In Novak Says He Named 3 Sources in Leak Case, slated for page 4 tomorrow, Kurtz covers the Robert Novak column about the latter's testimony in the Valerie Plame investigation. I'll leave the heavy lifting to Plameologists like Tom Maguire but raise the yellow card over Kurtz on this:
Novak triggered one of the capital's most tangled investigations with a July 2003 column reporting that Plame had suggested sending her husband, former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV, to Niger to investigate whether Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein was trying to obtain nuclear material from that country -- an unsupported claim that was included in President Bush's State of the Union speech.
The false meme that won't die: There were no indications that Saddam sought uranium from Niger, which Joe Speaking Truth To Power Wilson faithfully reported to the CIA.
I've done this so many times at PostWatch I should just have a Susan Schmidt Module. But here goes, from July 10, 2004, Schmidt's story about the Senate Intelligence Committee report:
The panel found that Wilson's report, rather than debunking intelligence about purported uranium sales to Iraq, as he has said, bolstered the case for most intelligence analysts. And contrary to Wilson's assertions and even the government's previous statements, the CIA did not tell the White House it had qualms about the reliability of the Africa intelligence that made its way into 16 fateful words in President Bush's January 2003 State of the Union address...
Yesterday's report said that whether Iraq sought to buy lightly enriched "yellowcake" uranium from Niger is one of the few bits of prewar intelligence that remains an open question. Much of the rest of the intelligence suggesting a buildup of weapons of mass destruction was unfounded, the report said.
Here's an old PostWatch item with a screen capture of the Senate report. Among the Posties who muffed this last year were Op-Ed columnist Harold Meyerson, Walter Pincus and Jim VandeHei, Richard Cohen, and, er, Howard Kurtz. Here's what he wrote July 13, 2005:
...So the response is that 1) the Dems are playing politics (and Rove wasn't, in dragging in Mrs. Joe Wilson?). And 2) Rove was just performing a public service by steering a reporter away from a false story (actually, Wilson was right about the bogus Niger uranium tale, and the White House was wrong).
Funny thing is, the next day, Kurtz added the following to the same column online:
although his credibility did take a hit from a critical Senate intelligence committee report.
But without any record of, well, changing the record. And now he's just repeated the mistake without repeating the fix.
UPDATE: As for the gist of Novak's column, Kurtz has an otherwise decent rundown. Novak doesn't name his original source--though he bared all to Fitzgerald--and got Plame's name from Joe Wilson's Who's Who entry. And since I just dinged VandeHei--you might have missed that, it's a long list-- Strata-Sphere credits him this evening with The Main Point:
Vanderhei from the Washington Post was on CNN and made a good point. The original source is pivotal to the claims that the Bush administration was out to get back at Wilson. If Armitage was the source then that claim pretty much crumbles. Given the lack of any indictments for the leak itself, and lack of indictments for Rove, the obvious conclusion is the prime source was Armitage.