This is the last part of a six-part series exploring what Judy did while embedding in Iraq. The other posts are Part One, Part Two, Part Three, Part Four, and Part Five. Plus my excursion into Chalabi's activities during the time when Judy was in Iraq.
I should start with a warning. In the rest of this series, I tried to stick very closely to Judy's stories and other reporting. I speculated at times, but largely about how details in the articles lined up, such as which articles Judy tried to suppress and the identity of the Iraqi I called Yankee Fan. In this post, though, I'm going to try to summarize and extrapolate to understand what Judy was doing in spring and summer 2003, before the Plame outing. I will still stick with the facts that we know. But I will be speculating more than I was. It will be informed speculation, mind you. But it will be speculation. If that kind of thing aggravates you, you might want to skip this post.
In any case, I'll show that, from the spring on, Judy's reporting was doing the same thing the Neocon's attack on Wilson and eventual outing of Plame was doing--both were trying to sustain the claims for WMDs made to justify the war. Further, Judy was actively assisting Defense in its battle against State and CIA over control of Iraq. Judy twice did things even more closely related to the Plame Affair--trying to discredit someone based on his association with CIA, and trying to pass off what I believe to be another Niger forgery.
What was the nature and purpose of Judy's embed?
Judy makes a little slip in her recap article of July 20, 2003. She says,
Interviews with soldiers and government officials over three months with the Pentagon's 75th Exploitation Task Force, known as the XTF
Thing is, she wasn't embedded for three months. She was embedded with XTF from March 19 (or thereabouts) to May 12 (or thereabouts). less than two months, not three. But now that I've reviewed the timeline of Chalabi's early months in Iraq--in addition to that of the XTF, I've been wondering whether Judy just forgot who she was supposed to be embedded with. Because she started working with Chalabi in Feburary, and was working with Chalabi for large periods until May, when she left. Three months. Not just with the XTF, but with Chalabi too.
If her embed was with Chalabi and the XTF, then we can think of the scope of her embed as defined by her objective, not one particularly military unit. Rummy sent Judy to Iraq to make sure events on the ground in Iraq didn't totally discredit the excuse for the war, the WMDs. Embedding Judy with the 75th XTF was an important way to help Judy manage WMD expecations. But she needed Chalabi's help to thoroughly craft expectations.
Rummy prepared to fight two wars in Iraq (and did not, as we now know, prepare for the reconstruction). The first, the battle to topple Saddam's governent, was going to be easy. The story they needed to tell about that war was easy--Jessica Lynch and toppling statues and lots of things to make the red state voters at home feel good and manly about their little war. "America, fuck yeah!"
The second war was not so easy. That war was a fight to make sure Neocons at Defense and their allies would be able to stay in Iraq and control the future of Iraq. They were battling against a number of enemies here. Most obviously, they were fighting aggressively with State over who would manage reconstruction in Iraq. Not least because State had a plan to actually reconstruct Iraq, rather than occupy it under the fig leaf of a friendly leader. So part of this war involved undercutting State (and their allies supporting a realistic reconstruction, CIA) at every opportunity.
This second war also involved telling a story to the American people. But it was a different story than the Jessica Lynch story. In this story, Defense had to sustain the fear about the WMDs that had been the primary excuse for the war, while gently shifting the expectation we would find the masses of WMDs Colin Powell promised we'd find during his UN speech. If America figured out the WMD rationale was a lie early in the process, then Neocons risked losing support for an aggressive reconstruction. And in the medium term, if America figured out that the war was based on a lie before the presidential election, the Neocons risked losing their seat of power itself.
This second story--the WMD story--was a pretty delicate story to tell. You had to simultaneously pump up the fear about WMDs while you shifted the story slightly to the promise of WMDs, rather than their actual presence.
Which is why they got Judy Miller.
Judy was more experienced than anyone else at telling evil scary stories about WMDs. Judy had also proven, over the course of the previous several years, to be a very reliable story-teller for the Neocons. Her ideological allegiances made her trustworthy. Plus--and this was an important plus--Judy had worked extensively with Ahmed Chalabi. She had pretty much staked her career (unwisely) on his credibility. She'd be the perfect person to help make Chalabi a viable General in the war against State for control of Iraq.
