CIA leak scandal timeline

CIA leak scandal timeline

:"Note: This subject is also referred to as: "CIA leak case timeline", "Plamegate scandal timeline", and "Plame affair timeline"."The CIA leak scandal timeline (also known as the CIA leak case timeline, the Plamegate scandal timeline, and the Plame affair timeline) pertains to the controversy leading to the CIA leak grand jury investigation and ensuing criminal trial "United States v. Libby", following Robert Novak's public disclosure of the then-still classified covert identity of United States Central Intelligence Agency officer Valerie Plame Wilson (known as the "CIA leak scandal" and also known as "Plamegate" and the "Plame affair"). [ "Timelines/Links"] , compiled by "The Joe and Valerie Wilson Legal Support Trust", accessed June 10, 2008.]

Valerie Plame Wilson is the wife of former U.S. Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson, author of a controversial op-ed entitled "What I Didn't Find in Africa" published in "The New York Times" on July 3, 2003, questioning the accuracy of the George W. Bush administration's rationale for the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Responding to that op-ed, Robert Novak publicly revealed Wilson's wife to be a CIA "operative" named "Valerie Plame" in his "Washington Post" column on July 14, 2003. [Robert D. Novak, [ "Mission to Niger,] " "The Washington Post" July 14, 2003: A21.] [Cf. " [ CBS Evening News] " September 7, 2006.]

Between 2003 and 2007, the United States Department of Justice directed the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Special Counsel, headed by Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald, to conduct a special investigation into the original source for the leak of Plame's then-still classified CIA covert identity and any possible violations of criminal statutes requiring government officials to use classified information responsibly and to testify truthfully in such federal investigations. The CIA leak grand jury investigation resulted in the indictment and conviction of Lewis Libby in United States v. Libby and the later commutation of his prison sentence by United States President George W. Bush.

In late August 2006, former U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage revealed publicly that Novak had based his disclosure of Mrs. Wilson's CIA identity on then still-classified information that Armitage initially gave him while Armitage was still serving in the State Department.

The "Timeline/Links" section of "The Joe and Valerie Wilson Legal Support Trust" provides links to "several timelines assembled by various national publications, which should help to shed some light on the events as they transpired," including this timeline, while observing: "Understanding the series of events that occurred around the exposure of Valerie Wilson's covert CIA status is somewhat difficult due to the misleading and contradictory statements given by various [administration] officials regarding the leak." [ "Timelines/Links"] , compiled by "The Joe and Valerie Wilson Legal Support Trust", accessed June 10, 2008. [Corrects typographical error within brackets.] ]

Key background events


*Between 1980 and 1982 Iraq procures more than 400 tons of yellowcake from Portugal and Niger. This material remains in Iraq under IAEA monitoring until the 2003 invasion. [ [ IAEA report] "The components of Iraq's clandestine nuclear programme"] [ [ Iraq Survey Group] "Iraq’s Known Uranium Holdings"]


*Seyni Kountché, then President of Niger, stated that his country would "sell uranium even to the devil."]


*A BBC report notes that South Africa illicitly sells Uranium to Iraq through Uday Hussein. This sale is unverified by other sources. [ [ BBC NEWS | Africa | Iraq 'sought African uranium' ] ]


*According to an editorial in National Review Online, an IAEA report lists 580 tons of natural uranium in Iraqi stockpiles, some of which came from Niger.


*June: (According to a 2002 conversation between Joseph C. Wilson and former Prime Minister of Niger Ibrahim Assane Mayaki) An Iraqi businessman approached Mayaki and insisted that Mayaki meet with an Iraqi delegation to discuss "expanding commercial relations" between the Iraqi government of Saddam Hussein and Niger. Mayaki interpreted the overture as an attempt to discuss uranium sales, but steered the conversation away from trade because of UN sanctions against Iraq. [ [ Plame's Input Is Cited on Niger Mission ( ] ] In a 2004 conversation with Wilson, Wilson's "Nigerien source" (presumably, Mayaki), told Wilson that the "Iraqi businessman" he had met in June 1999 was Muhammed Saeed al-Sahaf, the former Iraqi Information Minister, sometimes referred to in the U.S. press as "Baghdad Bob." [Joseph C. Wilson, "The Politics of Truth" 12, 424.]


*New Years 2001: Over the holiday, a gang of burglars break into the embassy of Niger in Rome and steal some letterhead and official stamps. [ [] [] [] ]

Late 2001 – Early 2002

*According to CIA Director George Tenet: "There was fragmentary intelligence gathered in late 2001 and early 2002 on the allegations of Saddam's efforts to obtain additional raw uranium from Africa, beyond the 550 metric tons already in Iraq. In an effort to inquire about certain reports involving Niger, CIA's counter-proliferation experts, on their own initiative, asked an individual with ties to the region to make a visit to see what he could learn. He reported back to us that one of the former Nigerien officials he met stated that he was unaware of any contract being signed between Niger and rogue states for the sale of uranium during his tenure in office." [ [ - What CIA Director George Tenet had to say ] ]

February 2002

*12 February 2002: Vice President Cheney reads a DIA report on alleged Niger-Iraq uranium sale and asks for the CIA’s analysis. [ [ Report On The U.S. Intelligence Community'S Prewar Intelligence Assessments On Iraq ] ]
*12 February 2002: Valerie E. Wilson (aka Valerie Plame), a C.I.A. analyst working in its Counterproliferation Division, sends a memo to the deputy chief of the C.I.A.'s Directorate of Operations stating that her husband has good contact with the former Prime Minister and Director of Mines in Niger as well as other contacts who might prove useful in shedding light on the supposed Niger-Iraq uranium contract. [ Gary Leupp: the Niger Uranium Deception and Plame Affair, a Chronology ] ]
*13 February 2002: An operations official cables an overseas officer seeking approval of Joe Wilson investigation.
*26 February 2002: Joseph C. Wilson travels to Niger at the request of the CIA. Joe Wilson meets with the former minister of mines, Mai Manga, who said he knew of no sales of uranium between Niger and rogue states. He states the mines are closely monitored from mining to transport loading making it at least very difficult if not impossible for a rogue state to obtain uranium through this channel.:Joe Wilson indicates that in his conversation with former Niger Prime Minister, Ibrahim Assane Mayaki, the PM indicated that he was not aware of any sales contract with Iraq but that in June 1999 he was approached by a businessman, asking that he meet with an Iraqi delegation to discuss expanding commercial relations. (Note: Niger's two largest exports are uranium and livestock [] ). Wilson indicated he thought the meeting took place but that Mayaki, who was aware of the illegality of such activities, let the matter drop due to the sanctions on Iraq. [ [ Clifford D. May on Joe Wilson on National Review Online ] ]

*According to the report of the U.S. Senate Select Intelligence Committee, (July 2004, pages 43–46), former Prime Minister of Niger Mayaki told Wilson in Niger that Mayaki interpreted the June 1999 proposal of a businessman for "expanding commercial relations" as an offer to buy uranium yellowcake. However, this was only an interpretation. The Iraqi did not mention the word "uranium" or "yellowcake."

*The Senate report's exact words on Mayaki's suspicions of Iraq's interest in uranium:

Mayaki said, however, that in June 1999, [A few words blacked out] businessman, approached him and insisted that Mayaki meet with an Iraqi delegation to discuss "expanding commercial relations' between Niger and Iraq. The [CIA] intelligence report [on Wilson's trip] said that Mayaki interpreted 'expanding commercial relations" to mean that the delegation wanted to discuss uranium yellowcake sales. The intelligence report also said that "although the meeting took place, Mayaki let the matter drop due to the U.N. sanctions on Iraq."

*The United States Senate Select Committee on Intelligence faulted the C.I.A. for not fully investigating Iraqi efforts to obtain uranium from Niger, citing reports from both a foreign service and the United States Navy about uranium from Niger destined for Iraq and stored in a warehouse in Benin, a country located between Niger and Togo.

March 2002

*5 March 2002:Wilson is debriefed by two C.I.A. officials at his home. He never files a written report. [ [ PREVIEW: The White House, the CIA, and the Wilsons ] ] :Wilson says he reported to the CIA that Iraqi attempts to purchase uranium from Niger are unlikely. Any deal about uranium could not possibly have taken place. Nobody at the State Department African Bureau had ever believed in the Niger story. Two other reports supported his views. Some CIA officials told the United States Senate Select Committee on Intelligence that Wilson's information was neutral, others said Wilson's information lent support to the contention Iraqi sought uranium from Niger.

eptember 2002

*9 September 2002: According to Italian newspaper "La Repubblica", the head of Italy's military intelligence agency (SISMI), Nicolò Pollari, meets secretly with Stephen Hadley, then Bush's Deputy National Security Adviser; the purpose of the meeting, as reported by "La Repubblica", was to bypass a skeptical CIA and get documents purporting to detail an Iraqi attempt to purchase Niger uranium directly to the White House. [ [ » esteri » "Pollari andò alla Casa Bianca per offrire la sua verità sull'Iraq" ] ] Hadley and others who attended this meeting say they have little memory of the details of what was discussed, and in a press conference Hadley characterized the meeting as a "courtesy call" that lasted less than 15 minutes. [ [ Press Briefing with National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley ] ] According to the Italian Prime Minister's office, the meeting was between the then National Security Advisor, Condoleezza Rice, and Nicolò Pollari, in the presence of an Italian and US delegation that included Stephen Hadley. [ [] ]

October 2002

*6 October 2002: The National Security Council sent a sixth draft of a speech President Bush was to give in Cincinnati to the CIA. The draft contained the statement about Iraq "having been caught attempting to purchase up to 500 metric tons of uranium oxide. [ [ Yellowcake to 'Plamegate' | ] ] Tenet and other CIA officials directed the text be removed from the speech as the certainty regarding the accuracy of the claim was weak [] .
*7 October 2002: George W. Bush gives a speech in Cincinnati in which he, for the first time, lays out in detail the case for disarming Iraq. In that speech he asserts, "If the Iraqi regime is able to produce, buy, or steal an amount of highly enriched uranium a little larger than a single softball, it could have a nuclear weapon in less than a year." [ [ President Bush Outlines Iraqi Threat ] ] It is later revealed (in July 2003) that George Tenet had intervened to remove language from that speech referencing Iraq's alleged pursuit of Nigerian uranium. More specifically, Deputy National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley was reported to be a main target of Tenet's entreaties. [ [ CIA Got Uranium Reference Cut in Oct. ( ] ]
*9 October 2002: Elisabetta Burba, an Italian journalist for "Panorama" magazine, part of the media empire of Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, contacts the U.S. Embassy in Rome, requesting authentication of some documents of interest that she has. These documents allegedly represent a contract by Iraq to purchase uranium "yellowcake" from Niger. The owner, not Elisabetta Burba, reportedly wants 15,000 euros for them. "Panorama" refuses to pay that amount unless they are first verified as authentic. [ Yellowcake to 'Plamegate' | ] ]
*15 October 2002: The embassy in Rome faxes the documents to the State Department's Bureau of Nonproliferation in Washington, which in turn provided copies to the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR). The INR's nuclear analyst will later decide they are a hoax in January 2003.
*During an inter-agency meeting the next day, analysts from the Defense Intelligence Agency, the U.S. Department of Energy, the National Security Agency, and the CIA all obtain copies of the documents. None of the four CIA analysts in attendance remembers taking a copy, which later would show up in a CIA vault during a postmortem search.

