Steve Gilbert provides a very illuminating timeline of the Plamegame and explains exactly what Joe Wilson was up to.
June 2003: According to the Washington Postâ€™s Bob Woodward, the following interview with Richard Armitage at the State Department transpired about a month before Robert Novakâ€™s column appeared on July 14, 2003.
Woodward: Well it was Joe Wilson who was sent by the agency, isnâ€™t it?
Armitage: His wife works for the agency.
Woodward: Why doesnâ€™t that come out? Why does that have to be a big secret?
Armitage: (over) Everybody knows it.
Woodward: Everyone knows?
Armitage: Yeah. And they know â€™cause Joe Wilsonâ€™s been calling everybody. Heâ€™s pissed off â€™cause he was designated as a low level guy went out to look at it. So heâ€™s all pissed off.
Woodward: But why would they send him?
Armitage: Because his wifeâ€™s an analyst at the agency.
Woodward: Itâ€™s still weird.
Armitage: He â€” heâ€™s perfect. She â€” she, this is what she does. Sheâ€™s a WMD analyst out there.
Woodward: Oh, she is.
Armitage: (over) Yeah.
Woodward: Oh, I see. I didnâ€™t thinkâ€¦
Armitage: (over) “I know whoâ€™ll look at it.” Yeah, see?
Woodward: Oh. Sheâ€™s the chief WMDâ€¦?
Armitage: No. Sheâ€™s not theâ€¦
Woodward: But high enough up that she could say, “oh, yeah, hubby will go.”
Armitage: Yeah. She knows [garbled].
Woodward: Was she out there with him, when he wasâ€¦?
Armitage: (over) No, not to my knowledge. I donâ€™t know if she was out there. But his wifeâ€™s in the agency as a WMD analyst. How about that?
Why would Richard Armitage have been talking about Wilson and Plame in June of 2003? This was still weeks before Joe Wilson wrote his New York Times editorial, and a month before Robert Novak published his column mentioning Valerie Plame.
Armitage brought this up because he is a gossip and it was already common knowledge because Joe Wilson had been calling all of the newspapers trying to get them to run his story about his mission to Niger.
Given the chronology and Mr. Armitageâ€™s remarks, it seems quite obvious Mr. Wilson outed his wife when he spoke to the Senate Democratic Policy Committee and then to the subsequent reporters at the Times, the Post and elsewhere, when he was hawking his story about his trip to Niger.
Wilsonâ€™s motivation for bringing up his wife would have been exactly as Armitage suggested to Woodward. Wilson told the panelists and reporters about Plameâ€™s work at the CIA to give his radically new and dangerous story more credibility.
Itâ€™s highly probable Wilson used his wifeâ€™s position as a WMD analyst at the CIA to bolster his outrageous (and we now know fallacious) claims against a then popular President in a time of war.
July 6, 2003: Frustrated that his trip to Niger story was still not getting enough attention, Mr. Wilson finally stepped out from behind the curtain and wrote his now notorious op-ed piece for the New York Times, What I Didnâ€™t Find in Africa.
Sometime after July 6th and before July 8th 2003 Richard Armitage told Robert Novak about Wilsonâ€™s wife working at the CIA. Mr. Novak then published that information in his column on July 14, 2007.
But Valerie Plameâ€™s work at the CIA had almost certainly long since been disclosed to anyone who would listen by Joe Wilson. And he probably disclosed this information to promote himself, his fantasy about his “mission to Niger,” and his new political career.
Remember, there was much talk within the Kerry camp that Joe Wilson might be the new administrationâ€™s Secretary Of State. The vainglorious Mr. Wilson surely had his eyes on that prize.
And any concern about the secrecy of his wifeâ€™s job at the CIA was a minor consideration compared to that lofty goal.
The disclosure of Valerie Wilson’s CIA employment by the Wilsons to Nicholas Kristof in early May of 2003 was previously reported here.