Skip to comments.Joseph Wilson, The UN, and Iraq's WMDs
Posted on 07/25/2005 8:08:58 PM PDT by JRM-2M6
Senate Intelligence Committee : Report On The U.S. Intelligence Communitys Prewar Intelligence Assessments On Iraq Conclusion 13. The report on the former ambassadors trip to Niger, disseminated in March 2002, did not change any analysts assessments of the Iraq-Niger uranium deal. For most analysts, the information in the report lent more credibility to the original Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) reports on the uranium deal, but the State Department Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR) analysts believed that the report supported their assessment that Niger was unlikely to be willing or able to sell uranium to Iraq.
Iraq has a Nuclear Program
"source: The Un" IAEA fact sheet on Iraqi nuclear programme 1997 Iraqs nuclear program doing well
"source: The Un" IAEA : nuclear ambitions after gulf war 1998 Iraq nuclear program still
"source: The Un" IAEA : iraq progessing in nuclear programme 1999 Iraq, no Nuke program HUH?
"source: The Un" IAEA : iraq has no nuclear programme 2004 US removing weapons grade materials
"source: The Un" US removes weapons grade material that Iraq didn't have
CIA: september 2004
CIA: Iraq's WMD - Nuclear
Granted that Mr Wilson was correct in saying that the document he saw was in fact a forgery. But , to push the charge that the document he reffered to was the basis for us going to war , was not only a lie but an act of treason. Mr Wilson himself has never said that iraq never sought uranium from niger, only that they were unsuccessfull in there request. Mr Wilson was sent only to verify "iraq sought yellow cake uranium from niger" and Mr. Wilson report did confirm as much(According to Mr Wilson himself). The Bush Administration has never claimed that iraq purchased yellowcake uranium, only that Iraq sought it from niger. So when Mr Wilson intentionally and publicly claimed that this President decieved congress by using fake documents to justify invading iraq "he absolutely lied" .... And that in my opinion is Treason.
Wilson never saw the document, that document wasn't even in our possession until several months after Wilson returned from Niger
Joe Wilson was sent to Niger without the knowledge of the CIA Director, this was a mission solely orchestrated by the Counter Proliferation Dept of the CIA where his wife Valerie Plame worked.
Joe Wilson comes back after two weeks of chatting with various big whigs in Niger while sipping Mint Tea, he returned and filed a verbal report that was in fact supportive of the claim that Saddam sought to purchase Uranium from Niger.
Joe Wilson made many speeches against going to war with Iraq, yet never said a word about his trip or his so called findings. Even after the famous 16 words were uttered in the Presidents State of the Union Address, Joe Wilson remained silent until 4 months after we invaded Iraq and coincidently just a few after he signed on to the Kerry Campaign.
I believe Joe Wilson knew his trip to Niger didn't prove anything one way or the other, and probably went their on more of a vacation than a mission. But he decided to use his trip to try and damage this President in his effort to help elect John Kerry.
I personally believe that Fitzpatrick (Special Prosecutor) is focusing his investigation on the lies Joe Wilson has told, after all, he is the only one that has so far been proved to have lied, 3 TIMES no less. There is no doubt in my mind that the forged document is a major part of this investigation as well. That document was a KNOWN forgery and had no business being placed into Colin Powell's written report to the U.N. on October of 2002. Somebody put it in there to embarrass this President. This leads me to believe that Fitzpatrick is investigating who was involved in placing this document in Powell's report.
There was a conspiracy to embarrass this Administration and nobody will convince me otherwise
Get over here
Further, Wilson essentially repeated these remarks in an op-ed for the Los Angeles Times in February -- after the President's SOTU.
Quite a difference from his op-ed in the New York Times on July 8, huh...???
Could having been hired by the Kerry campaign in May have had anything to do with Wilson's one-eighty?
Let's try that one more time...
Good info. I have a stack of stuff that I give to folks when they say "NoWMDs!" "Bush Lied". This will add good weight.
