Middle East Eye
Tony Blair could face censure vote in parliament over Iraq war
The former prime minister faces being found in 'contempt of parliament' after MPs announce a plan to hold him to account over Iraq war
Tony Blair is set to face a humiliating “contempt of Parliament” motion, as British parliamentarians move to “deliver a verdict” on the Iraq war, it emerged on Sunday.
A veteran British politician is set to file a “contempt motion” on Thursday against the former prime minister, who took the country to war in Iraq in 2003 and faced widespread condemnation last week with the release of the long-awaited Chilcot report into the war.
Former Conservative leadership candidate David Davis told the BBC’s Andrew Marrprogramme that he wanted parliament to declare Blair in "contempt" for his role in taking Britain to war in Iraq.
Davis, who is considered a member of the Conservative “old guard” and voted for the invasion of Iraq in 2003, will put forward the motion on Thursday in an attempt to use parliamentary powers to strip Blair of his remaining ceremonial powers and to “deliver a verdict” for families of soldiers who lost sons and daughters in the nine-year-long conflict.
Davis said he will put forward a motion that says “Tony Blair held the House in contempt” over the conflict by lying to MPs during a key parliamentary debate on the eve of war in March 2003.
He said: “Blair says that Chilcot doesn’t say he is a liar, but Chilcot wasn’t asked to rule on that. He [Sir John Chilcot] was asked to rule on the causes of the war and the consequences of the war, not whether Tony Blair lied or not.
“Now, if you look just at the debate alone, there are five different grounds that the House was misled on: three in terms of the weapons of mass destruction, one in terms of the way the UN [Security Council] votes were going and one in terms of the threat [from Iraq].”
Davis said that he accepted one of these deceptions might have been “accidental” but, he said, the scale of deception showed that Blair had intentionally lied to parliament in the run-up to war.
Watchers of parliament say the motion from Davis is likely to be accepted this week and a vote on the issue could be held within two weeks.
Its impact will be mainly symbolic, and Blair cannot be compelled to face parliament, but if the motion passed he could be banned from holding public office in future and stripped of his ceremonial role on the Privy Council, the ancient panel of senior current and former politicians which advises the Queen on matters of state.
Davis is one of a number of MPs from several parties making the call. It comes on the same day that former Scottish first minister Alex Salmond said he would also table a motion this week calling on MPs to censure the former prime minister over the conflict.
The move to pass judgement on Blair comes as campaigners and politicians have been looking for parliamentary and legal methods to hold Blair to account in the wake of last week’s Chilcot report. They have had to look for alternative means after it became clear that the International Criminal Court in the Hague did not have a mandate to prosecute the former prime minister.
Further pressure was also heaped on Blair when - appearing after Davis on the BBC - Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said he would vote for the motion. Corbyn opposed the war as a backbencher and last week took the unprecedented step of apologising for Labour’s role in the conflict, to the dismay of some in his party.
He told Marr: “Parliament must hold to account, including Tony Blair, those who took us into the particular war. I haven’t seen it [the contempt motion], I think I probably would [vote for it].”
Corbyn’s latest intervention comes a day after John Prescott, who was a deputy prime minister under Blair and a key adviser at the time of the war in 2003, said the invasion of Iraq by UK and US troops was illegal. He said: “As the deputy prime minister in that government I must express my fullest apology, especially to the families of the 179 [British] men and women who gave their lives in the Iraq War."
Parliament does not have the legal power to prosecute Blair for launching an “illegal war” said Davis, but he insisted there was precedent for using the “contempt of parliament method” in attempt to deliver a verdict.
He cited the infamous case of government minister John Profumo, who was held in contempt for lying to parliament after he had an affair with a 19-year-old women in 1963.
“That was just a sex scandal, not something that led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi people, with maybe millions dying as a consequence of the destruction of the Middle East,” said Davis.
Full transcript of Gilligan's 'sexed up' broadcast
A complete transcript of Andrew Gilligan's claims against the government on Radio 4's Today programme.
Today Programme, May 29
Are you suggesting [the dossier] was not the work of the intelligence agencies?
