I did not want to write this column.
After all, Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald's investigation into the public exposure of Valerie Plame Wilson's identity as a CIA operative is winding down after more than 2 1/2 years. The trial of I. Lewis Libby -- the former chief of staff for Vice President Dick Cheney charged by Fitzgerald with perjury, obstruction of justice and lying to FBI agents -- will proceed whenever the pre-trial wrangling between Libby's lawyers and Fitzgerald sorts itself out.[..]
The reaction to this information has been a kind of mushing together of disparate elements to produce a dizzying rewrite of recent history[..]
[T]here has been a strident insistence that Armitage's admission earns presidential adviser Karl Rove an apology from anyone who criticized Rove's actions in the Wilson affair, especially anyone in the media.
My column of July 20, 2005, criticized Rove's actions in the Wilson affair. Whether his acts were criminal or not, I wrote, Rove helped end the career of a 21-year CIA veteran who was working to prevent the spread of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons. In doing so, he betrayed the trust of the American people.
Since the revelation about Armitage, I've done a lot of soul searching.
I went back to the voluminous official legal filings of the prosecution and defense in the Libby case. (www.usdoj.gov/usao/iln/osc/index.html) I reviewed the first-person accounts of sworn grand jury testimony written by Time magazine's Matthew Cooper (July 25, 2005) and former New York Times reporter Judith Miller (Oct. 16, 2005); Miller spent 85 days in jail for contempt of court before agreeing to testify.
I re-read Novak's Sun-Times columns, including the one (July 12, 2006) explaining the information he provided about his sources to Fitzgerald. I looked again at press coverage of the story stretching back nearly three years. I read carefully recent pieces in such publications as The Weekly Standard that harshly criticized past media coverage of Rove, as well as a column by David Broder, published in the Washington Post last week and on this page Monday, that did much the same.
After reviewing all this material, I feel obliged to say: I'm sorry Karl Rove . . . still has a job.