Plame blame game primer

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Just to make sure we're all on the same page, let's consider the some assertions by Joseph C. Wilson IV, and how they do or do not comport with the related sections of the report by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI), dated July 7, 2004, on the Intelligence Community's prewar assessments on Iraq.

Note:    [R] = Redacted, that is, the bits the Government does want you to see.

            CPD = CIA's Directorate of Operations Counterproliferation Division

First Wilson assertion: His wife did not recommend him to the CIA for the trip to Niger.

SSCI report page 39:

([R]) Some CPD officials could not recall how the office decided to contact the former ambassador, however, interviews and documents provided to the Committee indicate that his wife, a CPD employee, suggested his name for the trip. The CPD reports officer told Committee staff that the former ambassador's wife 'offered up his name' and a memorandum to the Deputy Chief of the CPD on February 12, 2002, from the former ambassador's wife says, 'my husband has good relations with both the PM [prime minister] and the former Minister of Mines (not to mention lots of French contacts), both of whom could possibly shed light on this sort of activity.' This was just one day before CPD sent a cable [R] requesting concurrence with CPD's idea to send the former ambassador to Niger and requesting any additional information from the foreign government service on their uranium reports. The former ambassador's wife told Committee staff that when CPD decided it would like to send the former ambassador to Niger, she approached her husband on behalf of the CIA and told him 'there's this crazy report' on a purported deal for Niger to sell uranium to Iraq.

 ([R]) The former ambassador had traveled previously to Niger on the CIA's behalf [R]  The former ambassador was selected for the 1999 trip after his wife mentioned to her supervisors that her husband was p1anning a business trip to Niger in the near future and might be willing to use his contacts in the region [R] Because the former ambassador did not uncover any information about [R] during this visit to Niger, CPD did not distribute an intelligence report on the visit.

Well, there goes that assertion, one would think. And this was even his second trip to Niger while sleuthing for the CIA after being recommended by his wife! We don't know what he was checking on for Langley during his first trip since that's one of those [R] bits. But as recently the 28th of August, Kevin Drum in his 'Political Animal' blog for the Washington Monthly states:

You see, Armitage apparently learned about Joe Wilson's trip to Niger on July 7 [2003] from a State Department memo that (incorrectly) suggested he had gotten the assignment because his wife, a CIA analyst, had recommended him.

'Incorrectly'? Mr. Drum had better let the SSCI know right away so they can correct their report. Don't you think?

Second and third Wilson assertions: There was no substance to the reports that Iraq had sought to purchase yellowcake from Niger and he knew that the 'document' proving same was a forgery.

Note:    DO = Directorate of Operations

            IC = Intelligence Community

            CPD = CIA's Directorate of Operations Counterproliferation Division

 

SSCI report page 46:

([R]) The CIA's DO gave the former ambassador's information a grade of 'good,' which means that it added to the IC's body of understanding on the issue, [R]  The possible grades are unsatisfactory, satisfactory, good, excellent, and outstanding, which, according to the Deputy Chief of the CPD, are very subjective. [R]  The reports officer said that a 'good' grade was merited because the information responded to at least some of the outstanding questions in the Intelligence Community, but did not provide substantial new information. He said he judged that the most important fact in the report was that the Nigerien officials admitted that the Iraqi delegation had traveled there in 1999, and that the Nigerien Prime Minister believe the Iraqis were interested in purchasing uranium, because this provided some confirmation of foreign government service reporting. (Emphasis added.)

But back on page 44:

([R]) When the former ambassador spoke to Committee staff, his description of his findings differed from the DO intelligence report and his account of information provided to him by the CIA differed from the CIA officials' accounts in some respects. First, the former ambassador described his findings to Committee staff as more directly related to Iraq and, specifically, as refuting both the possibility that Niger could have sold uranium to Iraq and that Iraq approached Niger to purchase uranium. [...] Second, the former ambassador said that he discussed with his CIA contacts which names and signatures should have appeared on any documentation of a legitimate uranium transaction. In fact, the intelligence report made no mention of the alleged Iraq—Niger uranium deal or signatures that should have appeared on any documentation of such a deal. The only mention of Iraq in the report pertained to the meeting between the Iraqi delegation and former Prime Minister Mayaki. Third, the former ambassador noted that his CIA contacts told him there were documents pertaining to the alleged Iraq—Niger uranium trans action and than the source of the information was the [R] intelligence service. The DO reports officer told Committee staff that he did not provide the former ambassador with any information about the source or details of the original reporting as it would have required sharing classified information and, noted that there were no 'documents' circulation in the IC at the time of the former ambassador's trip, only intelligence reports from [R] intelligence regarding and alleged Iraq—Niger uranium deal.

