Plame Timeline (Wikipedia)
Josh Marshall at Talking Points Memo writes:
I've gotten hints or suggestions from several sources over the last month that new information is bubbling to the surface, not about who leaked Valerie Plame's identity, but who was behind the underlying caper that started the whole drama afoot in the first place: those phoney Niger uranium documents.
As longtime readers of this site know, last year colleagues of mine and I were able to trace the documents back to a former Italian intelligence agent named Rocco Martino. Martino was the 'Italian businessman' who tried to sell the documents to Elizabetta Burba, the journalist who eventually brought them to the US Embassy in Rome...
Over on daily Kos, The Plame Case Ain't What You Think
The real story is a bit more interesting and explains why leaking Plame's name probably isn't a crime and why some folks in the administration may be in legal trouble anyway, and why Cooper and Miller's testimony is so important. Hint: its about the Downing Street Memos.
As confirmed by the Downing Street Memos, Bush was determined to take out Saddam, and the administration was "fixing" the intelligence to provide a justification. Unfortunately the CIA wasn't helping very much. While "everyone" "knew" that Saddam had WMD, the actual intelligence we had was really poor. Experts were sure that the evidence we ended up seeing like the aluminum "centrifuge tubes" for uranium enrichment, the Niger documents and the mobile biological labs were bogus, and the CIA didn't trust the human intelligence from Chalabi's gang of informers.Since the CIA was shooting down reasons for war as fast as Chalabi could make them up, the Bushies (paticularly Cheney and Rumsfeld) set up the Office of Special Plans at DOD to "stovepipe" the good stuff and package it for public and international consumption. There were reports of "war" within the intelligence community between the CIA regulars and the prowar DOD. Plame was a top CIA WMD analyst. She was one of the generals on the other side.
The Kos diary author, Economaniac, suggests,
"It wasn't about retaliation, it was about tarnishing Wilson by tying him to the antiwar faction at CIA. The White House knows Plame as an analyst who refused to support their prowar view. They have been fighting these internal battles for months; now that they have won the war those Saddam lovers are out. I doubt anyone even thought about her being covert."
I have to admit, that makes a hell of a lot of sense.
After Downing Street suggests,
How do the facts and intelligence get fixed around the policy, as the highest ranking British government officials have alleged the Bush Administration was doing to justify the Iraq war?
One way would be by having the Vice President hover over the shoulders of intelligence analysts. This paragraph caught my eye from a 2003 Washington Post article. Notice how close the wording of the last sentence is to the language in the Downing Street Minutes:
"Vice President Cheney and his most senior aide made multiple trips to the CIA over the past year to question analysts studying Iraq's weapons programs and alleged links to al Qaeda, creating an environment in which some analysts felt they were being pressured to make their assessments fit with the Bush administration's policy objectives, according to senior intelligence officials."
BBA | After Downing Street