July 18, 2006


The End of the Affair: Novak exonerates the Bushies in the Plame case (Christopher Hitchens, July 17, 2006, Slate)

To summarize, we now know that:

1. Novak was never approached by any administration officials but approached them instead.

2. He was never told the name Plame but discovered it from Who's Who in America, which contained it in Joseph Wilson's entry.

3. Special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald had all along known which sources had responded to Novak's questions.

When one thinks of the oceans of ink and acres of paper that have been wasted on this mother of all nonstories, one wants to weep for the journalistic profession as well as for the trees. [...]

As Novak says, the original question was: How did a man publicly critical of the Bush policy get the CIA's nomination for a mission to Niger? When he asked this question of his first source, he was told in effect, "That's easy. His wife works there and recommended him for the trip." This has since been confirmed by the report of the Senate intelligence committee, which quotes a memo from Valerie Plame making the recommendation in so many words (on the bizarre grounds that Wilson already enjoyed warm relations with the people he would supposedly be investigating at the Niger Ministry of Mines). It seems to me that Novak was well within his rights to check with Karl Rove and with the CIA that this was indeed the case, and to take down his copy of Who's Who in America from the shelf. As he puts it, "I considered his wife's role in initiating Wilson's mission … to be a previously undisclosed part of an important news story."

Posted by Orrin Judd at July 18, 2006 8:27 AM

Is "Who's Who in America" the same sort of BS scam as "Who's Who in American High Schools" (or whatever it's called) where you pay them money to get your name listed?

Posted by: Bryan at July 18, 2006 9:13 AM

One in the same, though I suppose if you reach a certian level of notariety, they have to include you in order to maintain their credebility with the paying suckers and those who pay to list their names in order to impress other potential suckers with their status.

Posted by: John at July 18, 2006 10:53 AM

You mean to tell me that Fitzmas may never come. Next you'll try to tell me that the special election in California's 50th House District wasn't stolen.

Posted by: Dave W at July 18, 2006 1:29 PM

So in an act of vanity Wilson outed his wife's name himself.

Posted by: Gideon at July 18, 2006 4:59 PM