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Plame, Miller, Kelly, WMD Timeline
Plame, Miller, Kelly, WMD Timeline
by BooMan23 [Subscribe]
Thu Oct 13, 2005 at 11:47:59 PM PDT
From Booman Tribune
The following timeline (below the jump) is culled together by combining several timelines.
David Kelly: CNN
Some info is from less comprehensive timelines and my own research. It ties together Judith Miller, David Kelly, Valerie Plame, and the case for WMD, concentrating most heavily on the June-July 2003 period.
I'll update this as this investigation goes along.
September 7, 2002: Judy Miller Headline: "US says Hussein intensifies quest for a-bomb parts".
September 12, 2002: Bush gives speech at UN.
September 13, 2002: Judy Miller reports: Seeking to buttress the case for military action against Iraq, the Bush administration published a brief paper yesterday outlining what it says are efforts by Saddam Hussein to develop chemical, biological and nuclear weapons, and the missiles to deliver them...
President Bush's speech yesterday at the United Nations and the new document - a fact sheet, the White House calls it - are intended to bolster the case for action by specifying how Iraq has violated its international pledges on arms and human rights since 1991.
In both the speech and the paper, the White House asserted that Iraq's efforts to buy specially configured aluminum tubes was evidence that President Hussein was still trying to make nuclear fuel for a bomb.
September 24, 2002: Downing Street publishes its long-awaited 50-page dossier on Iraq's weapons capabilities. It says Iraq can deploy a chemical or biological weapon within 45 minutes. It also says Saddam has sought to acquire "significant quantities" of uranium from Africa, despite having no civil nuclear program that could require it.
September 24, 2002: George Tenet briefs the Senate Intelligence Committee on the 2002 National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on Iraq. In his summary of the document, he includes the allegation that Iraq attempted to obtain uranium from Niger. He mentions that there are some doubts about the reliability of the evidence, but he does not say that the CIA had sent former diplomat Joseph C. Wilson as an envoy to Niger in February (see Late February 2002) and that the former ambassador's conclusion had been that the claims were "bogus."
January 24, 2003: Judy Miller Headline: "Defectors Bolster U.S. Case Against Iraq, Officials Say".
May 2, 2003: Mission Accomplished
May 4, 2003: The Sunday Herald reports: "Senior officials in the Bush administration have admitted that they would be `amazed' if weapons of mass destruction (WMD) were found in Iraq.... [One] senior US official added that America never expected to find a huge arsenal, arguing that the administration was more concerned about the ability of Saddam's scientists--which he labeled the `nuclear mujahadeen' --to develop WMDs when the crisis passed." [Sunday Herald, 5/4/03; The Observer, 5/4/03 Sources: Unnamed senior administration officials]
May 6, 2003: Nicholas Kristof in "Missing in Action: Truth" for the New York Times mentions Joseph Wilson's trip to Niger to investigate claims Iraq sought purchase of 'yellowcake' uranium (no names mentioned) and that the fabled 16 words in George W. Bush's 2003 State of the Union Address (SOTU) came from forged documents.
May 9, 2003: The US Army's 101st Airborne Division finds a second trailer at al-Kindi, a former missile research facility in Iraq. The government will later claim that this trailer, as well as another one discovered on April 19 (see April 19, 2003), is a mobile biological weapons lab. [ABC News, 5/21/03; Houston Chronicle, 5/9/03; Department of Defense, 5/13/03]
May 20, 2003: Ari Fleischer announces his resignation as White House Press Secretary, to take effect in July.
May 22, 2003: David Kelly meets BBC journalist Andrew Gilligan in central London's Charing Cross Hotel.
