Skip to comments.Let's get some dates here - Plame debacle
Posted on 07/17/2005 12:56:04 PM PDT by Mike Darancette
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Shagalicious BABY! :D
February 12, 2002 Memo from Valerie Plame recommending Joe for trip
February 19, 2002 Wilson meets at CIA to discuss trip
February 2002, Wilson's mission to Niger
October 16, 2002 Forged documents alleging Niger-Iraq uranium deal turned over to CIA
April 30, 2003 The Prez lands on air craft carrier,sending Dems in shock (just thought I would throw that in for conversation)
May 6, 2003, column by Nicholas D. Kristof in the New York Times
"In May 2003, after his mission to Niger but before his July 6, 2003, Times op-ed piece, Mr. Wilson began working for Mr. Kerry as an unpaid adviser, offering foreign policy advice and speechwriting tips." Source The Washington Times Feb. 14, 2004 (http://tinyurl.com/anym4)
June 12, 2003 Walter Pincus article in Washington Post
July 6, 2003, Wilson's New York Times op-ed
July 6, 2003 Wilson on Meet the Press (Andrea Mitchell filled in for Tim Russert)
July 11, 2003 Matt Cooper conversation with Rove
July 14, 2003 Robert Novak's column
July 16, 2003 David Corn's article "A White House Smear"
July 22, 2003 Timothy Phelps and Knut Royce column in Newsday "Columnist Blows CIA Agent's Cover
January 2004 Vanity Fair article on the Wilsons
(Don't send me Html boot camp, please)
From the last link:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: January 13, 2003 Contact: Mark Kornblau
I posted a whole timeline from Just One Minute. I'll see if I can find it.
July 14, 2004
The Joseph Wilson / Valerie Plame Timeline
I intend to put the key elements of the story in one place, and update as necessary, with brief commentary.
These are meant to be in chronological order. I welcome suggestions for new links in the comments section; I discourage Dick Cheney style suggestions.
This post adds material and updates links from Alex Parker and a previous post of mine.
This is *mostly* original source material; I have included some commentary to provide perspective. If you are struck by a suddden tone-shift around Sept 30, 2003, it is because I "excerpted" a big chunk of Alex Parker's work there. He has retired from Bloggerdom, and if his site goes, I don't want to lose this material.
That said, the casual reader will quickly notice that I am not Joe Wilson's biggest booster. Mark Kleiman is not exactly a Wilson booster either, but he is a Bush critic who brings a useful alternative perspective to this; his library of links and commentary can be found here.
The Espionage Act
This law prohibits the disclosure of "classified material" that damages national security; it is not as often metioned as the Intelligence Identities Protection Act in relation to this case, but may be applicable.
The Intelligence Identities Protection Act of 1982
This is the law which could convict the leakers; it was enacted in response to rebel agent Philip Agee's publication of several CIA agents' identities. (Note: the law's defenses, and its definitions---of special note is the clause stating that a covert agent must have been in operation outside of the U.S. during the last five years in order to applicable.)
March 7: IAEA March 7, 2003 Security Council presentation (or here): discusses forgeries, dismisses trade delegation theory. (MUCH later, see Butler report for follow-up).
May 6, 2003: "Missing in Action: Truth", The New York Times, Nicholas Kristof: This column was the first to reveal the Feb. 2002 Niger trip; it doesn't mention Wilson, but we later learn (WaPo, Oct 12, 2003) he was a source. (See also Vanity Fair, Jan 17, 2004)
June 12, 2003: "CIA Did Not Share Doubt on Iraq Data", The Washington Post, Walter Pincus (or WaPo link): The Washington Post elaborates on Kristof's column, describes what happened with the CIA report; Wilson was also a source on this piece, which will get mentioned in the Senate Intelligence report.
June 13, 2003: "White House in Denial", Nick Kristof
Condoleezza Rice was asked on "Meet the Press" on Sunday about a column of mine from May 6 regarding President Bush's reliance on forged documents to claim that Iraq had sought uranium in Africa. That was not just a case of hyping intelligence, but of asserting something that had already been flatly discredited by an envoy investigating at the behest of the office of Vice President Dick Cheney.
Oooh, that didn't stand up to the final Senate report. My commentary.
July 6, 2003: Enough prequel! The article that started it all: Ambassador Wilson, "What I Didn't Find in Africa".
July 7, 2003: Press Gaggle with Ari Fleischer, The National Hospital, Abuja, Nigeria : Mr. Fleischer backs off of the "16 Words":
"So what we have said is it should not have risen to the level of a presidential speech. People cannot conclude that the information was necessarily false.
That went well.
July 11: George Tenet, Director of the CIA, comments on "The Wilson Report", among other things. Key points - Tenet describes the content of the Wilson report differently from Wilson's July 6 account; and Tenet describes the selection of Wilson as having been a CIA idea.
British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw describes the Wilson report here.