We interrupt this scandal to ask a question that, due to its explosive nature was never asked when the story broke almost exactly a year ago
What were 500 tons of yellow cake uranium still doing at the nuclear research center of Al-Tuwaitha in Iraq when American tanks rolled into Bagdhad?
The fact that the material was under the supervision of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) for more than a decade opens an entirely different line of questioning: Is the entire group of United Nations bureaucrats running the IAEA legally insane?
These issues are somewhat separate from the Plame-Wilson-Rove dust up thats been roiling Washington recently, but nevertheless shed light on why Joe Wilson went to Niger in February of 2002 and why the bureaucratic tussle over those 16 words about the Iraqi-Niger yellow cake connection was so fierce.
The story begins at the end of the first Gulf War when inspectors found a 500 ton cache of refined yellow cake uranium at Iraqs primary nuclear research facility in Al-Tuwaitha outside of Bagdhad. The cache was part of a huge inventory of nuclear materials discovered by UN inspectors that included low-level radioactive material of the type used for industrial and medical purposes as well as a quantity of highly enriched uranium suitable for bomb production.
This HE uranium was shipped to Russia where it was made relatively harmless by a process known as isotopic dilution but only after the Iraqis dragged their heels for more than 6 months following the cease fire by playing a cat and mouse game with the IAEAs inspectors. The history of those early IAEA inspections can be found here and is an eye opening look at both the gullibility of the IAEA and the lengths to which Saddam sought to keep as much of his nuclear bomb making capability as he could.
The IAEA placed a seal on the nuclear materials in November of 1992. From then until the fall of Saddam, the agency attempted to make sure that Iraq did not use the yellow cake to reconstitute its nuclear program, something the IAEA acknowledged could be done if the Iraqis were able to rebuild its centrifuges and gain access to additional fissile material. Keeping track of the material was made extraordinarily difficult by the Iraqis who regularly impeded IAEA officials from carrying out even the most routine inspections.
Flash forward to 1999 when British intelligence found out through multiple sources that representatives of the Iraqi government had met with officials from the Niger government.
This fact is not in dispute. The mystery is in what they talked about. A memo obtained by the British later proven to be a forgery purported to show the Iraqis were interested in purchasing 500 tons of yellow cake uranium from Nigers mines. Forgery or not, since Nigers exports are extremely limited, consisting largely of uranium ore, livestock, cowpeas, and onions, one doesnt have to be an intelligence analyst to figure out in which one of those items the Iraqis might be interested.
Both the Butler Review and the Senate Select Committee on Pre War Iraq Intelligence (SSCI) point to other efforts by Saddam to purchase uranium, most notably from the Democratic Republic of the Congo . The Butler Review states in 2002 the CIA agreed that there was evidence that [uranium from Africa] had been sought. In the run-up to war in Iraq, the British Intelligence Services apparently believed that Iraq had been trying to obtain uranium from Africa; however, no evidence has been passed on to the IAEA apart from the forged documents.
This then was the context in which Ambassador Joe Wilson went to Niger in February of 2002. Based on multiple sources and the best judgement of the CIA, Saddam Hussein was trying purchase uranium. Since there were no working commercial nuclear reactors in all of Iraq, his interest could only be based on his desire to reconstitute his nuclear weapons program.
There was no fixing of intelligence or shaping intelligence to fit some preconceived agenda. Despite UN resolutions and sanctions, Saddam was looking to build the bomb.
What about that 500 tons of yellow cake under seal at Al-Tuwaitha? As long as the sanctions were in place, the inspectors would be able to confirm, albeit with great difficulty, that Saddam would not be able to use the material for his bomb building program. But that fact doesnt answer the question: why would any organization charged with keeping a lid on nuclear proliferation allow that much fissile material to be kept by a bloodthirsty tyrant who had already demonstrated a desire to construct a nuclear weapon?
