Skip to comments.Joseph Wilson, Niger, Uranium and Bush’s Famous Sixteen Words: Evolution of a Confused Story
Posted on 04/16/2004 1:01:46 PM PDT by Shermy
On April 30, 2004 Ambassador Joseph Wilsons book The Politics of Truth will be released. Wilson has been an opponent to the Iraq war, having proposed instead continued UN sanctions and inspections in a containment strategy. But his fame first derives from his well-known July 6, 2003 New York Times editorial piece What I Didnt Find in Africa. Second, from the media exposure of his wife, Valerie Plame, as a CIA employee connected to studying proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
In media reports Wilson is usually introduced as the person who disproved President Bushs State of the Union speech claim that Iraq sought uranium in Africa, Bushs famous sixteen words. But did he disprove that? Has he ever claimed that, and if so, does he still so claim?
I decided to delve into the matter. Its more complex than I suspected. I found a history of media reports confused on many points, full of erroneous assumptions, omissions, and geographic errors. Many unnamed sources are cited. The accusations against the Bush administration rework in a fashion the same accusations against Tony Blair on the topic.
American government publications and responses added to misunderstandings. For example, if some documents indicating a deal between Niger and Iraq were proven fraudulent or unreliable by at least one part of the government in late 2002, why were these documents later submitted to the IAEA in early 2003?
As follows is a selection of media statements tracing the evolution of this story for your consideration, with a minimum of my comment. I think they lead to these questions that should be asked of Wilson:
1. Does the British intelligence mentioned by Bush relate to the country of Niger?
2. Do you now contend Bush was referring to the country of Niger in his State of the Union speech?
3. Are you now aware of any information suggesting Iraq sought uranium from African countries other than Niger?
4. Why the heck does journalist Andrea Mitchell have documents related to these matters?
[BEGIN SOURCE EXCERPTS]
September 24/25, 2002
The Beginning: the British government releases its Dossier which related various claims about WMD. Regarding uranium it said: 'Iraq has sought the supply of significant quantities of uranium from Africa'.
The British media on September 25, including the Times and Guardian, theorized about several African countries as the possible references behind this allegation, much focus on the Congo and South Africa - Niger and other countries mentioned too. As for South Africa, it has a nuclear power industry and had had a nuclear weapons program. On September 29 the Telegraph claimed the Congo was the likeliest target.
October 7, 2002
(According to Vanity Fairs May 2004 article The Path to War) Bush was set to deliver a major speech on Iraq in Cincinnati. But one or two days earlier George Tenet called Stephen Hadley, an aide to Condoleeza Rice, urging him to excise from the speech a reference to Iraq trying to acquire uranium from Niger. The CIA sent over two memos in support. Bush took it out.
Vanity Fair (in May 2004) asserts this Niger reference manage(d) to rise, phoenix-like, in the State of the Union address, then makes references to Joseph Wilson. Vanity Fair says the original intelligence on an Iraq-Niger connection came from an Italian intelligence report delivered not long after 9/11. These ideas are not original, but come from journalist Seymour Hershs work more than a year earlier.
November 10, 2002
Iraq Inspectors, 'Yellow Cake' and Other Quarries
Washington Post, by Waler Pincus
Any amounts of uranium oxide, called "yellow cake," will be one of the first items the United Nations inspection team will look for in Iraq's declaration, due Dec. 8, of its programs to develop nuclear, chemical and biological weapons. Chief U.N. inspector Hans Blix, a former head of the International Atomic Energy Agency who set in place the 1991 post-Gulf War nuclear monitoring of Iraq, is aware of the recent British intelligence report on Baghdad's attempts to buy "yellow cake" from Niger.
[Note: This is the first reference to the uranium at issue supposedly being yellow cake. And the first time Niger is mentioned. What the recent British intelligence report is, or how Pincus would know about it is not explained - not even an unnamed official is mentioned.]
December 20, 2002
The State Department releases its fact sheet mentioning Niger:
ILLUSTRATIVE EXAMPLES OF OMISSIONS FROM THE IRAQI DECLARATION TO THE UNITED NATIONS SECURITY COUNCIL ANTHRAX AND OTHER UNDECLARED BIOLOGICAL AGENTS
...BALLISTIC MISSILES Iraq has disclosed manufacturing new energetic fuels suited only to a class of missile to which it does not admit. Iraq claims that flight-testing of a larger diameter missile falls within the 150-km. 93-mile limit. This claim is not credible. Why is the Iraqi regime manufacturing fuels for missiles it says it does not have?
