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Timeline of events in CIA leak case

A timeline of events leading up to the conviction of former White House aide I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby on charges stemming from the leak of CIA operative Valerie Plame's name.

2003:

  • Jan. 28: President Bush asserts in his State of the Union address: "The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa."
  • March 19-20: The U.S.-led invasion of Iraq begins.
  • May 6: New York Times columnist Nicholas D. Kristof reports that a former ambassador, whom he does not name, had been sent to Niger in 2002 and reported to the CIA and State Department well before Bush's speech that the uranium story was unequivocally wrong and was based on obviously forged documents.
  • May 29: Libby asks Marc Grossman, an undersecretary of state, for information about the ambassador's travel to Niger. Grossman later tells Libby that Joseph Wilson was the former ambassador.
  • June 11 or 12: Grossman tells Libby that Wilson's wife works at the CIA and that State Department personnel are saying Wilson's wife was involved in planning the trip. A senior CIA officer gives him similar information, as does Cheney's top press aide, Cathie Martin, who had learned it from CIA spokesman Bill Harlow.
  • June 11 or 12: Cheney advises Libby that Wilson's wife works at the CIA.
  • June 13: Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward interviews Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage for a book. Armitage tells Woodward in a taped interview that Wilson's wife works for the CIA.
  • June 14: Libby meets with a CIA briefer and discusses "Joe Wilson" and his wife, "Valerie Wilson."
  • June 23: Libby meets with Times reporter Judith Miller. During the meeting, Miller says, Libby tells her that Wilson's wife might work at a bureau of the CIA. Libby denies saying that.
  • July 6: The New York Times publishes an opinion piece by Wilson under the headline "What I Didn't Find in Africa" and he appears on NBC's "Meet the Press." Wilson said he doubted Iraq had recently obtained uranium from Niger and thought Cheney's office was told of the results of his trip.
  • July 7: Libby meets with then-White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer. Fleischer says Libby tells him that Wilson's wife works at the CIA and that the information is "hush hush." Libby denies that.
  • July 8: Libby meets with Miller again. She recalls Libby saying he believes Wilson's wife works for the CIA. Libby denies telling her that.
  • July 8: Columnist Robert Novak interviews Armitage, who tells him that Wilson's wife works for the CIA. Novak says this was confirmed the next day by White House political adviser Karl Rove.
  • July 10: Libby calls NBC newsman Tim Russert to complain about a colleague's news coverage. At the end of the conversation, Libby says, Russert tells him that "all the reporters know" that Wilson's wife works at the CIA. Libby says he was surprised to hear that. Russert denies saying it.
  • July 11: Fleischer, on a presidential trip to Africa, tells two reporters that Wilson's wife works for the CIA. Rove tells Time Magazine's Matthew Cooper that Wilson's wife works for the CIA.
  • July 12: Libby speaks to Cooper and confirms to him that he has heard that Wilson's wife was involved in sending Wilson on the trip. Libby also speaks to Miller and discusses Wilson's wife and says that she works at the CIA. Libby claims he told Cooper and Miller he only knew about Plame from talking to other reporters.
  • July 12: Walter Pincus of the Washington Post says Fleischer tells him that Wilson's wife works at the CIA. Fleischer doesn't recall that.
  • July 14: Columnist Novak reports that Wilson's wife is a CIA operative on weapons of mass destruction and that two senior administration officials, whom Novak did not name, said she suggested sending her husband to Niger to investigate the uranium story.
  • Sept. 26: A criminal investigation is authorized to determine who leaked Plame's identity to reporters. Disclosing the identity of CIA operatives is illegal. A short time later, Armitage tells investigators that he may have inadvertently leaked Plame's identity to Woodward.
  • Oct. 14 and Nov. 26: Libby is interviewed by FBI agents.
  • Dec. 30: U.S. Attorney Patrick J. Fitzgerald in Chicago, an aggressive career prosecutor, is named to head the leak investigation after then-Attorney General John Ashcroft takes himself out of the case to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest.

2004:

  • January: A grand jury begins investigating possible violations of federal criminal laws.
  • March 5 and March 24: Libby testifies before the grand jury. In a tape of his testimony, Libby tells jurors that he forgot the information about Plame working for the CIA until he heard it from Russert. Anything he told reporters, he says, was just chatter passed on from that conversation.

2005:

  • Oct. 28: Libby is indicted on five counts: obstruction of justice and two counts each of false statement and two counts of perjury.

2006:

  • Sept. 7: Armitage admits he leaked Plame's identity to Novak and to Bob Woodward of The Washington Post. Armitage says he did not realize Plame's job was covert.

2007:

  • Jan. 16: Jury selection begins in Libby's trial.
  • Jan. 23: Prosecution and defense lawyers make opening statements to the jury and U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton.
  • Feb. 20: Prosecution and defense attorneys make closing statements.
  • Feb. 21: Jurors begin deliberations.
  • March 6: Jurors return guilty verdicts on charges of obstruction, perjury and lying to the FBI. A not guilty verdict was returned on one count of lying to an FBI agent.
  • June 5: Walton sentences Libby to 2 1/2 years in prison.
  • July 2: A federal appeals panel rules Libby could not delay his prison term. President Bush commutes the prison sentence, leaving intact a $250,000 fine and two years probation for Libby.
Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun
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