What of Novak’s “Tell-Almost”?

Hotline compiles a great round-up of everyone’s take on Robert Novak’s column. See it after the jump…

And don’t forget to watch Fox News Channel tonight, where Novak will discuss his column on “Special Rreport” and “Hannity & Colmes” (remember that Novak has a contract with FNC).

Here’s our question: If TVNewser’s emailer is correct in asserting that MSNBC “beat Fox News with the news about Novak’s column yesterday” why didn’t Novak hook up his own network?


FNC’s Barnes: “What this shows is what Bob Novak was said publicly all along there was no leak. There was an inadvertent comment and he believes it was inadvertent. … This shows, I think, clearly that there was not a conspiracy to harm Joe Wilson at all by revealing his wife’s name as a CIA agent” (“Special Report,” 7/11).

GOP strategist Mary Matalin, asked if Novak’s unnamed source will reveal the admin. attempted to retaliate against Joe Wilson: “The only person through several investigations documented to have been a bona fide liar in this case is Joe Wilson who went on a mission under dubious circumstances.” More: “This was not any retribution. It would be not just be malfeasance, it would be immoral if the administration did not answer its critics when its critics were lying, flat-out lying about facts relative to the war on terror, which Joe Wilson was knowingly doing” (“Hannity & Colmes,” FNC, 7/11).

CNN’s Roberts: “It answers a few questions. First of all we know that he was interviewed by the FBI. There was some question as to whether or not he was. He was interviewed by Fitzgerald. Everybody assumed he was, but nobody really knew. And he appeared before the grand jury and he did not roll over on his sources, because, as he says, Fitzgerald already had those sources” (“Situation Room,” 7/11).

Washington Post’s Kurtz: “He does say that there’s a difference between a confidential source giving a legal waiver to what somebody testified before a grand jury, which is what this mystery source did, as well as Karl Rove, who’s name we already know — and giving somebody the freedom to go public and publish a name or talk about it on television. And that’s why Novak is still shielding the identity of this last person” (“Situation Room,” CNN, 7/11).

MSNBC’s Shuster: “What Novak is simply saying in this column is that Novak has a different recollection. It’s worth pointing out that sometimes sources confirm information for you as a reporter and don’t know it, or don’t know what other information you have. But again, that’s an important discrepancy. What’s also important is that Bob Novak is not shedding any new light on either the Harlow conversation or the Karl Rove conversation, where there’s a discrepancy between the two about what they talked about” (“Countdown,” 7/11).

Washington Post’s Milbank, on Harlow: “Harlow’s really a small fish in this whole thing. I think what we’re really seeing, from what Novak’s revealed, is, first of all, he did give up all three of his sources to Fitzgerald, saying Fitzgerald knew who they were anyway. And I think the other thing we’re really seeing is the fact that Fitzgerald gave Novak freedom to talk now really indicates that this whole thing really is winding down.”

More Milbank: “Novak is saying it’s his impression, based on what Fitzgerald told his lawyers, that none of his three sources are being indicted here. There’s every sign that this is only about Scooter Libby at this point. And even that is not the original crime that was alleged and investigated here, it’s a matter of lying to the grand jury. So it means that something really naughty happened, something that wasn’t supposed to happen in terms of identifying, outing this CIA agent, but it’s something that’s almost impossible to prove, and sure enough, it was impossible to prove” (“Countdown,” MSNBC, 7/11).

So Who’s The Third Source?

Washington Post’s VandeHei: “It ends another chapter in the saga. We never fully knew all the details of Novak’s conversations. I think we did know that Rove was one of the sources, always assumed that Harlow had been engaged in the process, because Bob Novak had called him to tell him the story that he was writing. And then that third source who we’d like to know, everyone in the case seems to think that it’s Dick Armitage, a former State Department official. It be good to know that third official, because it might give you a better portrait of whether this was a concerted effort to try to damage a critic of the White House or whether it was just sort of an incidental conversation or someone who had information who happened to give it to Novak.”

VandeHei, on Armitage: “He is known as somewhat of a gossiper with people in Washington, so it wouldn’t be unfathomable that he would be talking about this or other issues with Novak. And I also think that that would undercut this whole theory that this was this concerted effort to get out and to hurt a critic of the White House, because he’s not seen as someone as part of the White House inner circle” (“Hardball,” MSNBC, 7/11).

MSNBC’s Matthews: “Armitage is not a hawk. Armitage is a moderate within this administration. … Certainly no evidence he did this on purpose. So it could be that this entire investigation, with all its expenses and all the news value it’s had … may have started with an innocent revelation to Bob Novak about the identity of Joe Wilson’s wife” (“Scarbrough Country,” 7/11).