December 2002

*19 December 2002: By this date the uranium claim, which George Tenet had removed from Bush's speech in Cincinnati, Ohio, in October 2002, had found its way back into a State Department "fact sheet." Following that, the Pentagon requests an authoritative judgement from the National Intelligence Council as to whether or not Iraq had sought uranium from Niger. [ [ A 'Concerted Effort' to Discredit Bush Critic ] ]

January 2003

*January 2003: The National Intelligence Council, responding to the Pentagon's request, drafts a memo addressing the Niger uranium story in which they conclude the story is baseless. The memo arrives at the White House prior to the State of the Union address given later that month.Barton Gellman and Dafna Linzer, [ "A 'Concerted Effort' to Discredit Bush Critic: Prosecutor Describes Cheney, Libby as Key Voices Pitching Iraq-Niger Story"] , "The Washington Post", April 9, 2006: A1, accessed January 12, 2008. (Page 2 of 2 pages.)]
*6 January 2003: The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) asks the United States for any information related to the claim that Iraq had purchased yellowcake uranium from Niger.
*13 January 2003: The INR's nuclear analyst sends email to colleagues providing rationale on why the Yellowcake document is a hoax. The CIA's nuclear analyst does not have the documents in question and requests a copy.
*16 January 2003: CIA received copies of the original foreign language documents on the Niger-Iraq contract.
*27 January 2003: During a National Security Council meeting at the White House, someone hands George Tenet a hardcopy of President Bush's State of the Union address. Tenet is, he later testifies, too busy to read it and hands it to an aide who passes it to a top official in the CIA intelligence directorate who was also too busy to read it.
*28 January 2003: President George W. Bush gives his State of the Union speech. Toward the end Bush states, "The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa." [ [ - Bush's State of the Union speech - Jan. 29, 2003 ] ] The sentence becomes known as the "16 words." In his State of the Union speech, Bush also declares, "The International Atomic Energy Agency confirmed in the 1990s that Saddam Hussein had an advanced nuclear weapons development program, had a design for a nuclear weapon and was working on five different methods of enriching uranium for a bomb."

February 2003

*4 February 2003: The United States provides electronic copy of the Niger documents to Jacques Bute, then head of IAEA's Iraq Nuclear Verification Office, who was in New York, and sends a copy to the IAEA offices in Vienna as well.

March 2003

*3 March 2003: The IAEA tells the U.S. Mission in Vienna the Niger documents were obvious fakes. Among errors reportedly identified in the documents is a reference to a Nigerien constitution in 1965.Fact|date=February 2007

*20 March 2003: Iraq invasion begins. [ [] ]

June 2003

*12 June 2003: During a telephone call, Cheney told Libby that Wilson's wife worked in Counter Proliferation [] .

July 2003

*6 July 2003: Joe Wilson's Opinion Editorial "What I Didn't Find in Africa" is published in "The New York Times". [ [ "What I Didn't Find in Africa"] , "The New York Times" July 6, 2003]
*7 July 2003: Colin Powell receives a copy of a 10 June memo naming Valerie Wilson as Joe Wilson's wife and as a CIA officer, taking it with him on a trip on Air Force One with President Bush. The paragraph identifying Mrs. Wilson is marked "(S-NF)", signfying its information is classified "Secret, Noforn." [ [] [] ] "Noforn" is a code word indicating that the information is "not to be shared with foreign nationals". [ [] ] Condoleezza Rice, Colin Powell, Ari Fleischer, Walter H. Kansteiner, III, and Andrew Card are on the trip, among others.
*Sometime before 8 July 2003 Robert Novak has a conversation with Richard Armitage (Deputy Assistant Secretary of State). In that conversation he is told for the first time that Wilson's wife works for the C.I.A. [Armitage didn't tell Novak her name; subsequently, after his August 2006 public disclosure that he was the "inadvertent" leak, Armitage has asserted that he did not know her name at the time.] Novak uses an edition of Joseph C. Wilson's biography in "Who's Who" to identify by her maiden name Valerie Plame. According to the reporters Isikoff and Corn, Armitage's leak was "inadvertent, and the Intelligence Identities Act hadn't been violated." [ [ RealClearPolitics - Articles - Plame and the 'Bush Lied' Meme ] ]
*8 July 2003: Robert Novak has a phone conversation with Karl Rove in which C.I.A. agent Plame is discussed, according to an unnamed source who had been told not to talk about the case. Novak is reported to have told Rove the name of the agent as "Valerie Plame" and her role in Wilson's mission to Africa. Rove is reported to have told Novak something to the effect of, "I heard that, too." or "Oh, so you already know about it." Rove reportedly told the grand jury that at this time he had already heard about Wilson's wife working for the CIA from another journalist, but is unable to remember who that was. [ [ Rove Reportedly Held Phone Talk on C.I.A. Officer - New York Times ] ]
*8 July 2003: Lewis Libby meets with Judith Miller and tells her about Plame's work at the CIA. According to Libby's later grand jury testimony, he told Miller at this meeting that the Niger uranium claim had been a "key judgement" of the October 2002 NIE (still classified at that time), and that Cheney had instructed him to do so. This was false; the Niger claim was "not" in fact one of the "key judgements" headlined, bolded, and bulleted in the first pages of the intelligence estimate. [ [ A 'Concerted Effort' to Discredit Bush Critic ] ] Later, after testifying to a Federal grand jury in October 2005, Miller writes in a retrospective account published in the "New York Times" that on this date (and four days later, on 12 July 2003), Libby "played down the importance of Mr. Wilson's mission and questioned his performance." [Judith Miller, [ "My Four Hours Testifying in the Federal Grand Jury Room"] , "New York Times", October 16, 2005, rpt. in "", accessed January 2, 2008.]
*circa 10 July 200311 July 2003: Novak called Bill Harlowe, then CIA spokesman, to confirm information regarding Plame and Wilson. According to Novak, Harlow denied that Plame "suggested" that Wilson be selected for the trip, and Harlow stated instead that CIA "counter-proliferation officials selected Wilson and asked his wife to contact him." [ [] Dead link|date=March 2008] According to Harlow, he "warned Novak in the strongest terms he was permitted to use without revealing classified information", that Wilson's wife had not authorized the mission and that if Novak did write about it, her name should not be revealed. Harlow said that after Novak's call, he checked Plame's status and confirmed that she was an undercover operative. He said he called Novak back to repeat that the story Novak had related to him was wrong and that Plame's name should not be used. According to Harlow, however, he did not tell Novak directly that Plame was undercover because that information was classified. [ [ Prosecutor In CIA Leak Case Casting A Wide Net ] ] According to Novak, not only did Harlowe not tell Novak that Plame was undercover, he actually told Novak that "she probably never again would be given a foreign assignment but that exposure of her name might cause 'difficulties.'" Novak states that if he had been told that disclosure of Plame's name would endanger her or anyone else, he would not have disclosed the name. [ [] Dead link|date=March 2008]
*11 July 2003: According to one source, Novak's regular syndicated column was allegedly distributed by Creators Syndicate on the newswire AP on this date. [ [ The When and How of Leak Being Probed ] ]
*11 July 2003: Matt Cooper's internal Time e-mail message bearing the time 11:07 a.m. is sent to his bureau chief, stating: "Spoke to Rove on double super secret background for about two mins before he went on vacation. . . ." Cooper writes that Rove offered him a "big warning" not to "get too far out on Wilson." According to Cooper, Rove told Cooper that Wilson's trip had not been authorized by "DCI" — CIA Director George Tenet — or Vice President Dick Cheney. Rather, "it was, KR said, Wilson's wife, who apparently works at the agency on WMD issues who authorized the trip." Rove also told Cooper that, "there's still plenty to implicate Iraqi interest in acquiring uranium fro [m] Niger". [ [,9171,1083899,00.html "What I Told the Grand Jury" - TIME ] ] Cooper would later tell the investigating grand jury that Rove concluded the conversation by saying "I've already said too much." [ [ For Time Inc. Reporter, a Frenzied Decision to Testify - New York Times ] ]
*11 July 2003 (afternoon or evening): CIA Director George Tenet takes responsibility for the misleading language concerning uranium in Bush's State of the Union Address, citing a failure of the agency's vetting process. [ [ CIA Site Redirect — Central Intelligence Agency ] ] Director Tenet also (1) clarified that Wilson had reported that a businessman had made possible overtures to acquire uranium from Niger; (2) alleged that Wilson's report did not mention forged documents or even mention the existence of documents; and (3) discussed the October 2002 National Intelligence Estimate conclusions regarding Iraq's nuclear program. According to an article in "The New York Times", his statement was written by Karl Rove and Scooter Libby. [ [ For Two Aides in Leak Case, 2nd Issue Rises - New York Times ] ]
*12 July 2003: Ari Fleischer discusses the uranium controversy, at a "press gaggle" at the National Hospital in Abuja, Nigeria, where President Bush was visiting, at 9:20 AM local time. After a brief statement on the President's activities at the hospital, Fleischer answers a question regarding the previous day's statement by George Tenet. He states that the President is pleased by the report, and expresses the President's confidence in Tenet. The next question is one of accountability, which the press secretary deflects, saying, in part, "The greater truth is that nobody, but nobody, denies that Saddam Hussein was seeking nuclear weapons." Fleischer cites Wilson's report as being supportive of the yellowcake claim. The conversation with reporters repeated that intelligence supported the notion that Iraq had or was trying to acquire nuclear weapons. Having said that, Fleischer reiterates the administration's position that the yellowcake claim should not have risen to the level of "presidential speech." When asked about public perception, Fleischer denies that there's a problem. "Yes, the President has moved on. And I think, frankly, much of the country has moved on, as well." [ [ Press Gaggle with Ari Fleischer ] ]
*12 July 2003: Judith Miller again meets with Scooter Libby. After testifying to a Federal grand jury in October 2005, she will write in the New York Times that on this occasion, as on the occasion of another conversation four days earlier, Libby "played down the importance of Mr. Wilson's mission and questioned his performance."
*12 July 2003: Washington Post reporter Walter Pincus says an administration official told him, somewhat off topic, that Joseph Wilson's wife was a CIA analyst working on weapons of mass destruction and that Wilson's trip was a "boondoggle." [ [ Probe Focuses on Month Before Leak to Reporters ( ] ]
*17 July 2003: "Time Magazine" reporter Matthew Cooper, along with two other writers, Massimo Calabresi and John F. Dickerson, "first mentioned the name of Joseph Wilson's wife in an online article posted July 17, 2003. In that article Cooper ask [s] , 'Has the Bush Administration declared war on a former ambassador who conducted a fact-finding mission to probe possible Iraqi interest in African uranium?'" [ [,8599,465270,00.html?internalid=ACA A War on Wilson? - TIME ] ] :Cooper et al. trace the controversy surrounding President Bush's 2003 State of the Union speech and the African uranium controversy. Anonymous sources of information are attributed to "two senior Administration officials", "another official", and "an intelligence official". Named sources include Vice President Dick Cheney's assistant Scooter Libby, Joseph Wilson, Valerie Plame's superior Alan Foley, and former State Department proliferation expert Greg Thielmann.
*21 July 2003: "A Question of Trust" discussing the controversy previously reported by Cooper et al. is published online on "Time Magazine"'s website. [ [,9171,1005234-1,00.html] . See " [,21428,c_cia_leak,00.shtml Time Collection: CIA Leak Investigation] ". Cf. entry for July 17, 2005 (two years later) in NPR's " [ Timeline: The CIA Case] ": "In Time magazine, Matt Cooper discusses his testimony before the grand jury investigating the leak. He says Rove never referred to Valerie Plame by name, but that Cooper did learn from that conversation with Rove that Wilson's wife worked for the CIA and was involved in WMD issues."]
*22 July 2003: Stephen Hadley offers President Bush his resignation, an offer that is rejected.Fact|date=February 2007
*29 July 2003: In an article entitled "Spy Games" published in the "National Review" Online, Clifford May claims:

On July 14, Robert Novak wrote a column in the Post and other newspapers naming Mr. Wilson's wife, Valerie Plame, as a CIA operative. That wasn't news to me. I had been told that — but not by anyone working in the White House. Rather, I learned it from someone who formerly worked in the government and he mentioned it in an offhand manner, leading me to infer it was something that insiders were well aware of. [Clifford May, [ "Spy Games,] " in "National Review", September 29, 2003.]

October 2003

*1 October 2003. Robert Novak's article "The CIA leak" is published, in which he wrote,

During a long conversation with a senior administration official, I asked why Wilson was assigned the mission to Niger. He said Wilson had been sent by the CIA's counterproliferation section at the suggestion of one of its employees, his wife. It was an offhand revelation from this official, who is no partisan gunslinger. When I called another official for confirmation, he said: "Oh, you know about it." [" [ The CIA leak] "]

* 1 October 2003. As would be revealed in September 7, 2006,
He [Armitage] says he was reading Novak's newspaper column again, on Oct. 1, 2003, and "he [Novak] said he was told by a non-partisan gun slinger."
"I almost immediately called Secretary Powell and said, 'I'm sure that was me,'" Armitage says. Armitage immediately met with FBI agents investigating the leak."
"I told them that I was the inadvertent leak", Armitage says. He didn't get a lawyer, however....Armitage says he didn't come forward because "the special counsel, once he was appointed, asked me not to discuss this and I honored his request." [" [ Armitage On CIA Leak — 'I Screwed Up'] ", September 7, 2006, by CBS News, in an interview conducted by David Martin]

May 2004

*22 May 2004: "The repository, at Tuwaitha, a centerpiece of Saddam Hussein's nuclear weapons program, . . . . holds more than 500 tons of uranium . . . . Some 1.8 tons is classified as low-enriched uranium." [ [] (report must be purchased).] :The Times noted that Saddam Hussein's nearly 2 tons of partially enriched uranium was not sufficient for a weapon.:However, Ivan Oelrich, a physicist at the Federation of American Scientists, in response to an A.P. query stated that the issue was whether the uranium's enrichment level was at the 3–5% common in commercial power reactors and if so, then a mere 1.8 tons would be more than sufficient. [ [ Saddam's 500-ton Uranium Stockpile ] ]

July 2004

*5 July 2004: European intelligence officers claim that three years "before" the fake Niger-Iraq documents became public, sources from a number of countries including both human and electronic picked up repeated conversations regarding illicit trade in uranium in Niger. One of the customers for the uranium discussed was Iraq.

At least three European intelligence were aware of potential illegal trade in Nigerien uranium between 1999 and 2001. [ [ European Intelligence Suggests Iraq Sought Uranium in Niger | Human Events | Find Articles at ] ]
*7 July 2004: The U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence publishes its report. [For a number of versions (both full and concise) and downloadable in Adobe PDF format, see [] ; for report conclusions, see [] .]
*22 July 2004: Bill Getz's column in the Washington Times alleges that Valerie Plame had been "outed" twice prior (and long prior) to her "outing" by Robert Novak. In it he states that Valerie Plame's C.I.A. "affiliation" was disclosed to Moscow in the mid 1990s by a Moscow spy.

The second "outing" occurred when the C.I.A. sent confidential documents to the U.S. Interests Section of the Swiss Embassy in Havana. The documents were supposed to be sealed from the Cuban government but apparently not and their contents gleaned by Cuban agents. [ [ Washington Times - CIA officer named prior to column ] ]
*26 July 2004: releases the results and evidence of its investigation into Bush's 2003 State of the Union Address and the famous 16 words. [ [ Bush's "16 Words" on Iraq & Uranium: He May Have Been Wrong But He Wasn't Lying ] ]

March 2005

*23 March 2005: Thirty-six news organizations file a friend of the court brief on behalf of Judith Miller and Matthew Cooper. [ [] [outdated link] .] Among those organizations filing are "The New York Times", "The Washington Post", ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, AP, "Newsweek", Reuters, and White House correspondents, among many others. It was the general position of these news organizations and their reporters that neither Miller nor Cooper should be held in contempt of court for refusing to testify "if" no crime had been committed (i.e., no covert agent was "outed" in violation of the relevant statutes). [The link cited above is outdated; for a related "Amicus Curiae" brief, see [] .]

As evidence that it is likely that no crime had been committed, the news agencies voluntarily filed a friend of the court brief in which they state on page 5:

B. There is Ample Evidence On The Public Record To Cast Considerable Doubt That a Crime Has Been Committed. [Supporting facts and rationale are offered in subsequent pages.]
According to the news agencies, there was no need to compel these reporters to divulge their sources because it was unlikely that a crime had been committed.

July 2005

*20 July 2005: Robert Muller, the director of the F.B.I., wrote a letter (classified) that praised Italy's cooperation with the bureau in working to determine the source of the forged Niger-Iraq document. The F.B.I. concluded from their investigation that the documents were forged for personal profit and exonerated the Italian service from intending to influence American policy. As a result the F.B.I. had finished its investigation into the origin of the document. [ [ Source of Forged Niger-Iraq Uranium Documents Identified ] ]

November 2005

*4 November 2005: Gen. Nicolò Pollari, Italy's chief of Military Intelligence, told an Italian parliamentary committee on secret services that Rocco Martino, a former intelligence agency informer, was the source of the forged Niger-Iraq document. He did not, however, go so far as to say that Martino was the forger. News reports have stated that Martino claimed to have gotten the documents from a contact at the Niger embassy in Rome. Pollari is also quoted as telling the committee that no Italian intelligence officers were involved in the forgery or distribution of the document. Pollari also told the committee that Martino claimed he was working for the French intelligence service. A French intelligence spokesman called Martino's claims scandalous without going so far as to explicitly confirm or deny the essence of Martino's claim. "La Repubblica", in a series of articles a week earlier, claimed that Martino had "produced the forgeries from letterhead and stamps he purloined from Niger's embassy in Rome in 2000." [ [ Italy denies faking Niger uranium documents | ] ]
*16 November 2005: According to the Washington Post, Assistant Managing Editor Bob Woodward indicated he learned of Valerie Plame's identity as a C.I.A. operative from a senior administration official a month before it was revealed in Robert Novak's column:

"I was first contacted by Fitzgerald's office on 3 November after one of these officials went to Fitzgerald to discuss an interview with me in mid-June 2003 during which the person told me Wilson's wife worked for the CIA on weapons of mass destruction as a WMD analyst."
:The three separate Bush administration officials communicated their desire that Woodward feel free to discuss their individual conversations with him regarding any topic related to and only related to Fitzgerald's investigation. [ [ Testifying in the CIA Leak Case ] ] This revelation from an official, who was not Libby, would make someone else and not Libby the first person to "out" Valerie Plame. [ [ Woodward Was Told of Plame More Than Two Years Ago ] ]

Disclosure and scandal

July 2003

*14 July 2003: "Mission to Niger" by Robert Novak: "Wilson never worked for the CIA, but his wife, Valerie Plame, is an Agency operative on weapons of mass destruction. [ [] [outdated link] ] "Two senior administration officials" told me Wilson's wife suggested sending him to Niger. . . . The CIA says its counter-proliferation officials selected Wilson and asked his wife to contact him." (Italics added.) The story is published on Ari Fleischer's last day as White House Press Secretary.
*16 July 2003: "A White House Smear" is published at the website of Nation magazine. [ [ A White House Smear ] ] Author David Corn opines that Novak's informants revealed the role of Wilson's wife in order to sully Wilson's name for the sake of revenge, "That would seem to mean that the Bush administration has screwed one of its own top-secret operatives in order to punish Wilson or to send a message to others who might challenge it." Corn's article is the first published to argue a nefarious White House role.
*17 July 2003: "A War on Wilson?", by Matt Cooper and two other writers, is published by "Time" as a "web exclusive." Their article indicates that some of the sources for "A Question of Trust" had informed at least one of them about Valerie Plame's status. "And 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 reports that Saddam Hussein's government had sought to purchase large quantities of uranium ore, sometimes referred to as yellowcake, which is used to build nuclear devices." (Two years later, in July 2005, it was revealed that one of the officials who spoke of Plame to Time was Karl Rove.)
*18 July 2003: British weapons of mass destruction expert David Kelly dies by suicide. NB Kelly's "suicide" was not proven beyond reasonable doubt, neither was "intent" (to commit suicide) proven, again beyond reasonable doubt — a "verdict" of suicide requires that both these criteria are satisfied, but Hutton lacked the statutory powers necessary to achieve such a high level of proof. A "written question" tabled by the Shadow Attorney General, Dominic Grieve, in July 2005, established that the Inquest had not been "closed", and that no "verdict" had been reached (see Hansard).Fact|date=February 2007
*18 July 2003: Undersecretary of State John R. Bolton is questioned by the State Department Inspector General regarding sources for the Niger uranium claims.Fact|date=February 2007
*21 July 2003: Newsday article "Columnist Names CIA Iraq Operative" by Timothy M. Phelps and Knut Royce attributes intelligence information independently leaked to them about Plame as coming from "intelligence officials" and a "senior intelligence official." Both authors have been subpoenaed in the Plame investigation. [ [ Freedom of Information Center at the Missouri School of Journalism ] ]
*22 July 2003 Newsday quotes Novak, on Plame's name: "I didn't dig it out. It was given to me. They thought it was significant. They gave me the name, and I used it." [,2933,203423,00.html]
*30 July 2003: When pressed, Scott McClellan tells reporters: "I’m saying no one was certainly given any authority to do anything of that nature, and I’ve seen no evidence to suggest there’s any truth to it." [ [] ] To date [?] , U.S. Senators Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) have called for investigations and a number of other senators have told reporters that some sort of inquiry is probably in order.Facts|date=February 2007

