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January 18, 2006

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» Sixteen Words Redux from Presto Agitato
I should point out (once again) that there is a big difference between "seeking" (what President Bush actually said and what the British are standing by) and "obtaining". Joe Wilson still glosses over that distinction, as well he might since he's hopi... [Read More]

Comments

Seixon

Well, what gets me is that the INR, Carl Ford, Richard Armitage, or Colin Powell... didn't report to the President the INR view that the Niger documents were forgeries.

WINPAC was kept out of the loop on the forgeries due to Plame's CPD squad sitting on them and not passing them around the agency...

Seems to me that if Richard Armitage is Woodward's source, this thing gets a bit tangled as either he or Carl Ford (who would have reported to Armitage) should have known about the INR's issue with the forgeries.

kim

Maybe Joe didn't read the quote "Some officials may have conspired for individual gain to arrange a uranium sale", or maybe he didn't want us to read it.
==========================================

kim

TENET, not Armitage. And I suspect that instead of State giving the play-by-play, it was Hero George. The trouble is that he was trussed up in the custodial closet of the pressbox.
=====================

kim

I still suspect the three billion dollars given by Saddam to Khaddafi was for a bomb. I wonder where that money is? Arafat's was so thoroughly invested that it is well documented.
=============================================

Jeff

The SSCI works hard to distort the CIA's position, to be sure with the help of some CIA folks like the nuclear analyst -- whose account, read closely, doesn't actually contradict the INR position. All the CIA's nuclear analyst says is it that it was possible Niger could supply uranium. No kidding. (It's really disheartening that we went to war on the basis of crap like that.) One item of interest that does seem to be newsworthy is that the INR report was distributed not only by Powell's office but also by the DIA.

It's also interesting that the INR analyst who wrote the assessment was told it was in response to interest from Cheney's office, just like Wilson was told. Gee, I wonder how they could have gotten that idea.

Jeff

INR thought it would be an inconclusive waste of time.

Not quite right. INR thought the trip would be redundant because the embassy in Niger had good contacts. It's a little but of turf protection -- and as we know the ambassador to Niger came to the same conclusion as Wilson -- and also confidence in their own position. (It's on p. 40 of the SSCI report.) This difference makes it less likely that the INR would be belittling the Wilson trip. In fact, according to your theory of the motivations, if anyone would be doing belittling Wilson's trip, it would be people who shared WINPAC's view noted on pp. 40-41 of the SSCI, that the trip's results would be suspect and not believable.

I don't think the State folks were taking shots at the CIA folks -- or specifcally the CPD folks -- over this. It still may well be the case that Woodward's source was Armitage. But not for the motivations you mention.

kim

What's disheartening is that you still don't understand why we went to war. You won't understand the next time we go to war, either.
===========================================

Seixon

Jeff, I don't see what your point is in the last part. There is no one disputing that Cheney's office had an interest in clearing up the earlier reporting on uranium and Niger. What matters is what the CIA ended up telling Cheney's office as a result of this interest.

kim

Has it occurred to you that neither Wilson, nor the Embassy in Niger had the contacts they thought they had?
===========================================

kim

What about Khan's Grand Parade of Africa?
==========================================

topsecretk9

---Mr. Wilson said in an interview that he did not remember ever seeing the memo but that its analysis should raise further questions about why the White House remained convinced for so long that Iraq was trying to buy uranium in Africa.

"All the people understood that there was documentary evidence" suggesting that the intelligence about the sale was faulty, he said.---

Why does Wilson always initiate a denial disclosure every time he is to answer a question?

Well of course he didn't see the memo, it was classified up until NOW, right?

Or is he caveat "remember" as in "I could have I just don't remember"

topsecretk9

What about Khan's Grand Parade of Africa?
==========================

The CIA missed that too, no?

Cecil Turner

Yet another argument for reading the source document rather than relying on the Times's summary. As Judicial Watch's Tom Fitton points out:

“On the one hand, they seem to confirm the president’s assertion that Iraq was attempting to buy uranium. On the other hand, they suggest that such a deal would have been difficult to consummate.”
You won't find any of that in the Times. In fact, Lichtblau pretends the analysts' doubts are on "sought," and provides a nice little misdirection to imply "Bush Lied":
The analysts' doubts were registered nearly a year before President Bush, in what became known as the infamous "16 words" in his 2003 State of the Union address, said that Saddam Hussein had sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa.
He then overstates the importance of the African Uranium while simultaneously mischaracterizing it:
The White House later acknowledged that the charge, which played a part in the decision to invade Iraq in the belief that Baghdad was reconstituting its nuclear program, relied on faulty intelligence . . .
Did they now? Are we again (still) conflating "sought" with "got"? And as to the importance, seems to me Tenet said: "the NIE’s Key Judgments cited six reasons for this assessment; the African uranium issue was not one of them."

