Conservative columnist Robert Novak died on Tuesday at the age of 78. Novak was diagnosed with a brain tumor in the summer of 2008.
Robert ‘Bob’ Novak’s most famous legacy may be his public identification of CIA operative Valerie Plame in July of 2003. Novak published a column identifying Valerie Plame as a CIA agent only days after her husband, former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV, accused the Bush White House of lying about intelligence claims Iraq was attempting to obtain nuclear weapons grade uranium from Africa.
The leak of Plame’s identity resulted in a federal investigation that eventually led to the conviction of Lewis “Scooter” Libby for perjury and obstruction of justice.
Robert Novak’s “Inside Report” column was published in hundreds of newspapers nationwide. Novak said in a 2007 interview that he was aware the Valerie Plame incident would likely be the “lead of my obituary, and I can’t help it.” Novak called the column that launchedÂ theÂ infamous federal investigationÂ a “very minor story compared to some of the big stories that I have had.”
Novak retired from public life in 2008 after being diagnosed with a brain tumor, but continued to publish his column online.