Skip to comments.The Novak Exception Journalists abandon their principles in the Plame kerfuffle.
Posted on 02/20/2004 3:13:59 PM PST by swilhelm73Edited on 04/23/2004 12:06:29 AM PDT by Jim Robinson. [history]
Here's one scoop we never thought we'd live to hear: "Journalists Call on Newsman to Disclose Confidential Sources." To understand this sudden pang of press conscience, it helps to know that the journalist in question is columnist Robert Novak.
At issue is his July 14 column explaining why the Bush Administration would entrust an investigation into the alleged Iraqi attempt to buy uranium yellowcake from Niger to Joe Wilson--a high-ranking National Security Council member from the Clinton years. The answer Mr. Novak reported receiving from Administration sources was that Mr. Wilson's wife, Valerie Plame, worked at the CIA and had put her husband forward for the job.
(Excerpt) Read more at opinionjournal.com ...
But it's too late now. The damage is done.
Rubbish. Novak is a patriot and a damn good reporter.
Plame is the one who endangered agents and assets when she tasked her husband with an intelligence mission that he had no business performing. She should be dismissed from the agency for her appalling lack of judgement.
Wrong. He was NOT given warnings, explicit or implicit.
And let me be clear: Tenet has stated a sub-group in the CIA sent Wilson on their own initiative. It was not at his own behest and it was not done on behalf of the president or VP, who were not even briefed on this tea-sipping sojourn. As I pointed out on the other thread, the former CIA official is clearly Alan Foley, Plame's former boss. They had an agenda for sending her husband to Niger and yes, I say they are liars.
Ack, as I've outlined, he wasn't.
It was done by an anti-Bush sub-group for their own purposes.
Yes. Here is his bio that has been referenced frequently here on FR:
Ambassador Wilson served as Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for African Affairs at the National Security Council from June 1997 until July 1998. In that capacity he was responsible for the coordination of U.S. policy to the 48 countries of sub-Saharan Africa. He was one of the principal architects of President Clintons historic trip to Africa in March 1998.
1997 : (WILSON RETURNS FROM OVERSEAS TO WASHINGTON AS SENIOR DIRECTOR OF AFRICAN AFFAIRS AT THE NSC) That same year , Wilson also came back to Washington, as a senior director for African affairs at the National Security Council...A source, however, says that Wilson was not universally popular, because of what was perceived to be too strong sympathies for the interests of the Africans and Europeans. via FR's seamole, Jan 2, 2004*
* 1990s sometime in here : (WILSON WAS A CLINTON NSC ADVISOR) then later in the 1990s as a Clinton National Security Council staffer. - "The Honorable Mr. Wilson. Frog-marching into the history books.," National Review Online, NRO, October 01, 2003, 8:38 a.m. by James Robbins
JUNE 1997 - JULY 1998 : (CLINTON ADMINISTRATION : WILSON SERVES IN NSC) Ambassador Wilson served as Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for African Affairs at the National Security Council from June 1997 until July 1998. In that capacity he was responsible for the coordination of U.S. policy to the 48 countries of sub-Saharan Africa. - Wilson's own bio (* My note: Did he begin in June or July 1997? Some sources indicate he didn't go to the NSC until July)
JULY 1997 - JULY 1998 : (CLINTON ADMIN: WILSON WAS SPECIAL ASSISTANT TO THE PRESIDENT AND SENIOR DIRECTOR FOR AFRICAN AFFAIRS AT THE NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL) - Wilson's bio at the web site of the Corporate and Public Strategy Advisory Group
JUNE 1997 - JULY 1998 : (WILSON ON NSC ; WAS ONE OF THE PLANNERS OF CLINTON'S TRIP TO AFRICA IN MARCH 1998) Ambassador Wilson served as Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for African Affairs at the National Security Council from June 1997 until July 1998. In that capacity he was responsible for the coordination of U.S. policy to the 48 countries of sub-Saharan Africa, He was one of the principal architecs of President Clinton's historic trip to Africa in March 1998.- His own bio, http://188.8.131.52/search?q=cache:TjVOq4W4lssJ:www.cpsag.com/our_team/wilson.html+%22valerie+plame%22&hl=en&ie=UTF-8
(This web site is that of the CPS : Corporate and Public Strategy Advisory Group where Wilson is listed as "part of the team")
JULY 10, 1997 - 2000 : (WESLEY CLARK BECOMES SUPREME ALLIED COMMANDER EUROPE - IS ALSO C-IN-C US EUROPEAN COMMAND) - Freeper Dog, http://184.108.40.206/focus/f-news/944219/posts?page=37#37, see also http://www.nato.int/cv/saceur/clark.htm
Nonetheless, this was still a wrong decision by Novak,
and one for which there is not "plausible deniability"
even when it involved someone of such dubious value.
