Saturday, August 27, 2005

A CIA Cover Blown, a White House Exposed - Los Angeles Times

Here's a very complete rundown of the whole Niger Uranium/Joseph Wilson/Bush Whitehouse bruhaha. By very complete I mean it runs to nine pages.

I was drawn to it by a very insightful post from the Iguana, who saw mention in Americablog of an Editor and Publisher story where it was noted that Time magazine neglected to report about Rove's conversation with their reporter, Matt Cooper, in early 2004, because "Times editors were concerned about becoming part of such an explosive story in an election year."

So what did they do? They sat on the story -- a story which could have had a devastating effect on Bush's campaign.

Americablog, which I'd never heard of before this very day, very astutely inferred this from the LA Times article - their subhead is "TIME magazine tried to influence the 2004 election to Bush's favor."

Just for fun, here's the Chronology printed in the LA Times article, with a slight addition. You can keep it to refer to when Fitzgerald starts handing out subpoenas...

from LA Times 25 August 2005


Events surrounding the White House's role in the leak of Valerie Plame's identity as a CIA agent:


February: Vice President Dick Cheney asks whether Iraq sought uranium from Niger.

Feb. 12: The CIA sends Joseph Wilson to Niger.

March 9: Wilson says he finds little evidence for such claims, but notes a prior visit to Niger by Iraqi officials.

Aug. 26: Cheney says: "We now know that Saddam [Hussein] has resumed his efforts to acquire nuclear weapons."

Oct. 5-6: CIA Director George Tenet persuades the White House to remove the uranium claim from a Bush speech.


Jan. 28: President Bush's State of the Union cites a British report that Iraq sought uranium.

March 7: A U.N. nuclear agency finds uranium documents are "not authentic."

March 20: The U.S. invades Iraq.

July 6: Wilson goes public on his Niger trip and findings.

July 7-8: Administration sources tell columnist Robert Novak about Wilson's CIA wife.

July 7: The White House admits to a mistake in citing the uranium claim.

July 11: Karl Rove tells Time's Matthew Cooper that Wilson's wife arranged the Niger trip.

July 14: A Novak column unmasks Valerie Plame.

July 30: The CIA asks the Justice Department to investigate the leak of the agent's identity.

Sept. 16: The White House says suggesting Rove leaked her identity is "ridiculous."

Sept. 29: A White House spokesman says the leaker will be fired.

Sept. 30: Wilson endorses John Kerry for president.

Dec. 30: Patrick Fitzgerald is named special prosecutor.

Now, here's a quote from the article which fits here chronologically. Odd that none of this is mentioned in the chronology itself...

Fitzgerald also asked for something unusual: a generic waiver of confidentiality agreements from all White House employees for the journalists with whom they spoke during the period in dispute.

When most reporters made it clear that the generic waiver was unacceptable because it was viewed as coercive, the prosecutor worked with individual sources, reporters and their lawyers to get their testimony.

Pincus testified after being assured that he would not have to name his source, even though Fitzgerald knew who it was. Washington Post reporter Glenn Kessler and NBC's Tim Russert also testified after getting assurances from Libby.

After reading about their testimony, Cooper approached Libby about a waiver for himself.

Without a personal waiver, Cooper and his editors believed they could not reveal the source — which meant that the news organization would join the New York Times in a losing court battle.

Cooper did not ask Rove for a waiver, in part because his lawyer advised against it. In addition, Time editors were concerned about becoming part of such an explosive story in an election year.


Jan. 23: Weapons inspector David Kay says there are no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

July 10: A Senate panel faults prewar intelligence and calls Wilson's report inconclusive.

(Just imagine if TIME had come out with a cover story right about here, detailing all they knew about how the Whitehouse was smearing Wilson. Just imagine how that might have affected this next entry...)

Nov. 2: Bush is reelected.


Feb. 15: A court orders journalists Judith Miller and Cooper to cooperate with a grand jury.

July 6: Miller refuses to testify and is jailed; Cooper agrees to testify after getting express permission from his source, Rove.

July 18: Bush says the leaker will be fired if a crime was committed.

Sources: Times reporting, media reports, White House and Senate documents

Los Angeles Times


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