Andrew Gilligan The information which I'm told was dubious did come from the information agencies, but they were unhappy about it because they didn't think it should have been in there. They thought it was not corroborated sufficiently and they actually thought it was wrong. They thought the informant concerned had got it wrong. They thought he'd misunderstood what was happening. Let's go throughout this. This is the dossier that was published in September last year, probably the most substantial statement of the government's case against Iraq. You'll remember that the Commons was recalled to debate it, Tony Blair made the opening speech. It is not the same as the famous dodgy dossier, the one that was copied off the internet, that came later. It was quite a serious document that dominated the news agenda that day, and you open up the dossier and the first thing you see is a preface by Tony Blair that includes the following words:
"Saddam's military planning allows for some WMDs to be ready within 45 minutes of an order to deploy them."
Now, that claim has come back to haunt Mr Blair because, if the weapons had been that readily to hand, they probably would have been found by now. But you know, it could have been an honest mistake. But what I have been told is that the government knew that claim was questionable even before the war, even before they wrote it in their dossier.
I've spoken to a British official who was involved in the preparation of the dossier and he told me that in the week before it was published, the draft dossier produced by the intelligence services added little to what was already publicly known. He said:
"It was transformed in the week before it was published to make it sexier. The classic example was the claim that weapons of mass destruction were ready for use within 45 minutes. That information was not in the original draft. It was included in the dossier against our wishes, because it wasn't reliable. Most of the things in the dossier were double-sourced, but that was single sourced, and we believe that the source was wrong."
Now this official told me the dossier was transformed at the behest of Downing Street, and he added:
"Most people in intelligence were unhappy with the dossier because it didn't reflect the considered view they were putting forward."
Now I want to stress that this official, and others I've spoken to, do still believe Iraq did have had some sort of weapons of mass destruction programmes.
"I believe it is about 30% likely there was a chemical weapons programme in the six months before the war, and considerably more likely there was a biological weapons programme. We think Blix downplayed a couple of potentially interesting pieces of evidence. But the weapons programmes were quite small. Sanctions did limit the programme."
The official also added quite an interesting note about the result, since the war, of the capture of some of the Iraqi WMD scientists.
"We don't have a great deal more information yet than we had before. We have not got a great deal out of the detainees yet."
Now the 45-minute issue is not just a detail. It did go to the heart of the government's case that Saddam was an imminent threat, and it was repeated a further three times in the body of the dossier. And I understand that the parliamentary intelligence and security committee is going to conduct an inquiry into the claims made by the British government about Iraq and it is obviously exactly this kind of issue that will be at the heart of their investigation.
History of the BBC
Iraq, Gilligan, Kelly and Hutton 2003
The Hutton Report
One of the most damaging episodes in the BBC's history was sparked by an early morning radio broadcast in May 2003. It would lead to the departures of both the Chairman and the Director-General in the space of 24 hours.
The nation had been told, in the run-up to the war, that Saddam Hussein was stockpiling weapons of mass destruction - so it was inevitable, when no weapons were found by the invading forces, that questions about the case for war would be asked. But the Government was incensed when BBC reporter Andrew Gilligan suggested that Prime Minister Tony Blair had deliberately misled Parliament with the claim that Iraq could deploy weapons of mass destruction within 45 minutes.
Protests were lodged by Alastair Campbell, the Prime Minister's press advisor, who demanded an apology. The BBC said it had nothing to apologise for.
In the following weeks it emerged that the BBC's source for on the story was a weapons specialist, Dr David Kelly. He was named in the media, and obliged to explain himself - first in public, before the televised Foreign Affairs Committee at Westminster, and then in secret, before the Intelligence and Security Committee.
A week later he committed suicide.
Subsequently Lord Hutton, a law lord, was asked to conduct an inquiry into the circumstances surrounding Dr Kelly's death at the Royal Courts of Justice. Witnesses included the Prime Minister, the BBC's Chairman (Gavyn Davies) and Director-General (Greg Dyke), and senior MoD and security staff.
Hearings were held in August and September, and Hutton reported in January 2004. The verdict was critical of aspects of Government and the security services, but overwhelmingly damning of the BBC. Gilligan had made 'unfounded allegations', the editorial and complaints processes were defective, and the Governors had not been diligent.
Davies resigned the day the report came out, and Dyke the following day. Gilligan also left his job, as Campbell, on the Government side, had done half way through the hearings. Inside the BBC, complaints procedures were overhauled, and a new journalism training programme was introduced.
