Columnist Robert Novak, who first disclosed Plame's identity in a July 14, 2003, newspaper column, has also been cooperating with investigators for some time, according to the same sources, as I first reported in my blog earlier in the week. But federal investigators have been highly skeptical of Novak's account -- as they have been of Rove's -- and were concerned that the key participants might have devised a cover story in the days shortly after it became known that a criminal investigation had been commenced.NYT on the State Department memo prosecutors are evidently quite interested in:
The information in the State Department memorandum generally tracked the information Mr. Novak laid out for Mr. Rove in their conversation, according to the account of their exchange provided by the person briefed on what Mr. Rove has told investigators.If Novakula does the perp walk, drinks are on me and the dogs.
But it appears to differ in at least one way, raising questions about whether it was the original source of the material that ultimately made its way to Mr. Novak. In his July 14, 2003, column, Mr. Novak referred to Ms. Wilson as Valerie Plame. The State Department memorandum referred to her as Valerie Wilson, according to the government official who reread it on Friday.
As a side note, the NYT article was reported by my old friend David Johnston (among others) who now covers the Justice Department for the Times and wrote the Aldrich Amesspy book. People sometimes mistakenly think my liberalism is a Hollywood affliction, but it's much more of a Bay Area variety (and there is a big difference), dating back to my days as a teenager covering punk rock for the Bay Guardian newspaper when David was covering stories like the assassination of Harvey Milk and People's Temple. It was one of the best (and worst) times of my life, and I got to grow up around people like David, Art Goldberg, Paul Krassner and a host of other celebrated San Francisco/Berkeley liberals.
I haven't talked to David for quite a while, I showed up to the Barnes & Noble book signing for the Aldrich Ames book clutching my copy two hours after it was over -- good one, Madonna -- but he's a great guy. That he is covering the Best News Story Ever is just icing on the cake.
Update: Even Armando is impressed with the NYT reporting:
To be frank, this is the most intriguing and enlightening article on the matter I have seen yet. I feel I know more about what is being investigated than I ever have before.Go David.