The “Broader Conspiracy”: What We Already Know About the White House Iraq Group

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"The “Broader Conspiracy”: What We Already Know About the White House Iraq Group"

The WSJ reports that Patrick Fitzgerald’s investigation has zeroed in on the White House Iraq Group (WHIG):

Mr. Fitzgerald’s pursuit now suggests he might be investigating not a narrow case on the leaking of the agent’s name, but perhaps a broader conspiracy…Lawyers familiar with the investigation believe that at least part of the outcome likely hangs on the inner workings of what has been dubbed the White House Iraq Group. Formed in August 2002, the group, which included Messrs. Rove and Libby, worked on setting strategy for selling the war in Iraq to the public in the months leading up to the March 2003 invasion. The group likely would have played a significant role in responding to Mr. Wilson’s claims.

It sounds plausible, especially considering how much we already know about the involvements of members of WHIG:

Chief of Staff to Vice President Cheney Scooter Libby: Visited the CIA to press them for information about uranium sales to Iraq. Helped prepare CIA director George Tenet’s response to criticism about faulty intelligence included in the President’s State of the Union address. Spoke with Time reporter Matt Cooper and New York Times reporter Judith Miller about Valerie Wilson’s role at the CIA. Testified before the grand jury. [Link]

National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley: Received an email from Rove about his conversation with Matt Cooper. Was warned by the CIA not the cite uranium evidence. Helped prepare CIA director George Tenet’s response to criticism about faulty intelligence included in the President’s State of the Union address. Believed to have been questioned by special prosecutor. [Link]

Chief of Staff Andrew Card: Received 12-hour head start on Justice Department investigation. Was on Air Force one with State Department memo describing Valerie Wilson’s role at CIA. Initiated conversation between Tenet and Bush about investigation. Believed to have been questioned by special prosecutor. [Link]

Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove: Spoke with Time reporter Matt Cooper and columnist Robert Novak about Valerie Wilson’s role at the CIA. Helped prepare CIA director George Tenet’s response to criticism about faulty intelligence included in the President’s State of the Union address. Testified before the grand jury. [Link]

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice: In July 2003 received a briefing book that may have contained a State Department memo discussing Valerie Wilson’s role at the CIA. Appeared on Sunday shows to “protect Cheney by explaining that he had had nothing to do with sending Wilson to Niger, and dismiss the yellowcake issue.” Questioned by special prosecutor. [Link]

Senior Advisor Mary Matalin: Worked closely with Vice-President Cheney. Testified before grand jury. [Link]

Communications Director Dan Bartlett: Was on Air Force one with State Department memo describing Valerie Wilson’s role at CIA. Longstanding ties to Rove. Offered contradictory explanation of infamous “16 words.” [Link]

White House Aide Karen Hughes: Denied Rove’s involvement in leak. Helped draft State of the Union Addess with false uranium claim. Interviewed with Fitzgerald. [Link]

Much more in our leak scandal cast of characters.

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