Analysis on the flip:
I want to look at this whole Plamegate thing from a little different perspective. I want to look at it from Joe Wilson’s point of view.

On Sunday, July 6th, 2003 the New York Times published Wilson’s infamous editorial What I Didn’t Find in Africa. Wilson also made an appearance on Meet the Press, and gave an interview to the Washington Post.

Having laid down the gauntlet, Wilson sat back to see what the reaction would be. At first, his revelations seemed to have the desired effect. On Monday night the administration gave Walter Pincus an official leak:

“Knowing all that we know now, the reference to Iraq’s attempt to acquire uranium from Africa should not have been included in the State of the Union speech,” a senior Bush administration official said last night in a statement authorized by the White House.
White House Backs Off Claim on Iraqi Buy

Wilson must have been satisfied to read that admission in his Tuesday morning Washington Post. But things would soon begin to get complicated.

On Monday, Robert Novak called Ari Fleischer and left a message. Fleischer claims he never returned the call, and he departed for Africa later that day.

On Tuesday, Novak called Rove. According to the official account, Novak was already armed with Plame’s identity at that point and Rove merely confirmed it. Later that afternoon, Novak had a conversation with a stranger on the street in Washington. In a coincidence that may wind up being critical to this case, the stranger was a friend of Joe Wilson’s. Here is how Wilson relates the event:

Late on Tuesday afternoon, July 8, six days before Robert Novak’s article about Valerie and me, a friend showed up at my office with a strange and disturbing tale. He had been walking down Pennsylvania Avenue toward my office near the White House when he came upon Novak, who, my friend assumed, was en route to the George Washington University auditorium for the daily taping of CNN’s Crossfire. 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, works for the CIA. She’s a weapons of mass destruction specialist. She sent him.” At that point, my friend and Novak went their separate ways. My friend headed straight for my office a couple of blocks away.

Wilson was obviously alarmed to hear that Novak was aware of his wife’s covert identity and was cavalierly discussing it with strangers on the street. He called Eason Jordan, the head of the news division at CNN. Jordan arranged for Novak to call Wilson, which he did Wednesday morning. However, Wilson and Novak played phone tag that day and didn’t make their first contact until Thursday.

On Thursday, Wilson dresses down Novak for being indiscreet and Novak apologizes. Wilson refuses to confirm that his wife works for the CIA.

But on Friday, Novak writes the column anyway (it will appear on Monday). Also on Friday, Karl Rove has a conversation with Matt Cooper of Time Magazine. Rove warns Cooper not to ‘get too far out’ on the Wilson story because his wife at ‘the agency’ was responsible for this trip. Wilson was blissfully unaware of these events, but he was given another warning on Saturday.

Sometime on Saturday Walter Pincus talked to an ‘administration official’, and is told ‘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 didn’t believe this report and he called Wilson to tell him that the administration was coming after him. Meanwhile, Scooter Libby confirmed Plame’s identity to Matt Cooper.

On Monday, Wilson’s wife’s identity hit the newsstands, along with her cover company. Wilson called Novak wanting to know why his sources were two administration officials when Novak had told Wilson his source was at the CIA. Novak says he misspoke when they talked earlier.

One week later, Chris Matthews called Wilson to tell him that Rove said his wife was ‘fair game’.

Is it any wonder that it is of keen interest to Joe Wilson that Karl Rove be frog-marched out of the White House?

Afterthought: where does Judith Miller fit into any of this?

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