July 13: Condi Rice w/ Wolf Blitzer. They discuss the "16 Words", and Joe Wilson. A flavor of Wilson's early impact on the press coverage is here:
BLITZER: But 11 months earlier, you, the Bush administration, had sent Joe Wilson, a former U.S. ambassador to Niger, to find out whether it was true. He came back, reported to the CIA, reported to the State Department, it wasn't true, it was bogus. The whole issue was bogus. And supposedly, you never got word of his report.
July 14: Robert Novak "outs" Ms. Wilson, aka Valerie Plame, in "Mission to Niger". The fateful sentences, with emphasis added for sources. Note the absence of a specific source in the first sentence:
Wilson never worked for the CIA, but his wife, Valerie Plame, is an Agency operative on weapons of mass destruction. Two senior administration officials told me Wilson's wife suggested sending him to Niger to investigate the Italian report. The CIA says its counter-proliferation officials selected Wilson and asked his wife to contact him.
July 16: David Corn writes about the Novak column in "The Nation".
Did senior Bush officials blow the cover of a US intelligence officer working covertly in a field of vital importance to national security--and break the law--in order to strike at a Bush administration critic and intimidate others?
It sure looks that way, if conservative journalist Bob Novak can be trusted.
His key excerpt from Novak drops the third sentence beginning "The CIA says...":
Novak's July 14, 2003 column presented the back-story on Wilson's mission and contained the following sentences: "Wilson never worked for the CIA, but his wife, Valerie Plame, is an Agency operative on weapons of mass destruction. Two senior administration officials told me Wilson's wife suggested sending him to Niger to investigate" the allegation.
Wilson caused problems for the White House, and his wife was outed as an undercover CIA officer.
July 17/22: TIME magazine, "The War On Wilson", since revised, dated July 17, 2003. I noticed the revision on July 22.
...some government officials have noted to TIME in interviews, (as well as to syndicated columnist Robert Novak) that Wilson's wife, Valerie Plame, is a CIA official who monitors the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. These officials have suggested that she was involved in her husband's being dispatched Niger to investigate...
Notes: First, the parenthetical information that TIME's sources also talked to Novak was added in a revision. Secondly, TIME seems to distinguish, in the rest of the story, between "Administration officials", and "government officials". I mention this, because Professor Krugman will, eventually, misrepresent the TIME reporting in his own column. And, David Corn will (July 23) write a follow-up arguing (pretending?) that TIME's "government" equals Novak's "senior administration". TIME may tell. And TIME may be on my side!
July 18, 2003: White House briefing explaining the "16 Words" process.
July 18: Howard Dean puts this question at number four of "16 Questions" as the "scandal" gets a bit of attention.
July 22: Prof. Krugman calls attention to the charges and mis-states the TIME reporting in "Who's Unpatriotic Now?".
July 22: Newsday provides "Intelligence officials" who confirm that Ms. Wilson had a clandestine role at the CIA. This increases the stakes, since identifying a covert agent can be a felony, as noted by Mr. Corn. It also (eventually) wins these two reporters a subpoena.
July 22: A non-responsive Scott McClellan provides a White House press non-briefing. Word search down for "Novak".
July 23: Newsday: Probes Expected in ID of CIA Officer
Durbin (D), Rockefeller (D), and Hatch (R). But Hatch is unimpressed with the allegations.
July 23: David Corn of "The Nation" writes again. Little new info, which suggests that people are not talking. He does conflate Novak's "senior administration officials" with TIME's "government officials", and I hope TIME is on my side here, as mentioned on July 17. We extract this:
July 23: White House Press Briefing: Another brick in the stonewall. But Ms. Wilson was the first question! It is interesting watching the press try to ask the question in a way that does not provoke a response of "I answered that already." Without new food supplies, the pack will starve, or move on.
July 23: Don Luskin speaks to some "Washington contacts", and thinks this is big, the White House is involved, and it is not going away.
July 23: Howard Kurtz of the Washington Post notes the Newsday story.
July 24: Wilson on the talk show circuit. "Today Show w/ Katie Couric";
The Ambassador will be caught with dangerously over-inflated hypotheticals, as noted here.
July 24: Sen. Charles Schumer calls for an investigation, and reminds us that we did this just one year ago. Since the shoe was on the other foot, all roles reverse.
July 25: Sen. Schumer gets results! From Newsday:
Susan Whitson, an FBI spokeswoman, said the agency would "look at the issue and make determinations about whether there is an investigation that is warranted."
July 29: Jonathon E. Kaplan writes in The Hill. Good coverage, many lawmakers quoted.
July 30: Josh Marshall in The Hill. His description of Ms. Plame's role is (roughly) confirmed by Nick Kristof on October 11.
Aug 4: Ambassador Wilson appears on "Late Edition" with Wolf Blitzer, and recycles old hypotheticals.
Aug 8: NY Times, Douglas Jehl: Good Wilson quotes.
Aug 10: St. Petersburg Times:
[Ambassador Wilson] said he believes that political operatives in the White House gave his wife's name to Novak, and he thinks he knows who they are. But he's "not ready, yet" to name them. He hopes an investigation - by the FBI, Congress or both - will take care of that.