May 28, 2003: The CIA and Defense Intelligence Agency [DIA] issue a 6-page white paper titled, "Iraqi Mobile Biological Warfare Agent Production Plants," concluding that the two trailers discovered in northern Iraq were designed to produce biological weapons. It calls the discovery, "the strongest evidence to date that Iraq was hiding a biological warfare program." The assessment is based on a comparison of the trailers to descriptions that had been provided by Iraqi sources prior to the invasion. The report also claims that there are no other plausible explanations for the trailers' purpose, [New York Times, 6/26/03; New York Times, 6/7/03] though the report does mention that Iraqis working at the al-Kindi research facility in Mosul, as well as a company that manufactured components for the trailers, say the trailers were built to make hydrogen for artillery weather balloons. [Los Angeles Times, 6/21/03]
May 29, 2003: During his report on the BBC Radio 4 Today program, Gilligan says a source -- a senior British official -- informed him that last September's dossier on Iraq was "sexed up" to make a more convincing case for war.
May 29, 2003: In an interview with Polish TV station TVP, hours before leaving on a seven-day trip to Europe and the Middle East, Bush says: "We found the weapons of mass destruction. We found biological laboratories. You remember when Colin Powell stood up in front of the world, and he said, Iraq has got laboratories, mobile labs to build biological weapons. They're illegal. They're against the United Nations resolutions, and we've so far discovered two. And we'll find more weapons as time goes on. But for those who say we haven't found the banned manufacturing devices or banned weapons, they're wrong, we found them."
June 1, 2003: In St. Petersburg, Russia, Bush says, responding to a US reporter's question, "Yes, we found a biological laboratory in Iraq which the UN prohibited." [Rosbalt News Agency, 1/6/03]
June 2, 2003: Mahdi Obeidi, the Iraqi nuclear scientist who once headed Iraq's gas centrifuge program for uranium enrichment, leads US investigators to the rose garden behind his house where they dig up "200 blueprints of gas centrifuge components, 180 documents describing their use and samples of a few sensitive parts." These items had been buried under orders from Qusay Hussein in 1991. (see February 5, 2004). [Newsweek, 8/8/03; CNN, 6/26/03; Washington Post, 10/18/03 Sources: David Albright]
June 2, 2003: The State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research authors a classified memo addressed to Colin Powell, informing him that current intelligence did not support the conclusion of the joint CIA-DIA May 28 white paper which concluded that the two trailers found in Iraq were mobile biological weapon factories. The memo also says that the CIA and DIA were wrong in asserting that there were no other plausible uses for the trailer, suggesting that the two pieces of equipment may have been designed for refueling Iraqi missiles. [New York Times, 6/26/03; CBS News, 6/27/03; Fox News, 6/26/03 Sources: Unnamed US government officials]
June 3, 2003: On CNBC's Capital Report, National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice asserts having information from "multiple sources" which confirm the existence of weapons-producing units "exactly like" the discovered trailers. "We know that these trailers look exactly like what was described to us by multiple sources as the capabilities for building or for making biological agents. We know that we have from multiple sources who told us that then and sources who have confirmed it now. Now the Iraqis were not stupid about this. They were able to conceal a lot. They've been able to scrub things down. But I think when the whole picture comes out, we will see that this was an active program." [Iraq on the Record database, 3/16/04]
June 1-7, 2003: During the first week of June, Washington Post reporter Walter Pincus makes an inquiry about Joseph Wilson's trip, with the CIA public affairs office. That office contacts the Conterproliferation Division (CPD) at the CIA, (Valerie Plame's unit), but no report is produced. These events are later reported in Time magazines Sunday, Jul. 31, 2005 article, "When They Knew"
June 8, 2003: Then National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice appears on Meet the Press and attempts to refute Kristof's claims in his early May article.
