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Joseph Wilson, Niger, Uranium and Bush’s Famous Sixteen Words: Evolution of a Confused Story
April 16, 2004

Posted on 04/16/2004 1:01:46 PM PDT by Shermy

On April 30, 2004 Ambassador Joseph Wilson’s 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 Didn’t 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 Bush’s State of the Union speech claim that Iraq sought uranium in Africa, Bush’s “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. It’s 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?




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 Fair’s 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 Hersh’s 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”:


...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 it’s 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
Iraq has declared its attempt to manufacture missile fuels suited only to a type of missile which Iraq’’s 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.

Nuclear Weapons
The Declaration ignores efforts to procure uranium from abroad....

[Note: this release is similar in format to the State Department fact sheet. It uses the word “abroad” rather than “Niger”.


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
Washington Post

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: Here’s Baradei’s report. He mentions “a number or states” as the source of the forged information, but does not specify Britain ]


March 18, 2003
Washington Post

[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.


May 2003

[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 dossier’s reference to uranium in Africa to the fraudulent Niger documents, perhaps inspired by American media reports above. But most focus on Blair’s “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 Kelly’s 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
Daliy Telegraph
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 Wilson’s editorial:


[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 Wilson’s coming out offered here is the reference to the State Department fact sheet.]

The morning of publication he appeared on NBC’s Meet the Press

MS. MITCHELL: Let’s put this in context for our viewers. Let’s 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, I’’ve 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 wasn’’t 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 president’’s 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 Bush’s 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 Bush’s 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.




August 12, 2003
Wilson gave at least three not well-known interviews after publication of his editorial. The first occurred August 12, 2003 with PBS’s 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

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?

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.”

[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?? ]


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 I’ve read over the past two years or so anything to do with Iraq is subject to leaks.]


January 2004
Vanity Fair

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 Foley’s and Al Gore’s offices. He married Jacqueline in 1986.

-Wilson later was stationed in Iraq. He recounts that on the eve of Saddam’s 1990 invasion of Kuwait he and Jacqueline dined with “Saddam’s 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. Wilson’s interviews exhibit he has expert-like knowledge of mining operations in Niger. This gold mine project might help explain his expertise.

TOPICS: Heated Discussion
KEYWORDS: 229; cialeak; josephwilson; jowesphwilson; niger; plame; plamegate
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To: Ben Hecks
I suppose it never occurred to Wilson that he could prepare the report at the U.S. embassy and send it back in the diplomatic pouch.

That would depend on his "report" having any substance that really needed conveying.

81 posted on 06/14/2004 7:38:46 PM PDT by cyncooper
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To: Shermy

Thanks. Wilson's story keeps getting more interesting.

82 posted on 06/14/2004 7:40:44 PM PDT by Fedora (Smeagol-Gollum 2004: "We can be our own VP, my Precious")
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To: Shermy
Good analysis.

I recently re-read Novak's piece myself and was struck by the similarites between it and Tenet's subsequent statement.

You do point to an interesting possible confusion amongst officials in the WH, when reacting to the story, about their knowledge of the surfacing of forged documents and how they did or did not play in reality to Wilson's Niger trip.

I know you've seen me often point to the fact that David Kelly was meeting with the BBC around the time Wilson was getting his ball rolling. I remain pretty sure the two plots to accuse Bush and Blair of "lying" to their respective countries about the WMD situation was coordinated.

And this part has never caught my attention before:

The story, actually, is whether the administration deliberately ignored Wilson's advice, and that requires scrutinizing the CIA summary of what their envoy reported. The Agency never before has declassified that kind of information, but the White House would like it to do just that now -- in its and in the public's interest.


83 posted on 06/14/2004 7:57:42 PM PDT by cyncooper
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To: Shermy
Jim Gilliam?

I notice the Wilson faction is not scrupulous with their use of language. It seems to be clear they deliberately mix up terms in order to confuse and present a false charge that it is the Bush administration that is obfuscating.

Even Gilliam kicks off, in your excerpt, by stating:

His goal was to understand the process and determine whether such a sale could have occurred.

He does not say "His goal was to....determine whether such a sale DID occur".

Intentional misdirection.

84 posted on 06/14/2004 8:06:56 PM PDT by cyncooper
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To: Shermy
...Wilson deliberately avoided writing a report in Niger because he didn't want it to inadvertently fall into the wrong hands. His concern about the sensitivity of this information extended to his note taking, which was indecipherable to anyone but himself.

Is this information on the notes commonly known? I was wondering where this Jim Gilliam guy came up with this?