He does not know who they.
Aug 15: John Dean, Nixon's former counsel, on the law; more David Corn on the process. Briefly, Corn's argument: until the CIA decides there was a security compromise, no investigation occurs. Tenet will be loyal to Bush, game over.
Aug 26: Mark Kleiman excerpts Wilson at an event:
"At the end of the day, it's of keen interest to me to see whether or not we can get Karl Rove frog-marched out of the White House in handcuffs. And trust me, when I use that name, I measure my words." Stay Tuned!
Sept 17 - Slate - Surprise! Ambassador Wilson tells Slate that Rove was a metonym for "senior WH official". Also, a WH reporter asks WH press sec'y McClellan directly, "was it Karl Rove?". McClellan won't answer.
Sept 18/24: Josh Marshall's two part interview with Ambassador Wilson.
BIG BREAKTHROUGH IN MEDIA - we switch to Alex Parker.
Sept 26, 2003: "CIA seeks probe of White House", MSNBC.com, Alex Johnson and Andrea Mitchell:
Reports the CIA's request of a Justice Department probe, which means that the CIA admits that she is an undercover employee, and that a crime may have been committed.
"Bush Administration Is Focus of Inquiry," The Washington Post, Mike Allen and Dana Priest, 9/28/03
The story that made the scandal. It reported a senior administration official as stating that Novak's sources had called 6 other reports before the story broke, and that their motives had been either to smear him or for revenge. The Sr. Official modifies his story as to motive in a subsequent WaPo appearance (DATE? Pincus/Allen, Oct 12).
Sept 29, 2003: "Bush Aides Say They'll Cooperate With Probe Into Intelligence Leak", The Washington Post, Mike Allen:
This article quotes Joseph Wilson as claiming that several reporters called him to tell him that they were contacted by admin. officials about his wife---later, he would clarify that they called him after Novak column ran. It also reports that Plame was "a case officer in the CIA's Clandestine Service," which apparently came from a senior intelligence official, or the administration source from its earlier article.
Sept 29, 2003: "Spy Games," The National Review Online, Clifford May:
May claims that Plame was well-known in Washington circles to be a CIA officer---says he learnt of her position in July from "someone who formerly worked in the government."
Sept 30, 2003: "Bush Vows Action if Aides Had Role in Leak", The Washington Post, Mike Allen and Dana Milbank:
This article continues to cover the events, reports that an anonymous journalist claims to have received Plame's name from an administration source before the Novak column.
Sept 30, 2003: Message from White House Counsel Alberto R. Gonzales to the White House Staff
The White House counsel directed WH employees to turn over all evidence relating to the case, although Democrats said there was an improper delay in the counsel's request. Oddly, the message tells staffers to turn over any documentation of Newsday reporters Knut Royce and Timothy M. Phelps, who did not disclose Plame's position until after Novak had written his column.
Sept 30, 2003: Transcript of PBS Newshour
Larry Johnson, a former CIA officer, is the first CIA-affiliated person to openly reveal his association with Plame in this interview. He claims she worked for the CIA during "three decades," and that leaking her name could potentially harm all of her former contacts.
Oct 1, 2003: "The CIA Leak," syndicated column, Robert Novak
Novak backpedals furiously, claims that he did not receive a planted leak, but rather that it was an "off-the-cuff remark;" he also claims that he erred in calling her an operative, because she was in fact described as an analyst. He also states that when he went to the CIA for confirmation, they never stated that anyone's life would be in danger from her disclosure.
Oct 1, 2003: "Justice Dept. Launches Criminal Probe of Leak," The Washington Post, Dana Milbank and Susan Schmidt
The story continues to chronicle the developments---mentions that the CIA answered an 11-question form from the Justice department which confirmed that Plame's position with the CIA was classified information. (An MSNBC story from 9/29 also mentioned this, but I have been unable to find it---anyone who could e-mail me a link to the story, or to the questionaire itself?)
October 2, 2003: "The Plame Game", Howard Fineman. Originaly titled "Victoria's Secret" (Ooops!), this lays out a motivation for the leak - a CIA/Admin tug of war over Iraq policy.
October 2, 2003: "The Spy Who Loved Him," The New York Times, Maureen Dowd
Reveals, through an interview with Wilson, that Plame revealed to Wilson her CIA position "somewhere around their first kiss," leading others to speculate that she wasn't keeping her identity secret, as is required by the law in question, even though, in the column, Wilson remarks that "I had security clearance."
Oct 2, 2003: "Robert Novak's desperate damage control," Salon.com, Eric Boehlert
This is one example of many articles which cite an intelligence source confirmation of Plame's status as an undercover operator.
Oct. 4, 2003: "The Wilsons for Gore," syndicated column, Robert Novak, 10/4/03
In a follow-up column, Novak reveals that in 1999 Plame gave $1,000 to the Gore campaign, and that according to FEC records she listed her occupation as an "energy analyst" for Brewster-Jennings, which does not seem to have really existed and thus is probably a CIA front.