In an article that appeared in The American Thinker on July 20, 2004, Douglas Hanson draws some rather unflattering conclusions about the IAEA and their mission:
The actions, or more appropriately, the inactions of the IAEA regarding Iraq since the end of Gulf War I, betray the agencys true agenda. Rather than inspect, report, and implement restrictions in accordance with the provisions in the treaty, the agency has in effect become an enabler of rogue nations who are attempting, or who have already succeeded in developing or acquiring special nuclear material and equipment. In other words, the IAEA is simply a reflection of its parent organization, which routinely delays and obfuscates the efforts of the US and the UK in controlling banned substances and delivery systems.
Time after time, the agency has either intentionally or naively bought into the lies and deceptions contrived by nations of the Axis of Evil during IAEA visits and inspections. In most cases, the IAEA avoids confrontation like the plague in order to maintain access to the facilities. If they are booted out, as was the case with North Korea, their impotence is on display for all to see. In other cases, the agency joins in the deception, thereby allowing these rogue states to level the nuclear playing field with the West and Russia.
Clearly then, the IAEA was totally dependent on the sanctions to even carry out the limited inspections it was performing in the 1990s. But how long would the sanctions be in place?
It is an article of faith with critics of the war that Saddam was in a box and there was no need for an invasion to remove him. Its a pity that many of those critics have such a short memory because a review of what many of them were saying about the sanctions prior to September 11, 2001 would show that they were eager to lift the very same sanctions that they now claim was keeping Saddam in check.
Thanks to a remarkable propoganda program that included funeral processions of Iraqi babies whose dead bodies were used over and over again in macabre effort to make it appear that the death toll of infants was higher than it was, the world community was, by 2001, agitating for the lifting of sanctions on the Iraq economy. And while the lifting of economic sanctions would not have meant a lifting of the arms embargo, given the limited resources available to both The United Nations Special Commission (UNSCOM) and the IAEA as well as Iraqs demonstrated ability to impede, obstruct, and deceive inspectors, it stands to reason that the continuation of the arms embargo would have been a sham. Even with the embargo, the Dulfer Report showed that Saddams ability to evade the sanctions and purchase illicit weapons was extremely troubling.
All of this is important to remember when thinking about that 500 tons of yellow cake uranium sitting under seal at Al-Tuwaitha. How worried was the CIA that Saddam would someday be able to use that material to construct a bomb? That question goes to the heart of the current controversy over not just who may have outed a covert CIA operative, but whether the Administration was trying to discredit Mr. Wilson so that his charge that the White House manipulated intelligence to fool the American people into support for war would also be disbelieved.
Why would the White House want to discredit Mr. Wilson? Given that the Mr. Bush was in the midst of tight Presidential campaign, its obvious that politics had something to do with it. But the effort by the White House to push back against who Mr. Wilson was running interference for the CIA - was at bottom what this conflict has been about from the start.
From the time of the Presidents State of the Union in January of 2003 until Mr. Wilsons celebrated July Op-Ed in the New York Times in which he basically called the President of the United States a liar, the former Ambassador had been peddling his story of the Administration twisting pre war intelligence regarding efforts by Saddam to purchase uranium from Niger to reporters all over Washington, D.C. Wilson said as much in an interview with LA Weekly:
I spoke to a number of reporters over the ensuing months. Each time they asked the White House or the State Department about it, they would feign ignorance. I became even more convinced that I was going to have to tell the story myself.
This is where the yellow cake story became a club that the CIA could bash the Administration over the head with. Never mind that Saddam already had 500 tons of the stuff on hand just waiting for the world to turn its back so that it could be used to jump start his nuclear program. And since the intelligence regarding Saddams further efforts to purchase uranium was partially discredited, the Presidents opponents at the agency thought they saw an opening. Already under fire for missing the 9/11 plot thus making that tragedy the biggest intelligence failure since Pearl Harbor, the hyper sensitivity of the CIA to criticism would now manifest itself into an attack on its more vocal critics in the Administration.
