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Was Novak's Source in the CIA or White House?

Time Magazine reports:

Another character in the drama remains unnamed: the original source for columnist Robert Novak, who wrote the first piece naming Plame. Fitzgerald, says a lawyer who's involved in the case, "knows who it is—and it's not someone at the White House."

Remember what Joseph Wilson said Novak told him initially?

"Bob Novak called me before he went to print with the report and he said a CIA source had told him that my wife was an operative," Wilson said. "He was trying to get a second source. He couldn't get a second source. Could I confirm that? And I said no."

Wilson said he called Novak after the article appeared citing sources in the Bush administration. "What was it, CIA or senior administration?" Wilson said he asked Novak. "He said to me, 'I misspoke the first time I spoke to you.' "

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  • Could someone tell me.....has Novak testified before the grand jury? Why hasn't he been a focus of this leak...he reported Plames name in the first place. Why not send him to jail for not naming the source? Miller and Cooper have been the focus, why not Novak?

    ...not someone at the White House
    Ari is no longer at the White House.

    Re: Was Novak's Source in the CIA or White House? (none / 0) (#3)
    by Peter G on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:05:03 PM EST
    "Misspoke" is a favorite obfuscatory word of mine, assuming it's a real word in the English language at all. Seems to me the first time I heard anyone utter it, it was Richard Nixon. Could mean "I inadvertently said something that wasn't true." Or it could mean, "I said something that was true, when on second thought it seems to me that I shouldn't have said anything." Usually, it's the latter, while the person claiming to have "misspoken" wants you to think they mean the former. Wonder what Novak meant by it in this instance.

    The fact that Libby wanted to be referred to as a 'Hill staffer' shows that the identity of all the unnamed sources in the public sources on which we have been relying needs to be reevaluated. Perhaps Novak's misspeaking is a result of this double mode of identification. So, either Novak was contacted by a CIA source who asked to be referred to as White House staff; or perhaps he was contacted by White House staff who asked to be referred to as CIA. Could anyone in WHIG plausibly pretend to be CIA? Also, another thought: Miller had some sort of security clearance. Perhaps her 'forgotten' source for Plame was not forgotten at all; instead, it may be that she is still not at liberty to identify the source, or the means by which she learned the name. It is of course completely preposterous, as many have noted, that she just can't remember who it was.

    Re: Was Novak's Source in the CIA or White House? (none / 0) (#5)
    by Swopa on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:05:03 PM EST
    As I wrote at Needlenose last night, this rumor seems to be holding up rather well: "According to our sources, Miller shared Plame’s identity with her perfidious fellow neocon after deciding not to publish it herself; Novak then called his two White House sources—one of whom was Karl Rove—for confirmation and wrote the July 14, 2003 column that blew Plame’s cover."

    Re: Was Novak's Source in the CIA or White House? (none / 0) (#6)
    by Justina on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:05:03 PM EST
    CIA AND Senior Administration Source? Novak first told Wilson that he had learned about his wife's CIA connection from a CIA source, but his column referred to a "senior administration official" as the source. Perhaps Novak's source was both. Both designations might be used to describe Fred Fleitz, John Bolton's CIA employed deputy. Fleitz testified to a Senate committee that he worked for both the CIA and the State Department. Prior to being assigned to Bolton, he had been part of the CIA "WINPAC" group, working in the same weapons non-proliferation group to which Valerie Plame was assigned. Prior to her marriage to Ambassador Wilson, Plame had used the name "Plame" in her CIA work. Fleitz could, and very likely did, know that. As aggressive proponents of the Iraq invasion, he and Bolton had all the requisit motivation to join in the administration's campaign to trash Wilson's credibility.

    Justina's suggestion that Fleitz was the original source makes good sense; note this tidbit: "Fitzgerald, says a lawyer who's involved in the case, "knows who it is—and it's not someone at the White House." Perhaps, not to be too cloak and dagger about it, it was Fleitz making an anonymous phonecall designed to pique Novak et al's curiosity, and drive them to go to their more regular sources in the WH for confirmation. Hence the 'I heard about it from a reporter' defense; which was not true, but which was a part of the conspiracy's plan.

    Re: Was Novak's Source in the CIA or White House? (none / 0) (#8)
    by chemoelectric on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:05:03 PM EST
    I've said many times that I have long suspected that Ari Fleischer cooperated. I have speculated that it was Ari Fleischer ratting that led to Fitzgerald's appointment. But there's also the Old Executive Office Building, Foggy Bottom, the Pentagon, etc.

    Re: Was Novak's Source in the CIA or White House? (none / 0) (#9)
    by chemoelectric on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:05:03 PM EST
    Novak simply misspeaking about a CIA source is plausible to me, because he had called or was about to call CIA trying to get confirmation from them, and so Novak may simply have momentarily lapsed in his brain activity.

    Re: Was Novak's Source in the CIA or White House? (none / 0) (#10)
    by squeaky on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:05:03 PM EST
    Justina-I agree that Fleitz seems to be the most likely link to Plame and Bolton. Fleitz also seems to have been with the neocon program to support the Iraq war at all costs. I think that Plame was also most likely known to Miller as that were on the same beat and may have crossed paths. And Miller and Bolton are old pals. I believe that she also was working for the neocons and pushed her stories even though she knew they were false; the end justifies the means. She was the neocon press propagandist. Empty Wheelxt has quite a bit about Bolton, Fleitz, and Plame, it is worth a read.