Rice repeats claims from her White House briefing ten days earlier (see May 28, 2003) that trailers discovered in Iraq support Secretary of State Colin Powell's allegations set out in February before the United Nations "Already, we've discovered, uh, uh, trailers, uh, that look remarkably similar to what Colin Powell described in his February 5th speech," biological weapons production facilities. [United States Marine Corps, 6/9/03; US Defense Department, 6/9/03; Iraq on the Record database, 3/16/04]
June 8, 2003: Asked why a claim previously deleted from a presidential speech at the urging of CIA director, George Tenet, was reinserted for Bush's State of the Union Address, National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice claims to have "other sources" which support her contention that Hussein was determined to obtain "yellow cake" from somewhere in Africa. "At the time that the State of the Union address was prepared, there were also other sources that said that they were, the Iraqis were seeking yellow cake, uranium oxide from Africa." [ABC News, 6/8/2003, cited in Carnegie Endowment for Peace, 1/8/03; Iraq on the Record database, 3/16/04]
June 10, 2003: A classified State Department memorandum is drafted for Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Marc Grossman (from Carl Ford's office) containing information about CIA officer Valerie Plame. She is named in the memo in a paragraph marked "(SNF)" for secret, non-foreign (i.e., not to be shared with foreign agencies, even allies). Plame -- who is referred to by her married name, Valerie Wilson, in the memo -- is mentioned in the second paragraph of the three-page document, which was written by an analyst in the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR).
June 11, 2003: Congressional Republicans on Wednesday reject Democratic calls for a formal investigation into pre-war US intelligence and allegations that the White House exaggerated the threat posed by Iraq. The Republicans contend that an investigation is not needed because there is no evidence of wrongdoing. [Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 6/12/03; Associated Press, 6/11/03; Washington Post, 6/12/03]
June 12, 2003: Walter Pincus of the Washington Post writes "CIA Did Not Share Doubt on Iraq Data", about Joseph Wilson's trip without naming the retired Ambassador. Pincus also reports that according to an administration official neither Dick Cheney or his staff learned of its role in spurring the mission until it was disclosed by New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof on May 6.
After the June 12 article by Pincus, "there was general discussion with the National Security Council and the White House and State Department and others" regarding Wilson and his trip, says a former intelligence officer. Source: Time Magazine, When They Knew
also: The Washington Post's reporter Walter Pincus speaks to a government official, who discusses Wilson's wife and says the Niger trip was ignored by the White House because it was a "boondoggle."
June 12, 2003: Sean McCormack, spokesman for the National Security Council, admits the Niger documents had been forged but insists the US had other evidence to support its allegations that Iraq had attempted to purchase uranium from Niger. "We have acknowledged that some documents detailing a transaction between Iraq and Niger were forged and we no longer give them credence," he says. "They were, however, only once piece of evidence in a larger body of evidence suggesting Iraq attempted to purchase uranium from Africa. The issue of Iraq's pursuit of uranium in Africa is supported by multiple sources of intelligence. The other sources of evidence did and do support the president's statement." [Washington Post, 6/13/03; Associated Press, 6/13/03]
June 13, 2003: Kristof responds and sticks by his claim. Joseph Wilson is again not named in the article.
June 23th, 2003: Judith Miller has a conversation with Scooter Libby pertinent to the Plame case; this conversation and the existence of notes pertaining to it are reported through a leak to the press on October 8th, 2005. [BooMan note: originally reported at 6/25/03] NYT article (may be subsciption only.)
June 25, 2003: Campbell appears before the committee and denies he was responsible for adding the disputed information to the dossier, demanding an apology from the BBC.
June 27, 2003: The BBC rejects call for apology and defends the integrity of the Today report, while Campbell says the BBC has "not a shred of evidence for their lie."
June 30, 2003: Kelly writes a letter to his line manager Bryan Wells at the Ministry of Defence to say he had unauthorized contact with Gilligan.
July 3, 2003: Sir Kevin Tebbit, the most senior civil servant in the MoD, sees Kelly's letter.
July 4: Richard Hatfield, head of personnel at MoD, interviews Kelly for the first time and concludes he is probably not the source.
July 5, 2003: A male senior administration official tells Washington Post reporter Walter Pincus that Joseph Wilson's mission to Africa originated within the CIA's clandestine service after Vice President Dick Cheney aides raised questions during a briefing, saying to Pincus "It was not orchestrated by the vice president," He adds that it was reported in a routine way, but does not mention Wilson's name and does he say anything about the forged Niger documents. This events significance is due to it occurring the day before Wilson's Op-Ed piece appears in the Times which ostensibly is the reason the administration leaks his wife's identity.
