WAS VALERIE PLAME UNDERCOVER?….The Washington Post reports today that Patrick Fitzgerald is casting a pretty wide net in his Plamegate investigation, which is sort of interesting. Maybe he’ll find a blue dress somewhere.

In terms of new information there’s not much, although there’s this semi-new nugget about whether or not Robert Novak knew that Plame was undercover when he wrote the column that started this whole mess:

[CIA spokesman Bill Harlow] said in an interview yesterday that he testified last year before a grand jury about conversations he had with Novak at least three days before the column was published. He said he warned Novak, in the strongest terms he was permitted to use without revealing classified information, that Wilson’s wife had not authorized the mission and that if he did write about it, her name should not be revealed.

Harlow said that after Novak’s call, he checked Plame’s status and confirmed that she was an undercover operative. He said he called Novak back to repeat that the story Novak had related to him was wrong and that Plame’s name should not be used. But he did not tell Novak directly that she was undercover because that was classified.

Murray Waas reported the same thing over a year ago, but the Post version has a slightly different emphasis and a bit more detail.

On a related subject, one of the most basic mysteries of this affair remains one of its most enduring: who gave Valerie Plame’s name to Robert Novak? I don’t mean “Joe Wilson’s wife,” I mean “Valerie Plame.” Since she normally went by her married name, how did Novak know to use her maiden name, which she used only on Agency business? After all, nobody refers to a married woman by her maiden name unless that’s the name she normally uses ? or unless someone specifically suggests it to you. So who suggested it to Novak?

Since we now know that Novak has testified to the grand jury, Patrick Fitzgerald knows the answer to this question. I’ll bet that it’s a key to understanding what really happened here.

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