The Prince of Darkness: 50 Years Reporting in Washington by Robert D. Novak
The book has many entertaining stories about DC in the old days, and we are missing a lot from that era. The book’s original manuscript was 1,400 pages which was reduced to 672 pages. At the end I wanted to read more and I am now wondering what I missed.
The best part was Novak’s rebuttal of former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, who in 2004 published “The Politics of Truth: Inside the Lies that Led to War and Betrayed My Wife’s CIA Identity: A Diplomat’s Memoir.” In late February of 2002, Wilson was sent to Niger on behalf of the CIA to investigate the possibility that Saddam Hussein had a deal to buy enriched uranium yellowcake. Wilson’s July 6, 2003 New York Times op-ed article became one of the focal points for the 2004 president campaign. Wilson claimed President Bush lied because of the controversial “16 words” in his 2003 State of the Union Address: “The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa.”
Wilson said Iraq was never trying to acquire uranium from Niger, but Novak demonstrates that the person who was lying is Wilson. Wilson’s claims were rebutted by the Senate Intelligence Committee report, the British government’s Butler Committee report and by Wilson’s prior actions. The British Inquiry said “It is accepted by all parties that Iraqi officials visited Niger in 1999. The British Government had intelligence from several different sources indicating that this visit was for the purpose of acquiring uranium. Since uranium constitutes almost three-quarters of Niger’s exports, the intelligence was credible.”
A July 13, 2005 “Wall Street Journal” editorial also says Wilson lied in his “What I Didn’t Find in Africa” article. The Journal says Wilson lied about “what he’d discovered in Africa, how he’d discovered it, what he’d told the CIA about it, or even why he was sent on the mission.” An editorial headlined “A Good Leak” published in the April 9, 2006 “Washington Post” claims “Mr. Wilson was the one guilty of twisting the truth and that, in fact, his report [to the CIA] supported the conclusion that Iraq had sought uranium.”