Novak Speaks! Kind of.

Today Robert Novak breaks his silence on the Valerie Plame case, over two years since he outed Plame in his column and triggered the whole crazy imbroglio that has followed. Does he reveal whether he spoke to the Grand Jury? Does he shed light on those mysterious eight redacted pages? Does he bring us any closer to knowing what the heck Patrick Fitzgerald is investigating, anyway? Sadly, no – Novak was finally moved to write about the case – against the advice of his lawyers – because of an allegation in the Washington Post that “so abuses my integrity as a journalist that I feel constrained to reply.”

Last Wednesday’s WaPo reported that Novak had, in fact, been explicitly told by ex-CIA spokesman Bill Harlow that Plame had not, in fact, authorized her husband Joseph Wilson’s yellowcake-hunting trip to Niger and that Novak’s story was wrong.

Novak takes umbrage to the implication that he had “ignored an official’s statement that I had the facts wrong but wrote it anyway for the sake of publishing the story.” Novak sets the record straight by reminding everyone that he said Plame merely “suggested” her husband for the trip.

Novak also takes umbrage to the suggestion that he outed Plame per se: if it was okay to write that “Wilson’s wife” had suggested sending him, then her identity was as simple as opening up the nearest copy of “Who’s Who in America.” We’re a bit skeptical on that one. Novak says he would never have written her name if he thought it would possibly endanger Plame or anyone else. Which is fine, but he does say that Harlow said that revealing her name might cause “difficulties.” Once again, I am compelled to invoke “Alias,” where such “difficulties” usually result in Syd being strapped into a dentist’s chair, often while wearing pleather. Perhaps if Robert Novak wore pleather a bit more often he might not have been so quick to write his little story. Or maybe he wears pleather all the time, under his suits, as a little secret with himself. We wouldn’t know, but if it’s true we don’t judge you, Robert.

In any case, now that Novak has finally broken his silence hopefully he will be “constrained to reply” about other aspects of the case. He’s certainly got a wealth of criticism to which to respond, plus this new rumour about how he likes to wear pleather under his suits. Can anyone confirm that?

Robert Novak: The abuse of my integrity provokes this response [Houston Chronicle]