Robert Novak’s status as a CNN contributor will not change during a federal probe into the revelation of a CIA officer’s identity, network executives said Sunday.
“I think we’re all aware that no one really knows what’s going on in the investigation of the Valerie Plame incident,” said Jonathan Klein, president of CNN/U.S. “So it would be awfully presumptuous of us to take steps against a guy in his career based on second, third, fourth-hand reporting.”
Klein praised Novak as “one of the most outstanding political reporters this country has ever known.”
In a July 2003 column, Novak identified Plame, the wife of Bush critic and former U.S. ambassador Joseph Wilson, as a CIA operative.
Wilson claims the leak of his wife’s name was an attempt by President Bush to discredit him after he challenged his assertion that Iraq’s Saddam Hussein was seeking to obtain material from Niger to make nuclear weapons.