It helps to know in this case which reporter wrote what, because in this case, at least one of the journalists deeply involved int he story has a wife involved in the intelligence biz, as well as a very tight relationship with Wilson, and thus there are some severe conflicts of interest in the matter. Because of the political nature of the case, a number of reporters have been pursuing their own agendas and we need to keep track not just of data, but from who the data emerged.
Maybe this source should ask himself why Iraq bought yellowcake uranium BEFORE. It did- this is an established fact. And it bought the stuff from various sources, in different quantities.
And of COURSE you have to enrich it, which is precisely why Iraq was trying to make more centrifuges, why Iraq had sought out expert help with centrifuge technology, etc. As Kay has pointed out - and as the Washington Post's reporter (Gelman?) totally misquoted him on- was that we still haven't found the high-tolerance tubes that Iraq had taken delievery on. We've found some of the low tolerance tubes- which apparently had the WashPost writer hot and bothered- but none of the higher tolerance orders have been accounted for. And Iraq's perpetual search for ever-increasing tolerances was what made the aluminum tubes so suspicious- the tolerances would only be worthwhile and neccessary if one were building centrifuges. That doesn't mean there aren't better materials out there for the task- it just means that's what Iraq could obtain.
(Note that these same sort of high-tolerance aluminum tubes have been one of the finds in the Iranian and Libyan WMD R&D programs, where no one is trying to explain them away as ridiculously overdesigned and expensive small rockets as they tried to do with Iraq.)
Well, then you might want to look at this:
JULY 13+/-, 2003 a Sunday : (ITALIAN GOVERNMENT DENIES IT WAS THE SOURCE OF DOCUMENTS INDICATING IRAQ WAS SEEKING URANIUM FROM NIGER) The Italian government on Sunday denied reports that its intelligence services handed the United States and Britain documents indicating that Iraq was seeking uranium from Niger for a nuclear weapons programme. The denial followed a report by Italy's Corriere della Sera newspaper that Rome's SISMI intelligence services had given Washington and London documents in late 2001, showing the regime of Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein had sought uranium from the African state. - "French link to UK's Iraq intelligence," From correspondents in London, news.com.au, July 14, 2003, http://www.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,4057,6749154%5E1702,00.html
I do consider sources to be important, as do many people here, since we have been watching how this whole story has been created and manipulated long before you even signed up on this web site. You'll notice that most people here DO cite sources. They do so for good reason- namely, that people can go to the source and read it in its entirety, in context. It's a matter of common courtesy.
Take, for example, the oft-cited line from Wolfowitz, "The truth is that for reasons that have a lot to do with the U.S. government bureaucracy we settled on the one issue that everyone could agree on, which was weapons of mass destruction, as the core reason."
This quote has ben cited in the press and by an assortment of leftwingnuts as 'proof' the administration's sole reason for war was WMD- or more specifically, just large stockpiles of WMD, since the press wants to ignore those drones, labs, etc and the sudden discovery by Iraq right before the war of some forgotten chemical shells they "missed", the ones they reported to Blix about 10 years too late.
Now, if you just saw that one part of Wolfowitz's quote, you might think the leftwingers have a point about what Wolfowitz said, particularly amid all the OTHER press mantras and misquotes trying to trivialize Iraq's programs or define them in terms of "stockpiles" rather than programs.
But take a larger excerpt from his interview and the impression of what he said is quite different; WMD is but one issue.