Which is why I don't think Judy was censored in the sense we have understood it. Much has been made of Judy's peculiar embed restrictions. In her April 21, 2003 article on Yankee Fan, Judy admits the military is restricting her access.
Under the terms of her accreditation to report on the activities of MET Alpha, this reporter was not permitted to interview the scientist or visit his home. Nor was she permitted to write about the discovery of the scientist for three days, and the copy was then submitted for a check by military officials.
Those officials asked that details of what chemicals were uncovered be deleted. They said they feared that such information could jeopardize the scientist's safety by identifying the part of the weapons program where he worked.
While this reporter could not interview the scientist, she was permitted to see him from a distance at the sites where he said that material from the arms program was buried.
Clad in nondescript clothes and a baseball cap, he pointed to several spots in the sand where he said chemical precursors and other weapons material were buried. This reporter also accompanied MET Alpha on the search for him and was permitted to examine a letter written in Arabic that he slipped to American soldiers offering them information about the program and seeking their protection. [emphasis mine]
This passage made Judy the target of criticism from a number of journalists. Accepting such restrictions, these journalists argue, eliminates any objectivity Judy might have about a subject. But, as I pointed out in Part Two, I actually think Miller's embed agreement is more about providing her stories cover than about preventing a leak. To explain why, let's look at more details on her embed from Franklin Foer's article on her.
According to [Miller's Public Affairs officer] Pomeroy, as well as an editor at the Times, Miller had helped negotiate her own embedding agreement with the Pentagon—an agreement so sensitive that, according to one Times editor, Rumsfeld himself signed off on it. Although she never fully acknowledged the specific terms of that arrangement in her articles, they were as stringent as any conditions imposed on any reporter in Iraq. “Any articles going out had to be, well, censored,” Pomeroy told me. “The mission contained some highly classified elements and people, what we dubbed the ‘Secret Squirrels,’ and their ‘sources and methods’ had to be protected and a war was about to start.” [emphasis mine]
Judy's embed rules were not developed by military censors. Rather, they came from an agreement she personally struck with Rummy. And the reason why is that the unit includes "Secret Squirrels" who need to be protected.
But let's go back to that April 21 article and look at what they had censored. The names of the precursor chemicals the "scientist" digs up. The scientist's identity. Any details that might help a reader judge the provenence of the scientist's story.
Now, as I've said in Parts Two, Four, and my Chalabi post, I think this scientist (I call him Yankee Fan) is the Mukhabarat officer who leads Judy on a search for an ancient Talmud. And I think Yankee Fan is also Ahmed Ahmedizzet, a former colonel in the Mukhabarat who returns to Baghdad with Chalabi's Free Iraqi Fighters militia. If I'm right, then it appears Ahmedizzet's identity wasn't so important to protect when Peter Finn named him on April 17; it wasn't Ahmedizzet's association with Chalabi and the US Forces that endangered him. Keeping his identity secret only became important four days later, when Judy writes about him as the "silver bullet" that explains the absence of any WMDs in Iraq.
And that's because Ahmed Ahmedizzet, as described by Finn, couldn't know what Yankee Fan claims to know, which is what Saddam was doing with WMDs right before the war, because Ahmed Ahmedizzet had been in exile in Norway since 1998. Protecting Ahmedizzet's identity allows Judy (or the military) to obscure any clues that their "silver bullet" is a fake, that either he or the military is lying about what he had to say.
I assume it works the same with the chemical precursors. Judy published specific details on the materials they found in two articles on radiation finds (both sites known to the IAEA). But she doesn't here. The difference, I suspect, is that the radiation sites actually exist, whereas the precursors were just a staged find. Judy withheld the details because they would have made it easier to refute the story.
