Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Plame-Gate: A Timeline

February 1999 The Iraqi ambassador to the Holy See in Rome, set off on a series of diplomatic visits to several African countries, including Niger. This trip triggered the allegations that Iraq was trying to buy tons of uranium from Niger.

February 22, 2002 Joseph Wilson reported to the State Dept. and to the CIA that the claims of Iraqi attempts to buy uranium from Niger were false.

July 23, 2002 The Downing Street Memo was written indicating that the Brits were conspiring with Bush to "fix" intelligence to justify an invasion of Iraq.

October 7, 2002 George Tenet successfully intervened with White House officials to have a reference to Iraq seeking uranium from Niger removed from a presidential speech.

December 19, 2002 The US issued a state department factsheet, headed 'Illustrative Examples of Omissions from the Iraqi Declaration to the United Nations Security Council'. In it, under the heading 'Nuclear Weapons', it reads: 'The declaration ignores efforts to procure uranium from Niger. Why is the Iraqi regime hiding their uranium procurement?' But the IAEA, despite repeatedly begging the UK and US for access to papers, wasn't given any documents until February 2003.

January 28, 2003 Bush, in his state of the union address said: The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa. Our intelligence sources tell us that he has attempted to purchase high-strength aluminum tubes suitable for nuclear weapons production. The fix was in (the Brits conspiring with Bush to fix intelligence.)

March 7, 2003 Mohamed El Baradei informed the UN that documents about Iraqi attempts to purchase yellow-cake were frauds. Reportedly, it took IAEA officials only a matter of hours to determine that these documents were fake. Using little more than a Google search, IAEA experts discovered indications of a crude forgery, such as the use of incorrect names of Niger officials. As a result, the IAEA reported to the U.N. Security Council that the documents were "in fact not authentic."

March 17, 2003 Henry Waxman wrote a letter to Bush in which he said:

...it has become incontrovertibly clear that a key piece of evidence you and other Administration officials have cited regarding IraqÂ’s efforts to obtain nuclear weapons is a hoax. WhatÂ’s more, the Central Intelligence Agency questioned the veracity of the evidence at the same time you and other Administration officials were citing it in public statements. This is a breach of the highest order, and the American people are entitled to know how it happened.

July 6, 2003 Joseph Wilson published What I Didn't Find in Africa on the op-ed page of the New York Times, exposing the Bush administration's Niger uranium lie.

July 7, 2003 Colin Powell carried a memo on board Air Force One on a 5-day trip to Africa with the President and his aides. The memo from the State Department's intelligence experts identified Valerie Wilson as a CIA operative and was marked "S" for secret.

July 11, 2003 Matt Cooper wrote an e-mail to his bureau chief: "Spoke to Rove on double super secret background for about two mins before he went on vacation ..." Rove told Cooper that Joseph Wilson's wife was a CIA employee working on WMD.

July 14, 2003 Public Enemy Robert Novak outed Valerie Plame as a CIA operative in an article titled, Mission to Niger. Novak reported that two senior administration officials told him that Wilson's wife suggested sending him to Niger to investigate the Italian report.

Sept. 29, 2003 Alberto Gonzalez was the first one notified that the Justice Department, at the request of the C.I.A., had opened an investigation into the outing of Joseph Wilson's wife. That notification came at 8:30 p.m. on Sept. 29, 2003, but it took Mr. Gonzales 12 more hours to inform the White House staff that it must "preserve all materials" relevant to the investigation. This 12-hour delay, he has said, was sanctioned by the Justice Department, but since the department was then run by John Ashcroft, a Bush loyalist who refused to recuse himself from the Plame case, inquiring Senate Democrats would examine this 12-hour delay as closely as an 18½-minute tape gap.

December 25, 2003 George Tenet took the fall for the uranium claim.

21 July 2005 Washington Post, Walter Pincus and Jim VandeHei wrote a piece, Plame's Identity Marked as Secret, describing a memo from the State Department's intelligence experts that Secretary of State Colin Powell had with him on a 5-day trip to Africa he took with the President and his aides that began on July 7, 2003.

Damage control at the White House consists of attacking Joseph Wilson's credibility.

If you see any omissions or corrections, please email me: kittylover at gmail dot com.