*RIH = Rot In Hell! Motherfucker!
Washington’s punditocracy is in mourning over the death of right-wing columnist Robert Novak, with many warm remembrances about his outsized personality and his supposed love of reporting. But Novak often served as a dishonest propagandist and would have been condemned in a healthy journalistic world.The column continues, leaving a pretty foul taste in the mouth, and eliciting no sympathy for the foul fucktard who is its subject.
For instance, not only did Novak disclose the identity of covert CIA officer Valerie Plame in 2003 – in line with a White House campaign to discredit her husband, former U.S. Ambassador Joseph Wilson, for criticizing the deceptions behind the Iraq invasion – but Novak continued a jihad of lies against Wilson and Plame for the next several years.
In one such attack on March 22, 2007, Novak reprised right-wing myths that had been disseminated about the Plame-gate case to protect the political flanks of President George W. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and other participants in the anti-Wilson campaign.
Despite containing a litany of lies, Novak’s column was uncritically published in the Washington Post’s editorial section, which even cribbed from Novak’s disinformation for use in the Post’s own ugly attacks on Wilson, whose principal sin appears to have been that he was the first Washington insider to accuse Bush of having “twisted” the WMD intelligence on Iraq.
The March 22 column stands out as a particularly notable measure of Novak’s dishonesty because it came almost four years after Wilson began challenging Bush’s false claims about Iraq allegedly seeking yellow-cake uranium from Niger. Novak’s article was not some early rendition of a story that wasn’t fully understood; it was a premeditated act of lying in defense of a cover-up.
For one, Novak couldn’t seem to let go of a favorite right-wing myth – that Plame wasn’t a "covert" CIA officer overseeing a sensitive network of spies informing the United States about weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East.
That right-wing lie – insisting that she wasn’t “covert” – was exploded at a March 16, 2007, hearing of the House Oversight Committee when Chairman Henry Waxman, D-California, read a statement approved by CIA Director Michael Hayden referring to Plame’s former status as “covert,” “undercover” and “classified.”
The Hayden-approved statement added that “Ms. Wilson worked on the most sensitive and highly secretive matters handled by the CIA” and dealt with “prevention of development and use of WMD against the United States.”
In the column six days later, Novak reported that Hayden’s statement shocked Rep. Peter Hoekstra of Michigan, a hard-line Bush loyalist who had chaired the House Intelligence Committee when the Republicans were in control.
According to Novak, Hoekstra called Hayden, who reaffirmed the statement that Plame indeed had been “covert.” But Novak then resumed the right-wing quibbling over whether Plame would qualify as “covert” under the special definition of the Intelligence Identities Protection Act of 1982.
This legal technicality apparently was so important to the Post’s editors that they headlined Novak’s article, “Was She Covert?” But the column, like an earlier Post Outlook article by right-wing legal expert Victoria Toensing, gummed up how the law actually defines a “covert” agent who qualifies for special legal protection from exposure.
Toensing, who depicted herself as one of the law’s authors, said a “covert” agent must be “stationed” abroad during the previous five years to be covered. In testimony before the House Oversight Committee, she slipped in another definitional word, saying that “the person is supposed to reside outside the United States.”
In his column, Novak reverted back to Toensing’s earlier word “stationed.” However, for all the interest in this legal technicality of whether Plame was “covert” under the narrow provisions of the 1982 law, Novak, Toensing and the Post’s editors shied away from actually quoting from the law.
Rot In Hell, indeed!