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08/18/2010

One year ago: Robert Novak

August 18, 2010 |  6:00 am

Robert-novakRobert Novak was right when he predicted the lead of his own obituary. It wasn't his years as a reporter for the Associated Press and the Wall Street Journal that gained him posthumous notoriety, but rather a story he broke late in his career as a columnist -- one that he considered comparatively minor.

Novak, who died one year ago, was the first journalist to disclose the identity of CIA operative Valerie Plame -- a three-sentence revelation that he credited with ruining his 25-year relationship with CNN and his regular appearances on "Meet the Press."

The July 14, 2003, column stirred up a political storm in Washington. Before it was over, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, was convicted of perjury and obstruction of justice, and the controversy had exposed journalists' coziness with official sources. It also tarnished the reputations of two key administration figures -- political guru Karl Rove and Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage -- who confessed to leaking Plame's identity to reporters.

Novak's began his journalism career as an AP reporter who made a habit of taking assignments his more senior colleagues disdained. Then, in 1962 while at the Wall Street Journal, Novak began a 30-year partnership with fellow journalist Rowland Evans. He and Evans started a column that eventually won national syndication, and in 1980, they launched a show on CNN called "Evans and Novak."

Novak, known for his conservative politics, once described his journalistic philosophy this way: "To tell the world things people do not want me to reveal, to advocate limited government, economic freedom and a strong, prudent America -- and to have fun doing it."

For more, read Robert Novak's obituary by The Times.

--Michael Farr

Photo: Robert Novak during a July 2007 taping of "Meet the Press." Credit: Alex Wong / Getty Images

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