July 6, 2003: The New York Times publishes an Op-Ed article by Joseph Wilson titled "What I Didn't Find in Africa", criticizing Bush's remarks on Iraq yellowcake purchase in Niger as relying on forged documents. He states the CIA provided this intelligence to the White House prior to the SOTU in Jan '03.
In response, Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage (a neo-conservative who also figured prominently in the Iran-Contra scandal) calls INR director Carl Ford at home, seeking explanation and background on the Wilson-Niger claims. Armitage asks Ford to forward this information to Secretary of State Colin Powell.
July 7, 2003: The White House retracts the Niger allegation, which is its sole admission to date of a flaw in the case for war, which was built on charges of an illegal Iraqi arsenal that has not been found.
After being called at home, State Department's then-intelligence chief, Carl Ford gets the INR to work on providing Powell the requested information and the June 10 memo, either because he remembers the memo, or Armitage does.
The State Department's June 10 INR memo is located and copied. It says Joseph Wilson had been approved for the Niger trip by mid-level CIA officials on the recommendation of his wife, a counter-proliferation expert at the CIA.
Robert Novak places a call to White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer accroding to White House phone logs. It is not clear whether Fleischer returned the call, and Fleischer has refused to comment.
Evening - Bush leaves for his trip to Africa.
Carl Ford, orders the copy of the original memo, along with the analyst's notes about that meeting, be sent to Powell. Ordinarily, the memo would have been transmitted directly to Powell over the State Department's secure communications lines. But because Powell was traveling with Bush aboard Air Force One, the memo is transmitted via the White House operations center.
Someone on Air Force One, because both documents were classified by regulations, signs for receiving the memo and breifing note transmission from the White House operations center. Once someone signed for them, the document could be passed around freely on the plane among senior officials who have security clearances.
Press Secretary Ari Fleischer, at some point during the flight sees the INR memo aboard Air Force One.
July 7, 2003: The White House releases the following statement in reference to a claim made in Bush's State of the Union address that Iraq had attempted to procure uranium from Africa: "There is other reporting to suggest that Iraq tried to obtain uranium from Africa. However, the information is not detailed or specific enough for us to be certain that attempts were in fact made." [New York Times, 7/7/03]
July 7, 2003: After discussions over the weekend involving No 10, Hatfield interviews Kelly for a second time. The weapons inspector is told his name will probably be made public and is shown a draft MoD press statement.
* The FAC clears Campbell of "sexing up" the dossier. Campbell repeats his calls for an apology from the BBC, which stands by its story.
* Government minister Ben Bradshaw challenges the BBC's director of news Richard Sambrook to a televised debate on the issue.
July 8, 2003: White House officials assemble a briefing book, which they fax to the Bush entourage in Africa in order to allow Condoleezza Rice to prepare on the long flight home to D.C for appearances on the Sunday talks shows upon her return from Africa. This briefing book was primarily prepared by her National Security Council staff. It contains classified information -- perhaps including all or part of the memo from State. The entire binder is labeled TOP SECRET.
I. Lewis Libby the chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney, meets with New York Times reporter Judith Miller at the St. Regis Hotel in Washington, D.C., and discusses CIA operative Valerie Plame.
Novak calls Karl Rove at the White House, ostensibly about a story on the promotion of Frances Fragos Townsend. Novak begins the conversation about Townsend, who had been a close aide to Janet Reno when she was attorney general, to a senior counterterrorism job at the White House, the person who was briefed on the matter said. That column ran in Novak's home paper, the Chicago Sun-Times, two days later, under the headline "Bush sets himself up for another embarrassment."
Mr. Novak turns to the subject of Ms. Wilson, identifying her by the name Valerie Wilson. Novak claims to Mr. Rove that he knows that Joseph Wilson had been sent on the trip to Niger at the urging of Ms. Wilson.
