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December 01, 2005


It sounds like some people at the CIA had debunked these documents through Wilson's efforts and what they had seen of the documents. But we know that others at the CIA either believed them, or at the very least, found them useful for selling the war.

And that is always the question, isn't it? Did they know the documents were fakes but use them anyway? Did some people realize they were probably fakes but that the boss would be interested in them so pass them on? Were they known from the get-go to be fakes and the VP/Bush just didn't care?

If it works to sell the war it is true?

New article today out of La Republicca. It is mostly based on an interview with Alain Chouet, former Vice Director of The Direction Générale de la Sécurité extériéure (Dgse), or French counter espionage abroad, during the crucial time in question.

I've blogged about it here: http://emmajoe.blogspot.com/ and spotted the original translated article at BooTrib. I think you'll find it very informative in terms of timeline and info...

So are there any ideas who at SISMI did the editing?

Congratulations on getting through Left Coaster's posts. I agree that it's one of the more remarkable pieces of decoding ever mounted, but Lord it's dense to follow. Dan Brown could fictionalize it and sell it I think. My summary [of your summary] is that it was an ACTIVE FRAUD. Left Coaster makes that clear.

I also agree that John Bolton was an ACTIVE PART of that ACTIVE FRAUD. I hope we don't wear out with this thing too fast to not investigate the NIGER story thoroughly. It's the real GATE that leads to John Bolton, who with Michael Ledeen, constitute the the rottenest apples in the whole barrel. And they're both part of NIGER GATE...

Excellent summary, especially the EW logic of document distribution. Makes perfect sense. And I'd sure like to know exactly how it was that this particular INR analyst was "unexpectedly on leave" that particular day. BTW, if this post is a "quick summary," let's anticipate a more characteristic massive analysis... hopefully soonish.

A few random contributory thoughts:

1. A scrupulous trekking of the Yellowcake Road may yet deliver the knockout blow to the Neocons, with an historic jolt for your average patriotic American. Although I'm not optimistic on the prospects of actually reaching Oz -- key individuals would start turning up unalive if things were to get too hot -- I was struck by Ledeen's recent attempt to shift the forgery blame onto France. An absurd and possibly slightly desperate move. Has the curtain been pulled back a tad too far? How long will AEI/NRO be keeping him on board?

2. Some helpful Yellowcake perspective lies in Theodore Draper's "A Very Thin Line." The 1991 Iran/Contra summarium paints a lethal portrait of Ledeen & Ghorbanifar, the dynamic duo at the root of Iran/Contra, known to have been reuniting in Italy recent years. Draper shows over and again Ledeen's rogue-like behaviour and "strangely amateurish" (161) approach to illegal public policy. Meanwhile, the ties to SISMI and Mossad are, well, perhaps, something less than amateurish.

3. Regarding Woodward... it's intriguing how he goes out of his way in "Plan of Attack" to associate Tenet with his "slam dunk" statements. I note five references to Tenet and the "slam dunk," with two of them followed by exclamation points. As if we didn't get the point. [Paperback: 249, 249, 288, 422, 440]. Seems Woodward was more than willing to help the WH scheme to blame pre-war intel woes on the CIA. Of late, Tenet's temp-successor John McLaughlin has been remarking that Tenet's "slam dunk" line has been unfairly taken out of context. Interesting -- how so? At any rate, taking "Plan of Attack" into context as a whole, if Woodward is willingly in on the Plame scene now, I say odds are he's helping the Neocon branch of the WH.

4. If Tom Maguire is onto something in suggesting Libby went after Wilson due in part to his perceived anti-semitism, what does it mean if another perceived anti-semite, Bob Novak, ended up being the guy who outed Wilson?


I should have a look at the Ledeen post shortly--the whole series in fact.

And yes, I've got Draper's book right here in front of me. It's part of one coherent effort.