Oct. 4, 2003: "The Spin is Not Holding," The Nation, David Corn
This mostly repeats the Newsweek 10/6 piece but also gives more clues as to the the senior intelligence aide's identity, describing him or her as a "National Security Council staffer," and also claiming that he thinks he knows who this official is, but will not say because he or she might still be undercover.
Oct 6, 2003: "Secrets and Leaks," Newsweek, Evan Thomas and Michael Isikoff, 10/6?/2003
This piece sums up the events to that point and makes a few more revelations: two sources claim that Karl Rove called television commentator Chris Matthews after the 7/14 leak, and told him that he thought Plame's position with the CIA was relevant; also, it reports that a senior intelligence aide worked closely with Plame in the past.
Oct 8, 2003: "The Spy Next Door," The Washington Post, Richard Leiby and Dana Priest
This is a human-interest story about Joseph Wilson and Valerie Plame; implies that she traveled on "business trips" during the last five years.
Oct 8, 2003: Oct 8, 2003: "Criminal or Just Plain Stupid?" Newsweek web exclusive, Michael Isikoff and Mark Hosenball
This story reports that some "close to the events" believe that the initial Robert Novak leak was a misstep by one official, and that the other phone calls reported were by White House operatives after they had read Novak's piece.
Oct 10, 2003: "Leak of CIA officers leaves trail of damage," Knight-Ridder, Warren B. Strobel
Strobel gives more background on Plame, reports that address records indicate she may have worked with a European embassy at that time, although the State Department records do not show her name.
October 10, 2003: Boston Globe, "Apparent CIA front didn't offer much cover": Chill on the Brewster-Jennings revelation -
Plame's exposure as an intelligence operative has become a major controversy in Washington. Former intelligence officials confirmed Plame's cover was an invention and that she used other false identities and affiliations when working overseas. "All it was was a telephone and a post office box," said one former intelligence official who asked not to be identified. "When she was abroad she had a more viable cover."
Oct 11, 2003: "Secrets of the Scandal," The New York Times, Nicholas Kristof
Kristof makes several revelations: Plame's identity may already have been compromised by Aldrich Ames in 1994; Plame was steadily moving from non-official cover to official cover from the State Department; it was somewhat known in Washington that Plame had CIA connections, but her exact position was a well-guarded secret.
Oct 12, 2003: "Probe Focuses on Month Before Leak to Reporters," The Washington Post, Walter Pincus and Mike Allen
This article reveals that Wilson was a source for the Kristof 5/6 piece and the Post's 6/12 piece, also reveals that a Post reporter was contacted by administration officials about Plame on 7/12, and the anonymous source from the Post's 9/28 piece re-confirms his statements. Also mentions that investigators are looking into the NSC staffer who might have known of Plame's connection to Wilson.
Eventually, this story will be one of the reasons Pincus gets subpoenaed - he mentions an Admin source that gave info about the leaker on Jul 12.
Oct 17, 2003: "Memo May Aid Leak Probe," The Wall Street Journal, David S. Cloud
This article claims that an an internal CIA memo reveals Plame's connection to Wilson's Niger trip; it also reveals that Plame was involved with the clandestine network which monitors Iraq.
Oct 27, 2003: "NOC, NOC. Who's There? A Special Kind of Agent," TIME Magazine, Michael Duffy and Timothy J. Burger
This article reveals a few more tidbits about Plame: She only revealed her position to Wilson after several months of dating a thorough background check, and it confirms that she had non-deep non-official cover, (meaning that her background info was not elaborately designed), and she worked under official cover in a European city in the early 90s, and that her non-official cover was beginning to unravel due to her high-profile marriage.
Oct 27, 2003: "The Stovepipe", New Yorker, Seymour Hersh. Important for flavor. More on the forgeries, the handling of intelligence (some of which stood up), and Wild CIA Conspiracy theory - rogue CIA planted the forgeries. Vigorously debunked in "Seymour Hershs Pipedream" by Dennis Hans.
Oct 31, 2003: "Unfair Game / Joseph Wilson on the cost of telling the truth in Washington", LA Weekly, Ben Ehrenreich
Excerpt: Q: Do you think its possible that the president himself did not know the information that you brought back from Niger before he gave the State of the Union speech?
WILSON: I think its highly likely that the truth was kept from him. The question for me is who so betrayed the president as to allow this lie to get into the State of the Union address? It wasnt me. It was somebody from his own staff. It was a manipulation of intelligence, a twisting of intelligence, the selective use of facts or fiction to bolster a political decision that had already been made.
Dec 3, 2003: Whopper: Joseph Wilson. Tim Noah, formerly sympathetic, turns on Wilson viciously. But hysterically!
Feb 10, 2004: One x Two x Six: The NY Times "Top Bush Aide Is Questioned in C.I.A. Leak", David Johnston; and the Washington Post, "Bush Aides Testify in Leak Probe", Mike Allen and Susan Schmidt.