Lichtblau then goes on to tie it in with Libby's case, pretending Wilson was proved correct (on the "Cheney twisted intelligence" charge). Are Times reporters really that clueless? Or are they "twisting" the story?

maryrose

" But someone would have to ask these reporters{ and get an answer}for the public to find out"
This is the crux of the entire investigation. Is this in fact happening or if not; when is it going to happen? This whole case is incomplete without turning over all the rocks and finding out who knew what when. I mean aren't those the main journalistic questions? The why of course is still in the speculation area.

kim

Eric is stupid or lying, and you've just documented it, CT.
=======================================

topsecretk9

Eric is stupid or lying, and you've just documented it, CT.
=======================================

Or lazy. Looks like cut-n-paste boilerplate to me.

Rick Ballard

Tom,

This may be the IAEA watch puppy report to which you refer. It certainly reflects the proud incompetence that I've come to expect from ElBaradei - a good summary of IAEA's inability to perform their assigned task and a good reason to pay absolutely no attention to any claims on the part of the IAEA asserting that any country is "safe".

kim

Right, ts, but at this point to use boilerplate is either stupid or deceitful.
=====================================

kim

Actually, it's either stupid or stupid. He either is too stupid to know the facts, or too stupid to know he can't get away with not knowing them anymore. I guess I'll have to retract to 'ignorant or ignorant'. What I think is ignorant is that people pay him for that crap. Are the people paying stupid or lying? Or is ignorance endemic? I hear CJR still defends that ignorant Burkett forgery article. Is there no limit to ignorance?
=====================================

kim

OK OK OK. The oceans hem a lot of it in.
===========================================

Rick Ballard

Well, it could be stupid and deceitful. It is the NYT, so neither can be excluded. It's definitely decent propaganda so it does comply with NYT standards.

Much better than the little artillery shell/rocket problem.

kim

I love it.

America: A vast tract of ignorance concentrated at the edges where the oceans hem it in.
==============================================

kim

All the News We Make Fit to Print.

or

All the News We Fix to Print.

and my old favorite

All the News Left to Print.
============================================

TP

Kim. How about the old Mad Magazine slogan "All the news that fits"?

topsecretk9

Or lazy

I should have said "stupid and lazy"

I think all qualify as stupid, that's for sure.

clarice

What more can be said of such journalistic malpractice?

Jeff

Cecil - Thanks for the link to the document. It's funny you say that there is

Yet another argument for reading the source document rather than relying on the Times's summary

but then you seem to rely on a claim of Judicial Watch's to the effect that the documents seem to confirm Bush's assertion about Iraq seeking uranium that seems completely unsupported by the source document. Maybe Fitton is referring to something in one of the many other documents they got their hands on, which I hope they'll post.

The White House later acknowledged that the charge, which played a part in the decision to invade Iraq in the belief that Baghdad was reconstituting its nuclear program, relied on faulty intelligence . . .

Did they now?

Yes. Check out Fleischer on 7-7-03, followed up by a statement from the White House reported on by the NYT and the WaPo on July 8.

And as to the importance, seems to me Tenet said: "the NIE’s Key Judgments cited six reasons for this assessment; the African uranium issue was not one of them."

Yeah, which is basically Tenet shifting the blame for the fact that the claim made it into the SOTU back to the White House. And don't forget that the CIA, and Tenet personally, had aggressively intervened with the White House and with Hadley in particular to get the claim taken out of Bush's important Cincinnati speech back in the fall of 2002, and the White House put the claim back into the SOTU. Evidently it mattered to them, however insubstantial it was as a piece of intelligence.

maryrose

How about NYT- Stuck On Stupid

steve

There is no word "Thusly." The correct word is thus.

topsecretk9

Wait a second...

Lichtblau then goes on to tie it in with Libby's case, pretending Wilson was proved correct (on the "Cheney twisted intelligence" charge). Are Times reporters really that clueless? Or are they "twisting" the story?

We're/are Lichblau's arms tied because a true accounting of facts would directly contradict all of the papers previous reporting --ala Kristof -- on the subject?