One more objective that Judy's supposed secrecy restrictions serve. It allows her to construct a very managed view of the soldiers in MET Alpha (primarily). Throughout her articles, Judy only quotes from a few members of 75th XTF: Gonzales, McPhee, a DIA officer, and a few members who remain completely anonymous (who therefore could be one of these three people off the record). The rest remain silent, occasionally described, but never quoted. Contrast that with Barton Gellman's article on May 11, which I describe in Part Five and which Judy may have tried to prevent Gellman from reporting. Gellman. In a May 9 article, Judy quotes Gonzales speaking in very measured tones about having had important evidence apparently removed in the past 48 hours.
''It is clear that in the past 48 hours, someone has removed many of the most critical items that we had hoped to salvage,'' said Chief Warrant Officer Richard L. Gonzalez, the team's leader.
Gellman quotes Gonzales speaking 4 days earlier, sounding much more human--and more discouraged:
"Why are we doing any planned targets?" Army Chief Warrant Officer Richard L. Gonzales, leader of Mobile Exploitation Team Alpha, said in disgust to a colleague during last Sunday's nightly report of weapons sites and survey results. "Answer me that. We know they're empty."
Judy had told members of MET Alpha that Gonzales didn't have clearance to talk to them. But they weren't talking about classified information. They were complaining. It seems like Judy didn't want them talking to Gonzales because she didn't want an accurate portrayal of their frustration and doubts to appear.
Which all leads me to conclude that Judy's embed agreement wasn't about secrecy and protecting sources. Rather, it was about hiding the lengths she would go to to tell the story the Pentagon wanted to tell--up to and including lying.
What was Chalabi's role?
Which brings us to Chalabi's role. I'm ambivalent about whether Defense always planned for Judy to drag MET Alpha to Baghdad to meet up with Chalabi or whether it was just a fall-back plan developed when they found there were no WMDs. Certainly, by staying with Chalabi (and possibly Harold Rhode?) in Salahuddin, Judy had the opportunity to plot a cover-up strategy. Or, it may be that after people in DC started getting antsy about the absent WMDs in April, Defense hatched the cover-up. Judy was talking with senior adminsitration officials in DC in early April for the April 5 article she co-bylined with Doug Jehl. So it may be the plan was developed then, in response to these growing questions.
Whatever the reason or means, Chalabi provided Judy with the same thing he had provided her (and her Neocon sponsors) before the war--"evidence" to support the story they wanted to tell.
In my Chalabi post, I described how Defense rushed Chalabi into Nasiriyah and then into Baghdad with his Free Iraqi Fighters. The primary reason they did this, I'm convinced, was to pre-empt State's plans for developing an Iraqi government; twice, Defense put Chalabi in a position to appear as a leader just before State convened a meeting to discuss the new Iraqi government more generally.
But by rushing Chalabi and his militia into Iraq, Defense managed something else. They made it easy for Chalabi to seize all available documents in Baghdad. This made it possible to make Oil-for-Food scandal accusations against Neocon enemies much later (and note the continuity in Judy's reporting--always working the beat that relied on Chalabi's questionable evidence), and general accusations against Chalabi's enemies in the short run (the week of May 1, for example, he was making accusations against Al-Jazeera and Jordan in an attempt to silence discussions of his past embezzlement conviction). And, at the same time, Chalabi could claim to find documents relating to Iraq's WMD programs. None of these documents--relating to Oil for Food, to Iraqi history, and to the WMD programs--had to exist. Chalabi could just say they did and it would have the desired effect. As one critical example, the Mukhabarat document alleging a potential uranium deal with an African country did not necessarily exist, but Chalabi could say it did since he had control of the Mukhabarat files.
In addition, by getting Chalabi to Baghdad early and backing him strongly, Defense also made Chalabi one of the most important power-brokers in Iraq, particularly as it related to relations with the occupying force. This put Chalabi in a position to offer protective custody or negotiated surrenders to Iraqis who might otherwise be targets. For example, we know Nissar Hindawi talked while under Chalabi's protection. And this was something that, as Judy describes in her July 20 recap article, the weapons inspectors teams had not been empowered to do.
Throughout their mission, MET units members expressed frustration that they were not permitted to discuss with Iraqi scientists and security officials either the amnesty for war crimes or the sizable monetary rewards that had been authorized to offer in exchange for cooperation, despite the Iraqis' obvious reluctance to participate as long as Mr. Hussein might be alive.
