Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Plamegate: The Known and the Unknown

I read the New York Times article, I read the other newspapers, and all that's clear is that something is not adding up. What exactly is difficult to say. So I thought I'd tabulate what I understood and what I don't:

Known Facts

January 28 2003
Bush stated in his State of the Union speech that Iraq had been shopping for Uranium in Niger.

July 6, 2003
an op-ed piece by Joseph Wilson, former diplomat to Niger and Charge'd Affairs in Iraq appeared in the New York Times. In it, Wilson revealed that he had been sent (by the CIA) to Niger as early as February 2002 to investigate the Niger connection, which had been aired earlier by Secretary of State Colin Powell. He returned with the conclusion that there was no basis for the Iraq-Niger-Uranium connection.

July 14, 2003
Article by syndicated columnist Robert Novak, "Mission to Niger" mentions Valerie Plame by name, and identifies her as a CIA operative involved in Weapons of Mass Destruction:
"Wilson never worked for the CIA, but his wife, Valerie Plame, is an Agency operative on weapons of mass destruction. Two senior administration officials told me Wilson's wife suggested sending him to Niger to investigate the Italian report. "

September 26, 2003
The Justice Department begins a formal criminal investigation of the leak Sept. 26 following protests from the CIA about such a blatant exposure of one of their clandestine operatives.

Circa October 2, 2003
The New York Times mentions Karl Rove as being involved in the Valerie Plame matter. When asked about this, Scott McClellan, Bush's press secretary, dismissed such speculation and added that anyone involved would be removed from the administration.

December 30, 2003
After some questions of Ashcroft's conflict of interest, because of Rove's connection with him, having been his advisor on three of his campaigns, Ashcroft's Department of Justice appointed Patrick Fitzgerald special prosecutor to investigate the crime of endangering national security.

December 30, 2003 - Now
Following the leaks to various sources, Fitzgerald tracked down several journalists who had received this information, including Tim Russert of NBC, Matt Cooper of Time, Judith Miller of New York Times. The first two cooperated with the investigation, Judith Miller refused on the plea of protecting her source. For this she was sentenced to prison, and spent 85 days there before agreeing to testify before Fitzgerald's grand jury.

  1. A report published recently said that Bush had been furious with Rove (see Bush Whacked Rove on CIA Leak). The report says Bush lost his temper with Rove on the matter 2 years ago! That means, knowing his involvment, he kept Rove around for two years. So what else did Bush know, when did he know it, and what did he do about it?

  2. If Bush knew that Rove was involved and did nothing about it (private admonitions aside, how could such a person -- and certainly Rove from today's account conferred with Libby -- so Libby too -- be kept on the staff without the President being a co-conspirator, at least in spirit? After all, no one said Nixon was the one to break open the door at Watergate? Was his silence and complicity in the silence of others not his crime?

  3. Judith Miller went to jail saying she would not reveal her source. Then she came out, saying her source had said OK for her to reveal his name. The ostensible source, 'Scooter' Libby, Dick Cheney's chief of staff, says he had given her authorization to use his name a year back, refuting her claim of wanting to protect her 'source'. Then it was discovered that there were two or three references in her reporter's notebook to Valerie (F)Plame. After all this, she says the name was not from Libby, but from another source, whose name escapes her! So who was she trying to protect during her 85 day ordeal?
  1. Today's Counterpunch has an excellent article by Ray McGovern, former CIA official, on the Niger yellowcake-Valerie Plame - Joe Wilson - Karl Rove - Scooter Libby story. See 16 Fatal Words
  2. This CBS timeline is also helpful.

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