These two stories need to be read side by side to capture the true hall-of-mirrors aspect of the scandal, which has devolved into the press covering the attempts by the prosecutor to learn what the press already knows - who leaked?
Great detail from the Times, near the end:
...But more recently, prosecutors have focused on a Sept. 28, 2003, article in The Washington Post, which said the newspaper had been told that "yesterday, a senior administration official said that before Novak's column ran, two top White House officials called at least six Washington journalists and disclosed the identity and occupation of Wilson's wife."
The Sept. 28 WaPo article is featured above, and carries Mike Allen's byline. Mr. Allen also wrote the Feb 10 piece updating the investigation. However, WaPo readers were not informed that the investigators were pursuing leads generated by the WaPo reporter. Is thathow big-time reportes cover a story?
January 17, 2004: Vanity Fair profile, which confirms his leak to Kristof:
In early May, Wilson and Plame attended a conference sponsored by the Senate Democratic Policy Committee, at which Wilson spoke about Iraq; one of the other panelists was the New York Times journalist Nicholas Kristof. Over breakfast the next morning with Kristof and his wife, Wilson told about his trip to Niger and said Kristof could write about it, but not name him.
May 3, 2004: Joe Wilson on Larry King Live to promote his book. An excerpt to aid future Google searches:
WILSON: They didn't. As the story started circulating Dr. Condoleezza Rice, national security adviser, was interviewed on "Meet the Press" in June and she said that well, maybe someone in the bowels of the agency, referring to the CIA, might have known something about this but no one in my circle. That was simply not true. As it turns out, not only by what I knew then, but as it turns out in the aftermath of the article that I published.
May 23, 2004: "Don't Tread on Joseph Wilson", John Dean's review of Wilson's book in the NY Times. Dean has articles sympathetic to Wilson cited above.
July 9, 2004: Senate Intelligence report. A section devoted to Niger provides lots of news on Wilson.
July 10, 2004: Washington Post, Susan Schmidt, "Plame's Input Is Cited on Niger Mission"
July 10, 2004: A vicious, self-indulgent reprise by yours truly.
July 10, 2004: Pejman rounds up some links.
July 13, 2004: "Will Nick Kristof Come In From The Cold?":
My commentary pulling together earlier stories and the new Senate report.
July 14, 2004: NY Times: How Niger Uranium Story Defied Wide Skepticism; By James Risen
The RSS perma-link is not available, so here is an excerpt from their Wilson coverage:
Instead of assigning a trained intelligence officer to the Niger case, though, the C.I.A. sent a former American ambassador, Joseph Wilson, to talk to former Niger officials. His wife, Valerie Plame, was an officer in the counterproliferation division, and she had suggested that he be sent to Niger, according to the Senate report.
That finding contradicts previous statements by Mr. Wilson, who publicly criticized the Bush administration last year for using the Niger evidence to help justify the war in Iraq. After his wife's identity as a C.I.A. officer was leaked to the news media, Mr. Wilson said she had not played a role in his assignment, and argued that her C.I.A. employment had been disclosed to punish him. The F.B.I. is investigating the source of the leak about Ms. Plame, which was classified information.
More excerpts here.
July 15, 2004: Wall Street Journal, "The Yellowcake Con": The Wilson-Plame "scandal" was political pulp fiction. [Excerpts, my commentary]
July 15, 2004: LA Times, "Merit Seen in Claims That Iraq Sought Uranium"
Reprises Joe Wilson's saga; my excerpts, commentary.
July 16, 2004: Joe Wilson responds: "The Senate's bad intelligence", Salon (Back-up here, or here.)
Commentary from Jonah Goldberg; Capt. Ed Morrissey, yours truly, Memeorandum.
July 16, 2004: Joe Wilson's letter to the Washington Post. Bob Somerby comments on this.
July 18: Mark Steyn, "How a serial liar suckered Dems and the media"
An amusing tirade that makes the political connection to Kerry.
July 18, 2004: "New Reports Again Question Whether Iraq Sought Uranium in Niger", Richard W. Stevenson and David Johnston, NY Times.
July 18, 2004: The Wilson-Plame Affair (Cont'd)
Michael Getler, the WaPo ombudsman, responds to Wilson's letter to Post.
...Wilson, in his letter, refers to "the Republican-written" report. It is a bipartisan report. Wilson says "the decision to send me to Niger was not made, and could not be made, by Valerie." Neither the report, nor the story, says she made "the decision."
July 18, 2004: CNN Late Edition, Wolf Blitzer. Wilson reviews the allegations against him.
BLITZER: So when the committee says that you told them you had misspoken, what did you misspeak?
WILSON: Well, actually, what I misspoke was, when I misspoke to the committee, when I spoke to the staff -- this interview took place 15 months after The Washington Post article appeared. I did not have a chance to review the article. They did not show me the article.
They threw it out there, and the question I took as being a rather generic question: Could you have misspoken? Yes, I am male, I'm over 50. By definition, I can misspeak. I have gone back since and taken a look at this particular article. It refers to an unidentified former government official. If it is referring to me, it is a misattribution, of facts that were already in the public domain and had been so since March.
