Robert Novak died today of brain cancer.
Novak will perhaps be best remembered -- if at all -- as one of the most compulsive professional liars to have wormed his way inside the Beltway, and that's saying something. And when it came to the interference he ran to protect the Bush-Cheney administration -- culminating in his central role in the Valerie Plame affair -- and his resulting efforts to cover his tracks, it even had historic proportions. Novak himself had constantly lied about this role, and was fond of accusing the people uncovering his tracks of lying. (See Marcy's authoritative work on Novak for more.)
Unsurprisingly, his friends are now eager to make us all forget this. Tim Carney's remembrance omits any mention of it whatsoever. And then there was Fred Barnes on Fox this morning, who simply followed in his friend's footsteps and flatly lied about the Plame case:
Barnes: Bob -- you know, Bob was unruffled by the whole thing. He had to get a lawyer, but, ah, you know, it was no problem to him.
Of course, it turned out that he was the first one to hear from anybody in the Bush administration about Valerie Plame, uhm, being a part, and her husband, you know, helping her husband get this, go to this trip to Africa, and then say that President Bush had -- what President Bush had said about Saddam Hussein seeking uranium in Africa was wrong.
They're still discussing it. It turns out that President Bush was right.
But anyway, Bob was caught up in this scandal, he'd heard about it first, and reported it in his column, and then was perfectly comfortable being the center of attention in a legal case that went on for years and years.
WTF? It's long been an established fact that Novak's reportage was wrong, and in fact was just a propaganda-driven smear on behalf of the Bush administration, since Plame in fact had nothing to do with Joe Wilson getting the Niger assignment. (George Tenet himself explained: "Mid-level officials in CPD [The CIA’s Directorate of Operations Counterproliferation Division] decided on their own initiative to [ask Joe Wilson to look into the Niger issue because] he'd helped them on a project once before, and he'd be easy to contact because his wife worked in CPD.")
And since when has it "turned out" that "Bush was right" about the Niger yellowcake? Not only was the report on which he based the claim he made in the State of the Union built from set of hoax documents, but the White House ignored warnings that this was likely the case. Moreover, there has been no subsequent evidence to suggest that Saddam indeed sought yellowcake from Niger.
Ah, but such things as facts and truthfulness matter little to people like Robert Novak and Fred Barnes. All they care about is covering their tracks. Lying is what they do, right up to their final breaths.
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