Robert Novak Answers YOUR Questions

Following exclusive interviews on FOX News Channel, contributor Robert Novak agreed to answer YOUR questions about his role in the Wilson-Plame story. We are pleased to present to you his answers below.

Did the Democrats have a hand in getting both Joe Wilson and Valerie to undermine the Iraq WMD claims since many of them, including President Clinton, John Kerry, and Tom Daschle, made regime change in Iraq the policy of the United States in 1998? (Facts that have been conveniently forgotten). — BRIAN (Springfield, IL):

ROBERT NOVAK: That's hard to say, but Wilson was a foreign policy adviser for Gore in 2000, three years before his wife suggested his mission to Niger.

I watched you on “Hannity & Colmes.” Could you please briefly explain who leaked the info and why? I still to this day do not understand! — KEITH

ROBERT NOVAK: A senior administration official disclosed to me Mrs. Wilson's role. In passing, during a long interview and, he said, "inadvertently."

It seems to me that if your primary source were an honorable man, he would have immediately stepped forward to explain himself and clear the record. His failure to do the right thing has created terrible problems for others, injured his party, and his president. I would be interested in your comments.— THOMAS (Jackson, WY)

ROBERT NOVAK: I think you have a good point.

Do you think that this story has been blown out of proportion? In the great scheme of things, with everything that has been going on in the world, how important is this? — TERRY (Cornelius, NC):

ROBERT NOVAK: I believe the importance of this story has been greatly magnified, for political purposes, by Democratic politicians.

Why, as you claim, did Fitzgerald ask to keep your role in the controversy a secret, while others in the media were seemingly free to discuss their roles? — ROBERT

ROBERT NOVAK: The other journalists were resisting Fitzgerald's efforts, so that he hardly could request their silence.

Are any of the material facts for which I. Lewis Libby is under indictment, at odds with any portions of your testimony to the grand jury? And, do you anticipate testifying at his trial, and if so, as witness for the defense or prosecution?— DENNIS (San Diego, CA)

ROBERT NOVAK: I am not sufficiently familiar with the details of the Libby case to answer your first question. I have no reason to believe I will be a witness in his trial.

If you had known the results of your story, that Valerie Plame would be outed, would you have written the story? And why did you write the story in the first place? What was the original reason for the story? — CARLOS

ROBERT NOVAK: I really don't know the answer to your first question. I thought revelation of Mrs. Wilson explained the otherwise inexplicable selection of her husband for the mission to Niger.

I have read and heard on “Hannity & Colmes” that it was well known that Valerie Plame was with the CIA and was a very low-level employee. Could you comment on that? — TOM (Danville, CA)

ROBERT NOVAK: It was not known to me, but it was well known around Washington.

Do you think there will be a special prosecutor assigned to The New York Times leak? Should Congress pursue the Times with the same enthusiasm and vigor as they did your story? — STEPHEN

ROBERT NOVAK: I don't know whether there will be a special prosecutor named in the Times case. As is obvious, the Democrats who wanted to pursue the leak to me are not interested in pursuing the Times leak.

What do you think of the coverage of this story over the last two and a half years? What are some of the stories that were absolutely wrong that you had to stay quiet about? — DON

ROBERT NOVAK: I think the coverage has been erratic and error-filled. The error was the claim that the White House had peddled the story to many journalists and finally settled for me.

Were you threatened in any way by the authorities if you didn't give the names of your sources? — DAVID (Augusta, GA)


Can you explain the incident involving Mr. Wilson’s "friend" that happened to run into you on the street. What did you and him discuss? What is your impression of the situation? I appreciate the way you have handled yourself through this whole ordeal. You are a true journalist! — JUDY

ROBERT NOVAK: I foolishly answered questions about the case by a stranger who stopped me on the streets of Washington. He turned out to be a friend of Wilson who immediately went to Wilson's office to report after our conversation. Some people think this was set up by Wilson, but I have no evidence of this. Thanks for the compliment.

Is it true that you made three phone calls and found out that Valerie's cover company was non-existent? If this is true, couldn't the "bad guys" have done the same thing? To me this is basic investigation work! I recall one of her associates was very upset because he used the same cover company and he said now his cover was blown! No wonder the CIA was so inept. — GEORGE (Long Beach, CA)

ROBERT NOVAK: I found that her cover company was nonexistent, which runs counter to CIA procedure. She listed the phony name on her 2000 Federal Election Commission report on her contribution to Al Gore.

From your comments this evening it seems clear that early on in this process it was recognized that no laws had been violated, i.e., revealing Mrs. Wilson's employment was not in violation of the relevant statutes. Surely the CIA would have understood that her status was unclassified. Why then did it make its referral to the Justice Department? Indeed, who might be responsible for that decision? On the surface, politics would seem to explain what happened here - politics at the CIA. Your thoughts, please. — THOMAS (Jackson, WY)

ROBERT NOVAK: The CIA routinely refers all alleged leaks to the Justice Department; averaging about one a week. The difference in this case was the lobbying by CIA employees for an investigation, indicating the anti-Bush hostility at the Agency.

Did Aldrich Ames, the famous double agent, out Valerie in the early 1990's to the Russians? — BRIAN (Springfield, IL)

ROBERT NOVAK: Yes, that is my information.

Was it ever disclosed whether Valerie Plame's capacity with the CIA was clerical or in covert operations that may endanger her life? — NORM (Cornelia, GA)

ROBERT NOVAK: For some years, she had been a desk-bound analyst, facing no physical threat.

Do you think you may have been used to spread this information? — KEN