The New York Post repeated (registration required) the content of a false Associated Press report that former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV had acknowledged that his wife, Valerie Plame, was not an undercover CIA agent at the time columnist Robert D. Novak first publicly exposed her identity -- even though the AP had already corrected its story. In fact, Wilson merely emphasized that his wife's cover was blown at the moment Novak revealed her identity in a July 2003 column.
In a July 16 editorial titled "The Plame Game," the Post wrote:
Wilson Thursday night told CNN his wife "was not a clandestine officer on the day that Bob Novak blew her identity." He quickly reversed himself, but the damage had been done.
But contrary to the Post's distortion, it was the AP -- not Wilson -- that reversed itself.
On July 15, the AP reported that Wilson "acknowledged his wife was no longer in an undercover job at the time Novak's column first identified her." CNN congressional correspondent Ed Henry echoed the false AP story later that day. But the context of the interview on the July 14 edition of CNN's Wolf Blitzer Reports made clear that the AP misconstrued and falsely reported Wilson's remarks. In fact, when host Wolf Blitzer specifically asked Wilson if his wife "hadn't been a clandestine officer for some time before" Novak's column was published, Wilson responded that he could not comment on her past status as an undercover officer, but indicated that the CIA would not have believed a possible crime had been committed if Plame had not been a clandestine officer at the time Novak published her identity. Moreover, as Media Matters for America has documented, multiple press outlets reported that Plame was an undercover CIA operative at the time Novak wrote his column.
Later on July 15, the AP corrected its error. The revised version of the AP article read:
In an interview on CNN earlier Thursday before the latest revelation, Wilson kept up his criticism of the White House, saying Rove's conduct was an "outrageous abuse of power ... certainly worthy of frog-marching out of the White House."
Wilson also said "my wife was not a clandestine officer the day that Bob Novak blew her identity."
In an interview Friday, Wilson said his comment was meant to reflect that his wife lost her ability to be a covert agent because of the leak, not that she had stopped working for the CIA beforehand.