NUCLEAR WEAPONS The declaration ignores efforts to procure uranium from Niger. Why is the Iraqi regime hiding their uranium procurement?...
[Note: It would appear the CIA already knew some Niger/Iraq documents were forgeries, but the State Department kept in a reference to Niger. Could this reflect inefficient communication within the government?]
December 23, 2002
Iraq releases its own dossier claiming compliance with UN sanctions. A London Times article mentions South Africa and Niger:
...In Baghdad, Mr al-Saadi also addressed specific criticisms of Iraq's arms dossier made by London and Washington last week. He said that American questions on whether Iraq had disclosed its efforts to obtain uranium from South Africa or Niger had already been discussed in talks with Dr Blix. He had told Dr Blix last month that Iraq had tried to obtain uranium oxide, not uranium, from Niger in the mid-1980s, but had never tried to obtain any such material from South Africa....
January 23, 2003
The White House press release What Does Disarmament Look Like?
...Ballistic Missiles[Note: this release is similar in format to the State Department fact sheet. It uses the word abroad rather than Niger.
Iraq has declared its attempt to manufacture missile fuels suited only to a type of missile which Iraqs declaration does not admit to developing.
Iraq claims that its designs for a larger diameter missile fall within the UN-mandated 150km limit. But Dr. Blix has cited 13 recent Iraqi missile tests which exceed the 150km limit.
The Declaration ignores efforts to procure uranium from abroad....
January 23, 2003
Condoleeza Rice writes a New York Times editorial using the term abroad:
Why We Know Iraq Is Lying
For example, the declaration fails to account for or explain Iraq's efforts to get uranium from abroad...
January 28, 2003
In his State of the Union speech Bush said the famous sixteen words
"The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa."
March 8, 2003
Some Evidence on Iraq Called Fake [Note: The Washington Post writes the IAEA found documents purportedly shopping for uranium in Africa two years ago were found to be not authentic. ]
Knowledgeable sources familiar with the forgery investigation described the faked evidence as a series of letters between Iraqi agents and officials in the central African nation of Niger. The documents had been given to the U.N. inspectors by Britain and reviewed extensively by U.S. intelligence.
The New York Times reports the same day:
Mohamed ElBaradei, chief of the International Atomic Energy Agency, said that a report -- which had earlier been identified as coming from British intelligence -- that Iraq had tried to purchase uranium from Niger was based on fake documents.
[Note: Heres Baradeis report. He mentions a number or states as the source of the forged information, but does not specify Britain ]
March 18, 2003
[Note: Following the IAEA comments various media reports, in hindsight, mix the issues of the forged documents and the British intelligence. For example this Walter Pincus article:]
Bush Clings To Dubious Allegations About Iraq
As the Bush administration prepares to attack Iraq this week, it is doing so on the basis of a number of allegations against Iraqi President Saddam Hussein that have been challenged -- and in some cases disproved -- by the United Nations, European governments and even U.S. intelligence reports.
... Bush reiterated many of these charges in his address to the nation last night. But these assertions are hotly disputed. Some of the administration's evidence -- such as Bush's assertion that Iraq sought to purchase uranium -- has been refuted by subsequent discoveries. ...
March 31, 2003
The New Yorker
WHO LIED TO WHOM?; Why did the Administration endorse a forgery about Iraq's nuclear program?
Journalist Seymour Hersh links both the State of the Union speech and the British dossier to Niger.
[According to a October 25, 2003 Boston Herald editorial, the earliest proximate time Wilson dates his own position as a foreign policy adviser to the John Kerry campaign is May:
Wilson was beamed into New Hampshire via a conference call Thursday to make the endorsement official. He'll put in a personal appearance there next month. It had already been revealed that Wilson and his wife, Valerie Plame, had contributed to the Kerry campaign. Wilson also acknowledged that he has been advising Kerry on foreign policy for about five months. Yes, that would put it BEFORE Wilson started criticizing President Bush for the line in his State of the Union message about Iraq seeking uranium from Niger for use in Saddam Hussein's nuclear program. (Wilson was the one sent to Niger by the CIA to investigate the charge, but insists he found no evidence of same.)
