October 7: The Beginning of CIA Leak Scandal, The Beginning of the End

Three years ago today, it all started.

On October 7, 2002, President Bush gave a speech in Cincinnati “in which he made the case for war.” According to Condoleezza Rice, “a line had been there about the uranium issue and Saddam Hussein seeking uranium in Africa. And Director Tenet had called Steve Hadley and he told him…he told him I don’t think you should put that in the president’s speech.”

The reference was removed from his speech that day, but famously reappeared in a 16-word sentence three months later during the President’s State of the Union address. (Bush: “The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa.”)

On July, 6, 2003, former Ambassador Joe Wilson wrote a column indicating that the Bush administration knew the claim was bogus in advance of the speech. The following day, the administration was forced to publicly acknowledge the President was wrong. The incident set into motion an aggressive effort at the White House to “slime” Wilson that culminated in a Robert Novak column which outed his wife, undercover CIA agent Valerie Plame. A criminal investigation followed, involving numerous administration officials, which is expected to conclude this month.

This morning, Karl Rove is scheduled to make his fourth appearance before the grand jury to answer questions about his involvement in the smear campaign. Three years after it all began, sources close to Rove say he and his legal team are “now genuinely concerned he could face [criminal] charges.”