More good stuff from Elizabeth de la Vega:
Joseph Wilson had the attention of the Bush administration as early as March 2003, long before he wrote the July 6 op-ed. And it was on March 23 that President Bush issued an amended executive order in which he claimed the right to expand Vice President Cheney's authority to declassify documents.That is one story, BTW, which did not get the attention it deserved: see my previous post here.
Another important piece of the puzzle:
... up to the start of the war, numerous congresspersons and others had made public and private pleas to the administration to declassify the NIE so there could be a reasoned debate about the issues. But the administration had steadfastly refused, citing national security concerns, even though debate about the evidence for war -- the aluminum tubes, the Niger uranium, the existence of a link between Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda -- continued both before and after the invasion.
What was different in June 2003 when the President evidently did decide to declassify bits of the NIE? The answer is: He was kicking off his reelection campaign.