Someone file a missing persons report! James Risen of the NY Times delves into the Senate Intelligence report (finally!) and tells us a bit about Joesph Wilson:
The director of the C.I.A.'s center for weapons intelligence, nonproliferation and arms control responded by writing in a report that "information on the alleged uranium contract between Iraq and Niger comes exclusively from a foreign government service report that lacks crucial details, and we are working to clarify the information and to determine whether it can be corroborated."
Another unit of the C.I.A., the counterproliferation division of the Directorate of Operations, tried to collect more evidence.
Instead of assigning a trained intelligence officer to the Niger case, though, the C.I.A. sent a former American ambassador, Joseph Wilson, to talk to former Niger officials. His wife, Valerie Plame, was an officer in the counterproliferation division, and she had suggested that he be sent to Niger, according to the Senate report.
That finding contradicts previous statements by Mr. Wilson, who publicly criticized the Bush administration last year for using the Niger evidence to help justify the war in Iraq. After his wife's identity as a C.I.A. officer was leaked to the news media, Mr. Wilson said she had not played a role in his assignment, and argued that her C.I.A. employment had been disclosed to punish him. The F.B.I. is investigating the source of the leak about Ms. Plame, which was classified information.
Mr. Wilson went to Niger in February 2002 and met with the former prime minister, former minister of mines and other business contacts. In his C.I.A. debriefing, Mr. Wilson reported that the former prime minister said he knew of no contracts with any so-called rogue nations while he was prime minister, from 1997 through 1999. But he did say that in June 1999, a businessman insisted that he meet with an Iraqi delegation to discuss expanded commercial relations with Baghdad, according to the Senate report. The meeting took place, but the prime minister said he never pursued the idea because of United Nations sanctions on Iraq.
Analysts at the C.I.A. did not believe that Mr. Wilson had provided significant information, so the agency did not brief Mr. Cheney about it, despite his clear interest in the issue, the Senate found.
Now, what is missing from this story? C'mon, where are the rebuttal quotes? Was the suddenly shy Ambassador not available for a quote or two in his own behalf? Maybe he is trying to escape by sea!
Oh, but seriously. Risen does not quote anyone at all in this story, although he does recycle quotes extracted from the Senate report. Is this the New NY Times - lock the top reporter in a closet with a 500 page Senate report and a five day deadline? And how is that different from my own humble little blogging, anyway - hey, I am covering this story with as many sources as the NY Times! And more links!
Now, this is not all recycled material - I daresay that this bit - "After his wife's identity as a C.I.A. officer was leaked to the news media, Mr. Wilson said she had not played a role in his assignment, and argued that her C.I.A. employment had been disclosed to punish him" - is nowhere in the Senate report. Does the Times still offer sources on ocassion? Now, I happen to think that those assertions could be validated, but still.
The Washington Post boldly addressed Joseph Wilson's troubling relationship with the media with a Saturday-in-the-summer story splashed across page 9 (or was it in with the Real Estate ads?); the NY Times might want to do something similar. Or bolder. And they can quote me.