A Picture Emerges

The final piece of the jigsaw puzzle fell into place. We now know who knew what, when they knew it, and who told....

Stephen Pizzo
Raconteur at Large
Blog: http://www.newsforreal.com

What I wrote yesterday (CLICK HERE) stands in even better light after this morning's New York Times story that it was Cheney himself who told Libby that Wilson's wife worked for the CIA. Cheney, it turns out, learned it from Tenet.

Over the weeks we have all been trying to put this jigsaw puzzle together in a way that creates a clear picture of what happened. That little piece finishes the picture. I will go out on limb, but here's the picture I see.

By the numbers:

1) Wilson starts talking about what he didn't find in Niger and the White House starts getting questions about it.

2) Cheney, who pushed the Iraq/nuclear angle personally, is furious and gets together with CIA director George Tenet. "Damn it George," Cheney yells, "who the hell did you send on that mission? Who is this guy?"

3) Tenet, the ultimate inside player and yes-man, spills the beans to Cheney that it was Wilson's wife who picked him for the trip because, Tenet dished, she works for the CIA on WMD issues.

4) Cheney storms back to his office and tells Libby.

5) Libby picks up the phone and briefs Karl Rove – who after telling the grand jury he thought a reporter told him about Wilson's wife in three previous appearances, finally fessed up in his fourth and final appearance that it was really Libby who told him she worked for the CIA.

6) Rove tells Bush who is furious at both Cheney and Tenet for sending someone who was not a team player on a mission so central to his rational for attacking Iraq.

7) Bush and Cheney discuss the importance of discrediting Wilson and thereby his (accurate) claim that no Niger/Iraq uranium deal ever existed.

8) Considering the sensitivity of this "get-Wilson" mission the usual
administration hatchetmen could not be trusted for this job. This one had to handled personally by administration first-stringers Libby and Rove.

9) Rove and Libby start working reporters, beginning with conservative columnist Robert Novak followed by Time Magazine's Cooper and NY Time's Judith Miller.

Phase 2 of this scandal began when Rove and Libby's calculated leaks sparked a criminal probe. Conspiracy, perjury and obstruction of justice followed in rapid succession.

But it all began when Dick Cheney found out who Joe Wilson was and to whom he was married. After that the long knives went to work – at his, and possibly the President's, command.

That's the picture that is emerging. Now let's see if anyone who counts, like the grand jury, sees it too.