Novak, the Chicago Sun-Times/Creators Syndicate writer who was visiting Providence yesterday to give a speech to financial-service professionals, outed CIA operative Plame in a 2003 column. Many have said Plame's name was leaked in retaliation for a New York Times Op-Ed piece -- by Plame's husband, former Ambassador Joseph Wilson -- questioning the Bush administration's Iraq War policies.
The Journal quoted Novak as saying he wished the Plame incident hadn't happened, but the conservative columnist defended his actions in testifying before a grand jury investigating the Plame leak. "I didn't feel I gave up anybody," he said, referring to his testimony about his sources -- who turned out to be former State Department official Richard Armitage and George W. Bush's political adviser, noted the Rhode Island newspaper.
Novak also discussed the current state of politics in Washington. He called Attorney General Alberto Gonzales "dysfunctional" and the White House staff "comatose," and said "the White House is in the bunker."
The columnist added that "the Democrats have been out in the wilderness for 12 years and they are in a very bad mood."
Novak said things have become much more partisan in Washington. "The New England Republicans, the Northeastern Republicans, have just about disappeared, as have the Southern conservative Democrats," Novak commented. "You have a liberal party and conservative party."
By: E&P Staff Columnist Robert Novak said he personally paid for most of the $150,000 or so in legal fees required to defend himself in the Valerie Plame case, according to a Wednesday article in The Providence (R.I.) Journal.