Report: Novak Cooperated

The Washington Post reports Monday that Robert Novak cooperated with Fitzgerald's probe in the Valerie Plame leaks case.

A critical early success for Fitzgerald was winning the cooperation of Robert D. Novak, the Chicago Sun-Times columnist who named Plame in a July 2003 story and attributed key information to "two senior administration officials." Legal sources said Novak avoided a fight and quietly helped the special counsel's inquiry, although neither the columnist nor his attorney have said so publicly.

While it's been pretty obvious Novak cooperated, this is the first MSM confirmation of it

The Post also reports:

At least five other reporters -- Miller, Cooper, NBC newsman Tim Russert and Washington Post reporters Walter Pincus and Glenn Kessler -- produced testimony.

What about Andrea Mitchell?

Finally, the article ends on a note that leaves the impression that Judith Miller's second grand jury appearance at which she produced notes of her June 23 converstation with Libby, which she did not recall independently at her first grand jury appearance, and which Libby may never have told Fitzgerald about, was enough to cause Fitzgerald to "call it a day."

Update: The Wall St. Journal (free link) reports that Novak's source, whom he once described as "no partisan gunslinger" may be indicted.

The New York Times reported last week that Novak's source does not work at the White House. Time Magazine reported the same thing.

Normally that would lead me to believe Novak's source was a CIA official, as he led Joseph Wilson to believe 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.' "

Maybe Novak also misspoke when he labeled his source "non-partisan." Maybe he was someone on the Defense Policy Board or the Office of Special Plans or in the State Department.

Remember the "person on the street" who spoke to Novak? That person was in the CIA and has testified to the grand jury. It may be former CIA spokesman Bill Harlow. Here's what Wilson says Novak told him, days before Novak published his article:

Striking up a conversation, my friend, without revealing that he knew me, asked Novak about the uranium controversy. It was a minor problem, Novak replied, and opined that the administration should have dealt with it weeks before. My friend then asked Novak what he thought about me, and Novak answered: "Wilson's an asshole. The CIA sent him. His wife, Valerie, works for the CIA. She's a weapons of mass destruction specialist. She sent him." At that point, my friend and Novak went their separate ways. My friend headed straight for my office a couple of blocks away.

Whoever the source was for that piece of information Novak passed on to the stranger sure doesn't sound like a "non-partisan gunslinger." It sounds like someone with a major axe to grind - like someone in Cheney's office or one of the Pentagon spin units.

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    Re: Report: Novak Cooperated (none / 0) (#1)
    by squeaky on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:05:17 PM EST
    He Must have needed to place Miller and Libby together in June. That would explain Libby's letter where he reiterates the month of July. What was so important about June? Do you think Fitzgerald knew about June and he set Miller and Libby up to try to conceal the meeting from him?

    Re: Report: Novak Cooperated (none / 0) (#2)
    by squeaky on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:05:17 PM EST
    fdl has a great hunch as to exactly when Fitzgerald's magic dust started to take control of Novak. fdl
    If I had to guess I'd say that Fitzgerald gave Novak a dose of the same magical memory helper he gave to Judy Miller, probably around the same time Novak had his meltdown on Crossfire. Just a hunch. But a strong one.
    He drove Novak to drunk.

    Re: Report: Novak Cooperated (none / 0) (#3)
    by Che's Lounge on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:05:17 PM EST
    Indictments will not be a cause to celebrate, but another reason to hang our heads in shame that these people were ever put into power. If someone asks me about this, I will respond the way I feel. Not with glee, but with disappointment. Disappointment that we let this happen. How many have died for this?

    Re: Report: Novak Cooperated (none / 0) (#4)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:05:18 PM EST
    Che, unless your crystal ball extended to discovering the Diebolding of America, which the media avoided mentioning for all the u$ual rea$ons, then you had nearly ZERO chance of stopping this. Billionaires pushed this on us, apparently because they wanted to be mega-billionaires. Because apparently money in such large quantities is VERY corrupting. And the corrupt are the ones who work the most hard to steal it. The only place where we failed, in my opinion, is in not pursuing Kissinger and Bush I with the doggedness that their crimes required of justice-loving people.

    Re: Report: Novak Cooperated (none / 0) (#5)
    by joejoejoe on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:05:18 PM EST
    If Novak's source worked for the Defense Department and is indicted along with Libby and/or Rove this gets far harder to spin for the White House. It's one thing to say Rove was involved and Fitzgerald is "criminalizing politics". But the Defense Department is supposed to be outside of the political arena and that's how it is seen outside of D.C.. From a narrative point of view the corruption is far easier to show if Defense is in the mix.