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July 15, 2004

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Patrick R. Sullivan

Novak's info also came from Wilson himself:

"'I will not answer any question about my wife,' Wilson told me."

If, her covert status was such a big deal, why didn't Wilson BEG Novak to keep it out of his column? Keeping in mind that Novak was opposed to the Iraq invasion in the first place, I'm adding 2+2: Wilson saw Novak as an ally in the "Bush lied, people died" campaign.

TM

Re: "Ain't too proud to beg"

Hmm. At a minimum, Wilson could have told Novak to wait an hour and then call some spokesperson at the CIA (which Novak did). Wilson could have used the time to fire up the spokesperson.

We don't know the sequence. Novak may have ambushed Wilson, and Wilson may have figured Novak was a lying weasel who would write or say anything (sort of a "takes one to know one" deal).

But I haven't heard that before, and its interesting.

And as a bonus, it is worth re-reading the whole Novak column. Soem of it did not stand up, but it is a pretty measured "hit piece":

That's where Joe Wilson came in. His first public notice had come in 1991 after 15 years as a Foreign Service officer when, as U.S. charge in Baghdad, he risked his life to shelter in the embassy some 800 Americans from Saddam Hussein's wrath. My partner Rowland Evans reported from the Iraqi capital in our column that Wilson showed "the stuff of heroism." President George H.W. Bush the next year named him ambassador to Gabon, and President Bill Clinton put him in charge of African affairs at the National Security Council until his retirement in 1998.

and Novak's conclusion was:

After the White House admitted error, Wilson declined all television and radio interviews. "The story was never me," he told me, "it was always the statement in (Bush's) speech." The story, actually, is whether the administration deliberately ignored Wilson's advice, and that requires scrutinizing the CIA summary of what their envoy reported. The Agency never before has declassified that kind of information, but the White House would like it to do just that now -- in its and in the public's interest.

If this is a hatchet job, bring it on.

Patrick R. Sullivan

"'I will not answer any question about my wife,' Wilson told me."

I doubt Wilson would have replied as above, to something along the lines of: "I hear you're married to a real hottie." Novak had to have asked if it was true his wife was CIA and had recommended him for the Niger gig. Essentially, Wilson confirmed her CIA job to Novak, ala "You didn't here it from me....".

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