One of the most underreported aspects of this scandal has been the hostility by a faction in the CIA toward the White House during the period following the discovery that weapons of mass destruction were not to be found in Iraq. This kind of bureaucratic infighting is usually too arcane a subject for most people to pay much attention to. However, in this case, there appears to be a measure of partisan politics on the part of CIA personnel thrown into the mix in addition to the very human impulse to shift blame for failure.
The Wall Street Journal commented on this conflict in an editorial on September 29 following a selective leak of a CIA report predicting post-war instability in Iraq. Not only was the leak a brazen attempt by the CIA to embarass the administration, but the fact that it came two days before the first debate between the President and Senator Kerry was evidence that this faction in the CIA was determined to affect the election.
In its editorial, the Journal noted the following about the CIAs war with the White House:
Keep in mind that none of these CIA officials were ever elected to anything, and that they are employed to provide accurate information to officials who present their policy choices for voter judgment. Yet what the CIA insurgents are essentially doing here, with their leaks and insubordination, is engaging in a policy debate. Given the timing of the latest leaks so close to an election, they are now clearly trying to defeat President Bush and elect John Kerry. Yet somehow the White House stands accused of politicizing intelligence?
The leaking of pre-war intelligence nuggets prior to the election in 2004 that showed the CIA in the best possible light by highlighting alternate analyses of Iraq WMD capabilities was a remarkable demonstration of partisanship by supposedly non-partisan bureaucrats. And while the partisanship was not necessarily due to any allegiance to the Democratic party on the part of the leakers, it did reveal a mind set that wished to establish a public record absolving the CIA of failure. The fact that the President would be hurt politically by the revelations was also a probable motive for the leaks.
Was Valerie Plame a part of this faction? In his column naming her as a CIA employee, Robert Novak describes her as an operative on weapons of mass destruction. Since most of the leaks coming from the CIA faction at war with the White House involved the analysis of the WMD threat from Iraq, its tempting to connect the dots and say that Plame was part of a group that wished to, at the very least, prove that the CIA was not as wrong about WMD in Iraq as some in the Administration were saying. At worst, Mrs. Wilson may have been a party to an effort to influence an election by trying to embarass the President.
And by connecting the dots between Mrs. Wilson and other agency rebels who sought to take down the President, doesnt this open up a whole slew of questions about Mr. Wilson? The former ambassador has been portraying himself as a whistleblower. What if he was an errand boy instead? Wilson, by virtue of his former employment at the State Department could be the perfect front man for a propoganda campaign by his wifes employer to shift blame for the WMD fiasco from the agencys incompetence to the neoconservative hawks and their rush to war.
Another question raised by this effort of the CIA to discredit the President is about the complaint filed with the Justice Department by the agency when Mrs. Wilson's "cover" was blown.
Having worked at CIA headquarters at Langely for nearly 6 years, the idea that any foreign intelligence service who wanted to find out wouldn't have known of Mrs Wilson's employment at the agency strains credulity. The turnoff from the highway into CIA headquarters is clearly marked. Is it possible that foreign spies could have observed Mrs. Wilson entering the complex at Langely over a six year period? Or, more likely, could they have gotten a hold of a list of agency personnel who work at Langely? Given the number of truly damaging revelations regarding traitors over the years, it seems logical to conclude that a list of employees at Langely could be in the hands of one or more foreign intelligence services. The filing of the complaint over the leak could then be seen in the context of further efforts by the CIA to get back at the Administration.
The question of whether or not Saddam wanted to purchase yellow cake uranium to augment his existing supply sitting in the Al-Tuwaitha facility, when viewed in the context of this White House-CIA conflict, becomes not a question of the CIA analyzing Saddams intentions but rather a question of the CIA attacking the Administrations intentions. The rationale for war given by the President goes far beyond any disputed effort by Saddam to buy uranium. But the only way to attack the Presidents motives is by concentrating solely and exclusively on the lack of WMD. And since its been widely reported that most western governments believed Saddam had a large stockpile of chemical and biological weapons prior to the invasion, the only possible line of attack by the Presidents opponents at CIA was the single reference to uranium found in the State of the Union address given by Bush in 2002.
