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April 17, 2006


Welcome home ew, great post.

Rove's attorney, "gold bars" Luskin is back trying his case in public: http://www.nysun.com/article/31062

John Casper! Thank you - the INR memo has been declassified, and the Sun has a link up to a copy of the declassified version. Reading it now.

First thing about the Sun/INR memo: the mystery INR analyst was the West African analyst (not an Iraqi one), and he was reassigned.

That, and there is some protection of Bolton/Bolton's shop. Which increases the likelihood that they got to vet this the first time around, as I have been speculating.

On the INR memo. 1. At least in the context of sending it to Powell on July 7, the point was to confirm that INR did not get a report from Wilson on his trip - remember that Wilson had made claims about reporting to State as well as CIA. 2. The document refers to "Valerie Wilson, a CIA WMD manager, and the wife of Joe Wilson." 3. The INR person at the meeting, who appears to have been the one who drafted the notes after the fact and who, the memo notes, was not present to go over what happened, appears to have been INR's West Africa analyst. 4. As Tom Maguire has been arguing for a while, at the Feb. 19 2002 meeting, INR was pissed that the CIA thought that the Embassy in Niamey and the U.S. Ambassador - State folks - were not likely to get the truth on the Niger-Iraq allegatioins from their contacts. 5. The INR memo gives what looks to me like an accurate read on the status of the Niger claims, and nuclear claims more generally, in the Octobver 2002 NIE. 6. Perhaps most interesting is the paragraph at the top of p. 3, which discusses claims regarding uranium-procurement end of 2003-early 2003. here things seem to get ugly and disputed between State and Winpac. In any case, check this out - the internal quotations seem to come from the April 7, 2003 CIA retrospective on the Niger story:

On January 12, 2003, INR "expressed concerns to the CIA that the documents pertaining to the Iraq-Niger deal were forgeries." The conclusion may, however, have been reached and communicated for the first time somewhat earlier: the record is not clear on this point.

So INR was suspicious certainly before the SOTU that the documents were forgeries. I don't think this is news, but it may be. In any case, it goes on to detail the absence of the claim from Powell's UN speech, attributing it, however, to CIA doubts:

After considerable back and forth between the CIA, the Department, the IAEA, and the British, Secretary Powell's briefing to the UN Security Council did not mention attempted Iraqi procurement of uranium "due to CIA concerns raised during the coordination regarding the veracity of the information on the alleged Iraq-Niger agreement."

The INR memo goes on to note that there are other retrospective accounts differing somewhat from that CIA one. I bet those are interesting.

7. Best as I can tell, as has been reported, the whole document is Secret/ORCON,NOFORN (though there is also some indication, perhaps retrospective and from now, "S/ES"); and the paragraph that Valerie Wilson appears in is marked "S//NF".

8. What's unclear is whether the entirety of the document simply reproduces the INR memo as originally produced in June 2003, or is modified - in particular, whether the first paragraph was produced in June 2003 or especially for Powell in July 2003.

9. Finally, why was this declassified and published now?

A question: would the identification of Valerie Wilson as a manager at the CIA be at all indicative of her status there, in particular that she was, say, not an analyst and/or that she worked on the DO side, or at CPD as opposed to Winpac, and so on? Is "manager" a term of art in this context, and what does it mean?

The Sun has apparently seen the attachments as well, including the notes from the INR analyst, whom it identified as Douglas Rohn.

And it turns out that the Sun got the documents in response to a FOIA request they put it in July 2005. Apparently whoever handles those requests works Saturdays, as the Sun got the documents this past Saturday.

My guess is (and has been) that Libby and Rove worked on Tenet's mea culpa before Tenet even knew he was going to issue one; that Hadley worked with Tenet and with one or more of Libby/Rove, but that Tenet did not know about at least one of them. That accounts for the different ersions of who worked with whom.

I wonder if before Wilson's op-ed made it clear who he was, Tenet and CIA were trying to downplay him and his role to protect "sources and methods," including Valerie. Just a thought.

Gerstein's article quotes from one of the documents attached to the INR memo, the INR analyst's notes on the February 19 2002 meeting, so presumably Gerstein got that document as well, though the Sun has so far only posted the INR memo itself. One of the other attachments to the INR memo was the CIA report from Wilson's trip - wouldn't it be interesting if that has been declassified and Gerstein got a copy of it. Wouldn't it be even more interesting if he shared it with the public.

Actually, there was a second document link at the end of the article this morning. I only got through the INR memo before the second link dissapeared, so I don't know what that was.

I'm guessing there are two discrete versions of this. Note that the classification date is 7/6, by Carl Ford. ANd yes, the first paragraph seems to be rewritten.

Also, I think the term manager gives rank--I believe either Wilson or Johnson has said that makes her the equivalent of a major.

Or Rove and Libby could've been working on a version of Tenet's mea culpa that Tenet refused to give, so Tenet wrote his own.

A propos of the last thread, revelations to the Sun and their timing should be considered vis a vis revelations in the WaPo and NYT vs. revelations to Waas and Leopold.

Try this link:


I have the images saved, just in case they disappear

William - Awesome! How'd you find that last document? And is that the only one of the original tabbed attachments that seems to be included?

Part of my job is know how to hack urls (purely on the side of the good guys, I'm responsible for software application security, among other things).

That's the only thing I've found so far.

William - Next question: How do I save that image, as a pdf, say?

It saves as a mhtml file

Each individual original page can be saved as a JPEG file. You can use your favorite PDF tool to stitch them together as a PDF if you really need to.

Got it, thanks.

Minor thing, but S/ES is not a classification mark. It refers to the specific office at the Department of State that the memo was addressed to, in this case, the Executive Secretariat, which is sort of the go-between for the offices of the Secretary, Deputy Secretary and the Under Secretaries and the rest of the world. So anything addressed to Secy. Powell would have to go through this office first. It's kind of like the bureaucratic nerve center of the deparment, if I understand it right.

What is kind of weird to me is that the classification status of the document is SECRET//ORCON,NOFORN, BUT there's this HUGE white space between the "SECRET" and the "ORCON,NOFORN", meaning that there's a possibility that there are other classification marks we're not seeing? And that space isn't shaded with a redaction box, yet clearly there was something there. From the little research I've been able to do, I think the missing dissemination controls might have to do with SCI. Which, of course, would bolster the idea that maybe Valerie Wilson's identity was not to be made widely known.

Plus, in the third graf, there is definitely a classification mark we're not seeing, it's under a redaction box.

EW - Tenet's statement says that Iran didnt sign a contract with Niger - Wilson merely claims that there were overtures to do so.

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