New York Times
What I Didn't Find in Africa
By Joseph C. Wilson 4th
WASHINGTON— Did the Bush administration manipulate intelligence about Saddam Hussein's weapons programs to justify an invasion of Iraq?
Based on my experience with the administration in the months leading up to the war, I have little choice but to conclude that some of the intelligence related to Iraq's nuclear weapons program was twisted to exaggerate the Iraqi threat.
For 23 years, from 1976 to 1998, I was a career foreign service officer and ambassador. In 1990, as chargé d'affaires in Baghdad, I was the last American diplomat to meet with Saddam Hussein. (I was also a forceful advocate for his removal from Kuwait.) After Iraq, I was President George H. W. Bush's ambassador to Gabon and São Tomé and Príncipe; under President Bill Clinton, I helped direct Africa policy for the National Security Council.
It was my experience in Africa that led me to play a small role in the effort to verify information about Africa's suspected link to Iraq's nonconventional weapons programs. Those news stories about that unnamed former envoy who went to Niger? That's me.
In February 2002, I was informed by officials at the Central Intelligence Agency that Vice President Dick Cheney's office had questions about a particular intelligence report. While I never saw the report, I was told that it referred to a memorandum of agreement that documented the sale of uranium yellowcake -- a form of lightly processed ore -- by Niger to Iraq in the late 1990's. The agency officials asked if I would travel to Niger to check out the story so they could provide a response to the vice president's office.
After consulting with the State Department's African Affairs Bureau (and through it with Barbro Owens-Kirkpatrick, the United States ambassador to Niger), I agreed to make the trip. The mission I undertook was discreet but by no means secret. While the C.I.A. paid my expenses (my time was offered pro bono), I made it abundantly clear to everyone I met that I was acting on behalf of the United States government.
In late February 2002, I arrived in Niger's capital, Niamey, where I had been a diplomat in the mid-70's and visited as a National Security Council official in the late 90's. The city was much as I remembered it. Seasonal winds had clogged the air with dust and sand. Through the haze, I could see camel caravans crossing the Niger River (over the John F. Kennedy bridge), the setting sun behind them. Most people had wrapped scarves around their faces to protect against the grit, leaving only their eyes visible.
The next morning, I met with Ambassador Owens-Kirkpatrick at the embassy. For reasons that are understandable, the embassy staff has always kept a close eye on Niger's uranium business. I was not surprised, then, when the ambassador told me that she knew about the allegations of uranium sales to Iraq -- and that she felt she had already debunked them in her reports to Washington. Nevertheless, she and I agreed that my time would be best spent interviewing people who had been in government when the deal supposedly took place, which was before her arrival.
I spent the next eight days drinking sweet mint tea and meeting with dozens of people: current government officials, former government officials, people associated with the country's uranium business. It did not take long to conclude that it was highly doubtful that any such transaction had ever taken place.
Given the structure of the consortiums that operated the mines, it would be exceedingly difficult for Niger to transfer uranium to Iraq. Niger's uranium business consists of two mines, Somair and Cominak, which are run by French, Spanish, Japanese, German and Nigerian interests. If the government wanted to remove uranium from a mine, it would have to notify the consortium, which in turn is strictly monitored by the International Atomic Energy Agency. Moreover, because the two mines are closely regulated, quasi-governmental entities, selling uranium would require the approval of the minister of mines, the prime minister and probably the president. In short, there's simply too much oversight over too small an industry for a sale to have transpired.
(As for the actual memorandum, I never saw it. But news accounts have pointed out that the documents had glaring errors -- they were signed, for example, by officials who were no longer in government -- and were probably forged. And then there's the fact that Niger formally denied the charges.)
Before I left Niger, I briefed the ambassador on my findings, which were consistent with her own. I also shared my conclusions with members of her staff. In early March, I arrived in Washington and promptly provided a detailed briefing to the C.I.A. I later shared my conclusions with the State Department African Affairs Bureau. There was nothing secret or earth-shattering in my report, just as there was nothing secret about my trip.
