The Plame Affair happened in July of 2003. It involved the identification of Valerie Plame Wilson as a covert C.I.A officer by Richard Armitage. The disclosure was made in a Washington Post column titled “Mission to Niger” written by Robert Novak, and published on July 14, 2003. (Cooper, 2).
It was a confusing mess when it happened in 2003, and not many people recall the event ever happening. In 2002, President Bush and Vice President Cheney needed to justify bringing America to war with Iraq. Responding to inquiries from the Vice President’s office and the Departments of State and Defense about the allegation that Iraq had a sales agreement to buy uranium in the form of yellowcake from Niger, the C.I.A had authorized a trip by Joseph C. Wilson to Niger to investigate the possibility. Joe Wilson knew the area quite well, and had his doubts about Iraq trying to purchase uranium. (Cooper, 2).
The former Prime Minister of Niger Ibrahim Mayaki reported to Wilson that he was unaware of any contracts for uranium sales to rogue states. Iraq had never approached them for anything, as a matter of fact. Wilson ultimately concluded that Iraq was not pursuing to buy uranium from anywhere in Africa and reported his findings in March 2002 to the administration and the C.I.A. (Lewis, 4).
In his January 28, 2003, State of the Union Address, President George W. Bush completely lied to the American people and said “The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of Uranium from Africa”. This was completely false, as the British government had no knowledge of Iraqi purchases of uranium, and Wilson’s report and various other agency reports indicated that Iraq had no intentions of building nuclear weapons, nor did they have the supplies to do so. (Cooper, 5).
After the March 2003 invasion of Iraq, Joseph C. Wilson wrote a series of op-eds questioning the war’s factual basis. In one of these op-eds published in the New York Times on July 6, 2003, Wilson argues that, in the State of the Union Address, President George W. Bush misrepresented intelligence leading up to the invasion and thus misleadingly suggested that the Iraqi regime sought uranium to manufacture nuclear weapons.
This article reportedly infuriated the Bush administration. Dick Cheney was extremely livid (Cooper, 3). A top ranking C.I.A officer, Valerie Plame, was the one to recommend that Joe Wilson (her husband) travel to Africa to find evidence of Iraq buying uranium. Thus, the administration was furious at Valerie Plame, and needed a way to discredit both her and her husband. Chief of Staff to the Vice President, Lewis “Scooter” Libby, was informed of Valerie Plame’s high ranking C.I.A position by the administration. She was involved with many covert operations that were of importance to National Security, and was an active agent at the time of her exposure. Scooter Libby then called Bob Novak, a newspaper columnist who could be relied upon to print whatever he was told to print, and told Novak to out Valerie Plame’s undercover status in his next upcoming article. Novak in an interview also stated that Karl Rove confirmed her status as an undercover operative before he printed the article. (Cooper, 3).
As soon as the article was published Valerie Plame’s career was over. She had to be put in protective custody and could not continue to work for the C.I.A. The federal trial United States v. Libby began on January 16, 2007. On March 6, 2007, Libby was convicted on four counts, and was acquitted of one count of making false statements. Libby was sentenced to 30 months in prison, a fine of US$250,000, and two years of supervised release after his prison term. On July 2, 2007, President Bush commuted Libby’s jail sentence, effectively erasing the 30 months he was supposed to spend in jail. (Cooper, 4).
Joe Wilson and many others believe what Bush’s administration and especially Dick Cheney did was outright treason. Not only that, but the administration completely lied to the American public and brought an unnecessary and costly war for taxpayers to pay.
I find it hard to believe that we almost impeached Bill Clinton for lying about sleeping with another woman, but we did nothing to reprimand two absolutely insane psychopaths for destroying our economy and outright lying to bring us into a bloody, long war. George W. Bush says history will be kind to him; I wouldn’t be so optimistic if I were him.
Lewis, Neil A. “Source of CIA Leak Said to Admit Role”. The New York Times, August 30, 2006.
Joseph C. Wilson IV (October 29, 2005). “Our 27 Months of Hell”. Los Angeles Times.
Matthew Cooper (July 17, 2003). “A War on Wilson?”. Time.