More on ‘Plamegate’: not just trifles

Even a short chronology from the over-all ‘Plamegate’ timeline is informative:


April 21, 2003: Judith Miller article appears in the New York Times, buttressing administration claims about Iraq WMDs (“smoking gun” etc); Miller also appears on Fox News the same day making the same claims about an Iraqi scientist as source for WMD claims.


April 22, 2003: Miller appears on PBS with similar claims.


June 7, 2003: New York Times reporters Judith Miller and William Broad publish an article, “Some Analysts of Iraq Trailers Reject Germ Use,” substantively revising or deflating Miller’s previous reporting on Iraq bio-weapons.


(Sarcastic Internet comment: “Using a canvas-sided truck for production of an inflammable gas always made more sense from an engineering standpoint.”)


June 8, 2003: then-National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice appears on Meet the Press, maintaining that administration allegations about Iraq WMD were not inflated or wrong and denying that warnings or qualification reached the top level of the administration.


June 9, 2003: former ambassador Joseph Wilson gets in touch with Times editor David Shipley, who offers him “fifteen hundred words to tell my story,” according to Wilson’s book (The Politics of Truth, p. 332).


June 10, 2003: a State Dept memo by a Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR) analyst refers to Mrs. Wilson/Valerie Plame, and expresses continuing INR doubts re the Niger uranium.


June 30 (approx.): Joe Wilson emails his op-ed column to the Times, according to Wilson in response to emailed questions. He also states that some time that week, he discussed the piece with Shipley. The op-ed casts serious doubt on administration claims that Iraq tried to purchase “yellowcake” uranium from the poor African nation of Niger.


July 5: at “about 10:30 p.m.,” according to Wilson’s book, the op-ed hits the Times web site; at 10:32 Wilson gets a call from a New York Post reporter; at 10:34 he gets a call inviting him on Meet the Press the next day (p. 333).


July 6, 2003: Joseph Wilson’s op-ed appears in the New York Times.

July 7, 2003: the White House retracts the allegation that Iraq tried to purchase uranium from Niger.

(This claim underlay the “sixteen words” in Bush’s 2003 State of the Union speech. Reportedly it was also inserted into a Dec. 2002 State Department “fact sheet” on Iraq by John Bolton, now our ambassador to the U.N.)

July 7: Bush and other members of his administration take off on a trip to Africa.

July 8: I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, VP Cheney’s chief of staff, meets with Judith Miller and they discuss Wilson’s wife; a friend of Wilson’s encounters conservative columnist Robert Novak; and the friend then informs Wilson that Novak mentioned Wilson’s wife in connection with Niger.

July 8 or July 9: presidential aide Karl Rove talks with Novak; Wilson’s wife is mentioned.

July 11: Novak’s column naming Wilson’s wife as a CIA operative and saying that she had suggested his Niger trip, as “confirmed by two senior administration officials,” goes out on the AP wire; Karl Rove holds conversation about Mrs. Wilson with Time magazine reporter Matthew Cooper (Cooper then emails his bureau chief about the conversation; email now has been turned over to the grand jury); Karl Rove emails Stephen Hadley about the conversation

July 12, 2003: an administration official tells Washington Post Walter Pincus that  Wilson’s Niger trip was a “boondoggle” from his wife, a WMD operative.

July 14, 2003: Novak’s column appears in many daily newspapers.

July 16, 2003: then-CIA head George Tenet testifies to the Senate Intelligence Committee that the president had been “warned off” some wording regarding Niger and alleged Iraq WMD. (The president subsequently accepted Tenet’s resignation from the CIA.)

July 20, 2003: Andrea Mitchell at NBC tells Wilson that a senior White House source told her to press Wilson’s family relations rather than the 16 words.

July 21, 2003: Chris Matthews tells Wilson that Karl Rove called his wife “fair game.”

July 24: the CIA reports possible violations to then-Attorney General Ashcroft. According to the blog “Daily Kos,” the web site of oddly un-credentialed White House reporter “Jeff Gannon” (Guckert, who also solicits sex on the Internet with some mention of money) debuts the same day.  (

July 30: the CIA files a crime report regarding the Plame leak with the Department of Justice.

August, 2003: the Washington Times publishes apiece by PNAC member Frank Gaffney Jr. implying bias at the INR: “This bureau’s intelligence products have tended to reflect the policy predilections of State’s permanent bureaucracy, rather than the facts.” Subsequently, rightwing web sites target the INR as a holdover of treasonous liberals.

Sept. 26, 2003: DOJ’s Counterespionage section decides to pursue a criminal investigation.

Sept. 29: DOJ requests FBI to investigate the leak; DOJ notifies CIA that Counterespionage also requested an investigation.

Sept. 30: at least 12 hours later, then-White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales emails White House staff, telling them to preserve all materials and emails relating to the investigation.

Oct. 3: White House gives staff until 5:00 p.m. on Oct. 7 to turn over phone logs, records, etc., pertaining to the leak.

Nov. 3, 2003: “Talon News,” i.e. Jeff Gannon/Guckert, posts a third segment on Joe Wilson, casting doubts on the INR and its notes/memo re the CIA meeting that instigated Wilson’s Niger trip.

Nov. 7, 2003, a Friday:  John J. Kokal of the INR is found dead at bottom of the State Department building. Kokal worked in the Near East division. According to a D.C. Fire Department spokesman, he “was wearing a dress shirt, tie and slacks, but was not wearing shoes nor a suit jacket.”

[A shorter version of this piece appeared in this week’s Prince George’s Sentinel. ]

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