Though I did not file a written report, there should be at least four documents in United States government archives confirming my mission. The documents should include the ambassador's report of my debriefing in Niamey, a separate report written by the embassy staff, a C.I.A. report summing up my trip, and a specific answer from the agency to the office of the vice president (this may have been delivered orally). While I have not seen any of these reports, I have spent enough time in government to know that this is standard operating procedure.
I thought the Niger matter was settled and went back to my life. (I did take part in the Iraq debate, arguing that a strict containment regime backed by the threat of force was preferable to an invasion.) In September 2002, however, Niger re-emerged. The British government published a ''white paper'' asserting that Saddam Hussein and his unconventional arms posed an immediate danger. As evidence, the report cited Iraq's attempts to purchase uranium from an African country.
Then, in January, President Bush, citing the British dossier, repeated the charges about Iraqi efforts to buy uranium from Africa.
The next day, I reminded a friend at the State Department of my trip and suggested that if the president had been referring to Niger, then his conclusion was not borne out by the facts as I understood them. He replied that perhaps the president was speaking about one of the other three African countries that produce uranium: Gabon, South Africa or Namibia. At the time, I accepted the explanation. I didn't know that in December, a month before the president's address, the State Department had published a fact sheet that mentioned the Niger case.
Those are the facts surrounding my efforts. The vice president's office asked a serious question. I was asked to help formulate the answer. I did so, and I have every confidence that the answer I provided was circulated to the appropriate officials within our government.
The question now is how that answer was or was not used by our political leadership. If my information was deemed inaccurate, I understand (though I would be very interested to know why). If, however, the information was ignored because it did not fit certain preconceptions about Iraq, then a legitimate argument can be made that we went to war under false pretenses. (It's worth remembering that in his March ''Meet the Press'' appearance, Mr. Cheney said that Saddam Hussein was ''trying once again to produce nuclear weapons.'') At a minimum, Congress, which authorized the use of military force at the president's behest, should want to know if the assertions about Iraq were warranted.
I was convinced before the war that the threat of weapons of mass destruction in the hands of Saddam Hussein required a vigorous and sustained international response to disarm him. Iraq possessed and had used chemical weapons; it had an active biological weapons program and quite possibly a nuclear research program -- all of which were in violation of United Nations resolutions. Having encountered Mr. Hussein and his thugs in the run-up to the Persian Gulf war of 1991, I was only too aware of the dangers he posed.
But were these dangers the same ones the administration told us about? We have to find out. America's foreign policy depends on the sanctity of its information. For this reason, questioning the selective use of intelligence to justify the war in Iraq is neither idle sniping nor ''revisionist history,'' as Mr. Bush has suggested. The act of war is the last option of a democracy, taken when there is a grave threat to our national security. More than 200 American soldiers have lost their lives in Iraq already. We have a duty to ensure that their sacrifice came for the right reasons.
Joseph C. Wilson 4th, United States ambassador to Gabon from 1992 to 1995, is an international business consultant.
On Oct. 28, 2005, a grand jury handed down a five-count indictment in the 22-month-long investigation into whether White House officials illegally leaked the identity of Valerie Plame, a covert CIA agent, in retaliation for public criticisms made by her husband, Joseph Wilson IV, about the Bush administration's case for invading Iraq.
Washington Post reporter Dan Eggen has written an explainer of the CIA leak case and key players in the investigation are listed below.
Valerie Plame | Joseph C. Wilson IV | "Scooter" Libby | Karl Rove |George W. Bush | Richard B. Cheney | Patrick J. Fitzgerald | Reggie B. Walton | Robert D. Novak | Judith Miller | Matthew Cooper | Bob Woodward
An undercover CIA operative specializing in weapons of mass destruction, Plame was unmasked in July 2003 by columnist Robert D. Novak after her husband, Joseph Wilson, criticized President Bush for stating that former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein bought nuclear weapons-grade uranium in the African nation of Niger. The revelation set off an investigation into whether White House officials broke a 1982 law prohibiting the disclosure of the identities of covert CIA officers when they revealed Plame's status to Novak and other reporters.
In July 2006, Plame sued Cheney, Rove and Libby, accusing them and other White House officials of conspiring to destroy her career.
