Was Libby obsessed with Wilson? Fitzgerald seems to think so

The prosecutor's press release details a long string of episodes in which the vice president's aide gathered -- and shared -- information about the former ambassador.

Published October 28, 2005 6:30PM (EDT)

It has been reported previously that Scooter Libby was so obsessed with Joseph Wilson that other White House aides found themselves "puzzled" by it. The press release issued today by Patrick Fitzgerald certainly seems to confirm as much:

May 6, 2003: The New York Times publishes a Nicholas Kristof column that raises questions about the Iraq-Niger connection set forth in George W. Bush's 2003 State of the Union address and says that an unnamed former ambassador who had been sent to investigate the claims had reported back that they were wrong.

On or about May 29, 2003: Libby asks an undersecretary of state for information concerning the unnamed ambassador's trip to Niger. The undersecretary investigates and provides Libby periodic oral reports, eventually advising him that Wilson was the former ambassador in question.

On or about June 9, 2003: Libby and "another person in the vice president's office" receives classified documents from the CIA that discuss Wilson's trip but don't identify him by name. Libby writes "Wilson" and "Joe Wilson" on the documents.

On or about June 11 or 12, 2003: Libby is advised by an undersecretary of state that Wilson's wife works for the CIA and that State Department personnel said that Wilson's wife was involved in the organization of his trip to Niger.

On or about June 11, 2003: Libby gets similar information about Wilson's wife from a CIA official.

Prior to June 12, 2003: Libby participates in discussion within the vice president's office about how to respond to an inquiry about Wilson's trip from Walter Pincus of the Washington Post.

On or about June 12, 2003: Dick Cheney tells Libby that Wilson's wife worked at the CIA in its Counterproliferation Division.

On or about June 14, 2003: Libby meets with a CIA briefer, complains that CIA officials are making comments critical of the vice president, and discusses both Joe Wilson and his wife, Valerie Plame, by name.

On or about June 19, 2003: After the New Republic publishes an article titled "The First Casualty: The Selling of the Iraq War," Libby speaks with his principal deputy, who asks whether criticism of Cheney's office could be rebutted by sharing information about Wilson's trip with the press. Libby says there would be trouble with the CIA if the information were leaked -- and that he couldn't discuss the matter further on a nonsecure telephone.

On or about June 23, 2003: Libby tells the New York Times' Judy Miller that Wilson's wife might work at the CIA.

On or about July 7, 2003: A day after Wilson's Op-Ed appears in the New York Times, Libby tells Ari Fleischer that Wilson's wife worked at the CIA -- but that the information isn't widely known.

On or about July 8, 2003: Libby talks with Miller again about Wilson and his wife, this time asking that he be identified in print not as a White House official but as a "former Hill staffer." The same day, Libby asks Cheney's counsel about documents that might exist about Wilson's trip to Niger.

Between June 2003 and July 8, 2003: The assistant to the vice president for public affairs tells Libby that he has learned that Wilson's wife works at the CIA.

On July 10 or July 11, 2003: Libby talks with a senior White House official, identified by Fitzgerald only as "Official A," who tells him that he has discussed Wilson's wife with Robert Novak.

On or about July 12, 2003: Libby confirms for Matthew Cooper that Wilson's wife works for the CIA.

On or about July 12, 2003: Libby talks about Wilson and his wife with Miller once again.

By Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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