And so therefore placing old Nick in a precarious position of being "de-bunked" by his own paper?

Consistency over accuracy, avoiding another Judy Miller/WMD reporting type situation?

topsecretk9

missed opportunity... should have started my last comment with

"Wait...just one minute"

Dennis

The claim that the uranium transfer would be hard to consummate seems dubious. Niger has a border with Libya. Assuming at the time that Libya and Iraq were on sufficiently good terms, moving the uranium from Niger to Libya and then by sea to Iraq does not seem particularly difficult.

Bill in AZ

I think the Uranium was going straight to Libya anyway. Didn't even need to go to Iraq.

Terrie

This is off topic but always on our minds.

Byron York at The Corner just posted the following, which you can find at http://tinyurl.com/9hata:

WHAT IS FITZGERALD UP TO?

Amid all the news of Abramoff, Alito, and the NSA-al Qaeda leak, one thing we haven't been hearing much about in the last few weeks is the Patrick Fitzgerald CIA leak investigation. Neither, apparently, have some of those who have been most affected by it. Sources close to Karl Rove say they have not heard from Fitzgerald since December, when there was public speculation that Fitzgerald was going to make a decision on Rove's future fairly soon. So far, however, there's been nothing, and while reporters have been keeping an eye on the courthouse in Washington, there apparently haven't been any Fitzgerald sightings there recently. The sources wish they could say what it all means, but at the moment, they say they just don't know.

Cecil Turner

you seem to rely on a claim of Judicial Watch's to the effect that the documents seem to confirm Bush's assertion about Iraq seeking uranium that seems completely unsupported by the source document.

Completely unsupported? The lead-off paragraph (of five) concerns a report of possible negotiations:

34. (S/NF) A CORRUPT FORMER PRESIDENT MAY HAVE NEGOTIATED WITH IRAQ. [Followed by a deleted sentence apparently not declassified because of intelligence sources and most likely a comm intercept]
Yes. Check out Fleischer on 7-7-03, followed up by a statement from the White House reported on by the NYT and the WaPo on July 8.

Is "relied on faulty intelligence" an accurate summary, even of Fleischer's statements? At best it's incomplete, ignoring Fleischer's two supportive assertions in favor of the latter:

  • Yes, I see nothing that goes broader that would indicate that there was no basis to the President's broader statement. But specifically on the yellow cake, the yellow cake for Niger, we've acknowledged that that information did turn out to be a forgery.
  • We see nothing that would dissuade us from the President's broader statement.
  • So, yes, the President' broader statement was based and predicated on the yellow cake from Niger.
Besides, the definitve Administration position was from Tenet, who says we relied on a British government report (and shouldn't have, since we couldn't independently verify it). And since that's self-evident from the "16 words" . . .

Yeah, which is basically Tenet shifting the blame for the fact that the claim made it into the SOTU back to the White House.

Tenet is correct in that the NIE does in fact have 6 key judgments on Iraq's nuclear program, and African Uranium isn't in there. The pretense that Nigerien uranium was a major factor in the go to war decision is revisionist.

kim

Joe's revisionsism. And who else, I wonder.
============================================

Neo

A quick read of the Butler Report indicates that Africa seems to have at least two countries (actually there are dozens), Niger and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

On page 123 section 499 states "We conclude that, on the basis of the intelligence assessments at the time, covering both Niger and the Democratic Republic of Congo, the statements on Iraqi attempts to buy uranium from Africa in the Government’s dossier, and by the Prime Minister in the House of Commons, were well-founded.

Did Joe Wilson go to the DRC ? Thought not.

Did the INR or SSCI say anything about the DRC ?

I seem to continually come upon this state of mind that has given Africa the status of a country and not a continent.

maryrose

Joe's revisionism, msm revisionism, CIA revisionism, anything to weakenen the position to invade Iraq. People not elected, trying to set policy and grab unto the spotlight and the fading glory{Wilsons}.
After Corn outed Plame she lost cache, Joe was marginalized and the spotlight faded.

nittypig

The best IAEA document on Libyan Yellowcake is:

http://www.nuclearfiles.org/menu/key-issues/nuclear-weapons/issues/proliferation/libya/2004-05-28_npt-safeguards-agreement-implementation_iaea0504_fas_org.pdf

The IAEA report has only 2263 tons of yellowcake in Libya. All imported between 1978 and 1981. The part that the IAEA didn't know about was imported prior to July 1980 (when the Libyan agreement with the IAEA went into effect) and amounts to 587 tons. All came from two producers in one country (presumably Niger) and documents from the producers match the Libyan accounts. In a subsequent report gov/2004/59 (google it) the IAEA veried the number of drums in which the yellowcake was stored and randomly sampled a number of drums to confirm the contents and amount.