May 6, 2003
The New York Times
Missing In Action: Truth
By Nicholas D. Kristof
[Note: Closest naming of Wilson as a source to date]
When I raised the Mystery of the Missing W.M.D. recently, hawks fired barrages of reproachful e-mail at me. The gist was: "You *&#*! Who cares if we never find weapons of mass destruction, because we've liberated the Iraqi people from a murderous tyrant."
I'm told by a person involved in the Niger caper that more than a year ago the vice president's office asked for an investigation of the uranium deal, so a former U.S. ambassador to Africa was dispatched to Niger. In February 2002, according to someone present at the meetings, that envoy reported to the C.I.A. and State Department that the information was unequivocally wrong and that the documents had been forged.
The envoy reported, for example, that a Niger minister whose signature was on one of the documents had in fact been out of office for more than a decade. In addition, the Niger mining program was structured so that the uranium diversion had been impossible. The envoy's debunking of the forgery was passed around the administration and seemed to be accepted -- except that President Bush and the State Department kept citing it anyway.
"It's disingenuous for the State Department people to say they were bamboozled because they knew about this for a year," one insider said. Another example is the abuse of intelligence from Hussein Kamel, a son-in-law of Saddam Hussein and head of Iraq's biological weapons program until his defection in 1995.
...Now something is again rotten in the state of Spookdom.
Late May 2003
The Dodgy Dossier scandal arises in Britain. Ex-allies of Blair and some media peruse the September 2002 dossier finding some faults within it. They link the dossiers reference to uranium in Africa to the fraudulent Niger documents, perhaps inspired by American media reports above. But most focus on Blairs 45 minute claim to ready biological or chemical warfare weapons. In short, the BBC interviewed scientist David Kelly and reported, anonymously, that this expert doubted the 45 minute claim and someone said the report was sexed up. (Kelly committed suicide.) Later it emerged the BBC omitted Kellys statements that he too thought Saddam had WMDs and that he claimed the loading of CB weapons could happen, but would take more than 45 minutes - not the impression the BBC had previously given.
June 4, 2003
The facts behind the claims
[Note: The first British government clarification in the press - British intelligence not based on the fraudulent Niger documents:]
....Iraq "sought the supply of significant quantities of uranium from Africa".
The quest for uranium appeared to support the claim that Saddam "is almost certainly seeking an indigenous ability to enrich uranium". However, the IAEA said the documents it was given to prove Iraq had bought uranium from Niger were "not authentic".
UK officials claim that the documents did not come from Britain and the assessment is based on "much more reliable sources". ...
June 6, 2003
The Financial Times
Evidence about Iraqi uranium 'not fake'
Allegations by UK intelligence officials that Iraq had tried to buy uranium supplies from Niger were not based on fake documents, it emerged yesterday. The claim that Iraq "sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa" was based on two wholly different sources of information.
...But the documents which turned out to be fake and which were given to the IAEA by US officials were not the evidence the UK government was using when it made its case against Iraq. While Saddam Hussein's efforts to develop nuclear arms were never regarded with the importance of his chemical and biological weapons programmes, the issue of the alleged uranium purchases has dominated debate over the reliability of the intelligence information used to justify the war.
George W. Bush, the US president, cited UK intelligence information as the source of claims that Iraq had been trying to buy unenriched uranium. But the forged documents, some of which are thought to have been the result of a criminal scam, have never been in the possession of UK officials. They never sought to correct the mistaken impression that the source of the claim was the fake documents, as it was thought it would have embarrassed Mr Bush.
IAEA officials have said that none of the documentation they received regarding Iraq and Niger came from the UK. ...
Back to America...
June 13, 2003
Washington Post, by Walter Pincus
CIA Says It Cabled Key Data to White House
...The CIA, facing criticism for its failure to pass on a key piece of information that put in doubt Iraq's purported attempts to buy uranium from Niger, said yesterday it sent a cable to the White House and other government agencies in March 2002 that said the claim had been denied by officials from the central African country.
But Bush administration officials acknowledged that the 11/2-page document did not include the conclusion of a former U.S. ambassador dispatched by the CIA to Niger the month before that documents outlining a transfer of uranium to Baghdad were not authentic. The CIA cable attributed the Niger officials' denials to an anonymous source, but failed to mention the name of the former ambassador, who was a recognized expert in Africa, or that it had sent him to Niger.