August 2003

*3 August 2003: Wilson appears on CNN Late Night with Wolf Blitzer offering his opinion on the existence of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction programs:

BLITZER: I think he's being very cautious now, given some of the missteps in the past. But do you have confidence in (weapons inspector) David Kay, that they know what they're doing?JOSEPH WILSON, FORMER U.S. ACTING AMBASSADOR TO IRAQ: Oh, absolutely, and I've had confidence in — that we would find weapons of mass destruction, weapons of mass destruction programs from the very beginning of the run-up to the war in Iraq.687, the initial U.N. resolution dealing with weapons of mass destruction, demanded compliance, and it had as its objective disarmament. We had not yet achieved disarmament, so it was perfectly appropriate to continue to try and gather together the international consensus to disarm Saddam and his programs.I think we'll find chemical weapons. I think we'll find biological precursors that may or may not have been weaponized. And I think we will find a continuing interest of — on nuclear weapons. The question really is whether it met the threshold test of imminent threat to our own national security or even the test of grave and gathering danger. [ [ Mark A. R. Kleiman: Joseph Wilson On Wolf Blitzer ] ]
:Wilson's comments are similar to others connected to the intelligence community but who opposed the Iraq war — Iraqi weapons of mass destruction did indeed exist, but did not constitute an imminent threat to the United States itself. The overstated threat assessment of Iraqi WMD capability and stockpiles was the result of poor intelligence shared between the CIA and the international intelligence community.Facts|date=February 2007
*8 August 2003: Days after Wilson "publicly voiced doubts about a reported Iraqi weapons program", Wilson says he became "a target of a campaign to discourage others like him from going public... [and] Wilson's wife was identified by name as a covert C.I.A. operative in a column by the conservative columnist Robert Novak, a "disclosure" that Mr. Novak has "attributed to senior administration officials"." (Italics added.) [ [ Iraq Arms Critic Reacts to Report on Wife ] ]
*21 August 2003: Wilson participated in a "public panel in Washington" and is quoted as having said "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." [ [ Pacific Views: Iraq Intelligence - Public Forum ] ]

eptember 2003

*September 16 2003: Scott McClellan says "it's totally ridiculous" to say Karl Rove was the Plame leaker. [ [ Press Briefing by Scott McClellan ] ]
*26 September 2003: At CIA Director George J. Tenet's request, the Justice Department begins looking into an allegation that administration officials leaked the identity of an undercover CIA officer to a journalist, an aggravated felony punishable by up to three years in prison and a $10,000 fine. [] .]

*28 September 2003: A senior administration official tells The Washington Post "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."
*29 September 2003: Justice Department asks White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales to preserve all relevant evidence, but inexplicably grants Gonzales an additional overnight delay, and Gonzales informs White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card that night. [ [ Editor and Publisher] . (Restricted to subscribers)]
*29 September 2003: White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan says about Karl Rove: "He wasn't involved,... The president knows he wasn't involved. . . . It's simply not true." "The President has set high standards, the highest of standards for people in his administration. He's made it very clear to people in his administration that he expects them to adhere to the highest standards of conduct. If anyone in this administration was involved in it, they would no longer be in this administration." [ Press Briefing by Scott McClellan ] ] McClellan went on to say: "The president believes leaking classified information is a very serious matter and it should be pursued to the fullest extent by the appropriate agency and the appropriate agency is the Department of Justice." [ [ - White House vows help in CIA leak probe - Sep. 29, 2003 ] ]
*29 September 2003: Novak insists that he stumbled on the story himself. "'Nobody in the Bush administration called me to leak this,' Novak said on CNN, saying the information was disclosed to him while he was interviewing a senior Bush administration official.... Novak said the administration official told him in July that Wilson's trip was 'inspired by his wife,' and that the CIA confirmed her 'involvement in the mission for her husband.' ... 'They asked me not to use her name, but never indicated it would endanger her or anybody else,' he said, adding that a source at the CIA told him Plame was 'an analyst — not a covert operator and not in charge of undercover operators.'" [ [ Reuters] ]
*29 September 2003] ABC reporter asks "Did you have any knowledge or did you leak the name of the CIA agent to the press?" Rove answers "No." [ [ ABC News] .]
* 30 September 2003: The Justice Department officially launches its full criminal investigation into the leak and requires White House to preserve all relevant evidence.Fact|date=February 2007

October 2003

*1 October 2003: Wilson told Ted Koppel on "Nightline" that "Washington reporters told him that senior White House adviser Karl Rove said his wife was 'fair game'." Wilson "plans to give the names of the reporters to the FBI, which is conducting a full-blown investigation of the possible leak." [ [ ABC News] ]
*1 October 2003: "While Novak's decision to use Plame's name begs a journalism ethics debate, releasing her name to him or any reporter may well constitute a felony. [ [ Plame name blame game ] ]
*7 October 2003: Scott McClellan, attempting to ignore the question of whether Scooter Libby, Karl Rove or Elliot Abrams was the leaker said, "That's correct. I've spoken with them." [ [ White House News Release] 10 October 2003 (item 4).]
*7 October 2003: President Bush voices doubt if the leaker would ever be found. [ [ CBS News] .]
*10 October 2003. White House press secretary Scott McClellan was asked directly if Rove and two other White House aides had ever discussed Valerie Plame with any reporters. McClellan said he had spoken with all three, and "those individuals assured me they were not involved in this." [ [ White House News Release] 10 October 2003 (item 6).]
* 22 October 2003. John Kerry for President, Inc. registers the domain for Wilson's website [ [ The Blue Site cached at Restore Honesty.] ]

November 2003

*Walter H. Kansteiner, III, Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, resigns early in his term stating family issues [] .

December 2003

*December 2003 or January 2004: Rove's lawyer Robert Luskin says Rove has signed a waiver authorizing prosecutors to speak to any reporters Rove had talked to.Fact|date=February 2007

January 2004

*January 2004: "Vanity Fair" publishes "Double Exposure", an article about Joseph C. Wilson and Valerie Plame, including a photograph of both of them in their convertible in which she is wearing sunglasses and a scarf. [ [ Vanity Fair's profile on Joseph Wilson and Valerie Plame ] ]
*22 January 2004: Justice Department subpoenas phone records from Air Force One [] .

February 2004

*11 February 2004: George W. Bush insists, "If there's a leak out of my administration, I want to know who it is. . . . If the person has violated law, that person will be taken care of. I welcome the investigation. I am absolutely confident the Justice Department will do a good job. I want to know the truth. . . . Leaks of classified information are bad things." [ [ - Bush welcomes probe of CIA leak - Feb. 11, 2004 ] ]

March 2004

*6 March 2004: The "Washington Post" reports that the White House agreed to turn over a log of a week's worth of telephone calls from Air Force One and other records subpoenaed by a federal grand jury investigating the leak.Fact|date=February 2007
*8 March 2004: The "American Prospect" says Rove insisted he was not the administration official who leaked the information that Plame was a covert CIA operative to conservative columnist Robert Novak last July. Rove said he had only circulated information about Plame after it had appeared in Novak's column. This is contrary to what Rove's lawyer will later admit.Fact|date=February 2007

June 2004

*3 June 2004: President Bush announces he will hire attorney James E. Sharp if questioned by the investigation. [ [ The New York Times > National > A Top Lawyer Who Kept Out of the Limelight, Until Now ] ]
*10 June 2004: A questioner at the press conference following the G8 summit asks President Bush "do you stand by your pledge to fire anyone found to have done so", referring to a prior question regarding whether the President stands by his suggestion that it might be difficult to identify anybody who leaked the agent's name. President Bush answers "yes", however nowhere in the public record has the President actually made the specific pledge alluded to by the questioner. [ President Bush Holds Press Conference Following the G8 Summit ] ]
*24 June 2004: President Bush is interviewed for more than an hour regarding the incident. [ [ Bush Interviewed About CIA Leak ( ] ]

July 2004

*July 2004: In response to the Senate Intelligence Panel's Bipartisan Report, Wilson withdraws from his advisory role to the John Kerry campaign. The campaign removes the website.Facts|date=February 2007
*7 July 2004: The Senate Select Intelligence Committee releases its "Report on the U.S. Intelligence Community's Prewar Intelligence Assessments on Iraq." [] The report documents and offers some explanations as to the many failures of the U.S. intelligence community in its estimates of Iraqi weapons programs. About Plame and Wilson and the Niger trip, one CIA official said Plame "offered up his name" and Plame had written a memo recommending Wilson for the trip given his connections to Nigerien officials and "lots of French contacts." (page 39) Vanity Fair's January 2004 article "Double Exposure" states Wilson was representing a concern seeking business related to gold mining in Niger, a former French colony. As for the information Wilson gained in Niger, CIA and State Department intelligence officials believed Wilson's report actually boosted the case that Iraq was seeking uranium, but Joe Wilson appeared to spin his story the opposite way. CIA continued to mention, with the backing of British Intelligence, that Iraq have sought uranium in Niger.
*31 July 2004:Rove says on CNN "Well, I’ll repeat what I said to ABC News when this whole thing broke some number of months ago. I didn’t know her name and didn’t leak her name." On ABC, he had actually denied having any knowledge of the Plame leak. [ [ The Raw Story] ] :During the Republican National Convention, Rove told CNN:

"I didn't know her name and didn't leak her name. This is at the Justice Department. I'm confident that the U.S. Attorney, the prosecutor who's involved in looking at this is going to do a very thorough job of doing a very substantial and conclusive investigation." [ [ CNN Transcript] July 5 2005.]

eptember 2004

*16 September 2004: The "Washington Post" reports that a source for Walter Pincus has revealed his own identity, letting Pincus off the hook that was still ensnaring Judith Miller and Matthew Cooper. [ [ Post Source Reveals Identity to Leak Probers ( ] ]
*30 September 2004: Iraq Survey Group's final report is released. It concludes that there was no evidence that Iraq had attempted to acquire uranium since 1991.