So where did the FT come up with 2600 tons, and the 1500 tons in Nigerien records? Libya had, by the IAEA's account, 2263 tons of yellowcake, of which 1676 tons had been declared to the IAEA prior to Dcember 2003.

I think the FT article is wrong.

nittypig

The best IAEA document on Libyan Yellowcake is:

http://www.nuclearfiles.org/menu/key-issues/nuclear-weapons/issues/proliferation/libya/2004-05-28_npt-safeguards-agreement-implementation_iaea0504_fas_org.pdf

The IAEA report has only 2263 tons of yellowcake in Libya. All imported between 1978 and 1981. The part that the IAEA didn't know about was imported prior to July 1980 (when the Libyan agreement with the IAEA went into effect) and amounts to 587 tons. All came from two producers in one country (presumably Niger) and documents from the producers match the Libyan accounts. In a subsequent report gov/2004/59 (google it) the IAEA veried the number of drums in which the yellowcake was stored and randomly sampled a number of drums to confirm the contents and amount.

So where did the FT come up with 2600 tons, and the 1500 tons in Nigerien records? Libya had, by the IAEA's account, 2263 tons of yellowcake, of which 1676 tons had been declared to the IAEA prior to Dcember 2003.

I think the FT article is wrong.

TM

There is no word "Thusly." The correct word is thus

Yeah, SpellCheck has the same hang up. But what about that musical classic, "Thusly Spake Zarathustra"?

clarice

nitty, I think anyone who thinks records of sales from mines in a desperately poor country run by corruptocrats overseen by French officials is the sort of person who bought a salad shooter.

nittypig

Hey, no argument with that. But the FT article asserts that the IAEA found 2600 tons of which 1100 were undeclared. The IAEA report (from June 2004) doesn't say that at all, it says that there were 587 (undisclosed) tons imported prior to July 1980.

So I don't doubt that Libya could well have acquired undisclosed uranium from Niger, and could have done so after 1981. However, Libya has not disclosed any such purchases to the IAEA, and the IAEA is entirely ignorant of any such activity. Doesn't mean it didn't happen, but sort of affects how you source your information.

TM

As to the question of what might be engaging Special Counsel Fitzgerald, it is possible he has moved on to a new clown show:

CHICAGO, Jan. 17 - For nearly nine months, he eluded an international manhunt by federal agents, sent taunting letters and kept a curious city wondering if it would ever get another look at him.

But on Tuesday, Joseph Lombardo, one of 14 men indicted last spring in what prosecutors described as a historic sweep of Chicago's organized crime leaders, stood in a courtroom here at last, looking slightly puzzled, every bit his 77 years of age, and as though he was struggling to hear much of what the judge had to say.

Still, Mr. Lombardo revealed that the old nickname prosecutors know him by, The Clown, suited him even now.

Asked by the judge, James B. Zagel of Federal District Court, about his medical health, Mr. Lombardo said he had not visited with his doctor "since nine months ago," not coincidentally the same time that the indictments showed up and Mr. Lombardo did not.

...The charges are part of a broad investigation that Patrick J. Fitzgerald, the United States attorney here, says has lifted the veil of secrecy on organized crime in the city.

I haven't found a story telling us just how involved Fitzgerald is in the day-to-day of this case.

Kate

I think Fitzgerald is practicing his speech and developing new baseball analogies for when he announces the indictment of Karl Rove. He wants another media moment. He loved it.

And the case against Rove will be very weak, but our hero Fitz won't care.

kim

I'll bet his doctor got tired of the visits. Old doctors never die; they just lose their patience.
==================================================

maryrose

Still trying in vain to get Rove. Latest gambit is David Gregory and David Shuster trying to tie Abramoff {who went to the White House for Hanukah celebrations] as somehow a confidante of Rove.

topsecretk9

random interesting

1) Rand Beers?

---The memo, dated March 4, 2002, was distributed at senior levels by the office of Secretary of State Colin L. Powell and by the Defense Intelligence Agency....

Mr. Wilson said in an interview that he did not remember ever seeing the memo but that its analysis should raise further questions about why the White House remained convinced for so long that Iraq was trying to buy uranium in Africa.