Chalabi, then, could do something the American forces could not do--offer safety and amnesty to those who might talk.
Or, as I think he did with Ahmed Ahmedizzet (if he is Yankee Fan), Chalabi could invent people. Yankee Fan provided the Bush Administration a catch-all excuse, one that conveniently indicted Syria and Al Qaeda along with Iraq. And one that--so long as Yankee Fan's identity was guarded--could never be questioned.
Oh--and one more thing. Chalabi gave Judy stories. Not scoops, mind you. But events crafted to get attention, to make her unit look heroic. Chalabi's spokesman Zaab Sethna talks about the importance of good stories twice in Kurtz' article on Judy's reporting.
"We told Judy because we thought it was a good story," Sethna said. "We needed some way to get the guy to the Americans." He said his organization had no previous connection to MET Alpha: "We didn't even know of their existence until they showed up with Judy."
(Chalabi's and Judy's denials always seem to reveal precisely what they're trying to hide, so I wonder of Sethna, true to the pattern, was trying to hide a longer association with MET Alpha). Later, referring to the floating Knesset story,
"We thought this was a great story for the New York Times," Sethna said. "She discussed it with her team. . . . That came from us."
Chalabi, you see, had the resources to turn MET Alpha into a great story, which he did on several occasions.
What is the nature of what Judy reported?
It should come as no surprise that I think Judy's embed reporting is BS. Not just BS in the sense that she didn't vet sources--it's not just crappy reporting. It's BS in the sense that I think several of the things she reported on were staged to specifically respond to Defense's need to manage expectations about WMDs.
At it's least offensive, Judy's reporting constantly attempted to prove the weapons teams had found the things Colin Powell said were going to be there during his UN speech. Judy includes paragraphs in several of her articles that make this argument explicitly.
The team said the configuration of the trailer and the equipment inside it was similar in many respects to the lab described in detail by Secretary of State Colin L. Powell in his speech to the United Nations in February. [my emphasis]
But this is not something unique to Judy. Barton Gellman, in his reporting, commonly included a similar paragraph.
Then there are the examples, as I presented in Part One, where Judy simply reports the questionable logic of the weapons inspectors without noting the faulty logic. I've actually wondered, having read several articles like this, whether the faulty logic came from the weapons inspectors or from Judy. As we saw by comparing Barton Gellman's work with Judy's, the weapons inspectors were much more skeptical than Judy lets on.
Just using those two techniques, Judy gives us claims of bio weapons and chemical weapons finds (later retracted). She reports from some known nuclear sites without making it clear that the IAEA had known--and monitored--them. And she reports on the "mobile weapons labs" still beind debated when she leaves Iraq.
But the real BS comes with the seemingly fabricated stories that tie everything up, particularly the Iraqi sources. As I describe in Part Two, Judy conveniently finds two Iraqis (Yankee Fan and Nissar Hindawi) who tell her everything she wanted to hear: The weapons were destroyed. What was left was moved to Syria. As were the scientists. Iraq had been cooperating with Al Qaeda on its WMD program.
Right there you've got Bush's entire justification for going to war in one easy mouthful. And conveniently, there's no way to disprove these claims unless you can qusetion these Iraqis directly.
This is what the whole shift to HumInt was about, the paradigm change described in Judy's April 23 article. If your link to WMDs in Iraq are people, most people won't ask for things like the name of the chemicals involved or ask to get a sample to test it themselves. So you don't need to say anything that might later reveal your lie. What's more, with humans, you get to guard the identity of the source. You get the credibility of an "expert" telling you everything you want to hear, without any way to question that expertise.
Curiously, Judy was preaching HumInt significantly before her Yankee Fan discovery; for an interview with Lehrer Newshour on April 5, 2003
(the same day her co-bylined article about doubts about WMDs appears),
Judy says HumInt will be the most important part of the search.
They will visit these sites systematically, but I think the most important thing they're going to do is be talking to the scientists and the military people who were in charge of these programs. Iraq is such a big country and he has had so many years to learn how to hide things, that, really, humans, as they call it, human intelligence will be the key to finding things or just hitting a lot of dry holes, as we've been doing so far.