Ambassador Wilson seems to have some difficulty keeping his story straight. Tell the CIA one story, tell the Senate Intelligence Committee another. No problema.

Wilson and general anti—war assertion four: 'Bush lied, people died'

'The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa.'

—— President Bush in his January, 2003 State of the Union address.

'Review of Intelligence on Weapons of Mass Destruction', Report of a Committee of Privy Counsellors, The Rt Hon The Lord Butler of Brockwell KG GCB CVO, Chairman, Ordered by the House of Commons to be printed 14th July 2004, page 156:

URANIUM FROM AFRICA

45. From our examination of the intelligence and other material on Iraqi attempts to buy uranium from Africa, we have concluded that:

a. It is accepted by all parties that Iraqi officials visited Niger in 1999.

b. The British Government had intelligence from several different sources indicating that this visit was for the purpose of acquiring uranium. Since uranium constitutes almost three—quarters of Niger's exports, the intelligence was credible.

c. The evidence was not conclusive that Iraq actually purchased, as opposed to having sought, uranium and the British Government did not claim this.

d. The forged documents were not available to the British Government at the time its assessment was made, and so the fact of the forgery does not undermine it.

(Paragraph 503)

So there you have it. The whole they—did—it—to—get—even business was a fabrication on the part of Mr. Wilson and others from the very start. Wilson even writes a book The Politics of Truth. How ludicrous. Why has Mr. Fitzgerald been specially prosecuting for the last three years when those lying were not even the targets of his investigation? Why has the Bush Administration not vigorously gone on the offensive to refute Wilson's claims? How can Democratic Senators keep a straight face when bashing Bush about WMD when they helped author the Senate report that unequivocally proves Wilson a liar? How. . .oh, never mind.

I don't know. Do you?

Dennis Sevakis    8 29 06

Just to make sure we're all on the same page, let's consider the some assertions by Joseph C. Wilson IV, and how they do or do not comport with the related sections of the report by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI), dated July 7, 2004, on the Intelligence Community's prewar assessments on Iraq.

Note:    [R] = Redacted, that is, the bits the Government does want you to see.

            CPD = CIA's Directorate of Operations Counterproliferation Division

First Wilson assertion: His wife did not recommend him to the CIA for the trip to Niger.

SSCI report page 39:

([R]) Some CPD officials could not recall how the office decided to contact the former ambassador, however, interviews and documents provided to the Committee indicate that his wife, a CPD employee, suggested his name for the trip. The CPD reports officer told Committee staff that the former ambassador's wife 'offered up his name' and a memorandum to the Deputy Chief of the CPD on February 12, 2002, from the former ambassador's wife says, 'my husband has good relations with both the PM [prime minister] and the former Minister of Mines (not to mention lots of French contacts), both of whom could possibly shed light on this sort of activity.' This was just one day before CPD sent a cable [R] requesting concurrence with CPD's idea to send the former ambassador to Niger and requesting any additional information from the foreign government service on their uranium reports. The former ambassador's wife told Committee staff that when CPD decided it would like to send the former ambassador to Niger, she approached her husband on behalf of the CIA and told him 'there's this crazy report' on a purported deal for Niger to sell uranium to Iraq.

 ([R]) The former ambassador had traveled previously to Niger on the CIA's behalf [R]  The former ambassador was selected for the 1999 trip after his wife mentioned to her supervisors that her husband was p1anning a business trip to Niger in the near future and might be willing to use his contacts in the region [R] Because the former ambassador did not uncover any information about [R] during this visit to Niger, CPD did not distribute an intelligence report on the visit.

Well, there goes that assertion, one would think. And this was even his second trip to Niger while sleuthing for the CIA after being recommended by his wife! We don't know what he was checking on for Langley during his first trip since that's one of those [R] bits. But as recently the 28th of August, Kevin Drum in his 'Political Animal' blog for the Washington Monthly states:

You see, Armitage apparently learned about Joe Wilson's trip to Niger on July 7 [2003] from a State Department memo that (incorrectly) suggested he had gotten the assignment because his wife, a CIA analyst, had recommended him.