.....Rice, in defending Bush's decision to claim that Iraq was attempting to buy uranium in Africa in his State of the Union speech on Jan. 28, said she was unaware that there were doubts about the information. "Maybe someone knew down in the bowels of the agency," Rice said on NBC's "Meet the Press" on Sunday, "but no one in our circles knew that there were doubts and suspicions that this might be a forgery."
A White House spokesman said yesterday, "We have acknowledged that some documents detailing a transaction between Iraq and Niger were forged and we no longer give them credence. They were, however, only once piece of evidence in a larger body of evidence suggesting Iraq attempted to purchase uranium from Africa."
The official added that in his speech the president talked about purchases from Africa and did not specifically mention Niger, adding that Bush's comments were "based on a multiple of other sources...."
June 29, 2003
Ministers Knew War Papers Were Forged, Says Diplomat
[Wilson makes another anonymous appearance]
A high-ranking American official who investigated claims for the CIA that Iraq was seeking uranium to restart its nuclear programme accused Britain and the US yesterday of deliberately ignoring his findings to make the case for war against Saddam Hussein.
The retired US ambassador said it was all but impossible that British intelligence had not received his report - drawn up by the CIA - which revealed that documents, purporting to show a deal between Iraq and the West African state of Niger, were forgeries.
When he saw similar claims in Britain's dossier on Iraq last September, he even went as far as telling CIA officials that they needed to alert their British counterparts to his investigation. ...
...The former diplomat - who had served as an ambassador in Africa - had been approached by the CIA in February 2002 to carry out a "discreet" task: to investigate if it was possible that Iraq was buying uranium from Niger. He said the CIA had been asked to find out in a direct request from the office of the Vice-President, Dick Cheney.
During eight days in Niger, he discovered it was impossible for Iraq to have been buying the quantities of uranium alleged. "My report was very unequivocal," he said. He also learnt that the signatures of officials vital to any transaction were missing from the documents. On his return, he was debriefed by the CIA.
One senior CIA official has told reporters the agency's findings were distributed to the Defence Intelligence Agency, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Justice Department, the FBI and the office of the Vice President on the same day in early March. Six months later, the former diplomat read in a newspaper that Britain had issued a dossier claiming Iraq was seeking to buy uranium in Africa. He contacted officials at CIA headquarters and said they needed to clarify whether the British were referring to Niger. If so, the record needed to be corrected. He heard nothing, and in January President George Bush said in his State of the Union speech that the "British Government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium in Africa".
The ex-diplomat says he is outraged by the way evidence gathered by the intelligence community was selectively used in Washington to support pre- determined policies and bolster a case for war.
June 6, 2003
Here (finally) is Wilsons editorial:
WHAT I DIDNT FIND IN AFRICA
[Wilson relates reasons why he thinks uranium could not have been sold from Niger. The key passage:]
...I thought the Niger matter was settled and went back to my life. (I did take part in the Iraq debate, arguing that a strict containment regime backed by the threat of force was preferable to an invasion.) In September 2002, however, Niger re-emerged. The British government published a "white paper" asserting that Saddam Hussein and his unconventional arms posed an immediate danger. As evidence, the report cited Iraq's attempts to purchase uranium from an African country. Then, in January, President Bush, citing the British dossier, repeated the charges about Iraqi efforts to buy uranium from Africa.
The next day, I reminded a friend at the State Department of my trip and suggested that if the president had been referring to Niger, then his conclusion was not borne out by the facts as I understood them. He replied that perhaps the president was speaking about one of the other three African countries that produce uranium: Gabon, South Africa or Namibia. At the time, I accepted the explanation. I didn't know that in December, a month before the president's address, the State Department had published a fact sheet that mentioned the Niger case...
[Note: IMO the only trigger for Wilsons coming out offered here is the reference to the State Department fact sheet.]
The morning of publication he appeared on NBCs Meet the Press
MS. MITCHELL: Lets put this in context for our viewers. Lets take a look at what the president said about this issue in the State of the Union address: (Videotape, January 28):
PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa. (End videotape)
MS. MITCHELL: Now, we only learned later when U.N. inspectors first looked at the documents, this was a year later, that, in fact, these documents were fraudulent, a year after your first trip. What did you think when you first saw the president making that comment in the State of the Union?
