Robert Novak's July 14, 2003 column, Mission to Niger, in which he revealed Ambassador Wilson's wife was a CIA operative working on WMD, started this scandal. Then on October 1, 2003, after the official investigation began, Novak tried to explain his actions in a second column, The CIA Leak. His own explanation shows he is a liar. I ask you to consider the following full quotations, all taken from Novak's own writings.
1. In his October "explanation," Novak admits that he was asked by the CIA not to mention Wilson's wife, but explains that he did so because he needed to find the "missing" explanation for CIA's "otherwise incredible" choice of Joseph Wilson.
At the CIA, the official designated to talk to me denied that Wilson's wife had inspired his selection but said she was delegated to request his help. He asked me not to use her name, saying she probably never again will be given a foreign assignment but that exposure of her name might cause "difficulties" if she travels abroad. He never suggested to me that Wilson's wife or anybody else would be endangered. If he had, I would not have used her name. I used it in the sixth paragraph of my column because it looked like the missing explanation of an otherwise incredible choice by the CIA for its mission.
2. However, in the original July column, we see that Novak already knew several obvious reasons why the CIA might select Joseph Wilson to investigate whether Saddam Hussein tried to buy nuclear materials in Niger.
(a) Wilson had served as a U.S. Foreign Service Officer in both Iraq and Niger.
(b) Wilson had risked his life to save Americans from Saddam Hussein during the Gulf War.
(c) Wilson had served admirably under both Republican and Democratic Presidents for more than 20 years.
(D) Wilson had been in charge of African Affairs at the National Security Council until his retirement in 1998.
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.
After eight days in the Niger capital of Niamey (where he once served), Wilson made an oral report in Langley that an Iraqi uranium purchase was "highly unlikely," though he also mentioned in passing that a 1988 Iraqi delegation tried to establish commercial contacts. CIA officials did not regard Wilson's intelligence as definitive, being based primarily on what the Niger officials told him and probably would have claimed under any circumstances. The CIA report of Wilson's briefing remains classified.
Either Novak is lying or he is an idiot. Picking a retired senior national security official with personal experience in both Iraq and Niger isn't "incredible"--it's inspired. The simplest explanation as to why Novak knowingly risked causing "difficulties" for Wilson's wife is because he wanted to cause "difficulties" for Wilson's wife. What a bastard.