Joseph C. Wilson IV
Joseph Wilson is the husband of Valerie Plame, a covert CIA operative who was unmasked in July 2003 by columnist Robert D. Novak, after Wilson criticized President Bush for stating that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein bought nuclear weapons-grade uranium in the African nation of Niger. The revelation set off an investigation into whether White House officials broke a 1982 law prohibiting the disclosure of the identities of covert CIA officers when they revealed Plame's status to Novak and other reporters.
In February 2002, Wilson, a former ambassador under the first President Bush, was asked by the CIA and other agencies to investigate claims that Iraq had attempted to buy uranium yellowcake from Niger. Wilson said he found the claims to be false and that his reports to administration officials reflected that finding.
In a July 6, 2003, opinion piece for the New York Times the ex-diplomat criticized President Bush for stating in his January 2003 State of the Union address that Iraq was seeking to buy nuclear material in Niger. Wilson wrote, "If my information was deemed inaccurate, I understand. If the information was ignored because it did not fit certain preconceptions about Iraq, then a legitimate argument can be made that we went to war under false pretenses."
Days later Novak's column identified Wilson's wife, Valerie Plame, as a CIA "operative on weapons of mass destruction." Wilson charged that the move was an attempt at intimidation by the Bush administration in retaliation for his criticism.
In his memoir, "The Politics of Truth," Wilson wrote that his wife "would never be able to regain the anonymity and secrecy that her professional life had required; she would not be able to return to her discreet work on some of the most sensitive threats to our society in the foreseeable future, and perhaps ever."
I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby - Chief of Staff, Office of the Vice President
Vice President Cheney's top aide, Libby was found guilty of lying about his role in the leak of Plame's identity, two counts of perjury, one count of making false statements and one count of obstruction of justice on March 6, 2007. He was acquitted of a single count of lying to the FBI. On July 2, President Bush commuted Libby's sentence, after a federal appeals court refused to let Libby remain free while he appealed his conviction for lying to federal investigators.
In his testimony before the grand jury investigating the Plame affair, Libby reportedly testified that he learned Wilson's wife was in the CIA from NBC correspondent Tim Russert, who denied providing the information to Libby. According to the New York Times, documents show that Libby may have first learned about Plame from Cheney.
The charges stem from whether Libby tried to impede the special prosecutor's inquiry by withholding information about conversations he had with the vice president about Plame. After the charges were announced, Libby resigned his post. He pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Libby has been asking for voluminous amounts of classified information from the government in order to defend himself against the indictments. His attorneys insist they need hundreds of pages of classified daily briefings prepared for President Bush to show that Libby did not intentionally lie about discussing Plame with reporters, as prosecutors allege. Instead, they argue that inaccurate statements made by him are the result of mistakes or forgetfulness caused by the long hours he put in every day dealing with critical national security issues.
On March 6, Libby was found guilty of four felony counts of making false statements to the FBI, lying to a grand jury and obstructing a probe into the leak of Plame's identity. He was acquitted of one count of lying to the FBI about his conversation with Matthew Cooper, and on June 5 he was sentenced to 30 months in prison and fined $250,000.
Born: 1950 in New Haven, Conn.
Education: Yale University, 1972; JD, Columbia University, 1975
Career Highlights: Policy Planning staffer, State Department, 1981; director, Special Projects, Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs; 1982-1985; partner, Dickstein, Shapiro and Morin, 1985-1990; principal deputy undersecretary of defense for strategy and resources, 1990-1992; deputy undersecretary of defense for policy, 1992-1993; legal adviser, House Select Committee on U.S. National Security and Military/Commercial Concerns with the People's Republic of China, 1993-1995; managing partner at the Dechert, Price and Rhoads, 1995-2001; chief of staff and national security advisor, Office the Vice President of the United States, 2001-2005
Personal: Married; two children
Karl Rove - Deputy Chief of Staff, Office of the President
A top adviser to President Bush, Karl Rove testified four times before the grand jury charged with investigating the Plame affair. Rove's lawyer revealed that Fitzgerald does not expect to seek charges against his client in connection with the CIA leak case.
Rove is a longtime political adviser to Bush who helped shape the administration's case to the American public for the Iraq war. Rove initially told investigators that Robert D. Novak first mentioned Plame to him during a July 9, 2003 conversation; but in his most recent testimony to the grand jury, Rove said I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby may have been his source on Plame and her CIA status. The chief of staff was also under scrutiny because he did not initially tell the grand jury about a July 2003 conversation with Matthew Cooper.