Rove responds by saying "Oh, you know about it."
In Rove's version of events he responds by saying "I heard that, too."
Rove's lawyer, goes on to say that Rove does not remember whether he told Novak, or Novak told him of Plame's identity as a covert CIA operative.
Late Afternoon - Robert Novak talks to a nominative stranger (a friend of Wilson) who approaches him on the way to taping Crossfire, that he believes that Wilson's wife had something to do with Wilson's appointment to investigate the yellowcake claim in Africa.
He asked Novak if he could walk a block or two with him, as they were headed in the same direction; Novak acquiesced. Striking up a conversation, my friend, without revealing that he knew me, asked Novak about the Uranium controversy. It was a minor problem, Novak replied, and opined that the administration should have dealt with it weeks before. My friend then asked Novak what he thought about me, and Novak answered: "Wilson's an asshole. The CIA sent him. His wife, Valerie [Plame], works for the CIA. She's a weapons of mass destruction specialist. She sent him."
Wilson's friend goes directly to Wilson's office and they document the exchange.
Wilson contacts Eason Jordan, the head of the news division at CNN, and Novak's titular boss, whom Wilson has known for a number of years. Finally tracking him down on his cell phone. Wilson relates to him the details of Wilson's friend's encounter with Novak and points out that whatever his wife might or might not be, it was the height of irresponsibility for Novak to share such information with an absolute stranger on a Washington street. Wilson asks him to speak to Novak on his behalf, but Jordan demurs saying he did not know him very well--and suggests that Wilson speak to Novak directly. Wilson arranges for Jordan to have Novak call him and hangs up.
July 8, 2003: A meeting is held at No. 10, which Tebbit said was chaired by Blair, where it is agreed Kelly's name will be confirmed to any journalist who puts it to the MoD.
* The MoD releases press statement saying a "middle-ranking official" has come forward. In the statement, the official denies ever mentioning Campbell. This is accompanied by a detailed Q&A for press officers instructing them to confirm the name to any journalist who comes up with it.
* BBC says the MoD's description of official does not "match" Gilligan's source.
* Blair tells MPs it is "totally false" to suggest anyone inserted information into last September's dossier against the wishes of intelligence agencies.
July 9, 2003: Morning - Novak calls Wilson as suggested by Joseph Wilson via Eason Jordan, but Wilson is out.
Afternoon - Wilson returns Novak's call, but he is out and unavailable.
July 9, 2003: Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon writes to BBC chairman Gavyn Davies demanding to know whether official is the source of the original Iraq dossier story.
* Kelly's name is confirmed to Financial Times journalist Chris Adams at 5:30 p.m. by the MoD.
* Nick Rufford, a Sunday Times journalist, arrives at Kelly's house and tells him he will be publicly named that night.
July 9, 2003: When asked when he learned that the reports about Iraq attempting to obtain Uranium from Niger were false, Rumsfeld replies, "Oh, within recent days, since the information started becoming available." He later revises his statement twice, first saying that he had learned "weeks," and then "months," before.
July 9: Columnist Robert Novak talks with Karl Rove about Wilson. July 10, 2003: In a phone conversation, Novak tells Wilson that a CIA source informed him of Plame's position as an undercover CIA WMD specialist. Wilson exclaims that he couldn't imagine why he would "blurt out to a complete stranger what he had thought he knew about my wife." To which Novak apologizes and asks Wilson if he could confirm the claim. Of course Wilson does not and reminds Novak that Plame had nothing to do with his story regarding Yellowcake, it was about the 16 words in the State of the Union address.
Wilson noted the story co-written in 1990 by Novak and suggested that Novak "check his files" before writing about him. Wilson went on to claim he was "hardly anti-war, just anti-dumb-war." Novak apologizes.
July 10, 2003: Tebbit, permanent under secretary at the MoD, recommends Kelly should not appear before the FAC, but is overruled by Hoon. Kelly is summoned to appear before the committee.