'Incorrectly'? Mr. Drum had better let the SSCI know right away so they can correct their report. Don't you think?

Second and third Wilson assertions: There was no substance to the reports that Iraq had sought to purchase yellowcake from Niger and he knew that the 'document' proving same was a forgery.

Note:    DO = Directorate of Operations

            IC = Intelligence Community

            CPD = CIA's Directorate of Operations Counterproliferation Division

 

SSCI report page 46:

([R]) The CIA's DO gave the former ambassador's information a grade of 'good,' which means that it added to the IC's body of understanding on the issue, [R]  The possible grades are unsatisfactory, satisfactory, good, excellent, and outstanding, which, according to the Deputy Chief of the CPD, are very subjective. [R]  The reports officer said that a 'good' grade was merited because the information responded to at least some of the outstanding questions in the Intelligence Community, but did not provide substantial new information. He said he judged that the most important fact in the report was that the Nigerien officials admitted that the Iraqi delegation had traveled there in 1999, and that the Nigerien Prime Minister believe the Iraqis were interested in purchasing uranium, because this provided some confirmation of foreign government service reporting. (Emphasis added.)

But back on page 44:

([R]) When the former ambassador spoke to Committee staff, his description of his findings differed from the DO intelligence report and his account of information provided to him by the CIA differed from the CIA officials' accounts in some respects. First, the former ambassador described his findings to Committee staff as more directly related to Iraq and, specifically, as refuting both the possibility that Niger could have sold uranium to Iraq and that Iraq approached Niger to purchase uranium. [...] Second, the former ambassador said that he discussed with his CIA contacts which names and signatures should have appeared on any documentation of a legitimate uranium transaction. In fact, the intelligence report made no mention of the alleged Iraq—Niger uranium deal or signatures that should have appeared on any documentation of such a deal. The only mention of Iraq in the report pertained to the meeting between the Iraqi delegation and former Prime Minister Mayaki. Third, the former ambassador noted that his CIA contacts told him there were documents pertaining to the alleged Iraq—Niger uranium trans action and than the source of the information was the [R] intelligence service. The DO reports officer told Committee staff that he did not provide the former ambassador with any information about the source or details of the original reporting as it would have required sharing classified information and, noted that there were no 'documents' circulation in the IC at the time of the former ambassador's trip, only intelligence reports from [R] intelligence regarding and alleged Iraq—Niger uranium deal.

Ambassador Wilson seems to have some difficulty keeping his story straight. Tell the CIA one story, tell the Senate Intelligence Committee another. No problema.

Wilson and general anti—war assertion four: 'Bush lied, people died'

'The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa.'

—— President Bush in his January, 2003 State of the Union address.

'Review of Intelligence on Weapons of Mass Destruction', Report of a Committee of Privy Counsellors, The Rt Hon The Lord Butler of Brockwell KG GCB CVO, Chairman, Ordered by the House of Commons to be printed 14th July 2004, page 156:

URANIUM FROM AFRICA

45. From our examination of the intelligence and other material on Iraqi attempts to buy uranium from Africa, we have concluded that:

a. It is accepted by all parties that Iraqi officials visited Niger in 1999.

b. The British Government had intelligence from several different sources indicating that this visit was for the purpose of acquiring uranium. Since uranium constitutes almost three—quarters of Niger's exports, the intelligence was credible.

c. The evidence was not conclusive that Iraq actually purchased, as opposed to having sought, uranium and the British Government did not claim this.

d. The forged documents were not available to the British Government at the time its assessment was made, and so the fact of the forgery does not undermine it.

(Paragraph 503)

So there you have it. The whole they—did—it—to—get—even business was a fabrication on the part of Mr. Wilson and others from the very start. Wilson even writes a book The Politics of Truth. How ludicrous. Why has Mr. Fitzgerald been specially prosecuting for the last three years when those lying were not even the targets of his investigation? Why has the Bush Administration not vigorously gone on the offensive to refute Wilson's claims? How can Democratic Senators keep a straight face when bashing Bush about WMD when they helped author the Senate report that unequivocally proves Wilson a liar? How. . .oh, never mind.

I don't know. Do you?

Dennis Sevakis    8 29 06