AMB. WILSON: Well, first of all, Andrea, when the president made the comment, he was referring to a British White Paper Report that came out in September of the previous year, September 2002; again, referring to uranium sales from an African country to Iraq. Now, there are four African countries that produce uranium or have uranium stockpiles: South Africa, Namibia, Gabon and Niger. So throughout this, whenever the British and then the president were mentioning Africa, I assumed that they were talking about one of the other countries and not Niger since we had, I believed, at the time effectively debunked the Niger arms uranium sale.
MS. MITCHELL: But, in fact, many officials, including the president, the vice president, Donald Rumsfeld, were referring to the Niger issue as though it were fact, as though it were true and they were told by the CIA, this information was passed on in the national intelligence estimate, Ive been told, with a caveat from the State Department that it was highly dubious based on your trip but that that caveat was buried in a footnote, in the appendix. So was the White House misled? Were they not properly briefed on the fact that you had the previous February been there and that it wasnt true?
AMB. WILSON: No. No. In actual fact, in my judgment, I have not seen the estimate either, but there were reports based upon my trip that were submitted to the appropriate officials. The question was asked of the CIA by the office of the vice president. The office of the vice president, I am absolutely convinced, received a very specific response to the question it asked and that response was based upon my trip out there.
MS. MITCHELL: So they knew months and months before they passed on these allegations that, in fact, that particular charge was not true. Do you think, based on all of this, that the intelligence was hyped?
AMB. WILSON: My judgment on this is that if they were referring to Niger when they were referring to uranium sales from Africa to Iraq, that information was erroneous and that they knew about it well ahead of both the publication of the British White Paper and the presidents State of the Union address.
[Note: Here Wilson qualifies his remarks if they were referring to Niger. There was no such qualification in his NY Times editorial, which did not restate Bushs actual sixteen words either. Had he done so in his editorial much confusion might have been avoided. Also note that while Bush said sought, Wilson says sale and sales]
July 11, 2003
Statement by George Tenet
[Note: This is where George Tenet falls on his sword. Oddly, his statement raises more issues that it solves. What are the two other African countries mentioned? He seems to say he should not have approved Bushs 16 words because such relied on British intelligence unfamiliar to the CIA - not that it relied on the publicly discussed fake Niger documents]
July 13, 2003
Straw defends UK uranium evidence
Foreign Minister Jack Straw specifies, again, that the British intelligence did not relate to the fraudulent Niger documents.
THREE SUBSEQUENT INTERVIEWS
August 12, 2003
Wilson gave at least three not well-known interviews after publication of his editorial. The first occurred August 12, 2003 with PBSs Frontline.
... Q:What do you say exactly?
A: I just basically said that if the president was speaking about Niger in the State of the Union address, then the State Department needed to be comfortable that he was accurately reflecting the facts, since my own trip out there, as well as the ambassador's own reports on the subject, as well as the senior military officer's report on the subject, said that there was nothing to that particular story.
The response I got was that perhaps the president was speaking about another African country, which is totally conceivable. There are three other countries in Africa that actually produce uranium: Namibia, South Africa and Gabon. So the president could have been speaking about one of those countries. That was the response I got. That was satisfactory to me. I had no reason to believe otherwise.
Q: So you didn't make much of it at that point after the president's speech?
A: No. Now, there had been a State Department fact sheet published on Dec. 19 in response to the Iraqi declaration to the United Nations, and in that fact sheet, the State Department says that Iraq had failed to acknowledge its efforts to purchase uranium from Niger. I did not see that fact sheet until well after I had begun to speak out .
Q: So when does this become a concern to you? When do you think the government has gone off the deep end on this?
A: It becomes a concern to me when the IAEA chief, Dr. el-Baradi, in response to their analysis of documents provided to them by the State Department, says that these documents, which are a memorandum of agreement from Niger to Iraq, are obvious forgeries, and anybody who had done a two-hour search on Google would have come to that same conclusion. ...
[Note: In his editorial Wilson indicated his motivation for writing it was the State Department fact sheet and made no mention of the IAEA findings.]
September 18, 2003
Wilson gives an interview to the TalkingPointsMemo.com
I found this interesting...