July 11, 2003: Earliest possible chance Novak's article "Mission to Niger", which will out Valerie Plame's name and occupation to the public is sent out when Novak's regular syndicated column is distributed by Creators Syndicate on the AP wire. The exact timing during the day of the release of Novak's column is not known.
1:20 a.m. EST - Condoleezza Rice in press gaggle with Ari Fleischer aboard Air Force One skirts the responsibility regarding the 16 words claiming that the speech conformed to the October 2002 National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) and the DCIA cleared the speech. The interview also includes this exchange:
Q Dr. Rice, when did you all find out that the documents were forged?
DR. RICE: Sometime in March, I believe. Is that right?
MR. FLEISCHER: The IAEA reported it.
DR. RICE: The IAEA reported it I believe in March. But I will tell you that, for instance, on Ambassador Wilson's going out to Niger, I learned of that when I was sitting on whatever TV show it was, because that mission was not known to anybody in the White House. And you should ask the Agency at what level it was known in the Agency.
Q When was that TV show, when you learned about it?
DR. RICE: A month ago, about a month ago.
Q Can I ask you about something else?
DR. RICE: Yes. Are you sure you're through with this?
11:00 - Clifford May puts up a piece on NRO which attacks Wilson in a number of ways but does not include any reference to Valerie Wilson/Plame. The piece also states: "Wilson was sent to Niger by the CIA to verify a U.S. intelligence report about the sale of yellowcake -- because Vice President Dick Cheney requested it, because Cheney had doubts about the validity of the intelligence report." May later states on September 29 that he had been informed by an unnamed former government official of Wilson's wife's identity long before her outing as a CIA operative by Robert Novak, on July 14, 2003, and so had assumed that her identity (and relationship to Wilson) had been an "open secret" among the Washington cognoscenti.
Before 11:07 a.m. - White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove has a short conversation with Time magazine reporter Matthew Cooper, three days before Robert Novak publicly exposed Plame in a column about her husband, Joseph Wilson.
11:07 a.m - Cooper e-mails his bureau chief after speaking to Rove.
[...] Cooper wrote that Rove offered him a "big warning" not to "get too far out on Wilson." Rove told Cooper that Wilson's trip had not been authorized by "DCIA"--CIA Director George Tenet--or Vice President Dick Cheney. Rather, "it was, KR said, Wilson's [sic] wife, who apparently works at the agency on WMD (weapons of mass destruction) issues who authorized the trip."
which goes against this from the American Prospect on 8 march 2004.
But Rove also adamantly insisted to the FBI that he was not the administration official who leaked the information that Plame was a covert CIA operative to conservative columnist Robert Novak last July. Rather, Rove insisted, he had only circulated information about Plame after it had appeared in Novak's column. He also told the FBI, the same sources said, that circulating the information was a legitimate means to counter what he claimed was politically motivated criticism of the Bush administration by Plame's husband, former Ambassador Joseph Wilson.
After 11:07 a.m. - Karl Rove e-mails deputy national security adviser Stephen Hadley that he had spoken with Time magazine reporter Matthew Cooper. Rove writes "Matt Cooper called to give me a heads-up that he's got a welfare reform story coming," He continues "When he finished his brief heads-up he immediately launched into Niger. Isn't this damaging? Hasn't the president been hurt? I didn't take the bait, but I said if I were him I wouldn't get Time far out in front on this."
3:09 p.m. - George Tenet, then head of the CIA responds and says the decision to send him was the CIA's alone. 
July 11, 2003: Referring to Bush's 2003 State of the Union address, CIA director George Tenet says in a written statement, "These 16 words should never have been included in the text written for the president." But Tenet denies that the White House is responsible for the mistake, putting the blame squarely on his own agency. And comments by Condoleezza Rice also blame the CIA, "If the CIA: the director of central intelligence, had said, `Take this out of the speech,' it could have been gone, without question. If there were doubts about the underlying intelligence, those doubts were not communicated to the president, to the vice president or to me." Another senior White House official, defending the president and his advisors, tells ABC news: "We were very careful with what the president said. We vetted the information at the highest levels." But an intelligence official, interviewed by the news network, dismisses the claim.