"The truth is that for reasons that have a lot to do with the U.S. government bureaucracy we settled on the one issue that everyone could agree on, which was weapons of mass destruction, as the core reason. There have always been three fundamental concerns. One is weapons of mass destruction, the second is support for terrorism, the third is the criminal treatment of the Iraqi people. Actually, I guess you could say there's a fourth overriding one, which is the connection between the first two." - Wolfowitz, May 9, 2003
The larger issue has all along been the support and use of terrorism and the threat of WMD as the tools of blackmail.
Another citation of why sources are important:
The Washington Post's claim that General Meekin was involved with Kay in the search unconventional weapons- this was the same article that raised hell about aluminum tubes.
In that case, even if we did go back to the source we still wouldn't find the correction- newspapers have a way of sticking corrections that trash their spin in obscure parts of their papers, if at all. The correction was delivered to the Post by Kay and Meekin when they wrote the Post to inform them their reporter mischaracterized what they had said and totally blew the story.
But at least being able to go to the original story permits the reader to gather info needed to check the story. And from that, the reader can find alternate views and corrctions. Individual readers can then determine how much credibility a given source or journalist has by following his or her reports.
The Niger affair is also entwined with the BBC scandals. So it's obvious that sourcing is important when reporters are playing political games.
Even from the beginning of this story, the media has played a central role in creating the story. There were claims Bush misled us into war because his SOTU speech included the reference to Niger, in spite of the fact that the decision for war was already made long before. There were claims that Bush said Iraq bought uranium from Niger when in fact he said no such thin. Quotes were attributed to that speech which in fact he never said in that speech, or anywhere else.
The papers lied about Cheney in this. Wilson himself has been caught fibbing, as have other reporters who it turns out were associated with him.
Some deliberately twisted what Novak said- turning "administration officials" into "white house officials," all for a political agenda. You wouldn't catch the transformation unless you had the sources and could see how one bit of info taken from one reporter's article is twisted by another who cites the first article but alters a few words her and there, and then his rticle in turn gets taken and altered yet again by third party papers citing it as the source.
This was also done with the Capitol Hill Blue article, which cited a fraudulent source claiming to have been in the Oval Office when Bush got the report that even Wilson admitted he didn't bother to write. The source turned out to be bogus. Yet by the time the correction was made, the news had been picked up intrnationally and then regrabbed by US major news- like CNN- but sans the name of the fake source, who was then cited as "CIA consultant."
Sourced info is important because it enables us to engage in oversight of the media. And the media desperately needs oversight.
Some reporters have been caught so much in their lies that their info must be questioned, while others have good records. It is beneficial to know who has a record of fairly honest reporting to who has a record for outright lying (Maureen Dowd and the BBC's Gilligan, for example.)
It's also a good idea to credit or link people with their work in any case whenever you cite it.
As for the Italy connection, there may be a connection to what Italy gave the UK, but what Italy gave the UK was apparently not the forged docs, and the UK didn't give the US forged docs. The UK's intel was based on other sources, since the UK wasn't aware of those docs until later, after exchanging info with the US.
By yes, there are some curious characters in Italy who bear some closer inspection. Like Zahawie's link to Father Benjamin at the Vatican, Father Benjamin's claim that he knew of 911 in advance, his Wilsonlike claims he tried to warn the italiangovernment, his past history of breaking the sanctions on Iraq, his leftwing associations, his ties to Iraqi officials, one or more of which did travel to Niger on a trade mission, and his having taken part in the bribefest Saddam Hussein was putting on using the Oil For Food program.
