Monday, August 22, 2005


Two Tense Weeks in July 2003

On Both Sides of the Atlantic:

July 6: The New York Times publishes Joseph Wilson
essay on administration claims concerning Iraq’s pursuit of yellowcake uranium in Niger.

July 7: Classified State Department memo, identifying Plame as CIA agent, is delivered to Secretary of State Colin Powell for presidential trip to Africa. There are conflicting reports as to whom on the six-day trip may have had access to the memo.

July 8: Times journalist Judith Miller reportedly meets with I. Lewis Libby, chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney, according to
testimony heard by grand jury examining “outing” of Wilson’s CIA wife Valerie Plame.

July 9:
David Christopher Kelly, Minister of Defence official and member of the UN’s Iraq WMD inspection team, is identified as likely source of BBC reporter Andrew Gilligan’s story that Blair government “sexed-up” pre-war intelligence dossier.

July 9: Columnist Robert Novak talks with Karl Rove about Wilson.

July 11: CIA Director George Tenet releases a
statement that “16 words” concerning yellowcake uranium shouldn’t have been in president’s State of the Union address outlining WMD case against Iraq, doesn’t reference Joseph Wilson by name (only as “former official” with “ties to the region”) but also downplays significance of information Wilson brought back.

July 11: White House adviser Karl Rove speaks with Time reporter Matt Cooper; Wilson and his wife are part of the conversation.

July 13: UK Foreign Secretary Jack Straw
defends British intelligence Iraq-Niger claims.

July 14: Robert Novak runs now-infamous
column on Joseph Wilson.

July 15: Kelly testifies before House of Commons Foreign Affairs Select Committee investigating BBC report.

July 16: Kelly testifies before HOC’s Intelligence and Security Committee.

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 16: The Nation’s David Corn first raises the possibility that Plame outing is federal offense.

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: Time article, “A War on Wilson?” written by Matthew Cooper and others, is posted on its website.

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 18: Kelly’s body is
found in the woods near his home.

The Lord Hutton inquiry into Kelly's death rules it a suicide six months later, despite the usual questions that arise in cases such as this.

(*Given everything that has subsequently transpired, Miller's message to Kelly is fraught with intrigue: Hmmm..."fan club"? From which side of the Atlantic was that "fan club" member? Who was it? Keep in mind the context: Kelly’s testimony was vital to the Blair government’s assertion that BBC reporter Gilligan had overstated the information Kelly had given him. So, what does "things went well"mean in Miller's context? Does it have something to do with what Ms. H. suggests? My original rejoinder on that observation and the implications it might have for Libby and Karl Rove is here.)

Hat-tip to reader ERA for suggestion and Just One Minute for the early-days Wilson timeline.

UPDATE: Edited to reflect the Bolton addendum.

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