RUSH: Robert Novak, if I may, has a piece today, a column, the title of which is: “The Abuse of My Integrity Provokes This Response,” and this column by Robert Novak is significant because everything that we are hearing right now about this Valerie Plame and Joe Wilson business is in fact coming from Joe Wilson and his surrogates and his leakers. We don’t know what people have said to the grand jury; we don’t know what Judith Miller is hiding. We know none of it. But I tell you, I’m going to reiterate what I’ve always thought about Judith Miller, and we’ll just see when this investigation is over if I’m not right about it. I think Judith Miller is protecting somebody. We know it’s not Karl Rove, and it appears that it’s quite possible that it was Judith Miller who ended up informing members of the administration that Valerie Plame worked at the CIA, and it could be she’s got some sources that she has to protect because the sources may have broken the law in divulging the information to her. She may be subjecting them to some sort of the prosecution. But regardless, she is in jail and protecting what she knows. My point all along about this has been that she’s in jail there because what she knows and what she doesn’t want to testify to is so profoundly embarrassing either to her and/or the New York Times or so revealing about some source that she has that it’s far better to sit there in jail for a while and get a book deal out of this when it’s all over than subject herself and her paper and whoever her sources are to whatever it is she knows. But just keep an eye on that because people have said, “Rush, there has to be a crime here, somebody’s in jail. There’s got to be something big going on.” They all tack that back to Karl Rove. There may be, but my point after reading the Novak piece is we don’t know anything about what the prosecutor has. All we know is what Joe Wilson and his surrogates are leaking about this. And his surrogates, by the way, happen to be most of the members of the mainstream press. Let me give you the essentials of the Novak piece today.
“A statement attributed to the former CIA spokesman indicating that I deliberately disregarded what he told me in writing my 2003 column about Joseph Wilson’s wife is just plain wrong. Though frustrated, I have followed the advice of my attorneys and written almost nothing about the CIA leak over two years because of a criminal investigation by a federal special prosecutor. The lawyers also urged me not to write this. But the allegation against me is so patently incorrect and so abuses my integrity as a journalist that I feel constrained to reply. In the course of a front-page story in last Wednesday’s Washington Post, Walter Pincus and Jim VandeHei quoted ex-CIA spokesman Bill Harlow describing his testimony to the grand jury. In response to my question about Valerie Plame Wilson’s role in former ambassador Wilson’s trip to Niger, Harlow told me she ‘had not authorized the mission.’ Harlow was quoted as later saying to me ‘the story Novak had related to him was wrong.’ This gave the impression I ignored an official’s statement that I had the facts wrong but wrote it anyway for the sake of publishing the story. That would be inexcusable for any journalist and particularly a veteran of 48 years in Washington. The truth is otherwise, and that is why I feel compelled to write this column. My column of July 14, 2003, asked why the CIA in 2002 sent Wilson, a critic of President Bush, to Niger to investigate an Italian intelligence report of attempted Iraqi uranium purchases. All the subsequent furor was caused by three sentences in the sixth paragraph:
“‘Wilson never worked for the CIA, but his wife, Valerie Plame, is an agency operative on weapons of mass destruction. Two senior administration officials told me that Wilson’s wife suggested sending him to Niger to investigate the Italian report. The CIA [Harlow] says its counter-proliferation officials selected Wilson and asked his wife to contact him.’ There never was any question of me talking about Mrs. Wilson ‘authorizing.’ I was told she ‘suggested’ the mission, and that is what I asked Harlow. His denial was contradicted in July 2004 by a unanimous Senate Intelligence Committee report. The report said Wilson’s wife ‘suggested his name for the trip.’ It cited an internal CIA memo from her saying ‘my husband has good relations’ with officials in Niger and ‘lots of French contacts,’ adding they ‘could possibly shed light on this sort of activity.’ A State Department analyst told the committee that Mrs. Wilson ‘had the idea’ of sending Wilson to Africa. So, what was ‘wrong’ with my column as Harlow claimed? There was nothing incorrect. He told the Post reporters he had ‘warned’ me that if I ‘did write about it her name should not be revealed.’ That is meaningless. 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.’ Harlow said to the Post that he did not tell me Mrs. Wilson ‘was undercover because that was classified.’ What he did say was, as I reported in a previous column, ‘she probably never again would be given a foreign assignment but that exposure of her name might cause ‘difficulties.’
“‘According to CIA sources, she was brought home from foreign assignments in 1997, when agency officials feared she had been ‘outed’ by the traitor Aldrich Ames. I have previously said that I never would have written those sentences if Harlow, then-CIA Director George Tenet or anybody else from the agency had told me that Valerie Plame Wilson’s disclosure would endanger herself or anybody. The recent first disclosure of secret grand jury testimony set off a news media feeding frenzy centered on this obscure case. Joseph Wilson was discarded a year ago by the Kerry presidential campaign after the Senate committee reported much of what he said ‘had no basis in fact.’ The re-emerged Wilson is now accusing the senators of ‘smearing’ him. I eagerly await the end of this investigation when I may be able to correct other misinformation about me and the case.” So, as I say, his lawyers told him not to write it, but he did it anyway because he’s sick and tired of being impugned in all of this, and his integrity being attacked, because all we’re hearing right now is the spin that we’re getting from the Joe Wilson-Valerie Plame side of things. But we don’t know anything, and Wilson is a proven liar — as Novak’s column not just alleges to, but once again documents and demonstrates — and yet the liar, the guy who hasn’t been able to tell the truth about much of any of this is being quoted as God on this story. We don’t know what people have said to the grand jury. We don’t know what Judith Miller is hiding. We don’t know any of it. We only know the spin coming from the Wilson camp, and I guess it’s getting to Robert Novak a little, watching and listening and reading all of this gunk.