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July 24, 2005

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» Is the plot thickening? from Rodger A. Payne's Blog
Bolton was in Australia at a conference the week after Wilson's op-ed appeared, but that doesn't mean he didn't talk to someone between June 10 and July 5 (when he was still in Washington). Indeed, Wilson heard rumors that he was going to be named pu... [Read More]

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One other totally unsubstantiated speculation. Given the context, it sounds like Wilson's advisee (go tell your story yourself) was a senior administration official at State. If so, there aren't many people that could be, particularly since Wilson had despaired of Powell by this point. But Marc Grossman is a distinct possibility. Because Wilson and Grossman had worked together over the course of their career, particularly in Turkey. And he'd qualify as a senior official.

But that would mean Marc Grossman may have been receiving the INR memo at precisely the same time he was advising Joe Wilson to tell his own story.

So, might not Grossman have meant, "you'd better tell your own story, because from the looks of this memo I have on my desk, it appears they're about to tell it for you"?

I don't think so. I'm almost positive the memo was intended as a CYA, so it's unclear Grossman would know Bolton et al were planning a leak.

Rather, but, over the course of negotiating the memo with Bolton, he may have realized that Bush partisans weren't going to back away from the claims that Wilson didn't know.

THe difference is subtle. But I really doubt even Grossman knew at that point that they were going to leak this.

Then, perhaps, "you'd better tell your own story, because from the looks of this memo I have on my desk, it's a pretty solid and important one?"

As I posted at Kos, Wilson doesn't suggest that the anticipated publishing of his name had anything to do with outing his wife, just identifying him in print. He had already been going around talking to lots of journalsits and government officials in that time period, so it wasn't exactly a secret at that point.

Several other people were pursuing parts of the Niger uranium story from the time the forgeries were revealed in early March, 2003. It is possible that Journalist B was not intending to "out" Plame at all or even mention her, or even knew about her, just identify the envoy because Wilson was viewed by the journo or his/her source as a very credible figure. Thus, it could have been a journalist who was hot on the Niger forgeries and/or WMD intel cooking stories. Or it could just have been the scoop value. This seems very different from the warnings he received later that the Bushies were coming after himm and his wife.

If Journalist B was intending to discredit Wilson, it could have been Novak himself, and someone could have got wind of that.

On March 22, 2003 Dana Priest and Karen DeYoung had a story in the WaPo that quoted "CIA officials" who say they "communicated significant doubts to the Administration" about the uranium claims. This is the article that mentions that the Niger intel that started it all came from Italy, so they obviously had good sources in the CIA. They could have been doing further digging.

Seymour Hersh's "Who Lied To Whom" piece in the New Yorker was posted March 24, 2003. We know he was digging.

Walter Pincus had a story in the WaPo on June 12, 2003 about the intell cooking, and Wilson had spoken to him on background "in the months" after the State of the Union. (Wilson, p. 333.)

Wilson also mentions that on Sunday, June 22 the London Independent published a story about a "retired diplomat" accusing British ministers of being liars.

Again, it seems likely to me that the forthco0ming story was about Wilson himself, not his wife.

Journalist A--

Of your possibilities Walter Pincus seems like the best, because Wilson talked extensively to him, and he was on the story as well. Maybe another WaPo person was about to print it for the reasons I spelled out above.

All that said, I think Miller has a very suspicious role here. Fitz wants to know who she spoke with in person, I believe, during the July 6-July 14 period. I agree he would be well advised to be looking at the whole period between March and July, 2003. I suspect she would have a lot to tell about a lot of things.

And as I replied at Dkos, I don't disagree that this story may very well have focused exclusively on Wilson. All your explanations are very likely possibilities.

But we still have to explain how Reporter B's article got quashed. That, to me, is the biggest question, one that suggests it might be NYT (whether or not it was Judy).

It was preempted by Wilson's op-ed and the WaPo profile a day later, or just lost its scoop value when Wilson published? Or, maybe it was Novak he was being warned about.

And one wore thing--don;t miss the part in Wilson's book where he describes meeing Valerie Plame. It is touching, and you can hear Ezio Pinza in the background singing, if you listen carefully.

But at the latest, Wilson finds out about this article on July 2 (although more likely around June 22-25). Which means the other article is being held for at least 4 days, if not 14.

I just don't see a journalist doing that--any journalist. Particularly if they're worried they're going to be scooped.

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