Born: 1950 in Denver
Education: Attended the University of Utah, University of Maryland, University of Texas at Austin and George Mason University
Career Highlights: Executive director of the College Republican National Committee, 1971-1973; chairman, 1973-1975; finance director of the Virginia Republican Party, 1976; executive director, Fund for Limited Government, 1978; chief of staff, Governor Bill Clements (R-Tex.), 1978-1981; instructor, University of Texas, 1981-1999; chief strategist, George W. Bush presidential campaign, 2000; deputy chief of staff, Office of the President of the United States, 2001-present.
Personal: Married; one child
President George W. Bush
The president cited British intelligence in his 2003 State of the Union address that Ira was pursuing uranium in Africa. He has said he would fire a member of his staff if he had committed a crime by leaking information.
Born: 1946 in New Haven Conn.
Education: BA, Yale University, 1968; MBA, Harvard University, 1975
Career Highlights: Arbusto Energy, 1979-1986; managing general partner, Texas Rangers, 1989-1994; governor, Texas, 1994-2001; president of the U.S., 2001-present
Personal: Married; two children
Richard Cheney - Vice PresidentThe vice president led the White House effort to build the case that Iraq was an imminent threat because it possessed weapons of mass destruction. Administration officials say Joseph Wilson's trip to Niger to flesh out if Iraq had bought weapons of mass destruction was triggered by questions from Cheney about a Defense Intelligence Agency report. A former aide told The Washington Post it was "implausible" that Cheney was involved in the leaking of Plame's name, but on Oct. 25, White House officials dodged questions about whether Cheney revealed Plame's covert operative status to Libby. Former CIA director George Tenet may have provided the information to Cheney, The New York Times reported.
Born: 1941 in Lincoln, Neb.
Education: BA, University of Wyoming, 1966; MA, University of Wyoming, 1966
Career Highlights: Various positions, Nixon administration, 1969-1974; deputy assistant to President Gerald R. Ford, 1974-1975; assistant and chief of staff to President Ford, 1975-1976; U.S. House of Representatives, 1978-1989; Secretary of Defense; 1989-1993; fellow, American Enterprise Institute, 1993-1995; chief executive officer, Halliburton, 1995-2000; vice president of the U.S. 2001-present
Patrick J. Fitzgerald - Prosecutor, Office of Special Counsel
Fitzgerald, a political independent, was appointed as special prosecutor to investigate the CIA leak on Dec. 31, 2003. Since 2001 he has been U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, which includes Chicago. As an assistant U.S. attorney in New York, where he participated in the prosecution of terrorism cases coming from the 1993 bombing at the World Trade Center and the 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, Fitzgerald was the first lawyer to build a criminal indictment against Osama bin Laden. (For further details: "The Prosecutor Never Rests" The Washington Post, Feb. 2, 2005).
Born: 1961, Brooklyn, N.Y.
Education: BA, Amherst College, 1982; JD, Harvard University, 1985
Career Highlights: Associate, Christy & Viener, 1985-1988; assistant U.S. Attorney, Southern District of New York, 1988-1993; chief, Narcotics Unit of the Office of the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, 1994-1995; co-chief, Organized Crime and Terrorism Section of the Office of the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, 1995-2001; U.S. Attorney, Northern District of Illinois, 2001-present
Reggie B. Walton - Trial Judge, U.S. District Court
The trial judge in the Libby case, U.S. District Judge Reggie B. Walton sentenced Libby to 30 months in jail and ordered him to pay a $250,000 penalty for his convictions of perjury and obstruction in a probe of Plame's outing.
Fellow judges and lawyers who appear before him say Walton has a reputation for giving very tough and long sentences to those defendants whom he believes have misled him and/or the jury. During the case, Walton chided the defense for leading him to believe that Libby would testify in his own defense. Libby never took the stand.
"Evidence in this case overwhelmingly indicated Mr. Libby's culpability," said Walton prior to sentencing.
