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May 15, 2006


EW - Poor political pornography. Freakin' awesome.

Pure. Not Poor. Gads.

By now it is obvious to even a casual oberserver that Cheney was deep into discrediting Wilson. In fact it could be surmised that Cheney was behind the outing of Plame.

This administration leaks when it suits its political purpose and attacks leakers when it has something to hide.

From the false mobile bioweapons labs in Iraq, to secret prisons and torture, to warantless wiretaps to wholesale collection of call records of tens of millions of Americans they want to pursue the "leakers" and using the country's national security apparatus to identify the sources of these reports. They have much to lose if the dam breaks.

Billmon has a good post up. This is Nixon redux except that in the current instance they have used the state's security organs and a coopted media to entrench their power.

Who will be the Church of our time? Will we be able to roll back this usurpation of power or will the "national security" state continue to strengthen and the Bill of Rights and what this country stood for just be a vignette of history?

This post is very helpful, and I'm looking forward to the follow ups. Tom Maguire had an odd post several weeks ago claiming Wilson supported the Niger story and I couldn't see how on earth he would think this.

It does seem like a typically Rovian blurring of the issue (up is down, black is white, There Are No Differences), similar to the blurring of Leopold and his claims over the past few days.

To only but the most caual obsevrer. Buck, Calculus.

It wasn't discrediting Wilson. It was keeping the prurality facade going. All you have to do is wait it out till being a victor. Fail, no prob. Its the ebtraupereerial spirit. (And yes, I know thats not how its spelled).

I got an idea from somewhere that Wilson was making private statements in washington society parties, against the bush SOTU speech, almost immediatly after it was given

so where does that speech fit in the timeline (I suck at remembering some dates)

seems to me that the march 8, 2003 occurances are growing curiouser and curiouser

It's an evil enough plan to be pure Cheney.

But something about the Orwellian nature of falsifying Wilson's report and then using the false interpretation against him: it reeks of Turdblossom.

Good to know that Fitzgerald has subpoenaed the records of the
White House Iraq Group.

excellent post to you and eRiposte. I hope Fitz is checking out this summary....

The problem is Joe Wilson did not write a report, only debriefed CIA. So he had no control over what spin they were putting on his oral report. If there had been a written report, he could have said to the Admin or Roberts committe - hey, I wrote a report. Go check with CIA what I wrote.

free patriot

Remember, Wilson's trip report was from March 8, 2002 (and read the link on the report--it'll explain how they turned it into something supporting the Niger allegation). So Wilson's timeline looks something like:

March 8 2002 Wilson returns and (he thinks) discredits the Niger allegation
September 2002 Wilson writes an op-ed opposing war with Saddam
January 2003 Wilson complains to someone at State about the SOTU
March 8 2003 Wilson announces the WH knew the Niger allegation sucked
May 6 2003 Kristof column
June 12 2003 Pincus column
July 6 2003 Wilson's own op-ed

ElBaradei mentioned the 1999 visit by an Iraqi official to a number of African countries in his 3/7/03 UN presenation.

For its part, Iraq has provided the IAEA with a comprehensive explanation of its relations with Niger and has described a visit by an Iraqi official to a number of African countries, including Niger in February 1999, which Iraq thought might have given rise to the reports.

The IAEA was able to review correspondence coming from various bodies of the government of Niger and to compare the form, format, contents and signature of that correspondence with those of the alleged procurement-related documentation.
ElBaradei's U.N. Presentation 3/7/03 CNN

The WaPo story the next day 3/8/03 has the "we fell for it" quote and note that this article has Britain handing over the forgeries.

The documents had been given to the U.N. inspectors by Britain and reviewed extensively by U.S. intelligence. The forgers had made relatively crude errors that eventually gave them away -- including names and titles that did not match up with the individuals who held office at the time the letters were purportedly written, the officials said. "We fell for it," said one U.S. official who reviewed the documents.
WaPo 3/8/03

Here is Wilson the next day on CNN reacting to the "we fell for it" quote in the 3/8/03 WaPo.

WILSON: Well, the report I saw said that the Brits were involved. Maybe it was the British that passed this report on. I don't know who else might have been involved, but I can tell you this: The report in "The Washington Post" today said -- quoted a U.S. official as saying, "we just fell for it."

That's just not good enough. Either he's being disingenuous, or he shouldn't be drawing a government paycheck.
CNN 3/8/03


Hopefully eRiposte will stop by, but I think that 1999 trip is a reference to al Zahawie, which is different from the reference to Joe Wilson's trip.

Al Zahawie (Iraqi Ambassador to the Vatican, IIRC) did make a trip to several countries in 1999 to attempt to get some of them to open up trade--it was an attempt to weaken support for the sanctions.

The basis for using Wilson's report as "evidence" is that, in a conversation with former Prime Minister Mayaki, Mayaki revealed that someone who happened to be Baghdad Bob approached him at a conference in Tunisia to ask about setting up commercial relations. Mayaki, probably because he was trying to consider all possibilities for Wilson, said Baghdad Bob might have intended to discuss uranium. But Mayaki didn't take BB up on the offer and it was never definitively proven whether that's what BB was after.

Also, the documents were handed over twice. First, in electronic form, presumably directly to the IAEA in Vienna. ANd then, Baute got copies--as well as this additional justification--when he was in NY for Powell's speech. Don't know which of those the Brits were responsible for.

Thanks EW

Never realized there were two trips by Iraqi officials in 1999.

What is Novak referring to here and where do you think he got this information? Does Novak have the date wrong?

though he [Wilson] also mentioned in passing that a 1988 Iraqi delegation tried to establish commercial contacts
Novak 7/14/03 column

I've also wondered how Novak knows what the CIA thought about the information Wilson reported (Rove or Libby probably). I doubt he got this from the CIA.