July 12, 2003: An administration official, talks to Walter Pincus confidentially about a matter involving alleged Iraqi nuclear activities, and veers off the precise matter being discussing and tells Pincus that the White House had not paid attention to former Ambassador Joseph Wilson's CIA-sponsored February 2002 trip to Niger because it was set up as a boondoggle by his wife, an analyst with the agency working on weapons of mass destruction.
Pincus never wrote about this conversation at the time but testified and was deposed.
Walter Pincus, calls Wilson and alerts himi that "they are coming after you."
Lewis (Scooter) Libby tells Time magazine reporter Matthew Cooper, that Dick Cheney had not been responsible for Wilson's mission. Speaking on the record, Libby denies that Cheney knew about or played any role in the Wilson trip to Niger. Speaking on background, Cooper asks Libby if he had heard anything about Wilson's wife sending her husband to Niger. Libby replies, "Yeah, I've heard that too,".
Late Afternoon - Libby has a phone conversation with New York Times reproter Judith Miller about Valerie Plame and Joe Wilson.
The Washington Post says:
Libby had a second conversation with Miller on July 12 or July 13, the source said, in which he said he had learned that Wilson's wife had a role in sending him on the trip and that she worked for the CIA. Libby never knew Plame's name or that she was a covert operative, the source said.
Bush returns to Washington DC abord Air Force One, from his Africa trip.
July 13: UK Foreign Secretary Jack Straw defends British intelligence Iraq-Niger claims.
July 14, 2003: Robert Novak, a Right-Wing pundit and reporter for the Chicago Sun-Times publicly "outs" Valerie Plame as a CIA operative. in his article "Mission to Niger" is published to the general public, saying:
"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. The CIA says its counter-proliferation officials selected Wilson and asked his wife to contact him. "I will not answer any question about my wife," Wilson told me."
It is the first public mention of her name and that she allegedly recommended Wilson for the post. This is completely different than what Novak claimed 4 days earlier; he said that his source was a CIA source not a "senior administration official". To this Novak said that he misspoke.
Ari Fleischer holds his final press breifing as White House Press Secretary.
Wilson calls Novak for a clarification about his article's sources as it cited not a CIA source, as Novak had indicated in the phone call four days earlier, but rather two senior administration sources. Novak asks if Wilson was very displeased with the article. Wilson replies that he did not see what the mention of his wife had added to it but that the reason for his call was to question his sources. Novak replies "I misspoke the first time we talked."
July 15, 2003: An unnamed Western diplomat close to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) tells Reuters that the agency believes that Britain's Africa-uranium claim is based on the same alleged transaction referred to in the forged Niger documents (see Late 2001). "I understand that it concerned the same group of documents and the same transaction," the source says. [Reuters, 7/14/03; Associated Press, 6/13/03; Agence France Presse, 7/15/03 Sources: Unnamed Western diplomat close to the IAEA]
July 15, 2003: Kelly tells the FAC he believes he was not the main source for the "sexed up" dossier report. BBC refuses to discuss their source, prompting the MoD to describe its reticence as "suspicious." Gilligan is told he will have to return to give evidence to committee.
July 16, 2003: Blair tells MPs the BBC should say whether or not Kelly is the source for their report.
* Kelly gives evidence before the Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC).
July 16: NYT's Judith Miller sends e-mail to David Kelly: "David, I heard from another member of your fan club that things went well for you today. Hope it's true, J."*
July 17, 2003: Matthew Cooper writes on Time.com that government officials have told him Wilson's wife is a CIA official monitoring WMD. Another article appears in the magazine's July 21 print issue.
July 17: Kelly responds to Miller's e-mail: "Judy, I will wait until the end of the week before judging--many dark actors playing games. Thanks for your support. I appreciate your friendship at this time. Best, David."
July 17, 2003: Gilligan is recalled to private session of FAC after Kelly's denials. Chairman Donald Anderson later said the reporter was an "unsatisfactory witness."