Career: First appointed to a judgeship on the D.C. Superior Court in 1981 by President Ronald Reagan; served as associate director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy; appointed to the federal bench in 2001 by President Bush. In 2004, Bush named Walton to chair commission investigating ways to curb inmate rape; appointed in May 2007 by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. to sit on Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. Prejudicial career: June 1980-July 1981: executive assistant U.S. attorney in Washington. March 1976-June 1980: assistant U.S. attorney. June 1979-June 1980: chief of the career criminal unit, U.S. attorney's office. August 1974-February 1976: staff attorney in the Defender Association of Philadelphia.
Born: Donora, Pa., 1949.
Education: BA, West Virginia State College, 1971; JD, The American University, Washington College of Law, 1974.
Thomas F. Hogan - Chief Judge, U.S. District Court
Hogan had jurisdiction over the grand jury that rejected the reporters' claims that the First Amendment protected them from testifying and held them in contempt of court.
Education: AB, Georgetown University, 1960; JD, Georgetown University Law Center, 1966
Robert D. Novak - ColumnistIn July 2003 Novak wrote a column about Joseph Wilson's claim (written eight days earlier in the New York Times) that reports of Iraqi attempts to procure uranium from Niger were false. Novak identified Wilson's wife, Valerie Plame, by name as a CIA operative and noted that "two senior administration officials told [him] that Wilson's wife suggested sending him to Niger to investigate" possible Iraqi involvement. In addition to Novak, six other journalists are reported to have known Plame's identity before the Novak column was published, including Judith Miller.
Novak's career as a reporter and columnist dates back to the 1950s. He writes a regular, syndicated column for the Chicago Sun-Times and is well-known as a conservative television personality, appearing regularly on programs like CNN's "Capital Gang" and "Crossfire."
Judith Miller - Reporter, New York Times (formerly)
Jailed for 85 days after refusing to testify about her source before the grand jury, New York Times reporter Judith Miller never wrote about Valerie Plame's role as a CIA operative. She eventually testified that Libby talked to her about Plame on three separate occasions before the Novak column publicly identified Plame as a covert CIA operative. In the days since her release Miller has said that she initially refused to testify because she believed Libby did not want her to cooperate in the CIA leak investigation unless her account would clear him.
Matthew Cooper - Reporter, Time Magazine
Along with Judith Miller, Cooper was initially held in contempt of court and threatened with imprisonment for refusing to disclose his sources to the grand jury investigation. Unlike Miller, Cooper wrote a story for his magazine based, in part, on his confidential sources.
On July 6, 2005, Cooper agreed to comply with the court order compelling him to testify. Cooper told the judge he received a last-minute call from his confidential sources freeing him from his confidentiality agreements. Karl Rove's attorney, Robert Luskin, later confirmed the senior Bush adviser as Cooper's source.
Bob Woodward - Assistant Managing Editor, The Washington Post
One of the most well-known journalists in America, Bob Woodward told Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald on Nov. 14, 2005, that a senior government official talked to him about Plame and her covert status two years ago. This revelation cast doubt on allegations that I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby was the first Bush administration official to out Plame. Woodward's testimony also raised questions about his decision to keep silent about the conversation during the past two years, despite an ongoing investigation into the affair. Woodward, who gained notoriety when he and then-reporter Carl Bernstein uncovered the Watergate scandal, issued an apology to the Post.
Born: 1943 in Geneva, Illinois
Education: Yale University, 1965
Career highlights: Communications Officer, U.S. Navy, 1965-1970; reporter, Montgomery County (Md.) Sentinel, 1970-1971; reporter, 1971-1979; assistant managing editor/Metro, 1979-1982; assistant managing editor/Investigative, 1982-present, The Washington Post. Co-author "All the President's Men," 1974; co-author "The Final Days," 1976; co-author "The Brethren: Inside the Supreme Court," 1979; author "Wired: The Short Life and Fast Times of John Belushi," 1984; author "Veil: The Secret Wars of the CIA," 1987; author "The Commanders," 1991; "The Man Who Would Be President: Dan Quayle," 1992; "The Agenda: Inside the Clinton White House," 1994; "The Choice," 1996; "Shadow: Five Presidents and the Legacy of Watergate," 1999; "Maestro: Greenspan's Fed and the American Boom," 2000; "Bush at War," 2002; "Plan of Attack," 2004; "The Secret Man: The Story of Watergate's Deep Throat," 2005; "State of Denial," 2006.
Personal: Married; two children