As some of the officers interviewed in Kurtz' article make
clear, Judy's group is neither equipped or tasked to do HumInt. But given Judy's comment, I think Defense had made
the decision by April 5 to use Iraqi sources to cover up for the
absence of WMDs. And, as soon as Defense gets Chalabi and Judy together in Baghdad, she starts finding such sources who say exactly what BushCo wants them to say.
What do Judy's embed activities tell us about her role in the Plame Affair?
Judy's progression from reporting finds--then retracting them, to reporting what Chalabi's sources tell her closely follows the trajectory of the Plame Affair. She is, in effect, inventing tales that attest to the presence of WMDs at the same time Cheney's office is brainstorming ways to silence someone--Wilson--who says they don't exist. She is manufacturing credibility for Chalabi's sources at the same time that Libby and Rove are beginning to impugn Wilson's credibility. (I actually suspect that, at the time, Defense put a higher priority on Judy's task, managing the expectations that we'd find WMDs in Iraq.) Also note--both these activities are important fronts on the war between Defense and the Neocons on one side and State and CIA on the other.
But that parallel is not the only connection between Judy's embed activities and the events of the Plame Affair. Twice, Judy does something that seems to be functionally connected to the larger plot surrounding Plame's outing.
"Outing" Saad Janabi
First, Judy writes an article for Chalabi that tries to discredit Saad Janabi by highlighting his ties to the CIA. As I mentioned in Part Three, as part of Judy's coverage of Chalabi's case for de-Baathification, Judy included the following passage:
Mr. Chalabi declined to name names, but other representatives of the Iraqi National Congress, said that the Central Intelligence Agency had retained Saad Janabi as a key adviser. The opposition members identified Mr. Janabi as a former assistant to Hussein Kamel, Mr. Hussein's son-in-law who oversaw weapons programs, defected to Jordan in 1995, and was killed by Mr. Hussein's government when he later returned to Iraq.
A C.I.A. spokesman in Washington said he had no comment on whether Mr. Janabi was advising the agency. [emphasis mine]
Now, before we get to the realationship between CIA and Janabi, a little background. Janabi, it seems, is a direct rival to Chalabi's position as a top returned-exile-businessman. From a June 2, 2003 profile on Janabi we learn Janabi has returned at about the same time as the Chalabi profile appears--and that Janabi is already critical of Chalabi for the same reasons the State Department was:
Janabi returned a month ago from eight years of exile in California and has quickly emerged as a quiet but harsh critic of the well-funded exile opposition groups like Ahmed Chalabi's Iraqi National Congress, which enjoys the support of key Bush administration officials. Though Janabi insists that he does not want to run for office himself, he often speaks like a budding politician (even mentioning his connections to California Republicans and Arnold Schwarzenegger). He says the INC and the two largest Kurdish parties have limited constituencies. "The Iraqi people need their own choices," says Janabi. "They are educated, but they have no education in democracy."
In spite of his denials, Janabi ends up being a worthy enough candidate that he was briefly floated to be President of interim government.
Some sources close to the deliberations, speaking on condition of anonymity, suggested the choice could be Saad al-Janabi, who was close to Saddam Hussein until he fled to Kuwait and the United States in the 1990s.
It is perhaps this rivalry that made (and makes--Rubin has written about this quite recently) Janabi a target of the Neocons--particularly, it seems, Michael Rubin--in the name of de-Baathification.
Frequent meetings between Bremer predecessor Jay Garner and Saad al-Janabi, a close associate of Saddam Hussein's son-in-law Hussein Kamal, also fueled Iraqi speculation that the U.S. was not willing to adhere to its promises [about de-Baathification].
Now, the mention of Hussein Kamel--by Judy or by Rubin--should immediately raise our suspicions. Kamel was, indeed, related to Saddam by marriage. But he was also the defector who gave the Americans much of what they knew about Iraq's WMD programs. After he did so, Saddam lured him back to Iraq and had him killed. It's not like, at the end of his life, Kamel was a particularly close associate with Saddam.
