Libby, Cheney & Guilt

Mideast scholar and blogger Juan Cole has today reprinted his timeline of events that eventually led to the conviction yesterday of Dick Cheney’s loyal aide Irving Lewis “Scooter” Libby on lying, obstruction of justice and perjury charges. Complete with photos and other illustrations, it’s in an easy-to-follow storybook form and amusing where it’s not enraging.

Once upon a time, a former agent of Italian military intelligence named Rocco Martino, who had had some experience in the African country of Niger, came into possession of some forged, fraudulent documents. These alleged Iraqi purchases of yellowcake uranium in 1999. In fact, the signatures were of Nigerien officials who had been in power a decade earlier, in the late 1980s.

So they were clumsy forgeries. Martino passed them on to the Italian magazine Panorama, which passed them to the US embassy.

Tantalizingly, President George W. Bush’s chief political adviser, Karl Rove, has an indirect connection to Italian intelligence. Rove’s chief adviser on Iran policy is Neoconservative wildman and notorious warmonger Michael Ledeen, who has a longstanding connection to the darker corners of Italian intelligence.

Vice President Richard Bruce Cheney heard of the alleged uranium purchase. Cheney asked George Tenet to look into the allegation. The issue went to the Directorate of Operations secret unit on counter-proliferation. Among the field officers there was Valerie Plame Wilson, who had spent her life fighting the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction under cover of a dummy corporation [Brewster Jennings & Associates].

Valerie Plame Wilson was married to former US Ambassador Joseph Wilson IV, who had served bravely as acting ambassador in Iraq in 1990, and when threatened by Saddam he showed up to a press conference wearing a hanging noose instead of a necktie. President George H. W. Bush highly praised him.

The timeline follows all relevant events through the outing of undercover agent Valerie Plame Wilson via leaks to journalists. The Wilsons plan to sue Libby, Cheney et al in civil court.