My first public statement on this, in my own words, was on July 6th.
July 19, 2004: Weekly Standard, "A Little Literary Flair", Matthew Continetti
Lots of media clips catching Joe in action. A Lexis-Nexis bonanza!
Kristof, the first of Wilson's many journalistic victims, accepted Wilson's claims at face value. "I do know from talking to people directly involved in the Niger deal that information did go to the vice president's office and did go to the national security staff in the White House and went to the top of the CIA," he told an NPR interviewer on June 25, 2003.
July 19, 2004: "Defending Joe Wilson", David Corn, The Nation
July 19, 2004: Paula Zahn interviews Joe Wilson, who explains his press problem - they all misquoted me!
ZAHN: I want you to respond to that very specific allegation in the addendum to the Senate report, which basically says that your public comments not only are incorrect, but have no basis in fact.
WILSON: Well, I'm not exactly sure what public comments they're referring to. If they're referring to leaks or sources, unidentified government sources in articles that appeared before my article in "The New York Times" appeared, those are either misquotes or misattributions if they're attributed to me.
July 20, 2004: Bob Somerby, The Daily Howler. A lefty media critic buries Wilson. For language and content , rated "R" - Democratic reader discretion advised.
July 24, 2004: Weekly Standard, "Dupes R Us", Matthew Continetti
Follows up with Pincus, Kristof, and The New Republic on Continetti's July 19 piece.
OVER THE LAST FEW DAYS, ever since Ambassador Joseph Wilson's credibility was thrown into question by the Senate Select Committee's report on prewar Iraq intelligence, the ambassador has taken to the airwaves to defend himself. How do you respond, he's been asked, to charges that, in numerous conversations with reporters over the last year, you inflated your role in "debunking" foreign government intelligence reporting which suggested Saddam Hussein's Iraq sought uranium from Africa? And Wilson gave his answer. He blamed the reporters he had snookered only months before.
Thing is, the reporters don't seem to mind.
Related commentary re Paula Zahn/Joe Wilson
Aug 10 - VPW - Reporters Subpoenaed
Aug 13, 2003: VPW - Judith Miller Of the NY Times Subpoenaed in Plame Investigation
Sep 16 - Post Source Reveals Identity to Leak Probers; Susan Schmidt. The Baseball Crank has a summary.
Nov 26 - The When and How of Leak Being Probed; Susan Schmidt, WaPo.
Editor and Publisher follows up: New Twist in Plame Game: When Did Novak Column Move on the Wires?
From the WaPo: "While Novak's column did not run until Monday, July 14, it could have been seen by people in the White House or the media as early as Friday, July 11, when the Creators Syndicate distributed it over the Associated Press wire."
For an alternative perspective: The Mark Kleiman Archive - a collection of commentary and links from the left.
More left-friendly links here.
July 14, 2004 | Permalink
I'd add the July 18, 2003 White House "Background Briefing" where the National Intelligence Estimate excerpts were declassified. The NIE points up the uncertainty and conflicting estimates regarding Iraq's nuclear program. The press briefing walks through the SOTU vetting process, points up Wilson's report of the trade delegation meeting, and places his report in perspective. Best bit:
"The information came back saying that a government official denied a transaction with Iraq. It's not too surprising that somebody might deny something like that. Secondly, in that document what it did say was that the person that we later learned out to be Ambassador Wilson said was that the person acknowledged that the meeting took place, and that he thought the meeting was about yellow cake, which confirms what is being said, which is "they're seeking." It didn't say there was a transaction. We never said there was a transaction. Said they were seeking it.
"So if you get this one data point and you look at that, you can't draw a conclusion that we were warned by Ambassador Wilson that this was all dubious. It's just not accurate."
Posted by: Cecil Turner | July 18, 2004 09:08 AM
Good point, and done.
Posted by: TM | July 20, 2004 03:32 AM
A couple of links for:
Ex-envoy not afraid to speak out
By Richard Leiby / Washington Post
WASHINGTON -- Former diplomat Joseph Wilson used to tell reporters he felt certain how his obituary would read. It went: "Joseph C. Wilson IV, who was the last American diplomat to meet with Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, died ..."
But "it seems to change," Wilson says, smiling across his desk in his Washington office. He has kept mentally revising the obituary to keep up with the political maelstrom over Iraq policy and White House leaks that is swirling around him.
A recent version began: "Joseph C. Wilson IV, the Bush I administration political appointee who did the most damage to the Bush II administration ..."
The current version goes: "Joseph C. Wilson IV, the husband of the spy the White House outed, ..."
Posted by: TM | July 24, 2004 05:59 PM
Bushs "16 Words" on Iraq & Uranium: He May Have Been Wrong But He Wasn't Lying
Annenberg Fact Check
Posted by: TM | July 27, 2004 08:43 PM
Seymour Hersh, March New Yorker on the forgeries:
WHO LIED TO WHOM?
by SEYMOUR M. HERSH
Why did the Administration endorse a forgery about Iraqs nuclear program?
