A Long Overdue Frog-March
By Ray McGovern, October 21, 2005.
Do you know the ambassador?
When introduced to former ambassador Wilson at the June 14 conference, I wasted no time asking him -- rather naively, it turned out -- if he knew who the former U.S. ambassador who went to Niger was. He smiled and said, "You're looking at him." I asked when he intended to go public; in a couple of weeks, was the answer.
Wilson then turned dead serious and, with considerable emphasis, told me the White House had already launched a full-court press in an effort to dredge up dirt on him. He added, "When I do speak out, they are going to go after me big time. I don't know the precise nature the retaliation will take, but I can tell you now it will be swift and vindictive. They cannot afford to have people thinking they can escape unscathed if they spill the beans on the dishonesty undergirding this war." (Sad to say, the White House approach has worked. There are perhaps a hundred of my former C.I.A. colleagues who know about the lies; none -- not one -- has been able to summon the courage to go public.)
Wilson's tone was matter of fact; the nerves were of steel. Hardly surprising, thought I. If you can face down Saddam Hussein, you can surely face down the likes of Dick Cheney. Wilson's New York Times op-ed of July 6, 2003, "What I Didn't Find in Africa," pulled no punches. Worse still from the administration's point of view, Wilson then dropped the other shoe during an interview with the Washington Post also on July 6.
Consummate diplomats like Wilson typically do not speak of "lies." So outraged was Wilson, though, that this bogus story had been used to "justify" an unprovoked war, that he made a point to note that the already proven dishonesty begs the question regarding "what else they are lying about."
It was a double whammy. And, as is now well known, the White House moved swiftly -- if clumsily (and apparently illegally) -- to retaliate.
It was clear from the start that Vice President Dick Cheney and Kemosabe (Amer. Indian for "Scooter") Libby, as well as Karl Rove, were taking the lead in this operation to make an object lesson of Wilson and his wife. And it is somewhat reassuring to notice that some newly tenacious mainstream pundits are now waking up to this. Better late than never, I suppose.
Ray McGovern was a C.I.A. analyst for 27 years, and is now on the Steering Group of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity.
I find McGovern's synchophantic drivel offensive.