Novak is out at CNN, but questions about him linger

Who was his source on Plame? Why does he think that Bush knows the truth?

By Tim Grieve

Published December 16, 2005 6:07PM (EST)

Mediabistro has the news that Robert Novak's tenure at CNN is done as of the end of the year.

Novak was suspended over the summer after he stormed off the "Inside Politics" set when questions about his role in the Valerie Plame case were just about to get too close for comfort. Now, it appears that CNN has decided not to renew his contract. In a statement, CNN's Jon Klein said Novak has been a "valued contributor" who has offered "incisive analysis for much of CNN's programming" over the years, but that he won't work for the network after Dec. 31. Klein didn't mention Novak's role in the Plame case -- or his charge this week that George W. Bush knows the truth about who first leaked Valerie Plame's identity to him.

Speaking of which, as we've noted, Scott McClellan has brushed off Novak's claim that Bush knows by saying, "I don't know what he's basing that on." After we wrote about McClellan's nondenial denial Thursday, we remembered that it was McClellan himself who said, way back in 2003, that "the president knows" that Karl Rove wasn't involved in outing Plame. Isn't it fair to ask what McClellan was basing that on?

Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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