JULY 13, 2003 : (SOURCES SAY FRENCH SECRET SERVICE REFUSED TO ALLOW THE UK'S M16 TO PASS ALONG INTEL RELATING TO IRAQ'S ATTEMPT TO OBTAIN URANIUM FROM NIGER) The French secret service is believed to have refused to allow MI6 to give the Americans "credible" intelligence showing that Iraq was trying to buy uranium ore from Niger, US intelligence sources said yesterday.[July 13, 2003] MI6 had more than one "different and credible" piece of intelligence to show that Iraq was attempting to buy the ore, known as yellowcake, British officials insisted. But it was given to them by at least one and possibly two intelligence services and, under the rules governing cooperation, it could not be shared with anyone else without the originator's permission. US intelligence sources believe that the most likely source of the MI6 intelligence was the French secret service, the DGSE. Niger is a former French colony and its uranium mines are run by a French company that comes under the control of the French Atomic Energy Commission. A further factor in the refusal to hand over the information might have been concern that the US administration's willingness to publicise intelligence might lead to sources being inadvertently disclosed. (* My note: Since when is 'the most secretive administration in history' been 'willing' to disclose intel? More like the leakiest congressional intel committees...) US sources also point out that the French government was vehemently opposed to the war with Iraq and so suggest that it would have been instinctively against the idea of passing on the intelligence. - "French secret service 'kept CIA in the dark over Iraq and uranium' ," by Michael Smith, The Telegraph (U.K.), 07/14/03
JULY 14, 2003 : (COUNTERDICTING US PRESS CLAIMS, THE UK WAS NOT THE SOURCE OF THE FORGED NIGER DOCS- BRITISH INTELLIGENCE M16 HADN'T EVEN SEEN THEM UNTIL AFTER THE IAEA PRONOUNCED THEM FAKE) There had been a number of reports in America in particular suggesting that the fake documents - which came from another intelligence source - were passed on via MI6, the officials said. But this was not true. "What they can't accuse MI6 of doing is passing anything on this to the CIA because it didn't have the fake documents and it was not allowed to pass on the intelligence it did have to anyone else." - "French secret service 'kept CIA in the dark over Iraq and uranium' ," by Michael Smith, The Telegraph (U.K.), 07/14/03
JULY 14? or earlier 2003 Monday : (FINANCIAL TIMES REPORTS THAT UK'S INFORMATION ON IRAQ'S ATTEMPT TO PURCHASE URANIUM IN AFRICA CAME FROM TWO WESTERN EUROPEAN COUNTRIES' INTELLIGENCE SERVICES, NOT FROM FORGED NIGER DOCS) TWO foreign intelligence services, thought to be those of France and Italy, supplied Britain with the information for its controversial claim that Saddam Hussein's Iraq had sought uranium from Africa, the Financial Times newspaper reported Monday. Britain made the uranium claim in a dossier last September despite being told the US Central Intelligence Agency had "reservations" about its inclusion. The paper said its information came from senior Whitehall sources. US administration officials have criticised the inclusion of a reference to the nuclear claim and the nation in President George W. Bush's January 28 State of the Union Address, and pointed out that it had not been corroborated by Washington's intelligence network. CIA chief George Tenet, who took the blame for Bush's discredited prewar claim, has come under fire again with a leading Republican senator suggesting he resign. The Financial Times said it had learnt that the original information on the nuclear claim came from two west European countries, and not from now discredited documents that proved to be forgeries. - "French link to UK's Iraq intelligence," From correspondents in London, news.com.au, July 14, 2003, http://www.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,4057,6749154%5E1702,00.html
That's odd that you had such a hard time with your search since I found not just one link using Google [and the key words "may 2000", filament, winding, jordan, and iaea] but several sites containing the information, including the IAEA's own web site :
[PDF] S Security Council
File Format: PDF/Adobe Acrobat - View as HTML
... From 23 to 25 May 2000, the Agency was able to complete the destruction, in.
Jordan, of a filament-winding machine and its associated spare parts and ...
www.iaea.org/worldatom/Programmes/ ActionTeam/reports/S_2000_983.pdf - Similar pages
WMD 411: Organizations & Regimes
... safeguards system is defined primarily in Art. XII of the IAEA Statute, ...
In May 2000, the Agency completed the destruction of a filament winding ...
www.nti.org/f_wmd411/iaea.html - 65k - May 3, 2005 - Cached - Similar pages
Comprehensive Report of the Special Advisor to the DCI on Iraqs WMD
... The UN Sanctions Committee took note in May 1991 of Jordans oil imports
... MIC with a carbon fiber filament winding and insulating material project. ...
www.cia.gov/cia/reports/iraq_wmd_2004/chap2.html - 515k - Cached - Similar pages
And so on. See this google link.
I find it interesting that you focused on Chalabi as well, since blaming him for everything is a favorite talking point of a certain class of troll.