October 2004

*October 2004: Rove testifies before a grand jury investigating the leak of Plame's identity. Rove spent more than two hours testifying before the panel... Before testifying, Rove was interviewed at least once by investigators probing the leak. Bush, Cheney, Colin Powell were also interviewed, though none appeared before the grand jury...Facts|date=February 2007 [Missing quotation marks? Sources of ellipses?]

November 2004

*November 2 2004: In the 2004 U.S. presidential election, Bush is re-elected and Republicans increase their majority in both houses of Congress.

February 2005

*15 February 2005: A federal appeals court in Washington ruled that Judith Miller and Matthew Cooper may have witnessed a federal crime (disclosure by government officials of a CIA officer's identity) and that they would have to cooperate with the grand juries investigating the crime. [ [ The New York Times > National > Jailing of Reporters in C.I.A. Leak Case Is Upheld by Judges ] ]

June 2005

*27 June 2005: The Supreme Court of the United States declines to hear appeals by Miller and Cooper of the February 15 ruling above. [ [] Dead link|date=March 2008]
*30 June 2005: Norman Pearlstine, Time Inc.'s editor in chief agrees to provide documents concerning the confidential sources of Matthew Cooper to a grand jury. [ [ Top Editor at Time Inc. Made a Difficult Decision His Own - New York Times ] ]

July 2005

*July 2005: Michael Isikoff reports in "Newsweek" that Karl Rove spoke with Matt Cooper days before the Novak story, and that it was Cooper who initiated the call and brought up Wilson and his wife. Cooper later tells GJ that the call had nothing to do with Welfare. [ [ Karl Rove and the CIA Leak Case - Newsweek National News - ] ]
*1 July 2005: Lawrence O'Donnell, senior MSNBC political analyst on the McLaughlin Group, stated: "And I know I'm going to get pulled into the grand jury for saying this but the source of...for Matt Cooper was Karl Rove, and that will be revealed in this document dump that Time magazine's going to do with the grand jury." [ [ (Editor & Publisher)] [,9171,1079464,00.html (Time Magazine)] . (Restricted to subscribers.)]
*4 July 2005: Rove's lawyer, Robert Luskin, admits to "Newsweek" that Rove did talk to reporters about Wilson's wife before Novak's story, but without knowing her name, in line with his assertion that he only spoke to reporters about her name after Plame's identity was revealed. [ [ - Newsweek: Rove spoke to reporter before leak - Jul 3, 2005 ] ]
*6 July 2005: "New York Times" reporter Judith Miller goes to jail to protect the identity of the persons who leaked the identity of a CIA agent.
*6 July 2005: Rove’s lawyer, Robert Luskin, told Newsweek that Rove "did not call Cooper" to give permission to Cooper to testify.
*7 July 2005: The "New York Times" reports that Cooper's release to testify resulted from negotiations involving Rove's and Cooper's attorneys.
*10 July 2005: "Newsweek" quotes Rove lawyer Robert Luskin as confirming that Rove was the source who gave information to "Time" reporter Matt Cooper under a pledge of confidentiality, and that he subsequently released him to testify about that conversation to a grand jury.
*11 July 2005: Rove's lawyer says, "Rove did not mention her name to Cooper." [ [ Rove Told Reporter of Plame's Role But Didn't Name Her, Attorney Says ] ]
*11 July 2005: Cooper did not actually get a call from his "source" Rove. Read a WSJ interview by Rove Attorney Luskin and decided to testify. [ [ For Time Inc. Reporter, a Frenzied Decision to Testify - New York Times ] ]
*11 July 2005: Scott McClellan dodges the "will the President fire the leaker" question. He also dodges the question, "Did Karl Rove commit a crime?" [ Press Briefing by Scott McClellan ] ]
*13 July 2005: Matt Cooper confirmed that his source on the leak was President Bush's Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove after receiving a waiver from confidentiality signed by Rove's attorney, Robert Luskin.Fact|date=February 2007
*15 July 2005: The "Washington Times" quotes a former CIA agent as indicating that Plame was not a covert agent. [ [ Washington Times - Rove fight escalates ] ] However, other agents quickly contradicted this and pointed out that the man making the claim had left the CIA over fifteen years ago and thus had no knowledge of Plame's status after 1990.
*18 July 2005: President Bush says that the leaker will be fired "if a crime was committed." (Italics added.) [ Political News | Bush: CIA leaker would be fired if crime committed ] ]

eptember 2005

*29 September 2005: Judith Miller released from jail after she agrees to testify.Fact|date=May 2007
*30 September 2005: Judith Miller testifies for grand jury investigating Plame CIA leak.Fact|date=May 2007

October 2005

*13 October 2005: Judith Miller testifies for the grand jury investigating the Plame CIA leak.Fact|date=May 2007
*14 October 2005: Karl Rove appears in front of the federal grand jury investigating the CIA leak. This is his fourth appearance.Fact|date=May 2007
*28 October 2005: Lewis "Scooter" Libby charged with two counts of perjury, two counts of making false statements and one count of obstruction of justice. He immediately resigns as Dick Cheney's Chief of Staff [] .

November 2005

*2 November 2005: FOX News military analyst and retired Army Maj. Gen. Paul E. Vallely publicly claims Wilson had spoken to him about his wife's role with the CIA while they were waiting together in the green room before appearing together on FOX News. Vallely said this occurred on three to five occasions, first in February or March 2002, more than a year before Novak's column. Vallely also said Wilson was proud to routinely introduce his wife as a CIA employee at cocktail parties. [ [ World Net Daily (partisan blog)] ]
*5 November 2005: Joseph C. Wilson's lawyers dispute and challenge these claims, warning of potential legal action.Joseph Farah and Art Moore, [ "The Plame Game: Joe Wilson Fumes Over Vallely Charges in WND: Demands Retraction of Statements Alleging He 'Outed' Wife in Fox Studio"] , "WorldNetDaily" (partisan blog), November 5, 2005, accessed September 19, 2006. Cf. [ "Two years into Leak Investigation, Gen. Vallely Suddenly Claims, in Contradictory Statements, That Wilson Revealed Plame's Identity to Him"] , "Media Matters for America" November 9, 2005, accessed September 23, 2006 (incl. QuickTime video with audio voiceovers).]
*7 November 2005: John Batchelor announces Lt. General Thomas McInerney, USAF (ret) will appear on his radio program to confirm the statements of Paul Vallely regarding his conversation with Joseph Wilson. McInerney claims that Wilson also bragged to McInerney about his wife's job with the CIA in the green room at FOX News. [ [ Red State (partisan blog)] .] Wilson and his lawyers also dispute and challenge these claims. see also|Joseph C. Wilson#Claims made by retired generals Vallely and McInerney

February 2006

*4 February 2006: The "Washington Post" reports ". . . court records show that Libby denied to a grand jury that he ever mentioned Plame or her CIA job to then-White House press secretary Ari Fleischer or then-"New York Times" reporter Judith Miller in separate conversations he had with each of them in early July 2003. The records also suggest that Libby did not disclose to investigators that he first spoke to Miller about Plame in June 2003, and that prosecutors learned of the nature of the conversation only when Miller finally testified late in the fall of 2005." The article continues, "All three specific allegations are contained in previously redacted sections of a U.S. Court of Appeals opinion that were released yesterday. The opinion analyzed Fitzgerald's secret evidence to determine whether his case warranted ordering reporters to testify about their confidential conversations with sources." [ [ "More Allegations of Libby Lies Revealed"] , "The Washington Post".]

April 2006

*7 April 2006: "The Philadelphia Inquirer" reports that court documents in the federal grand jury investigation include Libby testimony that Vice President Cheney specifically directed him to release classified and bias-selected contested conclusions on Iraq WMD's from war-favoring sources cited in the National Intelligence Estimate, with the explicit goal to discredit Joseph Wilson as critic of the buildup to war. [ [] [Outdated link] .] Although not a specific order to expose Plame, Libby's testimony alleges both Bush and Cheney desired him to compromise state secrets for the purpose of discrediting criticism of the Bush administration [] .

June 2006

*12 June 2006: Special Counsel Fitzgerald notifies Karl Rove that he will not be indicted by the Grand Jury investigating the Plame CIA leak. [ [ ABC News: ABC News ] ]

July 2006

*12 July 2006 Robert Novak publicly states that Karl Rove was his "primary source" of the information that Joseph C. Wilson's wife worked for the CIA. [ [] Dead link|date=March 2008]

*13 July 2006 In a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court, Valerie Plame and her husband, Joseph C. Wilson, a former U.S. ambassador, accused Cheney, Rove and I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby of revealing Plame's CIA identity in seeking revenge against Wilson for criticizing the Bush administration's motives in Iraq. [ [] [] ]

August 2006

*29 August 2006: Public disclosure that Richard L. Armitage, a former deputy secretary of state, "has acknowledged that he was the person who first identified Valerie Wilson as an officer in the C.I.A. to columnist Robert D. Novak." [ [] , "The New York Times" (Times Select subscription required for archived articles).]

March 2007

*16 March 2007: Valerie Plame testifies before a Congressional Committee that she did not recommend or suggest her husband for the mission to Niger. []

Public statements

tatements by the Bush administration

Bush and his White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan have made several statements about the administration's response if anyone was found to have been involved in the leak:

eptember 2003

*McClellan — September 29 2003: "The President has set high standards, the highest of standards for people in his administration. He's made it very clear to people in his administration that he expects them to adhere to the highest standards of conduct. If anyone in this administration was involved in it, they would no longer be in this administration."
*Bush — September 30 2003: "And if there is a leak out of my administration, I want to know who it is. And if the person has violated law, the person will be taken care of. ... I don't know of anybody in my administration who leaked classified information. If somebody did leak classified information, I'd like to know it, and we'll take the appropriate action." [ President Discusses Job Creation With Business Leaders ] ]

October 2003

*McClellan — October 7 2003: "Let me answer what the President has said. I speak for the President and I'll talk to you about what he wants." and "If someone leaked classified information, the President wants to know. If someone in this administration leaked classified information, they will no longer be a part of this administration, because that's not the way this White House operates, that's not the way this President expects people in his administration to conduct their business." [ [ Press Briefing by Scott McClellan ] ]

June 2004

*Bush — June 10 2004 (Responding to a media question that asked "do you stand by your pledge to fire anyone found to have . . . leaked [Valerie Plame's] name?"): "Yes. And that's up to the U.S. Attorney to find the facts." [ [] ]

July 2005

*Bush — July 18 2005: "I would like this to end as quickly as possible so we know the facts. And if someone committed a crime, they will no longer work in my administration."

