Robert Novak, conservative columnist at centre of CIA Valerie Plame leak, dies aged 78

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Robert Novak, the conservative columnist who revealed the name of the CIA officer Valerie Plame, has died after a battle with brain cancer. He was 78.

The influential Right-wing pundit, who served as co-host of CNN's "Crossfire" and had been a columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times for decades, became himself a central figure in one of the biggest and messiest stories in Washington in recent years.

In July 2003, Novak was the first to publish the name of Ms Plame, whose diplomat husband, Joseph Wilson, had made public assertions that the Bush administration had distorted intelligence about Iraqi weapons. Novak suggested that she had pushed her husband to travel to Niger, after which he concluded that US claims about Saddam Hussein's nuclear programme were overblown.

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Michael Glen Wade - 8/19/2009

Mr. Novak should have expired in jail.