Robert Novak, conservative US columnist and pundit, dies

Robert Novak, the US political columnist and conservative pundit, died on Tuesday aged 78 from brain cancer.

Known for his long running and greatly syndicated Chicago Sun-Times column, he came to notoriety in 2003 when he outed Valerie Plame as a CIA officer.

The scandal led to the imprisonment of vice president Dick Cheney’s chief of staff, Lewis “Scooter” Libby, who leaked the information to Novak and others.

His career in journalism began at the Champaign-Urbana Courier while he studied at the University of Illinois.

After serving as a lieutenant in the Korean War, he joined the Associated Press, ending up in the Washington Bureau.

He became the Wall Street Journal’s chief congressional correspondent in 1958, and started the long running “Inside Report” column on the machinations of the Washington political scene in 1963, which continued until his diagnosis earlier this year.

As a conservative television pundit, he appeared on the now-defunct political debate show “Crossfire” and as a commentator on the CNN and Fox News channels.

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