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Friday, December 02, 2005

All Aboard

This sounds about right. From Media Matters:
Recent revelations in the CIA leak investigation indicate that Time magazine Washington correspondent Viveca Novak may have injected herself in the investigation by alerting a lawyer for White House senior adviser Karl Rove in mid-2004 that her colleague, Time White House correspondent Matthew Cooper, might be forced to disclose to a grand jury what Rove had told him about then-undercover CIA operative Valerie Plame. Novak reportedly warned Rove attorney Robert Luskin that Rove could face legal scrutiny over omitting mention of the conversation with Cooper in his own grand jury testimony, thereby providing Luskin with information that might prove crucial to Rove's defense in the case. Novak never disclosed her conversation with Luskin or her knowledge of Rove's conversation with Cooper to special counsel Patrick J. Fitzgerald or to Time readers, despite working on several articles about the case after her reported conversation with Luskin.
There are rumors that Vivac may have been questioned in the matter already. If true it does not bode exceptionally well for her that she is being hauled into Principal Fitz's office once again.
Novak, an experienced journalist working for a prestigious publication, disclosed to Rove's lawyer information that she did not give to her readers and that Cooper would zealously try to withhold for more than a year on the basis of the purportedly sacrosanct anonymity agreement between a reporter and a source. Second, Novak may have affirmatively helped Rove -- a source the magazine covers and will continue to cover -- beat a perjury rap, not by exonerating him through a story in the course of her job, but by providing his lawyer with information in a private conversation.
She's really bucking for that Judith Miller Excellence in Journalism Award, eh?
Whether Rove is guilty of intentionally hiding his conversation with Cooper, Viveca Novak undoubtedly aided Rove's defense by telling his lawyer that inaccuracies in Rove's testimony would likely become apparent to Fitzgerald.
They will most certainly have to invent some new circle of hell just for her if it turns out Rover skates because of her actions.
Novak's alleged involvement in the case did not prevent her from continuing her reporting on it, though she wrote no reports on the key information she gave Luskin.

As recently as October 24, Novak co-wrote an article with Time White House correspondent Mike Allen, which reported that "Fitzgerald appears to be seriously weighing a perjury charge for Rove's failure to tell grand jurors that he talked to Time correspondent Matthew Cooper about Plame, according to a person close to Rove." Novak wrote more generally on the Plame case for Time as recently as November 18.
Before everyone breaks out the kazoos and starts screaming partisanship, I just want to mention the fact that ViVac wrote a scathing book about Guantanamo Bay and Luskin himself is a Democrat. People who want to divide this drama into black/white, liberal/conservative, us/them dramaturgy fail to see that these players are at the very least triangulated -- at a certain point money, access and power trump politics and it is the failure of people in the media to maintain appropriate boundaries with their subject matter just such as this that has compromised their ability to play the role of ethics watchdogs.

As Wolcott recently said of Bob Woodward, "he's got a heavy lineup of Christmas parties to attend. Those cocktail wieners don't eat themselves, you know." If there's a failure in this particular instance it probably comes not from an apparachik's desire to preserve BushCo. hegemony as much as it is a base desire to keep one's seat on that free weenie train.