Issue of 2003-03-31
Last September 24th, as Congress prepared to vote on the resolution authorizing President George W. Bush to wage war in Iraq, a group of senior intelligence officials, including George Tenet, the Director of Central Intelligence, briefed the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Iraqs weapons capability.
Posted by: TM | August 1, 2004 06:39 AM
Joe Wilson's story is that he didn't speak out about the SOTU right away because, despite calling some State dept contacts, he only later learned that "Africa" meant "Niger".
This State Dept sheet from Dec 2002 identifies Niger. Troubling.
Illustrative Examples of Omissions From the Iraqi Declaration to the United Nations Security Council
The Declaration ignores efforts to procure uranium from Niger.*
Why is the Iraqi regime hiding their uranium procurement?
Posted by: TM | August 1, 2004 06:42 AM
Lots of links at Joe's:
Posted by: TM | August 1, 2004 10:31 AM
French Probe Led to
'Fake Niger Uranium Papers'
By Mark Huband
Isn't this Marshall's big scoop?
Also, some lefty's timeline (I may be repeating)
Posted by: TM | August 8, 2004 03:58 PM
Fox News - John Hurley of Kerry campaign "backpedals" on first Purple Heart:
Asked earlier this month about whether the wound may have been unintentionally self-inflicted, Kerry defender and National Director of Veterans for Kerry (search) John Hurley said: "Anything is possible, but what you have to remember is that John Kerry that night was on a small boat, a 14 to 15 foot Boston whaler, with two other men, going into an inlet where intelligence had told them the VC was using as a crossing, trafficking in contraband. They went in there; they saw VC; they popped a flare; they took them under fire. At some point John Kerry felt a stinging burning sensation in his arm, and was injured."
He added that the only men who would know for sure what happened were the three men on that operation Kerry, Pat Runyan and Bill Zeladonous.
Posted by: TM | August 24, 2004 09:43 PM
Bush's Leadership Style: Decisive or Simplistic?
By Mike Allen and David S. Broder
Washington Post Staff Writers
Monday, August 30, 2004; Page A01
With his speech Thursday night to the Republican National Convention, President Bush will be inviting voters to endorse not only a set of policies -- but also a style of leadership.
Republicans draw a sharp contrast between what they portray as Bush's directness and what they call rival John F. Kerry's tendency to worry issues to death. White House aides describe a president who gathers a small circle of trusted advisers, listens to brief debates and then offers swift, gut-based solutions to problems.
Posted by: TM | August 30, 2004 12:34 AM
Hmm, where are you getting the five years outside U.S. thing? I don't see it there. I see five years imprisonment. But this lawyer gets tired of looking at statutes so if it is there please point it out.
Posted by: Rob W | February 10, 2005 03:55 PM
It's from the definitions subsection of the national security code:
"(4) The term ''covert agent'' means -
(A) a present or retired officer or employee of an
intelligence agency or a present or retired member of the Armed
Forces assigned to duty with an intelligence agency -
(i) whose identity as such an officer, employee, or member
is classified information, and
(ii) who is serving outside the United States or has within
the last five years served outside the United States; or" . . .
Posted by: Cecil Turner | February 12, 2005 05:25 AM
The following articles can't be discounted in this matter as they address CIA and Senate Intelligence Committee leaks prior to the situation and afterward which reference the Niger incident.
White House Silenced Experts Who Questioned Iraq Intel Six Months Before War
by Jason Leopold
June 12, 2003
Ray McGovern, "Cheney, Forgery and the CIA," CounterPunch, June 27, 2003; Seymour Hersh, "Who Lied to Whom?," New Yorker, March 31, 2003; Josh Marshall, "A rose is a rose is a rose," The Hill, July 1, 2003
Wilson working on book on life as a diplomat and the leak
By Jennifer C. Kerr
2:01 p.m. October 8, 2003
Wilson's publishers state they negotiated a book deal with Wilson BEFORE the leak controversy was made public. (How could he make a book deal about a leak when the leak was made public the same day?)
Above are all leaks allegedly prior to the "outing" -
7/8/03 the President is in Africa at the time of the Wilson public disclosure about Niger
Bush starts mission to Africa; President is looking for oil and help in war on terrorism, writes Tim Butcher, Africa Correspondent.(News)
«Read the Full Article, Sign up today»
Daily Telegraph (London, England); 7/8/2003; Butcher, Tim
Search for more information on HighBeam Research for President Bush Africa mission.
GEORGE W Bush arrives this morning for a five-nation tour of Africa, in what is widely seen as the start of a new engagement between America and the continent.
Wolfowitz Committee Instructed White House To Use Iraq/Uranium Reference
By Jason Leopold, Information Clearing House
July 2003 Issue Utne http://www.utne.com/web_special/web_specials_2003-07/articles/10705-1.html
Senators of Intelligence Committee and CIA official leaking information about the Niger incident.