Anyway, it's very interesting and I don't believe for a second that Wilson was afraid that his report would get into the wrong hands. After all, he originally portrayed his trip as coming as almost a direct request from Cheney. Why wouldn't he want the Vice President to have the benefit of his benevolent trip (expense only)? Isn't this almost an admission that the Bush administration was the "wrong hands?"

85 posted on 06/14/2004 8:45:55 PM PDT by Dolphy
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To: cyncooper
The story, actually, is whether the administration deliberately ignored Wilson's advice, and that requires scrutinizing the CIA summary of what their envoy reported. The Agency never before has declassified that kind of information, but the White House would like it to do just that now -- in its and in the public's interest.
Read that in light of this:

September 18, 2003

Wilson gives an interview to the

“...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?

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....

Maybe some in the admin leaked supportive documents and people don't like this? Wasn't there a report that the investigators were investigating the revealing of documents? What else could they be????
86 posted on 06/14/2004 8:46:00 PM PDT by Shermy
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To: Dolphy; cyncooper; okie01; Mitchell
Is this information on the notes commonly known? I was wondering where this Jim Gilliam guy came up with this?

I don't know anything about Gilliam. But he's a blogger who's committed to removing Bush, so has an affinity with Wilson. Gilliam posted the VF article - that's how I first came around to him. He does not have a full grasp of the intricacies of the Niger issue, but hey, who does?

Is the information commonly known? I can assure you not. Just like the other items from blogs and esoteric sources I posted in my thread. And I've read them all!

Why would Wilson say these things to Mr. Gilliam? Why not? Reading the works of Wilson I've found him to be a very gabby guy.

87 posted on 06/14/2004 8:50:43 PM PDT by Shermy
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To: Shermy
Oops, I missed the very important fact that he had actually talked to Wilson. This made me wonder who Gilliam was or why a guy so seemingly infatuated with the bright lights would take time to talk to a blogger. As he mentions on his web site he worked on the movie Uncovered (an anti-war documentary). So I did some brief checking on that and found a short interview with Uncovered's director about the film. It seems ex-CIA professionals concerned about Bush's misuse of intelligence information were a primary source for his film.

Joe Wilson is listed as a key interview. And who saved the film if not the Soros funded MoveOn. And who helped to widely distribute the film but the same Soros. As far as I am concerned Joe Wilson is part of an organized propaganda campaign. And given Soros' money and evident reach, it's frightening to me.

88 posted on 06/14/2004 9:54:12 PM PDT by Dolphy
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To: Shermy
Something is really bugging me about this patriotic innocence of all those involved with the movie, Uncovered. Supposedly the director contacted a group called Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity. That group, from what I can figure, was formed in January, 2003. When I go to Amazon it gives this information for Uncovered:

Studio: The Disinformation Company

Theatrical Release Date: January 1, 2003

DVD Release Date: March 30, 2004

If it was released to theaters in January, 2003, how could the director have been familiar with a group that formed the same month?

And I am particularly amused by this patriotic tribute to Joe Wilson. The author is the leader of the Veteran Intelligence group and he claims that Wilson was just minding his own business until he heard the State of the Union Address in 2003. Here again, Wilson participated in the movie Uncovered with a theatrical release date of January, 2003. He had an anti-war view, he wasn't minding his own business in January.

Something isn't adding up here. If the theatrical release date is January, 2003 as listed by Amazon and other sites, Wilson seems to have been to work in his undermining mission not long after returning from Niger (maybe even before he went) and writing his coded notes.

89 posted on 06/14/2004 10:59:36 PM PDT by Dolphy
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To: Dolphy
As far as I am concerned Joe Wilson is part of an organized propaganda campaign.

That neatly sums it up.

As has been pointed out, before Wilson revealed himself in his op-ed as the diplomat who had gone to Niger, several newspapers here and in England cited a "CIA official" giving the Wilson version of the story ("Bush lied"). A version which is not fact-based. Clearly, there are (were, I wish, but still there, evidently) elements in the CIA that are given to propaganda techniques against their own government. I've said as much before.

And given Soros' money and evident reach, it's frightening to me.


90 posted on 06/15/2004 6:10:24 AM PDT by cyncooper
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To: Shermy

Thank you for your work.

"Joe Wilson" in the early days of his fame seeking, claimed that he did not know who sent him on his "yellow cake" investigation, and would not recognize them if he met them on the street.

Have you detected WHOM it was that he met with, that he doesn't even recognize that sent him?

