Sunday, December 11, 2005

THEN THERE WERE THREE Viveca Novak has officially become the third reporter caught up in the Plame mess to embarrass her news organization.

Greg Mitchell at Editor and Publisher dissects her story:

The most amazing revelation is that in late-October, long after she blundered in telling Luskin that the word around Time (obviously a reference to Cooper) was that Rove had a Plame problem, the lawyer informed her that the special prosecutor might want to speak to her. Does she tell her editor? No.

Later Luskin tells her that Fitzgerald does indeed want to grill her, although perhaps not under oath just yet. She hires a high-level lawyer. Surely she tells her editor now? Au contraire.

Then, on Nov. 10, she meets with Fitzgerald for two hours to discuss the conversations with Luskin. Of course she tells her editor after that? Sadly, no.

Finally, on Nov. 18, her lawyer calls to inform her that Fitzgerald does indeed want her to testify under oath. "I realized that I now needed to share this information with Jay Carney, our Washington bureau chief," she writes online today. "On Sunday, Nov. 20, I drove over to his house to tell him. He then called Jim Kelly, the managing editor. Nobody was happy about it, least of all me."

Oh gosh, imagine that.


The first red flag, to repeat, is telling Luskin anything about what anyone knew at Time about her client and this incredibly sensitive case.

Then there's the question of how many times she talked to Luskin about it. Well, she has some calendar entries but they "weren't entirely reliable."


Then Fitzgerald asks her about specific dates. Lo and behold, she turns to her calendar again and one of Fitz's ideas, March 1, 2004, checks out. Here's her explanation: "I hadn't found that one in my first search because I had erroneously entered it as occurring at 5 a.m., not 5 p.m."

Reminder: This is a Time magazine reporter and book author.

CONTRAPOSITIVE is edited by Dan Aibel. Dan's a playwright. He lives in New York City.