But there is more. Kamel is the defector whose testimony the Neocons repeatedly selectively quoted (something which has since damaged the Neocon's credibility). The Neocons were happy to cite the large numbers of WMD programs Kamel had talked about. But somehow, they always neglected to mention that Kamel had told the Americans that Saddam had destroyed all the WMDs. Kamel became a target of the Neocons because he said things they didn't want said; but he was not, when he died, a friend of Saddam or an enemy of the US. So an association with Kamel, it seems, should not be enough to indict someone for de-Baathification.
Now look more closely at Judy's passage. She's talking about de-Baathification, sure. But what is the only piece of evidence she uses to support the claim that Janabi should be excluded from the government? An association with the CIA.
I didn't really think about this possibility when I wrote this post, but Kagro X asked what should be an obvious question, given the context. By naming Janabi, was Judy outing a spy? You know, like another wingnut journalist we know?
The CIA's response--no comment--doesn't tell us anything (except that, if she was asked to avoid mentioning such an association, Judy did a slightly better job than Novak). Some of Janabi's other activities tells a bit more. Before the invasion, for example, Janabi was one of the Iraqis working with the CIA to convince Iraqi military leaders to defect:
Among the central players, people involved said, were Mr. Bruner, the former C.I.A. officer working on behalf of an influential Iraqi-American businessman named Saad al-Janabi; Mr. Alawi, now a member of Iraq's nine-member provisional leadership council; and Muhammad Abdullah Shahwani, a former Iraqi general and a principal player in an unsuccessful C.I.A.-backed coup against Mr. Hussein in 1996.
(The other two, of course, have known covert associations with the CIA.) In addition, it appears Janabi hired a CIA expert for political consulting.
Saad Al-Janabi’s family owns one of Iraq’s largest construction companies, as well as textile mills, farms, a bank and an insurance company. After leaving Iraq in 1995, Al-Janabi returned less than two weeks after the government fell to put on daily get-togethers at his mansion among top Iraqi business leaders and leading U.S. officials. He hired James Whitley, a former Middle East expert at the CIA as a political consultant.
I frankly don't think this makes Janabi a spy (and, I should note, I'm also fairly certain that this Janabi is different from the Saad Ali Abbas Janabi recently arrested for Al Qaeda ties). But the MO here is very similar to the Plame outing. The Neocons wanted to undermine someone who threatened their plans. So they worked to discredit him, calling for his disqualification for leadership as a former Baath party member. But they do so in terms specifically designed to harm the CIA's interests. As with the Plame outing, Janabi's association with the CIA serves as the means to discredit him.
Judy's Niger Forgery
But that's not the only thing Judy participates in that ties her directly to the Plame Affair. The reason Cheney went so hard after Wilson, after all, is because he prevented them from claiming the IAEA was mistaken and the Niger forgeries were real as it seems like they first tried to do; the first Get-Wilson meeting happened just after the IAEA discredited the forgeries and Wilson said, on CNN, that the government had evidence in its files that proved the Niger allegations were wrong. Wilson threatened to expose the Neocons for going to war based on evidence--the Niger allegations--they knew to be false.
Which is why it's so remarkable that Judy reports finding what I believe is another Niger forgery. As I describe in Part Four, Judy reports,
Of even greater interest to MET Alpha was a ''top secret'' intelligence memo found in a room on another floor. Written in Arabic and dated May 20, 2001, the memo from the Iraqi intelligence station chief in an African country described an offer by a ''holy warrior'' to sell uranium and other nuclear material. The bid was rejected, the memo states, because of the United Nations ''sanctions situation.'' But the station chief wrote that the source was eager to provide similar help at a more convenient time. [emphasis mine]
As I point out in my Chalabi piece, this document appears at a time when Harold Rhode, whose name keeps appearing in association with the known Niger forgeries, appears to have been in Iraq with Chalabi and Judy. The coincidence is, I think, too great to dismiss. I think Rhode and Chalabi--with Judy's unknowing or knowing participation--intended to plant another Niger forgery
The one thing I can't figure out is the timing. This article appears on May 7, the day after the Kristof's article mentioning Wilson's Niger trip appears. Two days later, they effectively withdraw the claim of a uranium document by disappearing all the evidence for it. Did they publish the uranium allegation in response to Kristof's column, in an attempt to fight back at his claims that ? Or, did it take two days for the weight of his accusation to sink in and reach Baghdad? Here's Kristof's accusation:
I don't want to believe that top administration officials tried to win support for the war with a campaign of wholesale deceit.
