Joseph Wilson, speaking on NPR, has backed way back from his earlier statement virtually accusing Karl Rove of having been the source of the Valerie Plame leak. Wilson admits to “an excess of exuberance,” which is certainly one way to describe accusing someone in a public forum of an aggravated felony without having any actual evidence.
Wilson continues to insist, plausibly, that Rove must have condoned the activity afterwards even if he didn’t order it or execute it himself. But this certainly makes Tom Maguire’s hesitancy about taking Wilson at his word look justified.
Fortunately, at this point nothing in this story depends on crediting Wilson’s accuracy. He was a useful, and perhaps essential, catalyst in starting the investigation, but it now has a life of its own.