Video: CIA-leak timeline
updated 8/2/2005 4:35:00 PM ET 2005-08-02T20:35:00

An independent investigation is now underway to determine who first outed the name of undercover CIA agent Valerie Plame.  Federal laws prohibit anyone from disclosing the identity of any undercover operative.

The following timeline details events leading up to the current investigation:

February of 2002

  • Former U.S. Ambassador Joseph Wilson departs on a fact-finding mission to investigate Iraqi interest in African uranium.

July 6, 2003

  • Wilson writes a New York Times editorial in which he concludes that some of the pre-war intelligence exaggerated a possible nuclear weapons threat from Iraq.

July 8, 2003

  • Karl Rove has a conversation with columnist Robert Novak, but says it was Novak who told him about Valerie Plame — not the other way around.

July 14, 2003

  • Syndicated columnist Robert Novak publishes a column revealing Valerie Wilson, a.k.a. Valerie Plame, as an “agency operative on weapons of mass destruction” for the CIA.  It cited her in a paragraph marked 'S' for sensitive.

July 17, 2003

  • Time magazine’s Matthew Cooper writes a story suggesting that the Bush administration had “declared war” on Joseph Wilson through his wife.
  • The story also states that government officials had disclosed Plame’s identity as a CIA official.

October 10, 2003

  • White House spokesman Scott McClellan says Rove and other White House aides assured him “they were not involved.”

January 21, 2004

  • Special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald begins to investigate the disclosure of Valerie Plame as a CIA operative.
  • Time’s Matthew Cooper and the New York Time’s Judith Miller refuse to disclose their sources.

July 6, 2005

  • Cooper and Miller appear before U.S. District Judge Thomas Hogan, facing jail time for contempt of court.
  • Cooper is released from his confidentiality agreement with his source and testifies. Miller refuses and is sent to jail. 

July 10, 2005

  • The court reviews Cooper’s e-mail’s which reveal White House deputy chief of staff Karl Rove as one of his sources.
  • Rove’s attorney confirms their interaction, but not the topic of the conversation.

July 14, 2005

  • The Washington Post reports Rove “indirectly” confirmed Plame’s identity to Novak a week before he reported her as a CIA operative.
  • The Post also adds that Rove says he learned of Plame’s identity from a journalist — whose name he can’t recall and later learned her name from Novak.

July 17, 2005

  • Cooper publishes an article detailing his testimony to the grand jury.
  • He includes a brief conversation that he had with Karl Rove about Wilson’s trip to Niger.  He writes, “It was, Karl Rove said, Wilson’s wife, who apparently works at the agency on WMD issues who authorized the trip.”

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