"If You Can't Stand The Heat...That's Bull*t!" blares a Democratic National Committee release issued Friday. Conservative columnist Robert Novak quit a CNN program live yesterday before taking questions about his role in the outing of a CIA operative, saying, 'that's bullshit.'
"Apparently, Robert Novak was afraid to answer questions in an open forum or perhaps he had to meet with his lawyer,” DNC spokeswoman Karen Finney said in the release. “Either way, he needs to come clean about his conversations with Karl Rove, ‘Scooter’ Libby, and any other Administration officials, and help get to the bottom of this breach of national security."
Here are "The Questions Bob Novak Thought Were Bull*t," according to the DNC.
Question 1: During his last appearance on CNN, why did Novak lie to CNN Anchor Candy Crowley when asked if he had ever spoken to Karl Rove on the record?
Novak Says He Never Talked To Rove on the Record - But He Did. In an interview with Candy Crowley, Novak was asked whether he ever told Karl Rove about Valerie Plame's status as a CIA agent. He replied, "I can't tell anything I ever talked to Karl Rove about, because I don't think I ever talked to him about any subject even the time of day, on the record." But he has printed on the record quotes from Rove in at least two op-ed pieces - one on the Iowa caucuses, and the other on judicial nominations. [CNN, 7/26/05; The New York Post, 5/3/99, 6/18/99]
Question 2: If Novak had high ranking CIA officials telling him that his story was not true and should not be printed, who was powerful enough to convince Novak to print it any way? Did Novak tell his administration sources of his conversation with Harlow? We already know that Novak talked to Rove, who else did he talk to?
Novak Says No One Told Him That He Shouldn't Reveal Plame's Identity - But He Was Warned. Novak stated that that no CIA official ever told him in advance "that Valerie Plame Wilson's disclosure would endanger her or anybody else. But Bill Harlow, a former CIA spokesman, said in an interview yesterday that he testified last year before a grand jury about conversations he had with Novak at least three days before the column was published. He said he warned Novak, in the strongest terms he was permitted to use without revealing classified information, that Wilson's wife had not authorized the mission and that if he did write about it, her name should not be revealed. [Washington Post, 7/27/05]
Question 3: Why has Novak cited his lawyers advice for so long in order to avoid answering questions, only to write an op-ed selectively releasing new information?
Novak Refused To Comment On Plame Leak Except To Benefit Himself, Or To Convince Random People on the Street. Novak has repeatedly stated that he cannot comment on the leak of Valerie Plame's name because he was following the advice of his attorneys. However, he recently wrote a column explaining some of his actions, in order to protect his "integrity as a journalist." In addition, news reports indicate that he was willing to comment to strangers about the CIA agent's identity. Joe Wilson said in a recent interview that he had known that Novak was interested in him a week or so before the column appeared because a friend who saw Novak on the street reported that Novak told him, "Wilson is an asshole and his wife works for the CIA." [Houston Chronicle, 7/31/05; Los Angeles Times, 7/18/05]
Question 4: Which one is it, Mr. Novak? Did you read it in a book? Or did you hear it from the Administration?
Novak Changes His Story on How He Got Plame's Name. Novak, in an interview, said his sources had come to him with the information. 'I didn't dig it out, it was given to me,' he said. "They thought it was significant, they gave me the name and I used it." But he then suggested in an op-ed that he got it from the book Who's Who in America, saying that "Once it was determined that Wilson's wife suggested the mission, she could be identified as 'Valerie Plame' by reading her husband's entry in 'Who's Who in America.'" [Newsday, 7/22/2003; Houston Chronicle, 7/31/05]