Novak: ‘I Will Reveal All” on Plame Case

Novak: ‘I will reveal all’ (AP)

Chicago Sun-Times columnist and CNN political analyst Bob Novak was the first to reveal the CIA employee’s identity and CNN’s Ed Henry spoke with Novak Wednesday about the ruling.

ED HENRY: Bob, first, what’s your reaction to the Supreme Court saying they would not hear this case?

BOB NOVAK: Well, I deplore the thought of reporters — I’ve been a reporter all my life — going to jail for any period of time for not revealing sources, and there needs to be a federal shield law preventing that as there are shield laws in 49 out of 50 states. But, Ed, I — my lawyer said I cannot answer any specific questions about this case until it is resolved, which I hope is very soon.

HENRY: In general, though, you believe in the principle of keeping the identity secret of confidential sources. Have you ever revealed the identity of one of your confidential sources?

NOVAK: Well, people know — who have read my column know there have been special case[s] where I have. But the question of being coerced to by the government and being put in prison is, I think, something that should be protected by act of Congress.

HENRY: In general, have you cooperated with investigators in this case?

NOVAK: I can’t answer any questions about this case at all.

HENRY: OK. Now, just in general about the principle at stake here — William Safire, fellow conservative, wrote an op-ed in The New York Times saying that at the very least, he believes that you owe your readers, and in this case, your viewers, some explanation. He said, “Mr. Novak should finally write the column he owes readers and colleagues perhaps explaining how his two sources, who may have truthfully revealed themselves to investigators, managed to get the prosecutor off his back.” I think that’s the question. Why sit that there are two reporters out there who may go to jail, Bob, but it doesn’t appear that you are going to go to jail?

NOVAK: Well, that’s what I can’t reveal until this case is finished. I hope it is finished soon. And when it does, I agree with Mr. Safire, I will reveal all in a column and on the air.

What I’ve yet to figure out is why two reporters, including one who never even wrote a story, have been placed in legal jeopardy and Novak, the guy who broke the story, has not.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Hal says:

    Well, for one, it wasn’t the writing of the story that was the crime. It was revealing Plame’s undercover vocation to Novak, Miller and others that was the crime. So, whether she writes a story or not is completely irrelevant to the entire issue.

  2. RiverRat says:

    I haven’t researched it but isn’t it possible that Novak got the tip from Miller and/or the guy at Time or one of their associates, published early because he’s subject to less editorial oversight, and gave up their names?

  3. Kenny says:

    Or maybe Novak is somebody’s boy …

  4. Anderson says:

    Because Novak rolled over & sang like a canary, has been my guess.