Further White House reactions; possible involvement of Bush and Cheney

In the beginning the White House called the allegation that Rove disclosed classified information "totally ridiculous" and "simply not true", and stated that "if anyone in this administration was involved in it, they would no longer be in this administration." [ [ Did Rove blow a spook's cover? - By Timothy Noah - Slate Magazine ] ] [ [ Bush Administration Is Focus of Inquiry ( ] ] [ [ Press Briefing by Scott McClellan ] ]

The White House continued to publicly assert that no Bush administration officials were involved in the leak until after the Supreme Court decision of 2005, the subsequent release of internal "TIME magazine" email, and "TIME" reporter Matt Cooper's decision to testify to the grand jury. Once Karl Rove's involvement was disclosed, the White House refused to comment on the ongoing investigation and stated that they would fire anyone "convicted" of criminal activity. Critics find an intent to protect Mr. Rove in the new specificity, while supporters say this is indicative of was what was meant all along.Facts|date=February 2007

eptember 2003

On September 29, 2003, White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan stated that " [i] f anyone in this administration was involved in it, they would no longer be in this administration", adding that Karl Rove had specifically assured McClellan that he was not involved, and that "the President expects his administration to adhere to the highest standards of conduct and the highest ethics" [ [ Press Briefing by Scott McClellan ] ] .

White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan said, regarding any suggested involvement of Karl Rove with the leak, that "The President knows" that it was not true, adding: "And I said it is simply not true. So, I mean, it's public knowledge. I've said that it's not true. And I have spoken with Karl Rove ... He [President Bush] 's aware of what I've said, that there is simply no truth to that suggestion. And I have spoken with Karl about it."

On September 30, 2003, Mr. Bush said: "And if there is a leak out of my administration, I want to know who it is. And if the person has violated law, the person will be taken care of." He added: "I don't know of anybody in my administration who leaked classified information. If somebody did leak classified information, I'd like to know it, and we'll take the appropriate action."

President George W. Bush, who has repeatedly denied knowing the identity of the leaker, called the leak a "criminal action" for the first time on 6 October 2003, stating " [i] f anybody has got any information inside our government or outside our government who leaked, you ought to take it to the Justice Department so we can find the leaker." [ [ President Bush, Kenyan President Kibaki Discuss State Visit ] ] Speaking to a crowd of journalists the following day, Bush said "I have no idea whether we'll find out who the leaker is — partially because, in all due respect to your profession, you do a very good job of protecting the leakers." [ [ President Meets with Cabinet, Discusses National and Economic Security ] ]

October 2003

On 8 October 2003, White House spokesman Scott McClellan said that "no one has more of an interest in getting to the bottom of this than the White House does, than the President does." [ [ Press Briefing by Scott McClellan ] ]

On 10 October 2003, after the Justice Department began its formal investigation into the leak, McClellan specifically said that neither Rove nor two other officials whom he had personally questioned — Elliott Abrams, a national security aide, and Lewis Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff — were involved and that anyone who was involved in leaking classified information would be fired. [ [ Press Briefing by Scott McClellan ] ]

June 2004

On 10 June 2004, eight months after the formal outside investigation was begun and five months after the appointment of a Special Counsel, President Bush was asked by a reporter, "Given recent developments in the CIA leak case, particularly Vice President Cheney's discussions with the investigators, do you still stand by what you said several months ago, suggesting that it might be difficult to identify anybody who leaked the agent's name? ... And do you stand by your pledge to fire anyone found to have done so?" The President responded, "Yes. And that's up to the U.S. Attorney to find the facts."

July 2005

On 11 July 2005, White House spokesman Scott McClellan, who had since become a grand jury witness himself, refused at a press conference to answer dozens of questions, repeatedly stating that the Bush Administration had made a decision not to comment on an "ongoing criminal investigation" involving White House staff. McClellan declined to answer whether Rove had committed a crime. McClellan also declined to repeat prior categorical denials of Rove's involvement in the leak, [ Rove Comes Under New Scrutiny in C.I.A. Disclosure Case - New York Times ] ] nor would he state whether Bush would honor his prior promise to fire individuals involved in the leak. [ [ Bush Aide Deflects Questions On Rove ] ] Although Democratic critics called for Rove's dismissal, or at the very least immediate suspension of Rove's security clearances and access to meetings in which classified material was under discussion, Rove remained working in the White House.

Neither Rove nor the President offered immediate public comment on the unfolding scandal. [ [ We're Not in Watergate Anymore - New York Times ] ] [ [] ] [ [ Dan Froomkin - A Legacy of Red Ink - ] ] Congressional Republicans remained silent on the issue of the Valerie Plame leak and a White House compromise of national security, and as of 18 July 2005, not a single elected Republican member of Congress had called for Rove to be disciplined or impeached. Rove was vociferously defended by Republican Party Chairman Ken Mehlman and by many conservative news outlets and commentators, some of whom followed cues laid out in a "talking points" memo, circulated among Republicans on Capitol Hill, which questioned Joseph Wilson's credibility. [ [ The Raw Story | Exclusive: GOP talking points on Rove seek to discredit Wilson ] ] Among others, David Brooks, conservative "New York Times" editorialist and NPR commentator, attacked Wilson on 14 July 2005 by falsely alleging that he had claimed Cheney sent him on the Niger mission, and that in speaking to Cooper and others, Rove was merely correcting a reporter's misconception. [ [ Media Matters - David Brooks repeated false GOP spin that Wilson claimed Cheney sent him to Niger ] ] In an even more extreme example of partisanship, the Editorial Board of "The Wall Street Journal" praised Rove on 13 July 2005 for leaking Plame's identity, referring to him as a "whistleblower." [ [ The Wall Street Journal Online - Featured Article ] ] Fox News's John Gibson said that even if Rove is not being truthful, he deserves a medal for leaking Plame's CIA identity because Joseph Wilson opposed the war and "Valerie Plame should have been outed by somebody." [ [ Oliver Willis ] ] [ [ Media Matters - Fox's Gibson: Rove deserves "a medal ... Because Valerie Plame should have been outed by somebody" ] ]

On 18 July 2005, after having brushed off similar questions about the Rove scandal for nearly a week, President Bush stated that " [i] f someone committed a crime, they will no longer work in my administration." [ [ Bush Responds to Questioning Over Leak Case - New York Times ] ] [ [,0,4779848.story?page=2&coll=la-home-headlines Top Aides Reportedly Set Sights on Wilson - Los Angeles Times ] ] This was widely interpreted as a retraction of multiple earlier promises to fire anyone involved in the leak itself. Others counter this view by relying on the one previous mention of illegality, the September 30 2003 remarks, to suggest that criminality was a prerequisite all along.Many news outlets speculated that Rove's (future) legal defense might be built upon testimony that he was ignorant of Plame's protected status at the time he outed her as a CIA employee; if it could be proven that he had heard of her CIA covert status before speaking to journalists, however, Rove could face far more serious charges. A "New York Times" story of 16 July 2005 suggested that the Special Counsel grand jury has questioned whether a particular top secret State Department report naming Plame may have been the source of Rove's information. [ [ State Dept. Memo Gets Scrutiny in Leak Inquiry on C.I.A. Officer - New York Times ] ] Colin Powell was photographed carrying the report in Africa in the company of the President in the days following the 6 July 2003 publication of Wilson's op-ed piece. Powell is reported to have testified before the grand jury.

White House Chief of Staff, Andrew Card was informed by then White House counsel Alberto Gonzales around 8:00 p.m. on September 29, 2003, that the Department of Justice was beginning an investigation of the Plame affair, and that the next morning, Gonzalez would order the White House staff to preserve all documents that may be related to the case. Gonzalez has stated that he did not send the order to the staff because of the lateness of the hour, but speculation has suggested that he notified Card in order to give him a twelve hour head start before destruction of any incriminating documents would be prohibited. [] This was unusual, according to the "Washington Post", since the White House Staff is usually quickly notified of any investigations so as to safeguard the integrity of any documents, emails or memoranda that might be required for the investigation. [ [ Bush Aide Learned Early of Leaks Probe ] ]

Congressional reactions

July 2005

On July 15 2005, ninety one Democratic members of Congress sign a petition calling for Karl Rove to explain his role in the Plame affair, or to resign. [ [] .] [ [ letter] ] Thirteen Democratic Members of the House Judiciary Committee call for hearings on the matter. [ [ U.S. House Judiciary Committee ] ]

A Resolution of Inquiry has been offered by Rush D. Holt, Jr. (D-NJ) and John Conyers (D-MI), requesting that the Bush Administration release all documents concerning the exposure of Ms. Plame.

Barney Frank (D-MA) and John Conyers (D-MI) have authorized the Library of Congress to research legal precedent for the impeachment of White House staffers. [ [ Daily Kos: 91 Members Tell Karl Rove: Explain Your Role or Resign ] ]

A series of nationwide town hall meetings was scheduled for July 23 2005 to review the Downing Street memo, the Plame affair, and the situation in Iraq. [ [ U.S. House Judiciary Committee ] ]

Twenty-six Democratic Senators, including seven members of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, have issued a public statement authored by Senator John Kerry, calling for Congressional hearings to investigate the Plame leak. [ [ The Democratic Daily » Blog Archive » Kerry, Senators Urge Congressional Investigation Into Leak of CIA Agent Valerie Plame’s Name ] ]

November 2005

On November 1 2005, Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) called for a closed session, for only the 54th time since 1929, to discuss the Plame affair and the Bush Administration's role in pre-Iraq War intelligence.

On November 5 2005, Senator Zell Miller (D-GA) wrote a column describing his view of the Plame affair as a "sting operation" by the Wilsons designed to pull down a sitting president. Miller claims that Joseph Wilson played a key role by "misrepresenting" the intelligence he gathered on his trip to Niger, publishing his findings in an op-ed piece.