Some doubt the aluminum tubes but their reasoning seems to be only that it's not the most modern & efficient way to approach the problem of enrichment. Their assumption was that Iraq would only pursue the most modern and efficient means- even though more modern and efficient means would mean a much more difficult time acquiring materials under sanction. Their assumption is a bit naive.
But speaking of the IAEA [and aluminum tubes, incidently]:
SEPTEMBER 2003 : (FORMER NORTH KOREAN'S DIPLOMATIC REP TO THE IAEA,YUN HO JIN, IS ACCUSED OF ORDERING ALUMINUM TUBES SUITABLE FOR USE IN URANIUM ENRICHMENT FROM A GERMAN FIRM; MATERIALS WERE IMPOUNDED WHILE ABOARD A SHIP) HAMBURG, Germany (AFP) - A former North Korean diplomat is accused of ordering material from a German firm that could be used in the production of nuclear weapons, Germany's Der Spiegel reported in its Monday edition. The news magazine said a German businessman would go on trial in Stuttgart, southwest Germany, next month in connection with the case. The diplomat was named by Spiegel as Yun Ho Jin. It said he used to work as a Pyongyang representative to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna.
According to Der Spiegel, Yun Ho Jin ordered special aluminium tubes from the businessman which, experts say, are used to build gas ultracentrifuges in which uranium is enriched.
The equipment was impounded in April after being loaded on board a ship.
The unidentified businessman, who got to know the diplomat in the late 1980s, is accused of breaching trade export laws and "attempts to encourage production of a nuclear weapon."
Experts from the IAEA, the German foreign ministry and the German foreign intelligence service are expected to testify, the magazine added. - "North Korean diplomat implicated in nuclear plot: German press," Agence France-Presse, September 21, 2003
Which is apparently a result of this ship interdiction:
APRIL 2003 early : (FRENCH-FLAGGED SHIP "VILLE DE VIRGO" PICKS UP A SHIPMENT OF 214 HS ALUMINUM TUBES IN HAMBURG, GERMANY ) In early April, the French cargo ship Ville de Virgo docked in Hamburg, where it picked up a shipment of 214 high-strength aluminum tubes apparently purchased by the Chinese Shenyang Aircraft Corp. Shortly after the ship left Hamburg, however, German intelligence officials learned that the true destination for the tubes was North Korea for use in its nuclear weapons program, the Post reported.--- "North Korea: Pyongyang Uses Covert Approach to Acquire WMD-Related Items ," From Friday, August 15, 2003 issue.
You are aware that the way we outed Libya's nuclear program recently was also a suspicious shipment of aluminum tubes, aren't you? The editors out there in the press have generally been doing all it can to avoid using the phrase "aluminum tubes" with regard to Libya since no one can deny Libya had a nuke program in progress. Readers might defy the press's spin efforts and come to the conclusion that similar suspicious cargoes going to Iraq really were destined for similar rotors.
OCTOBER 2003 : (GERMAN SHIP CARRYING CENTRIFUGE PARTS IS DIVERTED ON ITS WAY TO LIBYA) THE United States... led an operation to seize uranium enrichment components from a German freighter headed for Libya that ... [would seal] ... Tripoli's decision to publicly renounce weapons of mass destruction [in Dec 2003]... "A ship was diverted based on intelligence it was carrying centrifuge parts in early October," State Department spokesman Adam Ereli [later] told reporters, calling it "a significant and important development". - "US confirms uranium seizure ," By Matthew Lee in Washington, News.com.au, January 1, 2004
Evidence has now emerged from Iran and Libya that Khan's program in Pakistan may be the source of the greatest level of nuclear weapons proliferation since the Cold War. UN inspectors who have recently visited a number of facilities in Libya discovered large amounts of aluminum centrifuge parts that had "all the hallmarks of the Urenco designs" stolen by Khan. Pakistan used these to enrich uranium before later turning to the more complex steel centrifuges.
A Vienna-based diplomat familiar with the Libyan inspections said: "The big surprise was that components found were almost off-the-shelf turnkey equipment. It was as if somebody had been shopping at Ikea and just needed to put the bits together."