Did the White House go overboard in its effort to push back against this effort by the CIA to discredit the President? At this point, its unclear if any laws even were broken by Karl Rove or anyone else in the White House. But however the scandal shakes out, it would be hard to argue that Plame, Wilson, or Rove acted honorably and in the best interests of the United States.
I agree with you that Fitzgerald is investigating Joe Wilson and I have said this during the past week or so on Free Republic. I do not know how to post articles, but if you can search on FR the thread about Colin Powell's testimony to the Grand Jury on Aug 9, 2004 (NEWSWEEK, you will see what I mean.
Toward the end of the article it says:
"Though most lawyers thought the investigation was nearly complete, sources say Fitzgerald has recently recalled witnesses before the grand jury---apparently to ask about issues raised by a new Senate intelligence committee report that seemed to contradict some of Wilson's public statements about Plame's role in his trip to Niger."
I think Fitzgerald is investigating Wilson and his Mrs and MAYBE why he had a sudden attack of conscience 18 months after his trip to Niger in Feb. 2002 and 4 months after the war started. You Know, after he became an adviser to the KERRY CAMPAIGN. Hell00000?
Also, about Wilson's testimony before the intelligence committee not only about his wife (which was a lie as the report states), but about those forged documents. I read that the report said he couldn't know about the report since it didn't come into U.S. possession unti 8 months after his trip to Niger. Wilson said when confronted about it that sometimes he uses a little literary flare. In other words, lies. I believe he DID see that report which was classified and it shown to him by his wife or they had something to do with it in the first place.
I think it was in a Howard Kurtz piece in the Washington Post in the past week that he says that appeals court judges of differing political parties has said the secret evidence that has been given to Judge Hogan by Fitzgerald has serious national security implications or something to that effect.
The only time Joe Wilson could have possibly seen those documents was when they were being 'forged,' if you tend to go with that theory.
They were not in United States possession until 8 months at least AFTER he went to Niger.
I remembered reading this a long time ago, and finally found the link:
"The 25-member group, Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity, composed mostly of former CIA analysts along with a few operational agents, is urging employees inside the intelligence agency to break the law and leak any information they have that could show the Bush administration is engineering the release of evidence to match its penchant for war."
It was about that time we began seeing anonymous sources, i.e., the "ex-diplomat", a "former intelligence officer", etc., quoted in stories about cooked intelligence, forged papers, and missions at the behest of the Vice President.
When Rice, Cheney, and other officials denied seeing any such reports about forged documents, Wilson came out as the ex-diplomat and from that point on a bunch of indignant intelligence community people hailed him as a "whistleblower"--exactly as McGovern describes in the article.
There was a turning point after the SOTU address when Wilson began to call attention to the forgeries, even though he hadn't in interviews shortly afterward. I think this article is the turning point and marks about when the plan was hatched. I think that's why he gave completely contradictory interviews before and didn't dispute the SOTU 16 words until months later.
I don't think he is that smart
Perhaps Mrs. Wilson , or "Jane Bond" as her husband calls her, sent Mr. Wilson, aka Yellowcake Joe, over to Niger to STOP any talk about yellowcake.
Well, that's my point: that is the only point in time HE could have seen them; they weren't in our possession until eight months until after HE got back.
So he could have only seen them when 1) they were being forged, or 2) "Natasha" showed him TOP SECRET documents after they came into our possession.
Wonder which one he would prefer to be charged with?
Ding! Ding! Ding! Move to the head of the class.
"I don't think he is that smart."
I've always thought he was being used by these people. I originally thought he cooked it up with them, but after the way he acted the following year, I started to wonder if THEY were the ones fooled by him--if he was going on about his trip to them and saying that he'd reported there was nothing, etc. And then they got burned when it turned out what he actually reported.