After an MSNBC report that asserted Plame was working on tracking Iranian nuclear proliferation, U.S. Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) wrote Director of Central Intelligence Porter Goss requesting a "national security damage assessment briefing to U.S. Senators regarding the public disclosure of Valerie Plame's identity as a CIA officer." []

Reactions of former CIA officers

July 2005

On 18 July 2005, eleven former CIA officers backed Valerie Plame in a three page statement presented to a Congressional hearing [ [ Microsoft Word - cialetter.doc ] ] and characterized the leak of her identity as damaging "national security and threaten [ing] the ability of U.S. intelligence gathering":

"Intelligence officers should not be used as political footballs", the eleven said. "In the case of Valerie Plame, she still works for the CIA and is not in a position to publicly defend her reputation and honor." [ [] as reported by Fox News in [,2933,163162,00.html] . The former CIA officers charge specifically that comments by members of Congress
reveal an astonishing ignorance of the intelligence community and the role of cover. The fact is that there are thousands of U.S. intelligence officers who “work at a desk” in the Washington, D.C. area every day who are undercover. Some have official cover, and some have non-official cover. Both classes of cover must and should be protected.
While we are pleased that the U.S. Department of Justice is conducting an investigation and that the U.S. Attorney General has recused himself, we believe that the partisan attacks against Valerie Plame are sending a deeply discouraging message to the men and women who have agreed to work undercover for their nation’s security. We are not lawyers and are not qualified to determine whether the leakers technically violated the 1982 Intelligence Identities Protection Act. However, we are confident that Valerie Plame was working in a cover status and that our nation’s leaders, regardless of political party, have a duty to protect all intelligence officers. We believe it is appropriate for the President to move proactively to dismiss from office or administratively punish any official who participated in any way in revealing Valerie Plame's status. Such an act by the President would send an unambiguous message that leaks of this nature will not be tolerated and would be consistent with his duties as the Commander-in-Chief.
We also believe it is important that Congress speak with one non-partisan voice on this issue. Intelligence officers should not be used as political footballs. In the case of Valerie Plame, she still works for the CIA and is not in a position to publicly defend her reputation and honor. We stand in her stead and ask that Republicans and Democrats honor her service to her country and stop the campaign of disparagement and innuendo aimed at discrediting Mrs. Wilson and her husband.
Our friends and colleagues have difficult jobs gathering the intelligence, which helps, for example, to prevent terrorist attacks against Americans at home and abroad. They sometimes face great personal risk and must spend long hours away from family and friends. They serve because they love this country and are committed to protecting it from threats from abroad and to defending the principles of liberty and freedom. They do not expect public acknowledgement for their work, but they do expect and deserve their government’s protection of their covert status.
For the good of our country, we ask you to please stand up for every man and woman who works for the U.S. intelligence community and help protect their ability to live their cover.

Former DCI George Tenet told a Senator that he was "furious" with the Bush Administration about the leak in 2003. [ [] ]

Larry C. Johnson, a former CIA colleague of Plame's in the late 1980s, heavily criticized the Bush Administration's handling of the leak: "This is wrong and this is shameful. Instead of a president concerned first and foremost with protecting this country and the intelligence officers who serve it, we are confronted with a president who is willing to sit by while political operatives savage the reputations of good Americans like Valerie and Joe Wilson." [ [ U.S ] ]

On 22 July 2005, Johnson,] along with former CIA case officers David MacMichael and James Marcinkowski, [] former senior CIA analyst and senior fellow of the Center for International Policy Melvin A. Goodman, [ [ bailey83221: Righting the CIA (About Team B)The Balti ] ] and retired Army colonel and DIA officer W. Patrick Lang, [ [ Senate Democratic Policy Committee ] ] testified at a Senate Hearing on the consequences of the leak.

Lang emphasized his view that the Bush Administration's action in leaking Plame's identity had threatened vital national security interests over the long term, by sending the message to potential assets around the world that their identity will not be protected if they work with the CIA. "This says to them that if you decide to cooperate, someone will give you up, so you don't do it", he said. "They are not going to trust you in any way." [ [] ]

Fred W. Rustmann, "a covert CIA agent from 1966 to 1990", was briefly a supervisor of Valerie Plame Wilson during her early career at the CIA, although he left the agency before she went undercover: "'She made no bones about the fact that she was an agency employee and her husband was a diplomat,' he told "The Washington Times". 'Her neighbors knew this, her friends knew this, his friends knew this. A lot of blame could be put on to central cover staff and the agency because they weren't minding the store here. . . . The agency never changed her cover status.'" [ [ Washington Times - Rove fight escalates ] ] It is not clear how Mr. Rustmann, who left the Agency in 1990, would know this, since Plame is said to have gone undercover after 1990.Fact|date=February 2007 And investigations by the FBI and by journalists revealed Rustmann's comments to be "baseless"; friends and neighbors of the Wilsons had no idea that Valerie Plame Wilson worked for the CIA before reading about it in Novak's column. [ [ Media Matters - NY Times omitted Plame neighbors' statements that they didn't know she worked for CIA; Drudge regurgitated baseless report that they did ] ] [ [ Bush Aides Brace for Charges ] ] [ [ Private Spy and Public Spouse Live at Center of Leak Case - New York Times ] ]

Reuel Marc Gerecht, a former CIA case officer and Middle East specialist who became the director of the Project for the New American Century's Middle East Initiative, and a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, dismissed the damage caused by outing Valerie Plame: "The revealing of Valerie Plame's true employer", he writes, "has in all probability hurt no one overseas. You can rest assured that if her (most recent) outing had actually hurt an agent from her past, we would've heard about it through a CIA leak. Langley's systemic sloppiness — the flimsiness of cover is but the tip of the iceberg of incompetence — has repeatedly destroyed agent networks and provoked 'flaps' with some of our closest allies. A serious CIA would never have allowed Mr. Wilson to go on such an odd, short 'fact finding' mission. It never would have allowed Ms. Plame potentially to expose herself by recommending such an overt mission for her mate, not known for his subtlety and discretion. With a CIA where cover really mattered, Mr. Libby would not now be indicted. But that's not what we have in the real world." [ [ The Wall Street Journal Online - Extra ] ]

However, Larry C. Johnson noted that Plame's outing probably did compromise national security through revealing her cover company: "every time that someone like this is outed, it's not just the person. In this case, it's the front company. It's other NOCs who may have been exposed.... But what I do know for certain is, we're not just talking about Valerie Plame. We're talking about an intelligence resource, a United States national security resource that was destroyed by these White House officials that went out and started talking to the press about this. Reckless. And they have — they have harmed the security of this country." [ [ Informed Comment ] ]

Public opinion

July 2005

In a poll conducted July 13July 17 2005 by ABC News, a plurality (47%) of people surveyed said the White House was not cooperating fully with the ongoing investigation; the remainder either had no opinion (28%) or thought the White House was fully cooperating (25%). [ [ ABC News: Poll: Many Doubt White House Cooperation in CIA Leak Probe ] ] According to the poll, "75 percent say Rove should lose his job if the investigation finds he leaked classified information. That includes sizable majorities of Republicans, independents and Democrats alike — 71, 74 and 83 percent, respectively." [ [ Ibid.] ]

A CNN poll dated 22 July24 July found that 49% of respondents say Rove should resign, 31% said he should not, and 20% had no opinion. [ USAToday]

August 2005

In a poll commissioned by "Newsweek" and published 8 August 2005, 45% believed Rove "guilty of a serious offence", 15% "not guilty of a serious offence", and 37% responded "don't know." [ [ Some Americans Say Rove Behind CIA Leak: Angus Reid Global Monitor ] ]

Initial reactions posted online

eptember 2003

*September 2003: Whereas David Corn had predicted that the investigation would die in the CIA — that George J. Tenet would protect the Bush White House through his purported loyalty to it, [ [ Will the CIA Protect the White House? ] ] the anonymous political blog "Just One Minute" (JOM) writes: "Evidently not. One guess — Mr. Tenet, pondering Bush's declining poll numbers and faced with in-house annoyance, decided to do the right thing. One presumes that, with Congress back in town, Mr. Tenet checked with his supporters on both sides of the aisle before proceeding." [ [ JOM] :Both Mark Kleiman and Josh Marshall have made recent comments on the matter, according to JOM, which links to [] [outdated link] and [ Talking Points Memo (blog)] . [outdated link, not archived at URL] ]
*30 September 2003: "White House Counsel's Memo on Leak Probe", "New York Times": "Text of an e-mail to White House staff Tuesday from counsel Alberto R. Gonzales about the Justice Department's investigation about the leak of a CIA officer's identity."Fact|date=February 2007
*30 September 2003: "Remarks by President Bush to the Travel Pool After Meeting with Business People" in Chicago, IL:

"I know of nobody — I don't know of anybody in my administration who leaked classified information. If somebody did leak classified information, I'd like to know it, and we'll take the appropriate action. And this investigation is a good thing."And again I repeat, you know, Washington is a town where there's all kinds of allegations. You've heard much of the allegations. And if people have got solid information, please come forward with it. And that would be people inside the information who are the so-called anonymous sources, or people outside the information — outside the administration. And we can clarify this thing very quickly if people who have got solid evidence would come forward and speak out. And I would hope they would."And then we'll get to the bottom of this and move on. But I want to tell you something — leaks of classified information are a bad thing. And we've had them — there's too much leaking in Washington. That's just the way it is. And we've had leaks out of the administrative branch, had leaks out of the legislative branch, and out of the executive branch and the legislative branch, and I've spoken out consistently against them and I want to know who the leakers are." [ [] Dead link|date=March 2008]

*30 September 2003 Chris Matthews interview of Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie:
MATTHEWS: Don't you think it's more serious than Watergate, when you think about it?GILLESPIE: I think if the allegation is true, to reveal the identity of an undercover CIA operative — it's abhorrent, and it should be a crime, and it is a crime.MATTHEWS: It'd be worse than Watergate, wouldn't it?GILLESPIE: It's — Yeah, I suppose in terms of the real world implications of it. It's not just politics.Fact|date=February 2007

*30 September 2003: "Heads-Up-Gate" by Wyethwire bloggers: "The first rule of scandal is that the cover-up is worse than the crime. With that in mind, we ought to be looking to see if any effort was made to prevent the CIA from requesting a Justice Department investigation. And we ought to find out who warned the White House Counsel that something was up, so that Alberto Gonzalez could warn the White House staff in his now-famous e-mail." [ [] cited in [] .]