...TPM: And, just to be clear, at this time (--when he traveled to Niger in 2002--), you hadn't seen these documents that turned out to be forgeries?[Note: All sorts of other documents? What are they? Do they relate to Niger? Another African country? Are they the British intelligence? Something else? And why does journalist Andrea Mitchell have them?? ]
WILSON: No, I hadn't. I had just been briefed on a memorandum of agreement covering the sale. Now, my understanding is that there are all sorts of other documents that have since come to light and Andrea Mitchell showed me some documents which I had not seen and frankly, I did not have my glasses, so I didn't even get a chance to read them, and I have not seen them since. The uranium participation in this consortium is done through a parastatal, which means that the Niger government owns the corporate identity that is a member of the consortium.
October 28, 2003
Wilson gave an interview to journalist Jeff Gannon of Talon News, published October 28, 2003. Mr. Gannon cuts to the chase and asks about the British intelligence.
Talon News: How would you compare your investigation and conclusions about Iraq's efforts to purchase uranium from Africa to the investigation and conclusions of the British government?
Wilson: All I know is what the British government put in its white paper which is essentially that Iraq was attempting to purchase uranium in Africa. They have since said that part of that information that led to that conclusion in the white paper was the same forged documents that we have acknowledged that we had and the IAEA has sort of said were forgeries. They also said they have one additional piece of information of which they are not telling anybody about.
Now Article 10 of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1441 calls on all member nations to turn over whatever information they have on prohibited weapons programs to the IAEA. They have not done so. They did not share with us the details of that specific piece of additional intelligence they have. Now it's hard for us in the United States, [even with a] $40 billion a year intelligence apparatus, to determine if this information was useful or not useful because they have not been able to subject it to any testing. They haven't been able to run it though our files, they haven't been able to independently verify it. They don't know the details of it, so you are essentially taking on faith that this one bit of information that the British continue to claim they have but haven't shared with anybody is accurate.
Talon News: I sense doubt from you.
Wilson: It's not so much doubt as it is a given in the intelligence business that you are skeptical of information until you are able to subject it to independent verification one way or another. At the end of the day, the analytical community sees thousands of bits of information every day, a good part of that information is bogus or in some way tainted. Their job is to go through the information, test it, verify it, compare it with what we already know to determine what the real facts on the ground are....
[Note: Wilson seems personally frustrated the British would not disclose their source. It is unclear his source for the assertions that the British had one additional piece of information or that the British relied in part on the forged Niger documents. Naturally the British might fear their sources might be leaked or get into the wrong hands. From what Ive read over the past two years or so anything to do with Iraq is subject to leaks.]
Vanity Fair published an interesting article about Wilson and wife Valerie Plame. Many criticized it for retelling mushy details of their courtship, and the accompanying photos of the couple - wife in sunglasses posing in a Jaguar automobile for one. The article jumps around, but there are some interesting details I have not read elsewhere. Some include.
-In 1982 until 1985 Wilson was deputy chief of the US mission in Burundi in 1982. There he met his second wife, Jacqueline. Jacqueline was a Cultural Counselor attached to the French Embassy.
-In 1985 Wilson returned to the USA to work in Tom Foleys and Al Gores offices. He married Jacqueline in 1986.
-Wilson later was stationed in Iraq. He recounts that on the eve of Saddams 1990 invasion of Kuwait he and Jacqueline dined with Saddams principal arms buyer in Paris... (Not something I would be talking about...)
-After leaving government service around 1998 Wilson started consulting. One pursuit included looking to set up a gold-mine company out of London, to mine for gold in Niger at some unidentified time. Wilsons interviews exhibit he has expert-like knowledge of mining operations in Niger. This gold mine project might help explain his expertise.
Heres one bio:An Official Wilson Bio
Wilson has a website dedicated to him www.restorehonesty.com. The website is operated by the John Kerry campaign. It was registered October 22, 2003.
Heres a French language article regarding a 1998 trip by Gabon President Omar Bongo to the United States. Apparently, the Gabonese hired Wilsons second wife Jacqueline as a lobbyist in support of the trip. Another who worked with her was the famous Pierre Salinger, known for many things, eg he was JFKs press secretary and for his TWA 800 theories. But even more lobbyists were engaged, they apparently had a too many cooks in the kitchen kind of conflict, and the trip didnt come off well Joseph Wilson was very present at the events of the visit.
