Novak Speaks

After 2 1/2 years, Patrick Fitzgerald closed the chapter pertaining to Robert Novak, allowing him now to discuss the role he played. And discuss he does — Novak outlines his role in today’s column after first acknowledging for the first time yesterday that he revealed three administration sources. However he did so because they granted him legal waivers to testify because Fitzgerald already knew their role through other means.

Novak did not however reveal his primary source. In an interview with Howard Kurtz, Novak said, “I’m still constrained as a reporter. … It was not on the record, and he has never revealed himself as being the source, and until he does I don’t feel I should.”

Novak on his primary source: “In my sworn testimony, I said what I have contended in my columns and on television: Joe Wilson’s wife’s role in instituting her husband’s mission was revealed to me in the middle of a long interview with an official who I have previously said was not a political gunslinger. After the federal investigation was announced, he told me through a third party that the disclosure was inadvertent on his part.”

“Following my interview with the primary source, I sought out the second administration official and the CIA spokesman for confirmation. I learned Valerie Plame’s name from Joe Wilson’s entry in Who’s Who in America.”

“I considered his wife’s role in initiating Wilson’s mission, later confirmed by the Senate Intelligence Committee, to be a previously undisclosed part of an important news story. I reported it on that basis.”