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Tue

29

May

2007

Right Wing World's Plame Fantasy
Tuesday, 29 May 2007 19:13
by Larry C Johnson

Senators Bond, Hatch, and Burr have sent the rightwing nuts into a frenzy with their comments challenging the truthfulness of Valerie Wilson in one of the appendices to the latest report from the Senate Intelligence Committee on pre-war Intelligence about post-war Iraq. If dumb is forever then the three intrepid Senators are guaranteed eternal life. Bond can be excused because, like Bill "Bolangles" Robinson, "he drinks a bit". Orin Hatch's failing mental faculties are probably the result of his dotage - he has become more shrill with each passing year. And Senator Burr? Okay, just plain dumb.

With feigned outrage the three Senators assert they are trying to clear up confusion about the Committee's original report (see July 2004) but proceed to issue a new bunch of disingenuous stupidity and fluff to try to further cloud the picture and accuse Ambassador Wilson and his wife of acting dishonestly. First, let's recall the specific facts presented in the original report:

  1. Several officials from the CIA's Counterproliferation Division in the Directorate of Operations said that the decision to contact Ambassador Joseph Wilson came in response to questions raised by the Vice President's Office, the Department of State, and the Department of Defense.
  2. Following these queries Valerie Wilson "offered up the name" of her husband as a possible candidate for a trip to Niger.
  3. Valerie Wilson gave her boss a memo on 12 February 2002 regarding her husband's availability to make the trip to Niger.
  4. The Counterproliferation Division hosted a meeting at CIA with Ambassador Wilson and other representatives of the intelligence community on 19 February 2002.
  5. Notes by an INR analyst (a State Department Officer named Doug Rohn) stated that the meeting "was apparently" convened by Valerie Wilson but Valerie told the Senate Intelligence Committee that she only introduced her husband and left the meeting.
  6. Several attendees at the meeting argued that the Embassy was quite capable of dealing with this matter and doubted that a trip by Joe Wilson would clarify the matter.
  7. Joe Wilson made the trip, returned to the United States in early March, met with two CIA officers and was debriefed.
  8. In early March Vice President Cheney asked his CIA briefer for an update on the Niger uranium issue and was given a written report on 5 March 2002.
  9. Joe Wilson's debriefing was turned into an intelligence report and disseminated to the intelligence community on 8 March 2002.
There is nothing terribly alarming in these facts. However, we cannot forget that the July 2004 SSCI report was produced in part to provide cover to the Bush Administration, who was under fire on the eve of the 2004 elections, for cooking the intel to take us to war in Iraq. The Republican authors of the 2004 report were deliberately deceptive in three critical areas:

  • They sought to create the impression, as expressed in Vice President Cheney's notes on the Joe Wilson July 2003 New York Times op-ed, that Valerie Wilson sent her husband on a boondoggle.
  • They neglected to mention that Joe Wilson agreed with State Department that his trip to Niger was unnecessary.
  • They stated that there was nothing in Joe Wilson's intelligence report worth telling the Vice President.
Let's look first at the "boondoggle" charge. Here's what Kit Bond said during a 14 July 2005 news conference with Senator Norm Coleman:

The reports about his -- report he made from his trip actually lent more credibility, not less, to the prospect that possibly Niger was involved in a uranium sale. Wilson's assertion that his wife Valerie Plame had nothing to do with his selection to lead a fact-finding trip is in direct conflict -- what we learned in the Senate Intelligence Committee investigation and what he told investigators. The real question is whether Mr. Wilson and his wife will tell the truth about how he was selected and what he did.
Anyone confused that Bond believed that Valerie played a key role in selecting Joe? But let's go back to the facts. We now have Valerie's memo. Are you sitting down? Ready yourself for a shock. Valerie wrote to her boss:

My husband is willing to help if it makes sense, but no problem if not. End of story. . . .[my husband] may be in a position to assist. Therefore, request your thoughts on what, if anything, to pursue here.
Now, only a complete fucking moron would read these comments and jump to the conclusion that "Valerie sent her husband on that mission". Speaking of morons, consider Fred Thompson's recent comments:

As you may recall, for some inexplicable reason, the CIA sent the husband of one of its employees to Niger on a sensitive mission. She had suggested it. He came back to the U.S. and proceeded to publicly blast the administration. Naturally, everyone wanted to know "who is this guy?" and "why was he sent to Niger?" Just as naturally, the fact that he was married to Valerie Plame at the CIA was leaked.
And Thompson wants to be President? But I digress. The basic point is that Valerie was not part of a conspiracy to send her husband. Valerie also is on the record testifying under oath that a Report's Officer in her unit came to her to brainstorm on how to answer a query from the office of the Vice President. It was in that context that Joe Wilson's name was raised. Valerie discussed the matter with her immediate boss, who in turn asked her to send note up the chain of command. She produced the memo that now appears in the latest SSCI report.