Salinger wrote a book on the first Gulf War, Dossier. In it are about ten pages of a recounting of conversations between Saddam and Wilson. I can only guess Wilson was the source.
Wilson was apparently an adviser to the Al Gore presidential campaign. In these two November 2000 Belgian television transcripts its stated he is an adviser, at least according to the interviewer. I can find no other links describing Wilson as an adviser.
On a humorous note, and perhaps explaining his affinity with John F. Kerry, the French media likes Wilson. The Parisian newspaper Liberation described Wilson as a francophile and When it rains, he wears a beret. (Quand il pleut, il porte un béret.) Liberation article, almost half way down this page
Shermy what if the country Bush mentioned and the Brit's cite........is LIBYA......not Niger.
I'm beginning to think that all of the peculiar, but seemingly unrelated events we've witnessed in recent years may not be so unrelated after all. Just some of the mysteries that may, just may, have their answers in the oil-for-food scam: the way Scott Ritter seemed to turn on a dime; the mysterious now-they're-there, now-they're-not Iraqi WMD; Saddam seemingly content with the sanctions rather than opening his doors wide to UN inspections; the forged Iraq-Niger documents; the peculiar choice of Joseph Wilson to check out the Niger story; and much more.
Great question! Also, who was Jacqueline's superior at the French embassy at that time, and who got her appointed to that position?
Pincus apparently has a social relationship with the Wilsons. According to research done by another FReeper (Wolfstar or dirtboy, I can't recall), Pincus has dined with the Wilsons at their home -- several times in close proximity to the publication of Wilson's op-ed.
But, thanks to Shermy's research, one thing becomes very clear -- the familiarity that Wilson, Pincus, et al have with purported intelligence matters concerning the uranium market in Africa, apparently as understood by both the CIA and MI-6.
In retrospect, there can be only one source for this purported knowledge: Valerie Plame. Wilson's current wife was employed by the CIA, doing what...??? Was it not "covert work on nuclear proliferation"?
Plame IS the leaker. And is, thereby, herself a security risk.
Moreover, one cannot escape the conclusion that this has been a political operation from the get-go. It was not an opening or accidental oversight that Wilson, Plame, Pincus, et al decided to exploit. Instead, the issue was created out of whole cloth for the sole purpose of their exploitation.
Moreover, the media has been fully complicit -- Walter Pincus, Andrea Mitchell and all those who willfully ignore the statements by the administration (and British intelligence, indeed Wilson himself) that the "forged documents" and "Niger" are, neither one, part of the evidence.
Initially, Wilson was careful to qualify this evidence himself -- but his interrogators simply ignored it, in order to serve their mutual agenda.
And, once again, I am left wondering just exactly what Alan Foley's role in all this was. Was he the CIA "source" for Novak (and Newsday)?
The stench at CIA and State is stifling.
Post 1,976 is a good summary of the gist. For my own comments on Pincus, see Posts 2,041 and following. Among other things I learned that Pincus was in Army counterintelligence in the 1950s; joined the CIA in the late 50s and had his cover blown c. 1967; since the Watergate era has been linked to people like Daniel Ellsberg and Bob Woodward and Anthony Lake and organizations like the Institute for Policy Studies; and played a key role in the media coverage of Vince Foster's death. I've been meaning to start another thread summing up the info on him; will try to do that over the weekend.
CPSAG Our Team It says...
"...Additionally, he has been decorated as a Commander in the Order of the Equatorial Star by the Government of Gabon and as an Admiral in the El Paso Navy by the El Paso County Commissioners.
El Paso Navy? Admiral? LOL!
Perhaps, he too commanded a Swift boat.
On the Rio Grande...
"...Now, my understanding is that there are all sorts of other documents that have since come to light and Andrea Mitchell showed me some documents which I had not seen and frankly, I did not have my glasses, so I didn't even get a chance to read them, and I have not seen them since...."
For Wilson, the dream assignment would be France. He grew up in Paris, his wife, Jacqueline, is French, and he owns a vacation home near the Riviera town of Hyeres.
He grew up in Paris...sounds like fodder for the grist...Paris, Paris, I've heard of that place before...yeah, Kerry applied for a draft deferment to study in Paris!
Well, I hear it's a great town.
Is there any history, d'ya 'spose, of the Wilsons and the Greenspans socializing? Or do they travel in different circles?
The Beltway "power couples" are so damn incestuous...
