CNN Stands By Novak

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CNN says that Robert Novak will continue as a contributor to the cable news network during the continuing investigation into the leak of the identity of CIA employee Valerie Plame.

“I think we’re all aware that no one really knows what’s going on in the investigation of the Valerie Plame incident, and so it would be awfully presumptuous of us to take steps against a guy in his career based on second, third-, and fourth-hand reporting,” CNN/U.S. President Jonathan Klein said Sunday at the Television Critics Association summer press tour in Beverly Hills.  “We don’t really know what’s going on there.”

In a July 2003 newspaper article, Novak identified Plame, the wife of former Gabon Ambassador Joseph Wilson, as a CIA operative. And according to reports last week, White House senior advisor Karl Rove said before a grand jury that Novak told him Plame worked for the CIA days before the article ran.

CNN execs were also put on the defensive bye of Novak's report, which didn't pan out, that Chief Justice William Rehnquist would announce his retirement  July 8.

“From time to time we have contributors who come on our air, and they’re paid to give opinions,” said Jim Walton, president of the CNN news group. “Bob Novak is a seasoned journalist and he’s broken many, many stories over his career. Occasionally, some of our contributors have information that turns out to not be accurate.  If that does happen, as it did in this case with Rehnquist, we immediately correct that situation.”

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