Finally Phase II of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence has been implemented. Although it has fallen off the media radar yet again. Phase II will hopefully be investigating the OFFICE OF SPECIAL PLANS, THE WHITE HOUSE IRAQ GROUP, AND THE COUNTERTERROISM EVALUATION GROUP all of these groups were 'OFF LIMITS" to Phase I.
The Inspector General of the Pentagon has also begun an investigation into charges that the Vice Presidents OFFICE OF SPECIAL PLANS conducted unauthorized, unlawful or inappropriate intelligence activities.

Who and when will get to the bottom of this false intelligence about WMD's?

Our congress spent millions of dollars and a great deal of time getting to the bottom of a President's extra marital activities (a BJ). You would hope that our congress would find false intelligence that took us into a war.. equally or just a little more important........





Again thanks for the great summary.

Here are some points of clarification.

>>"The week of Joe Wilson's op-ed, Libby and Fleischer used the fact that one of Wilson's sources had mentioned a different contact with an Iraqi (which happened in Algiers) in 1999, and that Wilson himself had traveled to Niger for the CIA in 1999, to claim that Wilson was somehow involved as a go-between between Irag and Niger. "

Actually, I don't believe they were referring to Wilson's 1999 trip. Perhaps you may have gotten this impression reading Judith Miller’s article in the Times. Here’s what Miller said:
“As I told Mr. Fitzgerald and the grand jury, Mr. Libby alluded to the existence of two intelligence reports about Iraq's uranium procurement efforts. One report dated from February 2002. The other indicated that Iraq was seeking a broad trade relationship with Niger in 1999, a relationship that he said Niger officials had interpreted as an effort by Iraq to obtain uranium. My notes indicate that Mr. Libby told me the report on the 1999 delegation had been attributed to Joe Wilson.”
What Libby was talking about here is what Wilson reported from his 2002 trip (about the Algiers meeting as you correctly pointed out). And Libby was clearly lying through his teeth because both the CIA and DIA had abandoned the Wilson's-trip-proves-uranium-seeking garbage by then.

>> "After CIA analysts mentioned that the al-Zahawi trip might corroborate the reports they were getting from SISMI, the SISMI source included a tidbit about al-Zahawi, suggesting there may have been a feedback loop to the SISMI source.

I am not certain that CIA analysts mentioned a possible Al-Zahawi/uranium connection to SISMI. They may have, but there is no published evidence for it yet. Based on the known evidence so far, one may conclude (tentatively) that SISMI sent the Al-Zahawi garbage to the CIA in Feb 2002 to bolster their earlier claim to the CIA in Fall 2001 that Iraq had been seeking uranium since 1999.

>> "One important reason why the discrepancy didn't discredit the intelligence is because the documents were distributed in such a way to make sure no one vetted them (this stuff is mine, not eRiposte's, so it is more speculative and any errors are mine)."

You are right that I have not formed an opinion on this just yet, but I will add that I am not yet convinced that "the documents were distributed in such a way to make sure no one vetted them". There are multiple pieces of evidence suggesting that this cover story from the CIA is false. For example, the CIA was examining the documents prior to the Bush SOTU. Moreover, when the IAEA asked them for proof of the uranium claim they sent them the forgeries. If hardly anyone knew that the documents existed, why would they magically pick the very documents to send the IAEA that they had ostensibly either not seen or not vetted? And if they had seen the documents it makes no sense that they would not have been vetted by experts before sending them on to the IAEA (indeed, the fact that the Global Support doc was hidden from the IAEA is another smoking gun).

>> "Further, the probable supervisor for this INR analyst testified during the Bolton confirmation hearings that Bolton prevented her INR analysts from distributing intelligence with their opinions on it."

I know you've looked at the Bolton hearings closely. Could you send me an email with the links to your posts on that that might relate to this uranium hoax? Thanks.

>> "intelligence coming in from SISMI had corrected any details of the forgeries that would have revealed they were fake"

I would say the more accurate statement here is "SISMI had corrected many details"...they didn't fix the Wednesday July 7, 2000 error for example, which in the end was an obvious clue that gave away the fact that the reports were based on the forgeries.

