In an interview to be aired this weekend on Bloomberg’s “Political Capital with Al Hunt,” Bob Novak says that the civil suit Plame and her husband brought against Vice President Cheney, his former aide and White House adviser Karl Rove probably will probably be thrown out.
Full transcript when you click below…
(This is not a legal transcript. Bloomberg LP cannot guarantee its accuracy.)
AL HUNT: One of the central figures in the federal investigation of the leak of a CIA operative has been columnist Robert Novak, who first identified the agent, Valerie Plame, in a column three years ago.
This week Novak wrote a column detailing his role in the case and why he revealed the names of his sources to the federal grand jury after learning the special prosecutor already knew their identity.
Bob, thank you for being with us-
ROBERT NOVAK: My pleasure.
MR. HUNT: – for the last word. Valerie Plame and her husband have filed a suit against Vice President Cheney, Karl Rove, one of your sources, the indicted Cheney aide, Scooter Libby. What are you going to do if they try to haul you before that trial and get you to identify the one you source you haven’t identified?
MR. NOVAK: Well, that would be the whole question of whether I would even adhere to a subpoena. I am sure there will be motions to throw this suit out of court. the lawyers I talk to say that this is a very unusual case, and I think that the Wilsons may have trouble maintaining this suit; not having it thrown out.
MR. HUNT: A number of people who would defend not only your right to publish a column but say, hey, there was – (inaudible) – still ask, why was it necessary to identify her and the fact that she was a CIA operative.
MR. NOVAK: When I talked to the primary source on a long – hour-long interview about – covering many things, I got into the question, which was the hot story of the time, of the ambassador’s mission to Niger. And in the course of it I said, why in the world would they send – would the CIA send Joe Wilson there? He has not an intelligence background, he hasn’t had any contact in Africa for a long time. I just know then that he is also an anti-Bush partisan. So my source said, well, his wife, who works for the Counterproliferation Division of the CIA suggested it.
I thought that was an interesting part of the story, which I put in the column halfway through the column.
MR. HUNT: You also said this wasn’t a concerted campaign and yet they did talk to, besides you, a number of other media outlets about Valerie Plame – the White House.
MR. NOVAK: I don’t know how many they really did talk to. There was a lot of stories out that they fed this story to six people and they finally came to me, which was really a canard. I know that nobody ever sought me out and said, gee, we’ve have got a hell of a story of Valerie Plame. This came out in the course with my source, who later, through a third party, said it was inadvertently that he brought her name up. And then the other people that I checked out with, Karl Rove and the then-CIA-spokesman, Bill Harlow, I made the phone calls to.
MR. HUNT: Currently, as you know, The New York Times is under attack from people like Bill Bennett for publishing a story about the CIA trying to track terrorists through bank records. Whether you agree with that story or not, how do you feel about those attacks?
MR. NOVAK: Well, I think those – I worry about those attacks. I’m – I don’t compromise on First Amendment rights.
Now, the question of the New York Times revealing of this – of the anti-terrorist thing I think is a much more serious security lapse than – I don’t think there is any security lapse in revealing that Joe Wilson’s wife – working for the CIA when a lot of people knew about it, but I do believe there was a question whether it was a good judgment of the Times to run that story, but I believe the – I don’t join the Times bashing that a lot of people take part in.
MR. HUNT: Thank you Bob, you do get the last word. We’ll see you next week. And thanks for watching.