* At 3 p.m., Dr Kelly leaves his house in Abingdon in Oxfordshire, telling his wife he is going for a walk.
* At 11:45 p.m., his family contacts police when he fails to return home. July 17, 2003: David Corn in the Nation publishes "A White House Smear".
Corn telephones Wilson personally to inform him that this leak was a crime.
July 18, 2003: Thames Valley Police appeal for help to find Kelly and disclose details of his disappearance.
* At 11 a.m., police hunting for Kelly say the body of an unidentified man has been found at Harrowdown Hill, five miles from Dr Kelly's home.
* Just before 2 p.m., police say they believe the body is that of Kelly.
* Blair, abroad on a marathon diplomatic tour, announces an independent judicial inquiry into the death headed by Lord Hutton.
July 18: John Bolton testifies before "State Department's inspector general about Iraqi attempts to procure uranium from Niger." (Bolton neglected to include the inspectory general's inquiry when filling out his Senate Foreign Relations Committe questionnaire in March of this year. When asked about it prior to his recess appointment, Bolton said he "didn't recall" the inquiry.)
July 19,2003: Then-Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith demands the recall of parliament and a widening of the inquiry's terms.
July 20, 2003: BBC confirms Kelly was the "prime source" for its report that Downing Street "sexed up" the September dossier.
* Gilligan insists he did not misquote or misrepresent the scientist.
* Blair rejects recalling parliament, urging "respect and restraint" ahead of the inquiry.
July 20, 2003: Andrea Mitchell of NBC informs Wilson that a senior White House source told her to press the story of the Wilson family, not the 16 words.
July 21, 2003: morning - Wilson does interview with NBC's Andrea Mitchell. In this televised interview the editors at the NBC Evening News had omitted important qualifiers in the wording Wilson used to talk about his wife. This, in Wilson's words, "changed the tenor of the interview and gave CIA lawyers cause to briefly consider whether or not I myself might have been in violation of the same law of the senior administration officials...". Wilson requested a copy of the raw footage for future use but was denied. Wilson requested Mitchell save a copy; she agreed (Wilson 350).
afternoon - Chris Matthews informs Wilson that Karl Rove considered his wife "fair game".
July 21: The inquest into Kelly's death is officially opened and adjourned.
July 22, 2003: Stephen Hadley, Rice subordinate, admits the 16 words should have been deleted from the Presidents speech. He offered to resign but was denied by the President.
Newsday reports in "Columnist Blows CIA Agent's Cover" that their intelligence sources confirmed that Valerie Plame was undercover until Robert Novak outed her, quoting Novak as saying:
"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."
July 22, 2003: At a White House news briefing, McClellan, when asked about the administration leaking Plame's name, states: "That is not the way this president or this White House operates."
July 22, 2003: Stephen Hadley offers to resign on '16 words' buy Bush refuses. Newsday reports Plame was undercover until Novak outed her.
July 23, 2003: Hoon -- facing questions about his future over the way Kelly's name became public -- visits the weapons expert's widow at her request.
July 24, 2003: A CIA attorney leaves a phone message for the Chief of the Counterespionage Section with concerns about the articles, and noticing that a crimes report would be forthcoming.
The CIA reported "possible violations of criminal law" to the Attorney General John Ashcroft. (via Conyers letter reply)
Sept. 14, 2003: Vice President Cheney, on NBC's Meet the Press, is asked if he had been briefed on Wilson's findings when Wilson returned from Niger. Cheney responds: "No. I don't know Joe Wilson. I've never met Joe Wilson." Cheney adds moments later, "I don't know who sent Joe Wilson. He never submitted a report that I ever saw when he came back.
Sept. 16, 2003: McClellan calls "totally ridiculous" the allegation that presidential adviser Karl Rove was the source of the leak.
28 September 2003: A senior member of the White House tells the Washington Post that at least six reporters had been told of the Plame story before Novak's column, "purely and simply out of revenge."