On the other hand, he doesn't sound terribly curious about them, either.
I'm mystified as to what they might've been and where they might've come from.
But he evidently wasn't. And I don't understand that, either.
I guess Wilson figures Paris would be more convenient for him because he'd be closer to his handlers :)
You've described the nub of the issue. Any fair reading of his published claims reveals that Wilson did not, ipso facto, disprove Bush's statement. And, in his initial interviews, he qualifies his testimony accordingly.
However, his op-ed clearly infers that the facts contradict Bush's statement. And his interviewers operate on the assumption that they do, never acknowledging his disclaimers.
It is a very skilled act. It seems to me that somebody with inside media knowledge must have cleverly guided Wilson in how to manage this subtle outcome. Pincus?
I, too, wonder how Wilson would respond to your question. Can he afford to be honest now? Or does he now believe the lie he himself propounded?
"...In the days after the Novak column ran, a producer from ABC-Wilson will not say who-phoned him at home and said, "They're saying things about you at the White House so off-the-wall we can't even put them up." NBC's Andrea Mitchell called him that weekend, he says, and told him that sources at the White House were telling her, "The real story here is not the 16 words-the real story is Wilson and his wife." ..."
They sure do like to quote anonymous "sources".
I've noticed Andrea Mitchell's name pop up a few times in the recent discussion of this. I never watch NBC so I don't know what she's been saying, but it sounds like some research on her may be in order, too.
Has Andrea Mitchell ever mentioned them?
(And will they be conveniently stolen like the docs on Kerry were from the author who used the FOIA to get them?)
Stay tuned for more "As the World Spins"
The same former official also said that in June 1999 a businessman approached him and insisted that the former official meet with 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.
Assuming Wilson is the single source for this statement, the State Department fact sheet that says Iraq's efforts to procure uranium were not exactly refuted by Wilson.
Back to your research, again great job. It's almost funny to line up the journalist's manipulation of the facts as they try to charge Bush with manipulating the facts for his own ends.
Yeah, that UN based containment strategy was working as evidenced by the oil for food program. No wonder the major media doesn't want to devote too much time to that story, they have books to sell and politics to play.
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I put it here as an experiment of sorts. Thought this forum could use more use...
If admin moderator wishes it can be put elsewhere, or I can repost it anew.
No surprise--it's just as we've been observing, but it is good to document it.
The retired US ambassador said it was all but impossible that British intelligence had not received his report - drawn up by the CIA - which revealed that documents, purporting to show a deal between Iraq and the west African state of Niger, were forgeries. When he saw similar claims in Britain's dossier on Iraq last September, he even went as far as telling CIA officials that they needed to alert their British counterparts to his investigation.
The allegation will add to the suspicions of opponents to the war that last week's row between the BBC and Tony Blair's director of communications Alastair Campbell was a sideshow to draw attention away from more serious questions about the justification for the war.
The comments of the former US diplomat appear to be at odds with those of the Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw. Appearing before a parliamentary committee last week, Mr Straw said the British intelligence community had not known of the forged documents' existence "at the time when [the September dossier] was put together".
Well, when he went to Niger, the forgeries were not in play yet. And note the reference to the British dossier drawn up "last September". That, too, predates the forged documents coming on the scene
CIA's counter-proliferation experts, on their own initiative, asked an individual with ties to the region to make a visit to see what he could learn. He reported back to us that one of the former Nigerien (sic) officials he met stated that he was unaware of any contract being signed between Niger and rogue states for the sale of uranium during his tenure in office. The same former official also said that in June 1999 a businessman approached him and insisted that the former official meet with 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. The former officials also offered details regarding Niger's processes for monitoring and transporting uranium that suggested it would be very unlikely that material could be illicitly diverted. There was no mention in the report of forged documents -- or any suggestion of the existence of documents at all.
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. We also had to consider that the former Nigerien officials knew that what they were saying would reach the U.S. government and that this might have influenced what they said.
No mention of them because the forged documents appear in October 2002...months after Wilson's foray to Niger:
The U.S. Embassy in Rome obtained the documents -- which purported to show contacts between officials in Iraq and Niger over the transfer of uranium -- from a journalist there in October 2002, officials said
I continue to hope that the grand jury probe is really looking into these lies the Wilsons were peddling--lies meant to undermine our government, and President Bush in particular.