Valerie also testified that junior employee in her office was called by someone in the office of the VP prior to the VP being personally briefed. (The call came on 12 February). Valerie's boss then directed her to prepare the email that was sent to the Chief of the Counterproliferation Division and a cable to Niger requesting country clearance for Joe Wilson for a possible trip to Niamey.

Bond, Hatch, and Burr can barely conceal their erections as they indignantly insist that a document released during the Libby trial somehow undermines Valerie's testimony and raises the specter that she has joined Libby and committed perjury. (Jesus Christ! Are folks like Bond and Hatch really this stupid). They write:

"However, the Committee now knows, based on information released during the Scooter Libby trial, that the Vice President had not even asked about the Iraq-Niger uranium deal until the following day. . . .the Vice President asked for CIA's assessment (nb: not an investigation) of the matter.
No wonder these clowns were conned into believing that Iraq had ample piles of WMD ready to strike the United States. The document does not challenge Valerie's veracity, in fact, it supports her story. Apparently Bond, Hatch and Burr were too busy to actually read the CIA memo (I bet they haven't read alot of important documents). The 14 February 2003 briefing contains (see page 3) the following paragraph:

We have tasked our clandestine sources with ties to the Nigerien Government and consortium officials to seek additional information on the contract.

That boys and girls is called an INVESTIGATION. A clandestine one at that. That's why Valerie sent out the cable to Niger on 13 February 2002, as confirmed even by Senators Bond, Hatch, and Burr. Morons! They have not deposed the Vice President or Scooter Libby or any other member of the Vice President's staff and asked who called the CIA on 12 February 2002. The Senators have not reviewed phone records to verify whether or not a phone call took place. Nope, they use disingenuous weasel words to try to impugn the integrity of a woman who conducted herself--in the words of another CIA officer who worked with her in CPD as--"the consummate professional".

But consider how Republican twits like Bond and Hatch do their work. The original SSCI only provided part of the story about the meeting that Joe Wilson attended at CIA in mid-February. It is true that many in attendance, especially Doug Rohn, believed that it was not necessary to send Joe Wilson to Niger. What the lying Republicans forgot to mention is that Joe Wilson agreed with Doug Rohn (see page 5 of DX 71.1).

Then Joe Wilson came home, was debriefed, and an intelligence report released. The title of the report? "Nigerien Denial of Uranium Yellowcake Sales to Rogue States" (see p. 8). But what did the Republican led SSCI Committee claim in its 2004 report? According to p. 73, conclusion #13 :

The report on the former ambassador's trip to Niger, disseminated in March 2002, did not change any analysts assessments on the Iraq-Niger uranium deal. For most analysts, the information lent more credibility to the original CIA reports on the uranium deal. . .
That is total bullshit. You do not even have to be a trained intelligence analyst to understand or appreciate that a report, rated "good", that contains reliable information that Niger denies selling uranium yellowcake to rogue states, is not relevant and that it "increased analyst confidence" that Niger was in fact trying to do the dirty deal.

This stunt by Bond, Hatch, and Burr is the latest installment of the right wing’s ongoing character assassination of Joe and Valerie Wilson. This time, Senators Kit Bond, Orrin Hatch and Richard Burr--a minority of the minority of the SSCI—ineptly carry the administration’s slop jar and, in the process of trying to dirty up the Wilsons, dump the shit jar on themselves.

The objectives of the “additional views” are transparent. They are following the Republican playbook unleashed against Joe Wilson when his oped appeared in the New York Times on July 6, 2003. Blame him, blame his wife, and the press will forget about the lie in the State of the Union.

This time they hope their renewed attack on the Wilsons will divert public attention from the devastating substance of the SSCI report. For once most of the sane media did not take the bait or chase this particular shiny object.

Give Senators Bond and Hatch their due. They have given a new depth of understanding to the term, “hypocrite”. B ond, who decried the SSCI report as partisan politics, has no qualms about unleashing a political hit piece on the Wilsons. At least acknowledge that Orin Hatch is consistent. He has no problem excusing the lies of Fredo Gonzales, endorsing the subversion of the rule of law by his former staffer Kyle Sampson, and using his good offices to spring a convicted drug trafficker from an Arab jail. Smearing the Wilsons is just his knack for doing the wrong thing for the wrong reasons. Remember, he also was on the record saying that Utah polygamists he knew were good folks. I am sure.

We are left with these basic facts. There was no credible intelligence that Iraq was trying to buy uranium from Niger. Hell, Iraq could not even process the uranium it had. Despite reports from the U.S. Embassy in Niger, the Deputy U.S. Commander of EUCOM, and Ambassador Wilson, people in the office of the Vice President pressed ahead with a lie. Even when George Tenet repeatedly tried to prevent the President from using this specious claim, the White House and its minions kept grabbing for the lie and preached it to the American people.

It is important that we not forget the lies of George Bush and Dick Cheney. Americans are dying in Iraq in a war of choice based on lies. Instead of pursuing truth, Senators like Bond, Hatch and Burr spew venom on honest Americans like Joe and Valerie Wilson. Not on my watch.
 
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