"The Niger uranium business is a consortium with several international partners - France, Germany, Spain, Japan and Niger. France is the operating partner, and is the only member that handles the uranium itself. The uranium is produced at a loss - the mine is maintained to 1) supply a steady, secure supply to the consortium members and 2) provide development assistance to Niger."

How very interesting who it is that runs the Niger uranium business. Could it be these are also the "foreign" leaders that JFKerry confers with?

Under Clintons it was the stated foreign policy by none other than the "mad" woman Albright "Equalize all nations" and there is no greater equalizer than nukes! There has been no greater growth period of the equalizer since the creations of nukes than during the Clintons.

91 posted on 06/15/2004 6:32:19 AM PDT by Just mythoughts
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To: Dolphy
You are right, something isn't adding up here.

From your link:

When, despite all this, President Bush used this canard in his state-of-the-union address on January 28, 2003, Wilson faced a choice not unfamiliar to just-retired government officials. He could sit comfortably and smirk over brandy with friends in Georgetown parlors, or he could speak truth to power.

Conscience won. In a New York Times article on July 6, Wilson blew the whistle on the Iraq-Niger hoax, adding that "some of the intelligence related to Iraq's nuclear program was twisted to exaggerate the Iraqi threat."


This completely ignores Joseph Wilson's public utterances and writings between January 23 and July 6. Why did Wilson choose not to "speak truth to power" given these opportunities?

For example:

Republic or Empire?, February 13, 2003

and he appeared on PBS to discuss Iraq

NOW with Bill Moyers, February 28, 2003

Nary a word about his alleged concerns about the already given SOTU Address. In fact, Wilson is asked about the issue of WMD, and *he references the SOTU speech*, so he cannot claim he wasn't aware of its content at the time this interview was given:


MOYERS: President Bush's recent speech to the American Enterprise Institute, he said, let me quote it to you. "The danger posed by Saddam Hussein and his weapons cannot be ignored or wished away." You agree with that?

WILSON: I agree with that. Sure. I…

MOYERS: "The danger must be confronted." You agree with that? "We would hope that the Iraqi regime will meet the demands of the United Nations and disarm fully and peacefully. If it does not, we are prepared to disarm Iraq by force. Either way, this danger will be removed. The safety of the American people depends on ending this direct and growing threat." You agree with that?

WILSON: I agree with that. Sure. The President goes on to say in that speech as he did in the State of the Union Address is we will liberate Iraq from a brutal dictator. All of which is true. But the only thing Saddam Hussein hears in this speech or the State of the Union Address is, "He's coming to kill me. He doesn't care if I have weapons of mass destruction or not. His objective is to come and overthrow my regime and to kill me." And that then does not provide any incentive whatsoever to disarm.


92 posted on 06/15/2004 7:58:05 AM PDT by cyncooper
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To: Dolphy

Correction to my previous post: My typo of January 23 should be January 28.

Point stands, as Wilson was freely opining in February and had cleary heard the SOTU Address, yet did not raise his "concerns" about yellowcake or any statements in that speech. And this was on the advent of war.

Now we find that there was some anti-war documentary being cobbled together during this time-frame?

93 posted on 06/15/2004 8:02:36 AM PDT by cyncooper
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To: Dolphy; Shermy
From the "patriotic tribute" to Wilson, the author says:

I have worked with Alan Foley. He is cut of the same cloth as Ambassador Wilson.


Just as we suspected: Foley "cut from the same cloth", hm? Interesting.

94 posted on 06/15/2004 8:07:23 AM PDT by cyncooper
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To: cyncooper; okie01; Mitchell
I have worked with Alan Foley. He is cut of the same cloth as Ambassador Wilson.

Assuming both are politicized blabbermouths this is the best indication I've seen that Mr. Foley was the one blabbing to the BBC, maybe others.

95 posted on 06/15/2004 8:20:47 AM PDT by Shermy
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To: cyncooper
Good point. I once believed that someone blew in the career bureaucrat's ear and he couldn't resist the big lights and opportunity on the world stage that his career never quite afforded him. Now it seems this could have been more carefully staged than I had imagined. At the moment my greatest hope is that the current investigation will blow their cover as innocent patriots. Heck, that group I mentioned, (Intelligence Professionals) is on record as requesting current intelligence professionals to break the law and come forward as whistle blowers.
96 posted on 06/15/2004 2:43:39 PM PDT by Dolphy
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To: Dolphy

One of those 'professionals' is Ray McGovern.

97 posted on 06/15/2004 6:52:56 PM PDT by piasa (Attitude adjustments offered here free of charge.)
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To: piasa

The Letter of the Continent

November 30, 2000

Title: "Georges" and "Joe", a hellish (or great, smashing) ticket around/across Africa.