>> "someone at SISMI and some people in the Bush Administration were aware these were forgeries from the very start--from October 2001"

Actually, we don't yet have totally solid evidence that "some people in the Bush Administration were aware these were forgeries from...October 2001". The "Global Support" doc was discussed in Oct 2002, not Oct 2001. That said, the odd behavior of the CIA on Oct 18, 2001 - when they changed the alleged date of the alleged ratification of the uranium deal by the State Court of Niger - from 2000 to 2001 - is a red flag that warrants further investigation into whether someone in the CIA knew that they were peddling dubious/bogus stuff. There may be other revelations as we go along, but that's it for now.

Thanks for the great job!


Thanks for the correction on your stuff.

Let me say, when I argue the distribution ensured these would never be debunked, I didn't mean they weren't seen. If you buy the Repubblica article on the French, for example, we know CIA had the documents in Summer 2002. So we know CIA had seen them. I'm suggesting that (after the first distribution to INR) Bolton made sure the forgeries never got into the hands of someone who would out them. He made sure only reliable people saw them.

Actually, I think you're mistaken on the 1999 stuff. As I show here Libby was pushing an Ari briefing (the one the WH subsequently removed from their server that was eventually subpoenaed) the week of July 7 in which Ari alleged that Wilson had been the businessman in 1999. Add that to the reference in Judy's story (Libby seemed to be backing off a claim he made on the 8th), and it appears clear that this was more than just Ari's confusion; for a day or two that week, they were planning on claiming that Wilson was a go-between.

I'll do a post on the Bolton testimony this week.


I read your post on Ari's comment. Here is his comment that you cite:

"In fact, in one of the least known parts of this story, which is now, for the first time, public -- and you find this in Director Tenet's statement last night -- the official that -- lower-level official sent from the CIA to Niger to look into whether or not Saddam Hussein had sought yellow cake from Niger, Wilson, he -- and Director Tenet's statement last night states the same former official, Wilson, also said that in June 1999 a businessman approached him and insisted that the former official, Wilson, meet an Iraqi delegation to discuss expanding commercial relations between Iraq and Niger. The former official interpreted the overture as an attempt to discuss uranium sales."

Whether or not Ari was trying to hint about Wilson's 1999 trip to Niger is a matter on conjecture. You are certainly correct that Ari was misconstruing what Tenet said by confusing the former Nigerien official (Mayaki) with the former US official (Wilson). So, you can take Ari's statement either as a product of misunderstanding the facts or as lying. But the fact is that it was after the 2002 trip that Wilson reported on Mayaki's claims about the June 1999 incident.

Also, I have taken one read of the latest La Repubblica article. I have not formed any judgements yet on the claims in the article. I need to read it a couple of more times and digest the information and compare it to other information reported to date.


I don't think the 2002 trip really affects this, if Ari (and Libby) were lying.

What Libby and Ari woudl have been referring to is Wilson's 1999 trip to Niger for the CIA. Recall that Libby was asking Addington what kind of paperwork there would be if a CIA employee's spouse took a trip. He asked this the day AFTER talking to Judy in his effort (according to Waas) to give Judy more substance on what he said on July 8.

But this really wouldn't have been pertinent to Wilson's 2002 trip. Libby had presumably already gotten all the available documentation on it. I suspect Libby was trying to make this case (as was Ari) believing the confluence of the dates (Wilson 1999 trip, al-Zahawi 1999 trip, Mayaki 2002 conversation about 1999 reference) would support the allegation that Wilson was the original Mayaki source.

And, by the time Libby spoke with Judy on July 12, he realized that accusation wasn't going to hold up.

My original point was that the 1999 al Zahawi trip--the only thing that was backed up by uncontested intelligence--was the anchor they tried to hang a lot of unsubstantiated accusations on.

Now it seems that the paperwork relating to the 2002 trip woudln't be interesting.

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