CPD)
  • Armitage labels Plame as CPD
  • Armitage doesn’t say anything about CPD
  • Armitage labels Plame as Nuclear Non-Proliferation (not CPD)
  • Armitage labels Plame as CPD
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