In his book, Joe Wilson provides three different explanations of what made him decide--after some hesitation--to publish his op-ed. The substantive one comes in the middle of the book:
The last straw came when Dr. Rice, in a June 8 appearance on Meet the Press, told Tim Russert: "Maybe somebody in the bowels of the Agency knew something about this, but nobody in my circles." That was a lie, and I knew it. She had to have known it as well.
A call to a senior official in the administration elicited the suggestion that I might have to write the story myself. I took the remark to heart and called David Shipley, the editor of the op-ed page at the New York Times. He immediately offered me fifteen hundred words to tell my story.
Still, I hesitated, in the hope that pressure from journalists would force the hand of the administration. But two weeks after the Rice remark on Meet the Press, with my name now openly circulating among the press, it was clear that sooner or later my anonymity was going to be sacrificed on the altar of the story. (332)
There's an additional detail that Wilson includes at the beginning of his book.
In late June, the story began to spin out of control as journalists started to report speculation as fact. At this point I was warned by a reporter that I was about to be named in an article as the U.S. official in question. (3; emphasis mine)
And then a few more details in the back.
I called the staffs of both [intelligence] committees and volunteered to brief them about my trip and findings. I ended up briefing them separately within a few days of each other in mid-June, disclosing what I knew to the appropriate oversight bodies.
A week after those briefings, I learned from a journalist that my name was soon going to be made public. I finally decided to write the story myself, and called back David Shipley at the New York Times to accept his offer of space on their op-ed page. (419)
So here's the basic chronology. Sometime not long after June 8, after a suggestion from an Administration official, Wilson contacts David Shipley of the NYT to arrange to write an op-ed. He doesn't write it right away though; he's still not ready. Wilson testifies before congressional intelligence committees in mid-June. Then, around June 22 (two weeks after Rice's appearance, a week after mid-June), Wilson is warned that a journalist is "about" to publish his name "soon." Perahps the most important point is Wilson decided to write his op-ed so he could tell his story before this other article did it for him. Update: The House and Senate Intelligence Committees met on June 18, 19, and 25, which would make the window for the appearance of this article June 22 through July 2.
Wilson doesn't say who the journalists in this story are--neither the journalist who gave him the warning nor the journalist who was going to write the story. But here are some possibilities:
Journalist A. I'll call the journalist who warned Wilson Journalist A. Journalist A could be any of the many journalists he had worked with over time. Already by this point he had published articles in the SJ Merc News, the Nation (He says David Corn had been "very kind over the past months" 354), the LAT. He had appeared on O'Reilly (O'Reilly was "a polite interviewer." 306), Hannity, and Bill Moyers' shows. He had first started talking about the Administration ignoring evidence to David Ensor on CNN. If one of these journalists was the person who warned Wilson, he would have had to have found out pretty specific details of the story to know he should warn Wilson. Although perhaps not too specific since apparently there was a lot of gossip at the time.
Or, it could be one of the two journalists Wilson had spoken to on background regarding the faulty intelligence, Nicholas Krisof or Walter Pincus. Or it could be David Shipley, to whom he had presumably already provided the details of his op-ed. Pincus, at least, warned Wilson on at least one other occasion, when he called Wilson the week before Novak's article appeared saying, "they are coming after you." (345) In any case, Kristof, Pincus, and Shipley would all only need to know that an article was about to appear identifying the envoy to Niger. They knew who that envoy was already.
Journalist B. I'll call the journalist who was about to write an article identifying Wilson Journalist B. This journalist could be just about any journalist, so long as he or she was going to publish their story in print (so, if it were Novak, it'd be a Sun-Times article as opposed to a Crossfire segment). And this journalist could easily be sympathetic to Wilson, since the CIA was leaking like a sieve at this time to get their story out; there were a lot of journalists skeptical of the Bush claims writing stories at the time. The biggest limiting factor on Journalist B is that he or she would have had to have a source that could identify Wilson definitively.
