"LINE 'EM UP, BOYS!"
You can almost hear the shouts as the rats turn on one of their own.
Robert Novak sandbagged an entire national cable audience on CNN yesterday, and it was worthwhile TV drama (for once, I didn't have to watch IFC to actually enjoy TV).
If you scroll a little down the screen on the link for "worthwhile TV drama," my good friends at Crooks and Liars have provided video of the actual footage, as well as a round-up of blogger reactions. (While you're there, drop 'em a few bucks. This stuff costs money, folks!).
Aside from being the phugliest emotional cripple in the history of punditry, Novak holds the singular reputation of being a rat-bastard, outting an undercover CIA operative while she was still NOC.
Now, "NOC" or "Non-Official Cover" is a status that only the boldest agents maintain. It means, as they used to say on "Mission Impossible", that if you're caught or killed, the Secretary (presumably "of State") will disavow any knowledge of your action. You're up the creek, no paddle, and no boat. We're talking James Bond stuff here.
Two things about this strike me:
1) Not only does he out a NOC agent, but he also outs her cover company (in this case, Brewster Jennings & Associates. Now, Brewster Jennings was in business as recently as 1999 and the agent in question, Valerie Plame, was working for them at that time (thus sharply negating the argument she was not NOC status at the time Novak wrote his article in 2003, since NOC status extends for five years past the termination of your assignment, 2003 - 1999 = 4 years, you see. It is unclear whether BJ&A maintains any other CIA agents on staff, but it is in operation. We may never know, since the only acknowledgement NOC agents get should they be killed is a lone star on a wall at Langley.
2) Novak is the only journalist associated with the Justice Department investigation of the leak (requested by the CIA, which tells you how important this breach is) to not have been threatened with jail, meaning he has already told the grand jury who provided Plame's name. Meaning, what, precisely?
I'll tell you. If you look at the transcript from yesterday's "Bob Boltin'" adventure, you'll find a telling hint:
NOVAK: A couple of points here: The first place, don't be too sure she's going to lose. All the establishment's against her and I've seen these Republican -- anti-establishment candidates who do pretty well. Ronald Reagan, I guarantee you that the establishment wasn't for him. We just elected a senator from Oklahoma, Senator Tom Coburn, everybody in the establishment was against him. She might get elected -- So, wait. Just let me finish what I'm going to say, James. Please, I know you hate to hear me, but you have...Who is this "we", Bob? You're not from Oklahoma, so it must mean you're a Republican...shame on you, someone who is supposed to be a balanced and impartial columnist, taking such a blatantly partisan position.
And they say the media is liberal? Still, at least we know why he's not stewing in jail like the sometimes and erstwhile "reporter" Judith Miller of the NY Times, who at least has the decency to pretend she's being balanced.
To their credit, CNN issued the follwing blanket form-mail in response to complaints about this episode:
Thank you for your email to us concerning Bob Novak.Isn't that just ducky? A treasonous act against our country in a time of war doesn't trigger the Conservative Nymph Network from dumping this jerkwad, but a simple "bullshit" gets him a forced vacation?
Mr. Novak's behavior on CNN during Thursday's broadcast of Inside Politics was inexcusable and unacceptable. Mr. Novak has apologized to CNN, and CNN apologizes to its viewers for his language and actions. CNN has asked Mr. Novak to take some time off.
Says alot about this country, dunnit?
Again, going back to CrooksAndLiars, if you scan the list of the blogger round up, you'll see some surprising names listed there: Michelle Malkin, Captain's Quarters (I won't dignify them with a link, sorry. There are some parts of New York I wouldn't send my friends because they are seedy trashy neighborhoods; likewise with the Internets), even Instapundit, a site that is so noxious, I usually have an airsick bag nearby lest I see my name or my beliefs trashed and bandied about in ways even my carpenter father would blanch at, has been forced to acknowledge that Novak has been having a tough time of it, and Glenn Reynolds loves his widdle Bobbleballs!
Anyway, it's nice to watch the rats line up to buttfuck their buddies. You know, in the 90s, I got all sorts of heat for sticking up for Clinton. Not just from the right, but from my liberal and feminist friends.
But these guys bring a whole new meaning to never leaving your buddy's behind...