CIA officials did not regard Wilson's intelligence as definitive, being based primarily on what the Niger officials told him and probably would have claimed under any circumstances. The CIA report of Wilson's briefing remains classified.
Novak 7/14/03

That Novak reference is definitely to the Wilson Mayaki reference, not the al Zahawie reference. I don't know whether the date is an error, or a deliberate attempt to obscure the fact that he was providing information from Wilson's trip report, which he notes in the same column is still classified.

I don't know where he got the CIA comments. It's possible the INR analyst's comments talk about the CIA's objections in the redacted bits (though that would be anticipatory, not historical). They almost certainly don't appear in the CIA report, since that says nothing about the purported uranium deal. It sounds a lot like these comments in the SSCI:

(U) DIA and CIA analysts said that when they saw the intelligence report they did not believe that it supplied much new information and did not think that it clarified the story on the alleged Iraq-Niger uranium deal. They did not find Nigerien denials that they had discussed uranium sales with Iraq as very surprising because they had no expectation that Niger would admit to such an agreement if it did exist. The analysts did, however, find it interesting that the former Nigerien Prime Minister said an Iraqi delegation had visited Niger for what he believed was to discuss uranium sales.

(U) Because CIA analysts did not believe that the report added any new information to clarify the issue, they did not use the report to produce any further analytical products or highlight the report for policymakers. For the same reason, CIA's briefer did not brief the Vice President on the report, despite the Vice President's previous questions about the issue.

But these are portrayed as being interview comments, not emails or documents. It COULD mean Novak talked to someone at CIA who gave him CIA's excuse for not briefing Dick on Wilson's trip. Or it might mean there is a CIA document (perhaps sent to Libby with the others on June 9?) we don't know about and the SSCI doesn't want to talk about.

This TIME article says the WH asked the CIA about the Wilson trip, but McLaughlin doesn't say when.

John McLaughlin, then deputy head of the CIA, confirms that the White House asked about the Wilson trip, but can't remember exactly when.
TIME 7/31/05

Not directly on point, but this Swopa thread on KOS on the TIME article is worth another look and Swopa's entry at Needlenose as well.

The Senate started their investigation in mid June 2003, so I guess it's possible the CIA and DIA analysts testimony had been given by July 11, 2003 and passed along to Novak.

It's possible Novak got the CIA take from Tenet's statement or Rove/Libby/Hadley as they had seen Tenet's statement.

Tenet's statement said the Wilson report "did not resolve whether Iraq was or was not seeking uranium from abroad". I don't think Tenet's statement was out by the time Novak's column went out on July 11. (but as you know the timing of the release of Novak's column is not clear)

Because this report, in our view, did not resolve whether Iraq was or was not seeking uranium from abroad, it was given a normal and wide distribution, but we did not brief it to the President, Vice-President or other senior Administration officials.
Tenet Statement 7/11/03

The CIA may have testified about the Wilson intell. If so, it was really current; Alan Foley and Robert Joseph testified the week after the leak. But I sort of doubt they had gotten to Wilson's trip itself; the SSCI turned more directly to the Plame leak in November 2003, so I suspect that testimony appeared then.

so Wilson was making noise BEFORE March 8th, we know that for sure ???

cuz that means that the date when the bushistas learned of Wilson's vocal opposition before Wilson appeared in public

and all of this occured BEFORE the war

this proves intent to falsly lead America into a war, so it's gonna be important later on

for now, all of scooter's lies are visable to the world

EW, I think you should consider including in your timeline Wilson's actions between September, 2002 and the SOTU in January 2003. In particular I think it important that Wilson became a spokesperson for war in Iraq opponents as an unpaid fellow of the Middle East Institute, in essence representing the thinking of Scowcroft and Eagleberger from the Bush One Administration. Middle East Institute was the basis for Wilson debating the likes of Frank Gaffney, Jean Kirkpartick, Ken Adleman, etc, etc, on C-Span broadcast panels and on CNN -- he was the "centerist" designated speaker against the invasion of Iraq. Indeed he was one of the few "experts" with some degree of name recognition who stepped forward during that fall period to strongly question the emerging policy, and do battle with the flacks sent out by the Bush II circle to support the war policy. I rather suspect it was this activity, as much as anything else, that brought Joe Wilson to the attention of Rove and Libby and possibly Cheney -- and when he appeared on CNN after the Niger Documents were ID'ed as forgeries, and without mentioning his trip to Niger made the point that information discrediting the Niger-Yellowcake story had long been available, Wilson did indeed threaten the core Bush II argument for war. I suspect he was on their radar scope from early in the fall of 2002.

Pollyusa, EW,

>>> "The documents had been given to the U.N. inspectors by Britain"

All the evidence we know to date indicates that the documents were handed over to the UN by the US Government only - and not the UK. The Taylor Report also said the same thing.

>>> "Also, the documents were handed over twice. First, in electronic form, presumably directly to the IAEA in Vienna. ANd then, Baute got copies--as well as this additional justification--when he was in NY for Powell's speech. Don't know which of those the Brits were responsible for."

See above. In both cases, the source was the USG.

>>> "that 1999 trip is a reference to al Zahawie, which is different from the reference to Joe Wilson's trip."

Absolutely correct.


You point is well taken and it is something I had considered....


Thanks for the response. I can't make out where the information in the 3/8/03 Joby Warrick WaPo that "The documents had been given to the U.N. inspectors by Britain" comes from. It's not really attributed to any source.

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