July 17, 2004

Joe Wilson: Debunking Distortions About My Trip to Niger

AMERICA, DO NOT LET THEM RE-WRITE THE HISTORY THESE TRAGIC YEARs BEFORE IT IS EVEN WRITTEN...It is so typical of the Orwellian newspeak of the "vast reich-wing conspiracy" and the capitulation and complicity of the "US mainstream news media" that instead of filling up pages on which one of the Bush cabal's principles had initimate knowledge of the criminal act (i.e. the outing of Joe Wilson's wife, CIA agent Valerie Plame) from now until Election Day, the space will be filled with a debate on the credibility of Joe Wilson. Read his autobiography. You'll have to, because the "US mainstream news media" won't tell it to you with any of the real significance of who he is, what his career was like and what he has done in coming forward...back in the tense days preceding "Desert Storm," Saddam threaten to hang foreign diplomats who were giving refuge to those fleeing his reign of terror. In response, Joe Wilson, them US Ambassador to Iraq, walked into a gathering of international correspondents at the Embassy in Baghdad, with a rope noosed around his neck instead of a tie. "Make my day." That's who Joe Wilson is...What a shame the "US Mainstream News Media" and its propapunditgandists are not telling the US Electorate the truth about this real-life American "Profile In Courage."

Joe Wilson, Letter to the Editor, Washington Post: For the second time in a year, your paper has published an article [news story, July 10] falsely suggesting that my wife, Valerie Plame, was responsible for the trip I took to Niger on behalf of the U.S. government to look into allegations that Iraq had sought to purchase several hundred tons of yellowcake uranium from that West African country. Last July 14, Robert Novak, claiming two senior sources, exposed Valerie as an "agency operative [who] suggested sending him to Niger." Novak went ahead with his column despite the fact that the CIA had urged him not to disclose her identity. That leak to Novak may well have been a federal crime and is under investigation.

Repudiate the 9/11 Cover-Up and the Iraq War Lies, Show Up for Democracy in 2004: Defeat Bush (again!)


http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A56501-2004Jul16.html

Debunking Distortions About My Trip to Niger

Saturday, July 17, 2004; Page A17


For the second time in a year, your paper has published an article [news story, July 10] falsely suggesting that my wife, Valerie Plame, was responsible for the trip I took to Niger on behalf of the U.S. government to look into allegations that Iraq had sought to purchase several hundred tons of yellowcake uranium from that West African country. Last July 14, Robert Novak, claiming two senior sources, exposed Valerie as an "agency operative [who] suggested sending him to Niger." Novak went ahead with his column despite the fact that the CIA had urged him not to disclose her identity. That leak to Novak may well have been a federal crime and is under investigation.



In the year since the betrayal of Valerie's covert status, it has been widely understood that she is irrelevant to the unpaid mission I undertook or the conclusions I reached. But your paper's recent article acted as a funnel for this scurrilous and extraneous charge, uncritically citing the Republican-written Senate Select Committee on Intelligence report.

The decision to send me to Niger was not made, and could not be made, by Valerie. At the conclusion of a meeting that she did not attend, I was asked by CIA officials whether I would be willing to travel to Niger. While a CIA reports officer and a State Department analyst, both cited in the report, speculate about what happened, neither of them was in the chain of command that made the decision to send me. Reams of documents were given over to the Senate committee, but the only quotation attributed to my wife on this subject was the anodyne "my husband has good relations with both the PM (Prime Minister) and the former Minister of Mines (not to mention lots of French contacts), both of whom could possibly shed light on this sort of activity." In fact, with 2-year-old twins at home, Valerie did not relish my absence for a two-week period. But she acquiesced because, in the zeal to be responsive to the legitimate concerns raised by the vice president, officials of her agency turned to a known functionary who had previously checked out uranium-related questions for them.

But that is not the only inaccurate assertion or conclusion in the Senate report uncritically parroted in the article. Other inaccuracies and distortions include the suggestion that my findings "bolstered" the case that Niger was engaged in illegal sales of uranium to Iraq. In fact, the Senate report is clear that the intelligence community attempted to keep the claim out of presidential documents because of the weakness of the evidence.

The facts surrounding my trip remain the same. I traveled to Niger and found it unlikely that Iraq had attempted to purchase several hundred tons of yellowcake uranium. In his 2003 State of the Union address, President Bush referred to Iraqi attempts to purchase uranium "from Africa." Between March 2003 and July 2003, the administration refused to acknowledge that it had known for more than a year that the claim on uranium sales from Niger had been discredited, until the day after my article in the New York Times. The next day the White House issued a statement that "the sixteen words did not rise to the level of inclusion in the State of the Union address." Those facts are amply supported in the Senate report.

-- Joseph C. Wilson IV

Washington


2004 The Washington Post Company

Posted by richard at July 17, 2004 11:07 AM