The diplomat said this was unlike Iraq's secret nuclear program, which required large teams of scientists to deal with research issues and solve mechanical problems. He said: "The worry is that if a country like Libya -- with little industrial infrastructure and a small population -- could lay its hands on this equipment, then a large country might be able to set up a weapons program at a very fast pace indeed."
Libyan authorities have been helping the IAEA to piece together the "cartel" of middlemen feeding this clandestine network of nuclear know-how and equipment. They have been helped by the US seizure of a German-registered ship in the Suez Canal last October destined for Libya with thousands of parts -- believed to be Malaysian-made but based on Pakistani designs -- for aluminum centrifuges. ------- "In the radioactive trade, all roads point to Pakistan," THE OBSERVER , LONDON, Tuesday, Jan 27, 2004,Page 9 Published on TaipeiTimes, http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/edit/archives/2004/01/27/2003092649
AUGUST 2004 : (GERMANY : GERHARD WISSER IS THE SECOND SOUTH AFRICAN BUSINESSMAN TO BE CAPTURED; HE HAD BEEN A MEDIATOR IN OBTAINING AN ORDER FOR A SOUTH AFRICAN COMPANY TO MAKE & SUPPLY ALUMINUM TUBING TO BE USED IN AN 'AFRICAN URANIUM ENRICHMENT PLANT' ) Gerhard Wisser (65), the second South African businessman arrested [in connection with the Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan's suspected nuclear black market;][the first was Asher Karni, 3rd was Gottard Lerch, and 4th was Johan Meyer]. He was captured in Germany two weeks ago. He is alleged to have worked as a mediator to obtain an order for a SA company to make and supply aluminum tubing to be used in an African uranium enrichment plant;--- "SA link to nuke black market," By Graeme Hosken, PRETORIA NEWS, September 7, 2004, http://:www.pretorianews.co.za
And now take a look at this discovery relating to Iran, too- note it precedes the suspicios cargoes, now proven to be part of a WMD program, in Libya :
2001 early : (WMD : NUCLEAR PROLIFERATION : BLACK SEA : US & ISRAEL ALERT RUSSIA TO A SUSPICIOUS ALUMINUM SHIPMENT ON A RUSSIAN VESSEL HEADED FOR IRAN, TO POSSIBLY BE USED IN MANUFATURE OF ROTOR BLADES FOR GAS CENTRIFUGES) (snip) The officials said the two countries exchanged a series of diplomatic messages after the United States and Israel alerted Russia to a suspicious aluminum shipment on a Russian boat that was headed for Iran via the Black Sea soon after President Bush took office Jan. 21.  According to the American version, Russian inspectors boarded the vessel and reported that the aluminum was intended for aircraft manufacture, an explanation not accepted by the United States. The shipment was allowed to proceed to Iran.
The precise origin of the aluminum is not known, but U.S. officials said the deal was arranged by a Russian metals trader. The officials said that the United States and Israel have evidence that the aluminum was delivered to Iranian institutions connected with what they suspect is Iran's nuclear weapons project.
The aluminum shipment is the latest in a series of nuclear proliferation disputes that have clouded U.S.-Russian relations in recent years. U.S. officials said Bush is expected to raise proliferation concerns with Russian President Vladimir Putin during their first face-to-face meeting Saturday in the Slovenian capital of Ljubljana without going into detail about specific cases.
"It's a big deal," said one well-placed administration official, referring to fears that Iran is experimenting with different ways of enriching uranium to produce bomb-grade material that would serve as the basis for a crude nuclear weapon.
U.S. officials said they suspected that the aluminum alloy delivered to Iran was intended for the manufacture of rotor blades used in gas centrifuges that separate out the enriched uranium that can produce a chain reaction for a nuclear explosion. U.S. experts say that Iran has been attempting to acquire centrifuge technology, as well as other technology for enriching uranium, for much of the last decade as part of a larger effort to build an atomic bomb. (/snip)
-- "U.S., Russia At Odds on Iranian Deal ; Bush to Raise Atomic Issues at Summit ," By Michael Dobbs, Washington Post Staff Writer via 14 posted on 03/10/2003 1:54:47 AM PST by piasa