The CIA leak scandal timeline (also known as the CIA leak case timeline, the Plamegate scandal timeline, and the Plame affair timeline) pertains to the controversy leading to the CIA leak grand jury investigation and ensuing criminal trial United States v. Libby, following Robert Novak's public disclosure of the then-still classified covert identity of United States Central Intelligence Agency officer Valerie Plame Wilson (known as the "CIA leak scandal" and also known as "Plamegate" and the "Plame affair").
Valerie Plame Wilson is the wife of former U.S. Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson, author of a controversial op-ed entitled "What I Didn't Find in Africa" published in The New York Times on July 3, 2003, questioning the accuracy of the George W. Bush administration's rationale for the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Responding to that op-ed, Robert Novak publicly revealed Wilson's wife to be a CIA "operative" named "Valerie Plame" in his Washington Post column on July 14, 2003.
Between 2003 and 2007, the United States Department of Justice directed the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Special Counsel, headed by Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald, to conduct a special investigation into the original source for the leak of Plame's then-still classified CIA covert identity and any possible violations of criminal statutes requiring government officials to use classified information responsibly and to testify truthfully in such federal investigations. The CIA leak grand jury investigation resulted in the indictment and conviction of Lewis Libby in United States v. Libby and the later commutation of his prison sentence by United States President George W. Bush.
In late August 2006, former U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage revealed publicly that Novak had based his disclosure of Mrs. Wilson's CIA identity on then still-classified information that Armitage initially gave him while Armitage was still serving in the State Department.
The "Timeline/Links" section of The Joe and Valerie Wilson Legal Support Trust provides links to "several timelines assembled by various national publications, which should help to shed some light on the events as they transpired," including this timeline, while observing: "Understanding the series of events that occurred around the exposure of Valerie Wilson's covert CIA status is somewhat difficult due to the misleading and contradictory statements given by various officials regarding the leak."
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—Ralph Waldo Emerson (18031882)