Friday, July 16, 2004

Joe Wilson -- Sorry Rethugs...He's Telling the Truth   Like Rick Santorum at an animal shelter; like John Cornyn when he tried to put the moves on the tres sexy Yertle the Turtle; the Right-Wing has struck out again.   Granted, Bob Novak's hyponotic teeth are a powerful force to be reckoned with, but when the reaches are so transparent, so desperate, so banal, and so predictable, they lose their potency faster than Mike Ditka and Bob Dole on a saltpeter diet.   In Salon today, the Ambassador strikes back, just an excerpt:   First conclusion: "The plan to send the former ambassador to Niger was suggested by the former ambassador's wife, a CIA employee." That is not true. The conclusion is apparently based on one anodyne quote from a memo Valerie Plame, my wife, sent to her superiors that says, "My husband has good relations with 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." There is no suggestion or recommendation in that statement that I be sent on the trip. Indeed it is little more than a recitation of my contacts and bona fides. The conclusion is reinforced by comments in the body of the report that a CPD [Counterproliferation Division] reports officer stated that "the former ambassador's wife 'offered up his name'" (page 39) and a State Department intelligence and research officer stated that the "meeting was 'apparently convened by [the former ambassador's] wife who had the idea to dispatch him to use his contacts to sort out the Iraq-Niger uranium issue." In fact, Valerie was not in the meeting at which the subject of my trip was raised. Neither was the CPD reports officer. After having escorted me into the room, she [Valerie] departed the meeting to avoid even the appearance of conflict of interest. It was at that meeting where the question of my traveling to Niger was broached with me for the first time and came only after a thorough discussion of what the participants did and did not know about the subject. My bona fides justifying the invitation to the meeting were the trip I had previously taken to Niger to look at other uranium-related questions as well as 20 years living and working in Africa, and personal contacts throughout the Niger government. Neither the CPD reports officer nor the State analyst were in the chain of command to know who, or how, the decision was made. The interpretations attributed to them are not the full story. In fact, it is my understanding that the reports officer has a different conclusion about Valerie's role than the one offered in the "additional comments." I urge the committee to reinterview the officer and publicly publish his statement. It is unfortunate that the report failed to include the CIA's position on this matter. If the staff had done so it would undoubtedly have been given the same evidence as provided to Newsday reporters Tim Phelps and Knut Royce in July 2003. They reported on July 22 that: "A senior intelligence officer confirmed that Plame was a Directorate of Operations undercover officer who worked 'alongside' the operations officers who asked her husband to travel to Niger. But he said she did not recommend her husband to undertake the Niger assignment. 'They [the officers who did ask Wilson to check the uranium story] were aware of who she was married to, which is not surprising,' he said. 'There are people elsewhere in government who are trying to make her look like she was the one who was cooking this up, for some reason,' he said. 'I can't figure out what it could be.' 'We paid his [Wilson's] airfare. But to go to Niger is not exactly a benefit. Most people you'd have to pay big bucks to go there,' the senior intelligence official said. Wilson said he was reimbursed only for expenses." (Newsday article "Columnist Blows CIA Agent's Cover," dated July 22, 2003). In fact, on July 13 of this year, David Ensor, the CNN correspondent, did call the CIA for a statement of its position and reported that a senior CIA official confirmed my account that Valerie did not propose me for the trip: "'She did not propose me,' he [Wilson] said -- others at the CIA did so. A senior CIA official said that is his understanding too."   There is more...much more at the link.   It's a take down, but as usual the wingnuts have thrown out their meme (blogger contract fulfilled for July 2004) and little -- nay nothing -- can stop them from spewing it on Limbaugh, Hannity, O'Reilly et al for the next several weeks.   Of course the three of them -- and most other wingnuts -- haven't read the actual Senate Report or the matter Wilson addresses, let alone what Wilson writes.  No, they read what another wingnut writes -- for example Steno Sue of the incredible reading skills [Iran, Iraq, who cares].   Steve Gilliard has more.     
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