Bob Novak



Remarks by President Reagan as he signed the Intelligence Identity Protection Act

The Law in Question

The First Novak Article

The Second Novak Article


“(Ambassador Joe) Wilson never worked for the CIA, but his wife, (name withheld, as it should always have been), is an Agency operative on weapons of mass destruction. Two senior administration officials[1] told me Wilson's wife suggested sending him to Niger to investigate the Italian report. The CIA says its counter-proliferation officials selected Wilson and asked his wife to contact him.”[2] - Robert Novak, July 14, 2003


“First, I did not receive a planned leak[3]. Second, the CIA never warned me that the disclosure of Wilson's wife working at the agency would endanger her or anybody else[4]. Third, it was not much of a secret[5].” - Robert Novak, October1, 2003


“He (one of the ‘senior administration officials’) asked me not to use her name, saying she probably never again will be given a foreign assignment but that exposure of her name might cause "difficulties" if she travels abroad.”[6] - Robert Novak, October1, 2003


“Clifford May wrote in (the) National Review Online, that he had been told of her identity by a non-government source before my column appeared and that it was common knowledge.”[7] – Robert Novak, October 1, 2003

“However, an unofficial source at the Agency says she has been an analyst, not in covert operations.”[8]. - Robert Novak, October 1, 2003


The Exceptions:

Subsections 421(a) and (b) contemplate offenses where the perpetrator has or has had authorized access to classified information, while subsection 421(c) has no similar requirement.


Under 50 U.S.C. § 421(b), the perpetrator must have learned the identity of a covert agent as a result of having authorized access to classified information[9].


Much of the focus of attention during the consideration of the measure was upon subsection 421(c), and its First Amendment implications.

[1] If “two senior administration officials” had determined the identity of an undercover CIA operative too trivial to be considered “classified”, then can we assume the information was “de-classified” and the identity of the “two senior administration officials” no longer have to be withheld. Lets not hide behind “Freedom of the Press” if there was nothing wrong with what you did Mr. Novak

[2] If Footnote 1 is un-true, then we must consider this: Nowhere in Robert Novak’s column did he suggest that his access to classified information (the agent’s name) had been unauthorized, thus we can conclude that the access given him by “two senior administration officials” was authorized

[3] Planned Leak: Robert Novak admitting it was a leak. Some truth after all

[4] Is he kidding? The law doesn’t state that the CIA has to” warn you”. Ignorance of the law is no excuse for breaking the law, even for a Washington insider, Mr. Novak

[5] Not much of a secret. That is until AFTER Robert Novak leaked it for all the world to see

[6] Exactly what did Robert Novak think the word “difficulties” meant? At the very least, he should have headed the advise of the “senior administration official” who inadvertently and illegally released the name of the CIA operative

[7] If the National Review didn’t publish her name, that should have told you something Mr. Novak. By the way, it wasn’t common knowledge until YOUR article of July 14, 2003

[8] Unofficial source: How unofficial was that source? Was it the janitor, Mr. Novak? Was it an intern, Mr. Novak? Was it Dick Cheney, Mr Novak? Was it Scooter Libby, Mr. Novak?

[9] It appears that Robert Novak had authorized access to classified information, thus nullifying his “protection” under 421(c)

[10] There were no reported abuses directly connected to work being preformed by Ambassador Joe Wilson’s wife prior to or after the release of her identity by Robert Novak

[11] It would appear that no academic institution or other study of policies or procedures would require the “outing” of an undercover operative.

[12] In this case, it would be of interest to know which rule was used to justify the “outing” of an undercover operative for the CIA and the purpose it would serve


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