Later developments and public reactions to them

October 2003

*1 October 2003: "The CIA Leak", by Robert Novak, in "". [ [] .]
*1 October 2003: "Probe Targets White House: Bush Ordered His Staff to Cooperate As the Justice Dept. Announced a Full-Scale Inquiry into the CIA leak. Justice Left Open the Possibility of a Special Counsel", by Ron Hutcheson and Shannon McCaffrey, in "The Philadelphia Inquirer": "The developments raised the prospect of a full-blown White House scandal while Bush is sinking in job-approval polls, struggling to win international help in Iraq, and grappling with Congress over his request for $87 billion more in war-related spending." [ [] .]
*1 October 2003: "Iraq Puts Cheney in Harsh Spotlight: Role: His broad Influence on White House Policy Makes the Low-Profile Vice President a High-Profile Target for Democrats", by Susan Baer, in "": "CIA Director George J. Tenet says Dick Cheney was not briefed on Wilson's conclusions. Nor has Cheney been tied to accusations that the White House punished Wilson for his role in forcing the retraction by blowing his wife's cover as a CIA operative." [ [,0,7882975.story?coll=bal-pe-asection] .]
*1 October 2003: "Leak Inquiry Is a Chink in Bush's Moral Armor", by Warren P. Strobel, in "The Philadelphia Inquirer": "revelation of a Justice Department criminal investigation into whether administration officials — believed to be at the White House — leaked the name of a CIA officer to get at a Bush opponent." [ [] ]
*2 October 2003: "Investigating Leaks", an op-ed "The New York Times": "Attorney General John Ashcroft has put himself and the president in a very dangerous position with his handling of the Justice Department's investigation into how Robert Novak got the name of a C.I.A. operative for publication in his syndicated column. After career lawyers conducted a preliminary investigation into the leaking of the officer's name, Mr. Ashcroft chose to proceed with a full investigation within the Justice Department. He did so despite department guidelines that would have permitted him to appoint an outsider, who would serve at Mr. Ashcroft's discretion but could make independent decisions. Instead, Mr. Ashcroft has decided to leave the investigation under the authority of the department's counterespionage office. That office employs career lawyers who routinely investigate this sort of leak and have the security clearances to do so with dispatch." [ [ Investigating Leaks ] ]
*2 October 2003: "Attorney General Is Closely Linked to Inquiry Figures", by Elisabeth Bumiller and Eric Lichtblau, in "The New York Times": "Deep political ties between top White House aides and Attorney General John Ashcroft have put him into a delicate position as the Justice Department begins a full investigation into whether administration officials illegally disclosed the name of an undercover C.I.A. officer." Names of "inquiry figures" associated with Ashcroft are: Karl Rove and Jack Oliver. [ [] .]
*2 October 2003: "FBI Narrowing List of CIA Leak Suspects", by Curt Anderson (AP). [] .]
*2 October 2003: "FBI Creates Team to Investigate CIA Leaks" (AP): "Overseeing the investigation is John Dion, a 30-year career prosecutor who has headed the counterespionage section at the Justice Department since 2002."
*2 October 2003: "Outside Probe of Leaks Is Favored", by Dana Milbank and Mike Allen, in "The Washington Post": "Confronted with little public support for the White House view that the investigation should be handled by the Justice Department, Bush aides began yesterday to adjust their response to the expanding probe. They reined in earlier, broad portrayals of innocence in favor of more technical arguments that it is possible the disclosure was made without knowledge that a covert operative was being exposed and therefore might not have been a crime.... At the same time, administration allies outside the White House stepped up a counteroffensive that seeks to discredit the administration's main accuser, former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV, whose wife was named as a CIA operative. Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie gave a string of television interviews with the three-part message that the Justice Department is investigating, that the White House is fully cooperating and that Wilson has a political agenda and has made 'rash statements'." [ [] .]
*3 October 2003: "More vicious than Tricky Dick", by John Dean: "I thought I had seen political dirty tricks as foul as they could get, but I was wrong. In blowing the cover of CIA agent Valerie Plame to take political revenge on her husband, Ambassador Joseph Wilson, for telling the truth, Bush's people have out-Nixoned Nixon's people. And my former colleagues were not amateurs by any means." [ [ More vicious than Tricky Dick - ] ] Dean also writes: "Regardless of whether or not a special prosecutor is selected, I believe that Ambassador Wilson and his wife — like the DNC official once did — should file a civil lawsuit, both to address the harm inflicted on them, and, equally important, to obtain the necessary tools (subpoena power and sworn testimony) to get to the bottom of this matter. This will not only enable them to make sure they don't merely become yesterday's news; it will give them some control over the situation." [ [] .]
*10 October 2003: "Why the Federal Conspiracy and Fraud Statutes May Apply Here", by John Dean. [ [] .]

June 2004

*4 June 2004: "The Serious Implications Of President Bush's Hiring A Personal Outside Counsel For The Valerie Plame Investigation" by John Dean. [ [] .]

July 2005

* 22 July Two former C.I.A. officers Larry C. Johnson and James Marcinkowski [ [ Statement of James Marcinkowski: Former Intelligence Officials Testify About Damage Caused by Outing of Covert CIA Agent ] ] present their testimony to a joint session of Congressional Democrats:
**"I wouldn't be here this morning if President Bush had done the one thing required of him as commander in chief — protect and defend the Constitution", Johnson said. "The minute that Valerie Plame's identity was outed, he should have delivered a strict and strong message to his employees". "This says to them that if you decide to cooperate, someone will give you up, so you don't do it", Larry [Johnson] said. "They are not going to trust you in any way." Johnson, who said he is a registered Republican, said he wished a GOP lawmaker would have the courage to stand up and "call the ugly dog the ugly dog." He asked, "Where are these men and women with any integrity to speak out against this?" "I expect better behavior out of Republicans."
**Marcinkowski, a former CIA case officer and a former prosecutor testified that "the exposure of Valerie Plame's cover by the White House is the same as the local chief of police announcing to the media the identity of its undercover drug officers. In both cases, the ability of the officer to operate is destroyed, but there is also an added dimension. An informant in a major sophisticated crime network, or a CIA asset working in a foreign government, if exposed, has a rather good chance of losing more than just their ability to operate. . . ." [ [ US Senate Hearings press packet] .]

April 2006

On 6 April 2006, it was widely reported that George W. Bush authorized Libby to disclose the prior-to-then classified October 2002 NIE on Iraq's weapons program to Judith Miller to rebut charges by Joe Wilson, according to documents filed in federal court detailing Libby's grand jury testimony. [ [ Top Worldwide ] ] [] White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan confirmed that the president authorized the declassification to rebut charges by war critics, but declined to specifically address Libby's testimony.

In a court filing on May 12 2006, Fitzgerald included a copy of Wilson's op-ed article in The New York Times "bearing handwritten notations by the vice president." [] (See photo.)

Fitzgerald's filing declares that Libby ascertained Plame's name from Cheney through conferences by the vice president's office about "how to respond to a June 2003 inquiry from Washington Post reporter Walter Pincus about Wilson's trip to Niger". In the filing, Fitzgerald states:

It was during a conversation concerning Mr. Pincus’ inquiries that the Vice President advised the defendant that Mr. Wilson’s wife worked at the CIA. (To be clear, the government does not contend that the defendant disclosed the employment of Ms. Plame to Mr. Pincus, and Mr. Pincus’s article contains no reference to her or her employment.) The article by Mr. Pincus thus explains the context in which the defendant discussed Mr. Wilson’s wife’s employment with the Vice President. The article also served to increase media attention concerning the then-unnamed ambassador’s trip and further motivated the defendant to counter Mr. Wilson’s assertions, making it more likely that the defendant’s disclosures to the press concerning Mr. Wilson’s wife were not casual disclosures that he had forgotten by the time he was asked about them by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and before the grand jury. []

May 2006

In a May 24 2006 court filing, Fitzgerald asserted that "To the best of government’scounsel’s recollection, the government has not commented on whether it intends to call the VicePresident as a witness, and the representations it has made regarding the identity of potentialgovernment witnesses have been limited to responses to the defense assertions in defendant’sThird Motion to Compel." []

August 2006

At the end of August in 2006, Richard Armitage, a former deputy secretary of state, acknowledged that he initially disclosed Plame's employment with the CIA to Robert Novak.cite news | url= | title=Source of C.I.A. Leak Said to Admit Role | author=Neil A. Lewis|publisher=New York Times|date=2006-08-30] [" [ Armitage on CIA Leak — 'I Screwed Up'] ", in an interview with David Martin of CBS News, September 7, 2006.] [Cf. [ "The End of an Affair"] in "The Washington Post" 31 August 2006.] According to the report by Fox News Armitage's disclosure "suggests" that the Bush administration was not involved in leaking Valerie Plame's identity to the press to discredit Joseph C. Wilson, as the Wilsons and their supporters still claim. [ [,4670,CIALeakArmitage,00.html "CIA Leak: Armitage"] , Fox News, 8 September, 2006, accessed January 9, 2008.]

eptember 2006

*Robert Novak publicly disputes details of Armitage's disclosures provided in interviews and news reports. [Robert Novak, [ "Armitage's Leak"] , "The Washington Post" 13 September 2006.]
*The Wilsons' civil action, which includes initially Karl Rove, Dick Cheney, and Lewis "Scooter" Libby, has been amended to include Armitage. [ "Armitage Added to Plame Law Suit,] "CBS News" September 13, 2006, accessed September 25, 2006; includes PDF. Cf. [ Amended complaint] at "".]


ee also

*Brewster Jennings & Associates

External links

*" [ Background on the Plame Investigation] ". Compiled by "The Washington Post". Includes hyperlinked menu: "Key Players", [ "Timeline:] The Criminal Investigation" (Updated, July 3, 2007); "Wilson Report"; "Trial: Evidence/Synopsis" ("Daily Snapshot of the Libby Trial"). Updated through November 2007; copyright 2008. Accessed January 12, 2008.
*" [ CNN Special Reports: CIA Leak Investigation] ". Compiled by CNN; incl. interactive timeline in "Case History". Last updated, February 2007, to include Libby trial events. Archived in July 2007. Accessed January 12, 2008.
*" [ Diary of the Leak Trial] ". Compiled by "The New York Times". Updated as of "The Verdict" in United States v. Libby on March 6, 2007. Accessed January 12, 2008.
*" [ Interactive Graphic: Timeline of a Leak] ". Compiled by "The New York Times", September 14, 2006. Accessed November 17, 2006. Last updated, January 8, 2007. Accessed January 12, 2008.
*" [ Special Coverage: Iraq Aftermath] ". Compiled by "FindLaw", September 13, 2006. Accessed January 12, 2008.
*" [,12271,1603996,00.html Special Report: United States of America: Timeline: The Valerie Plame Affair:] Key Events in the Investigation into the Leak of Covert CIA Officer Valerie Plame's Name to the Media". Compiled by the Associated Press and published in "The Guardian Unlimited", October 28, 2005. Accessed January 12, 2008.
*" [ Timeline: The CIA Case] ". Compiled by NPR, July 2, 2007. Accessed January 12, 2008.

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