Monday, January 29, 2007

Emptywheel - What happened May-July 2003 re: Plame?

Emptywheel has posted what she thinks happened in the Office of the Vice President and the White House in May through July of 2003. Here is my summary of her post.
This is going to be really quick--but there's a lot of confusion about where there are smoking guns and where there are not. So I'm going to lay out what I think went on in May-July 2003. It's speculative, but this is the picture we're beginning to see.
First was the little noticed Nicholas D. Kristof article in May.

Then – also May - Post reporter Walter Pincus looked at CIA. Mark Grossman at Dept of State pointed to Wilson, then Robert Grenier at CIA added the name “Plame.”

Grenier told Libby about Plame, and Harlow (CIA Public Info Officer) informed Cathie Martin (Press Relations officer in OVP) about Plame. At this time it appears that Cheney went to find out what Valerie Plame did at CIA. Cheney appears to have learned she worked in the Counter Proliferation Department (which is covert.) If Fitz can prove this, Cheney is in trouble.

June 12th Pincus reported that Dick Cheney was twisting arms at the CIA to get the Intelligence he wanted. Libby and Cheney may have thought that Plame and Wilson were responsible for that leak also. This belief would have further led Cheney to believe he was at bureaucratic war with the CIA.
That's when--it seems very very likely--Cheney ordered Libby to launder Plame's identity through Judy Miller in a very secret leak on July 8. Heck--was Libby's hush hush conversation to Ari on July 7 a set-up so that when people went looking they'd find the info that was about to be leaked to Judy?

At the same time, Hadley was panicking because (I'm increasingly convinced) he and Libby actually had seen the report from Wilson's trip--and had used it to defend their Niger case. So while Libby and Cheney were going after Plame's ID (and the NIE), Hadley was kicking the communicators out of the room to figure out how to bury the news that they had, in fact, seen Wilson's report. But that's a second hush hush theme to the week.

There are still some big outstanding questions.
  • What role did Rove play?
  • When and where did Libby and Novak speak?
  • Was it before Novak's article?
  • Did Libby leak Plame's covert ID, after having been given "presidential authorization" to do so?
  • What were the later conversations with Judy about?
Anyway, this is what she wrote this morning. I appreciate her summary, as I tend to get lost in the details.

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