In February 2002, according to someone present at the meetings, that envoy reported to the C.I.A. and State Department that the information was unequivocally wrong and that the documents had been forged.
I suspect they did not realize before they published the first story that they had to scotch plans to resucitate the Niger forgeries. And then, having already published the story, they were forced to disappear the evidence in a totally unconvincing manner.
Whatever the reason, Judy's participation in this stunt suggests that--at the very least--she was a willing mouthpiece for Rhode's and Chalabi's deception. It may mean she was a more active participant, and that she was helping to stage events which would bring renewed credibility to the Niger uranium claims. And if she was more actively involved, it might explain why she'd get so viscerally angry at the mention of Joe Wilson's name, whose leaking had ruined her forgery fun:
There is no question that Miller was angry at Joe Wilson… and continues to be. A social acquaintance of Miller told me that, once, when she spoke of Wilson, it was with “a passionate and heated disgust that went beyond the political and included an irrelevant bit of deeply personal innuendo about him, her mouth twisting in hatred.”
Judy's hatred for Wilson, I suspect, has as much to do with her commitment to sustaining claims for WMDs as it does with her subsequent legal troubles arising from Plame's outing.
Update: eRiposte and I are crossing paths here. I find out from him that there <b>is</b> a memo that survived and that was analyzed by the ISG. Here's a translation. There are a few discrepancies, which could either be Judy fluffing the evidence again or just errors of a quick translation. From the memo:
Enclosed is the report made by a friend from Uganda, Abdul Jamal Abdulnasser, (Bika) about getting uranium and other important materials from his friend in Congo. He told us that he is ready to supply Iraq with these metals if Iraq wants them and it can be done without implicating Iraq. After we checked them, we told him we don't deal with these materials and we explained to him the circumstances of Iraq and the imposed sanctions, and that Iraq is not concerned about these matters right now. He said that he will do his best to help Iraq and Iraq's regime for Jihad together against our enemy, and he considers supporting the power of Iraq to be his participation which is the power for all Muslims, and he feels that his duties are to support and strengthen that power.
So, first off, I was wrong. This was not Niger, but Congo and Uganda. I'm not sure what to make of this document. The "Jihad" rings hollow, for the reasons Kagro X spells out below. I'll have to come back to this...And while I'm thinking about it, eRiposte's post is definitely worth reading.
When Judy returned home in May 2003, she must have seemed like the perfect person to help the Neocons discredit Joe Wilson. Over several years, she had proven her ideological loyalty. She had just spent two months fluffing up weak claims about WMDs. She had proven her willingness to endanger CIA plans to discredit an enemy. And she had tried to resucitate the Niger uranium claims by planting and publicizing a suspicious document in Iraq.
There was just one problem. As I show in Part Five, from the time she came back until the time Bill Keller got hired the day after Novak's first column ran on July 14, Judy seems to have been missing one thing--an unfettered mouthpiece. Whereas before, she had been able to end-run editors to get whatever she wanted printed, for the precise period when the Plame Affair was developing, Judy seems to have had restrictions which prevented her from publishing almost anything. At the very least, NYT editors, stinging from the developing Jayson Blair scandal, were scrutinizing her reporting and particularly her sourcing. But it's possible they restricted her to bylines on articles for which she had a long-standing expertise. No new mysterious leaks from her Neocon buddies.
Which is, I think, why Judy didn't write an article. I have no doubt that she tried. She has said she was working on such a story. Possibly, she was trying much earlier than the eventual leak, in late June. But if Judy participated in the Plame Affair, she didn't--couldn't--do it by reporting a story.