Source. Assuming this article was going to be based on more than just rumor (and Wilson distinguishes this article from reporters reporting "speculation as fact," which was already going on), Journalist B would have a limited number of sources who could verify that Wilson had been the envoy. Perhaps one of Wilson's associates was the source fo the story. But the possible official sources are:
- Participants in the February 2002 CPD discussion about how they might further explore the Niger claims
- Attendees of the February 19 2002 meeting where intelligence analysts first discuss Niger with Wilson
- The DO reports officer whom Wilson debriefed
- Someone associated with the House or Senate intelligence committees (this story would have been sourced after Wilson testified before the committees)
- Someone who had read the now-famous INR memo, which was dated June 10
Note this source could not have been someone who simply read a report of Wilson's trip, since we know from the SSCI Report that Wilson was identified simply as "a contact with excellent access who does not have an established reporting record." (43)
I want to be clear, even with these caveats, there are still a lot of journalists who could have been Journalist B.
Why it might be Judy
There are just a few things that make Judy Miller a more likely candidate than all the others.
First, if it's true that Bolton was involved in the preparation of the INR memo and that he was a frequent source for Judy Miller, then Judy has an obvious source. Bolton had presumably already seen the INR memo by June 10, which would make it easily possible for him to leak Wilson's identity to Judy in time for an article around June 22.
Also, if Judy were writing the story, it would explain how Journalist A might have found out about it. Kristof might have found out about it in conversations with Judy. Shipley might have found out about it as a courtesy from other NYT editors, since he had already planned on an op-ed relating to the same topic.
Finally, there's the question of what happened to this article. I'm not aware that an article identifying Joe Wilson ever appeared (he certainly doesn't talk about it). The article was "about" to appear around June 22. Wilson doesn't publish his op-ed until July 6. Something convinces Journalist B not to publish the story even though the competing story wouldn't appear for almost two weeks. It seems likely that Shipley would have called Judy Miller's editor (does she have an editor? Who does vouch for her facts?) to ask them to hold the story. Kristof to Judy to Wilson. It could easily be that all three of these critical articles would be associated with the NYT.
How this works with the rest of the story
Again, this is speculation. But if Judy Miller was tipped to Wilson's identity around June 22, it would jive closely with the story as we know it. If Bolton was leaking Wilson's identity in late June (based on the INR memo), it would explain why Clifford May and JimmyJeff Gannon would later claim the identity was known before Novak revealed Plame's identity. Note that May and Gannon claimed that Plame's identity was known before Novak leaked it; so it's possible Bolton was leaking--and Judy planned to write about--Plame's identity too. Although, at this point, the leak would have only named Plame as Valerie Wilson, not as Plame, based on the information in the INR memo.
And if Judy Miller was asked to write a story in June, it would explain why Libby and Rove felt so confident claiming a journalist told them of Plame's identity. Judy was a cut-out, of course. But she certainly would have had knowledge of Plame well before the period when Libby and Rove started calling journalists in earnest.
And it would explain why Judy never wrote her story on Plame.
Now the one confusion I have is that Judy Miller's subpoena was [updated with link and quote],
seeking documents and testimony related to conversations between her and a specified government official “occurring from on or about July 6, 2003,to on or about July 13, 2003, . . . concerning Valerie Plame Wilson (whether referred to by name or by description as the wife of Ambassador Wilson) or concerning Iraqi efforts to obtain uranium.”
Which would mean the subpoena wouldn't even cover any leaking Bolton (or one of his associates) was doing before June 22. But Michael Isikoff gives us a bit of answer in his latest article on the Plame outing. Isikoff's article explans the deal Russert made to avoid a contempt charge in the case.
The deal was not, as many assumed, for Russert's testimony about what Libby told him: it focused on what Russert told Libby.
So it appears that Fitzgerald is working harder to disprove Libby's and Rove's claims that they heard about this from a reporter than he is trying to find who might have leaked to a journalist. I wonder if Fitzgerald ought to be pursuing Judy for conversations with Administration officials the week leading up to June 22, rather than the week of July 7.
What if this wasn't Judy's article?
Finally, though, this is speculation. We don't know that Judy Miller was writing an article around June 22.
But it is important nevertheless. A journalist may have already received a leak about Wilson by June 22. We don't know for sure whether that leak included details about Plame. But of the possible sources I listed above, only the House and Senate intelligence committee members and Wilson's associates would not have known of Wilson's wife's identity.