Outgoing director of presidential protocol for the Ivory Coast (see "Alertes LC" on the site, ambassador Georges Ouegnin from now on will devote his time - at the side of his wife "Jacky" (Jacqueline Biley) and a French financial director - to his "bureau of councils in communication", named "GO7" [actually GEO-7}], the initials of the hero (meaing Georges) and his numeral fetish. "Georges" being a tiny bit superstitious, the numeral 7 between/among for much in his telephone numbers and his registration plates... "GO7" has existed for several months, but does not hold any contract yet.

What should change soon: "Georges" put his (agreement, "OK" ?) to work, his retirement taken, with "Joe", Joseph Charles Wilson, the ex-adviser for Africa to Bill Clinton and, since his departure from the White House, lobbyist of African presidents for bad to good "image" in the United States (LC N.346). Who will be able to resist this tandem of Franco-American impact? The trust "GO7-JCW" has a large address notebook like a telephone directory has...


Georges" et "Joe", un ticket d'enfer sur l'Afrique

Directeur sortant du protocole présidentiel ivoirien (voir "Alertes LC" sur le site, l'ambassadeur Georges Ouegnin va désormais consacrer son temps - aux côtés de sa femme "Jacky" (Jacqueline Biley) et d'un directeur financier français - à son "bureau de conseils en communication", nommé "GO7", les initiales du héros et son chiffre fétiche. "Georges" étant un tantinet superstitieux, le chiffre 7 entre pour beaucoup dans ses numéros de téléphone et ses plaques d'immatriculation... "GO7" existe depuis plusieurs mois, mais ne détient encore aucun contrat.

Ce qui devrait changer sous peu: "Georges" s'est mis d'accord pour travailler, sa retraite prise, avec "Joe", Joseph Charles Wilson, l'ex-conseiller pour l'Afrique de Bill Clinton et, depuis son départ de la Maison Blanche, lobbyiste de présidents africains en mal d'une bonne "image" aux Etats-Unis (LC N.346). Qui pourra résister à ce tandem de choc franco-américain ? Le trust "GO7-JCW" a un carnet d'adresses gros comme un bottin de téléphone...

98 posted on 06/26/2004 6:09:05 PM PDT by Shermy
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To: piasa

Just storing that for possible future reference.

99 posted on 06/26/2004 6:12:43 PM PDT by Shermy
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To: Shermy
The Letter of The Indian Ocean

October 23, 1999

(Some) Well introduced businessmen

American buinessmen who will go from November 6-14 to Addis - Abeba at the instigation of the Ethio-American Trade and Investment Council (EATIC, organization close to the government Ethiopian and directed by Gezahegn Kebede) have solid support in American administration. This visit is sponsored by Osyka Corporation, an oil firm of Texas whose president, Michael F Harness, is at the same time a member of EATIC and the National Petroleum Council, an organization charged to advise the American minister of Energie Bill Richardson. Other sponsors: F.C. Schaffer & Associates, a sugar company whose president, Mina Nedelcovych, is also the owner of Corporate Council of Africa (CCA) which assembles the active American companies in Africa.

Several companies controlled by the Saudi-Ethiopic billionaire Mohamed Hussein Al Amoudi helped with the organisation of the voyage: Westar Group, which manages the interests dof Al Amoudi in Washington and which is chaired by Derige Mekonen after being directed a long time by the banker Jeff Wilson; Sheraton of Addis-Abeba whose council of administration includes the ex - American ambassador in Ethiopia Irvin Hicks and group MIDROC Ethiopia; but also the Rock Creek Corporation, an investment company controlled by Al Amoudi and chaired since 1997 by a Lebanese businessman very connected into the power circles of Washington, Elias Aburdene. Former adviser of the Franklin Bank National in Washington DC, Aburdene at the start of his accession to the head (position) of Rock Creek Corporation hired the ex - adviser to Bill Clinton for African affairs, Joseph Wilson IV. The latter had already met Mohamed Al Amoudi in 1997 at the time of a reception organized for the World Bank by Westar Group (LAW n.794). In addition to his responsibilities with the Rock Creek Corporation, Elias Aburdene is the executive chairman very influential National Association of Arab Americans. Alumnus of the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University, he is also very active in the old networks of the university, where teaches the ex-under-secretary of State for African Affairs Chester A. Crocker and the American mediator between Ethiopia and Eritrea, former National Security Advisor of Bill Clinton Anthony Lake.

100 posted on 06/26/2004 6:42:46 PM PDT by Shermy
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