Let’s looks at a slice of the Plame Timeline and then look at Walter Pincus’s column from June 5th, 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.
* 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”
* Then National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice appears on Meet the Press and attempts to refute Kristof’s claims in his early May article.
* 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).
* 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”
* Kristof responds and sticks by his claim. Joseph Wilson is again not named in the article.
On June 5th 2003, Walter Pincus published an article entitled Some Iraq Analysts Felt Pressure From Cheney Visits. In the article, Pincus revealed the extent of pressure the CIA and DIA felt to link 9/11 to Saddam Hussein. He also revealed the curious influence of little known conspiracy theorist, Laurie Mylroie.
Cheney’s “most senior aide” was none other than Scooter Libby.
Such visits permitted Cheney and Libby to have direct exchanges with analysts, rather than asking questions of their daily briefers, who direct others to prepare responses that result in additional papers, senior administration sources said.
The NSC officials that accompanied Libby to CIA headquarters almost definitely included Condi Rice’s assistant, Stephen Hadley. Hadley fell on his sword and took the blame for the 16 words in the State of the Union address. His reward was to receive Condi’s job when she moved to the State Department.
What we know now, but we didn’t know then, is that Walter Pincus was trying to figure out the role of Joe Wilson during the same week that he published this embarrassing article. As the timeline states:
I don’t know whether WINPAC is a subdivision of the CPD or, more likely, the other way around.
In either case, it is highly significant that Pincus was sniffing around the story of Joe Wilson’s trip to Niger at the same time he was exposing the effort to ‘fix the facts around the policy’.
Back in 1990, Judith Miller and Laurie Mylroie co-authored a book called SADDAM HUSSEIN AND THE CRISIS IN THE GULF.
And here is where Pincus’s investigation into Wilson’s role and fact-fixing, Judith Miller’s involvement with Libby, and Libby’s browbeating of CIA analysts all come together:
The DIA’s Middle East analysts were familiar with the book, “Study of Revenge: The First World Trade Center Attack and Saddam Hussein’s War Against America.” But they and others in the U.S. intelligence community were convinced that radical Islamic fundamentalists, not Iraq, were involved. “The message was, why can’t we prove this is right?” said the official.
Retired Vice Adm. Thomas R. Wilson, then director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, directed his Middle East analysts to go through the book again, check all the allegations and see if they could be substantiated, said one current and one former intelligence official familiar with the request. The staff was unable to make the link.
Let’s look at a brief timeline of the Persian Gulf War:
Iraq invades Kuwait and seizes Kuwaiti oil fields. Kuwait’s emir flees. U.N. condemns Iraq’s invasion and demands withdrawal.
August 9, 1990
First U.S. military forces arrive in Saudi Arabia. U.N. declares Iraqi annexation of Kuwait void.
August 12, 1990
Naval blockade of Iraq begins. All shipments of Iraqi oil halted.
September 14-15, 1990
United Kingdom and France announce deployment of 10,000 troops to Gulf.
October 13, 1990
Miller and Mylroie’s book on Saddam is published.
This “instant” book written in 21 days by Miller (New York Times) and Mylroie (Harvard Univ.) attempts to combine historical analysis with timely journalistic reporting to provide the general reader with an informed analysis of the current crisis in the Gulf. The authors describe Saddam Hussein’s meteoric rise to power in a lucid and easy-to-follow style.
December 17, 1990
U.N. sets deadline for Iraqi withdrawal on January 15, 1991. Hussein rejects all U.N. resolutions.
Miller and Mylroie’s book was hastily written in August and September 1990, between the time when the United States decided to liberate Kuwait and when a UN Resolution was passed for that purpose. Twelve years later, both of these authors would again be used to justify military action in the Middle East. Miller would push the WMD angle, while Mylroie’s crackpot theories on the 1993 WTC bombing would be used to intimidate the DIA and CIA.
When Pincus started sniffing around the periphery of this disinformation propaganda machine, Miller quickly wound up in Scooter Libby’s office.