When Karl Rove picked Robert Novak to leak the name of a covert CIA operative, he got his money’s worth. Three days after an investigation into the leak began, Novak called Rove to promise that no harm would come to him as a result of their fling.
Rove testified to the grand jury that during his telephone call with Novak, the columnist said words to the effect: “You are not going to get burned” and “I don’t give up my sources,” according to people familiar with his testimony.
This might have been nothing more than a reporter assuring a source that his anonymity would be preserved. Except for the peculiar timing. Coming just a few days after it became known that an investigation had begun, the call could also have been an attempt to synchronize stories. Lawyers routinely advise clients who are witnesses to refrain from talking to other witnesses.
Either Rove and Novak were not getting legal advice or they were ignoring it. The motivation to do so would be compelling because they would be looking at charges of obstruction of justice and conspiracy to obstruct justice.
It’s surprising that under the circumstance, Novak is still a working journalist. But it is not surprising that he is working at Fox News Channel, where he landed after an embarrassing on air tantrum got him suspended at CNN.