Same Article, dated July 17, 2003 www.antiwar.com
Same title 7/16/03 - http://www.dangerouscitizen.com/Articles/762.aspx
CIA agents Leaking to Hirsch
Same title 7/16/03 Leopold listing himself as Online Journal Assistant Editor (Same one that reported Burkett allegations and subsequent similar forgeries http://www.apfn.net/messageboard/7-17-03/discussion.cgi.17.html
Online Journal Link, not working:
Most fascinating of all the reporters covering this the hardest, Leopold--his onlinejournal.com is involved in two situations of forged documents, the Niger forgeries AND the Burkett forgeries. Leopold is very close to Diane Feinsten and Barbara Boxer, both on intelligence committees and is located in San Francisco where both maintain offices.
The date given is the publication date. I am convinced Kristof got his lead from Judith Miller.
I am too. I have a very basic stupid question that frankly I should've looked into earlier. How/why did Judith Miller end up having to reveal a source if she never published an article?
Interesting resume. He lists right on it that his wife is Valerie Plame, and who knows how many institutions/media outlets received that resume since 1998 in the hopes of Wilson snagging himself a speaking engagement??? He outed his own wife by name back in November 1998.
Judith Miller has worked off and on reporting on Saddam, terrorism, and WMD in the Muslim World. I believe at some point well prior to this Niger business that she learned Valerie Plame was CIA and the two were acquaintances. When Kristof produced his story it would be only natural that he would discuss it with Miller. Second, and I think the most important point missed by analysts was the February 2002 Defense Intelligence Agency report titled "Niamey signed an agreement to sell 500 tons of uranium a year to Baghdad." It was this report that spurred so much interest in Niger in the first place.
But how was it revealed that Judith Miller knew about Plame if she never published the fact? (I'm not defending her here, I'm just trying to understand where she fits in with regard to Kristof).
< snip >
As it happens, the media organizations informed the court that long before the Novak revelation (which, as noted above, did not disclose Plame's classified relationship with the CIA), Plame's cover was blown not once but twice. The media based this contention on reporting by the indefatigable Bill Gertz an old-school, "let's find out what really happened" kind of journalist. Gertz's relevant article, published a year ago in the Washington Times, can be found here.
< snip >
[C]ould the possibility that Plame's cover has long been blown explain why the CIA was unconcerned about assigning a one-time covert agent to a job that had her walking in and out of CIA headquarters every day? Could it explain why the Wilsons were sufficiently indiscrete to pose in Vanity Fair, and, indeed, to permit Joseph Wilson to pen a highly public op-ed regarding a sensitive mission to which his wife the covert agent energetically advocated his assignment? Did they fail to take commonsense precautions because they knew there really was nothing left to protect?
(See full article here.)
AFAIK a lot of people have asked that; I've seen no attempt at an answer. Maybe someone questioned earlier named her as a source?
That's all I can think of. I'm still very interested to find out how she enters into a situation that gets her subpoenaed.
From his OWN book:
Chapter 17: A Strange Encounter with Robert Novak
by Ambassador Joseph Wilson
Late on Tuesday afternoon, July 8, six days before Robert Novak's article about Valerie and me, a friend showed up at my office with a strange and disturbing tale. He had been walking down Pennsylvania Avenue toward my office near the White House when he came upon Novak, who, my friend assumed, was en route to the George Washington University auditorium for the daily taping of CNN's Crossfire. He asked Novak if he could walk a block or two with him, as they were headed in the same direction; Novak acquiesced. Striking up a conversation, my friend, without revealing that he knew me, asked Novak about the uranium controversy. It was a minor problem, Novak replied, and opined that the administration should have dealt with it weeks before. My friend then asked Novak what he thought about me, and Novak answered: "Wilson's an asshole. The CIA sent him. His wife, Valerie, works for the CIA. She's a weapons of mass destruction specialist. She sent him." At that point, my friend and Novak went their separate ways. My friend headed straight for my office a couple of blocks away.
Once he related this unsettling story to me, I asked him to immediately write down the details of the conversation and afterwards ushered him out of my office. Next, I contacted the head of the news division at CNN, Eason Jordan, Novak's titular boss, whom I had known for a number of years. It took several calls, but I finally tracked him down on his cell phone. I related to him the details of my friend's encounter with Novak and pointed out that whatever my wife might or might not be, it was the height of irresponsibility for Novak to share such information with an absolute stranger on a Washington street. I asked him to speak to Novak for me, but he demurred he said he did not know him very welland suggested that I speak to Novak myself. I arranged for him to have Novak call me and hung up.
Novak called the next morning, but I was out, and then so was he. We did not connect until the following day, July 10. He listened quietly as I repeated to him my friend's account of their conversation. I told him I couldn't imagine what had possessed him to blurt out to a complete stranger what he had thought he knew about my wife.
Novak apologized, and then asked if I would confirm what he had heard from a CIA source: that my wife worked at the Agency. I told him that I didn't answer questions about my wife. I told him that my story was not about my wife or even about me; it was about sixteen words in the State of the Union address.
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