By Amanda Vender
President Bush worked hard to make the American public afraid of Iraq. He told us that Iraq had dangerous weapons and that Iraq might attack the U.S. Bush told us that Iraq’s president, Saddam Hussein, tried to get these dangerous weapons from the African country, Niger.
The Bush administration knew this was not true, but it made the claim anyway. But Joseph Wilson noticed and he exposed Bush’s lie. And then someone, we don’t know exactly who, tried to get back at Joseph Wilson.
Here is the timeline of the mystery:
2002: Former U.S. ambassador Joseph Wilson is sent by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to Africa to investigate the claim that Iraq tried to buy uranium yellowcake, a dangerous weapon, from the country of Niger. Wilson finds that this claim is false.
2002-2003: The Bush administration continues to accuse Iraq of trying to get dangerous weapons from Niger.
March 19, 2003: The U.S. invades Iraq.
July 6, 2003: Wilson writes an opinion piece in the Washington Post about his trip to Niger and hints that the Bush administration didn’t want to know the truth about his trip because Bush wanted to make Iraq seem guilty of having weapons.
July 14, 2003: Columnist Robert Novak writes in his column that Wilson’s wife is Valerie Plame and that she is a CIA agent studying weapons of mass destruction. But not even Valerie Plame’s friends knew she worked for the CIA because she was a covert (secret) employee. Who told Robert Novak? Was there a conspiracy to “get even” with Joseph Wilson for making Bush look bad? Were people like Vice President Dick Cheney or even President Bush himself involved? Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald is investigating.
“Why is it Illegal to Expose a CIA Officer?”
To reveal the name of a covert CIA agent is dangerous to the agent, to her work and the people she knows. For example, Valerie Plame might be in a foreign country gathering information about that country’s secret weapons. She pretends that she works for a business, even though she really works for the CIA. If the people giving her information find out she is working for the U.S. government, they might try to kill her to prevent her from sending the information back to the U.S.