"All the people understood that there was documentary evidence" suggesting that the intelligence about the sale was faulty, he said.---

Novak's beat
Bush's enemy within
Much of Washington was stunned last month when President Bush's chief counterterrorism expert resigned with a blast of criticism and then joined Democratic Sen. John Kerry's campaign for president.
Jul 10, 2003
by Robert Novak

"...Beers, a registered Democrat, vigorously promoted President Clinton's cautious line on Colombian policy as his assistant secretary of state for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs. He owed Clinton for saving his career in 1997, when White House aides wanted to sack him as a National Security Council staffer for failing to give the president FBI reports about illegal campaign contributions from China. Beers holding a highly sensitive post in a Republican administration was an accident bound to happen.

As Beers joined the Kerry campaign by attacking Bush, extreme care would have been expected in making further appointments. That is why the Townsend selection was so stunning to officials who knew her at the Justice Department...

...The line between career and political appointments at Justice has been blurred, but Townsend was viewed by old timers at Justice as part of the Reno inner circle. Her critics partially blame Townsend for changes in operation of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) that they claim inhibited sharing of information between intelligence and prosecution..."

and finally this little diddy on Walter Pincus

"Pincus was uniquely positioned to delve into the intricacies of the weapons question. At 70, he had been reporting on national security for 25 years at the Post. Along the way he had cultivated sources in Congress, the CIA, the Pentagon, and the scientific community. For decades, he has been close to chief UN weapons inspector Hans Blix.

Yet the Post buried Pincus’s March 16 story on page A17. It took help from Bob Woodward to get the story published at all.

“His support gave the editors the guts to run it,” says Pincus. “They think I am a crusader and get on kicks.”

Woodward, working the same sources for his forthcoming book on the war, put his name at the bottom of the March 16 story.

Pincus had been writing about the buildup to theinvasion for months, along with Post writers Dana Priest, Karen DeYoung, Barton Gellman, and others who gathered at “war meetings” every day..."

clarice

Good stuff,TS--Yes, Beers, I think.

maryrose

TS,
Interesting post and notice how the worm turns once they leave the administration and their power starts to fade.
Well maybe Fitz will have better luck in Chi-town than he did in washington. Let's hope he stays away a long time. Any new odds on Rove's being indicted?

topsecretk9

"war meeting" and "war meeting" co-inky-dink?

kim

Beers, Clarke, Wilson. All turned. By themselves, or with help?
=========================================

clarice

What about Berger to Clarke to Beers to Wilson..?

clarice

maryrose..Down 5 today..Still under 30%

maryrose

" By themselves or with help?"
My guess is with from campaign Kerry. Too bad Berger and Wilson were exposed and became liabilities to the campaign. Clarke,too after his 15 minutes offame and 250000 of unsold books. No wonder Kerry lost with: Berger " I forgot I stuffed documents down my pants" and Wilson the so called weapons of mass destruction expert.

clarice

They all knew eachother and had worked together in the previous administration. It was no secret Wilson's ego took a hit when Rice got the job in wanted. I think CLarke enticed Beers with the promise of a key slot in the campaign (and Kerry Administration) and Wilson the same.

clarice

I meant CLARKE'S ego

topsecretk9

from the various links above it is clear to me that Beers and Wilson are working in tandem on the story, with Beers confirming Wilson's assertions (former official shows up alot)

disputed by a CIA-directed mission to the central African nation in early 2002, according to senior administration officials and a former government official

according to the senior U.S. officials and the former government official, who is familiar with the event. The sources spoke on condition of anonymity and on condition that the name of the former ambassador not be disclosed.

After returning to the United States, the envoy reported to the CIA that the uranium-purchase story was false, the sources said. Among the envoy's conclusions was that the documents may have been forged because the "dates were wrong and the names were wrong," the former U.S. government official said."---

Which explains, at least for me, WHY someone at State, irritated by Rand Beers pimping and twisting his knowledge, would respond with "boondoggle" ...and why Kristof and Pincus would not question the Ambassadors' bona-fide story.

kim

And it may explain Clarke's smirking and pimping at the 9/11 hearings. What a jackass.
=============================

topsecretk9

and like a bad penny...this bugs me

"In today's Post story, by reporters Jim VandeHei and Carol Leonnig, Woodward is quoted as saying he told Pincus that he knew about Plame's true identity as a CIA operative in 2003. Pincus said, in the same story, that he did not recall Woodward telling him that, but believed he might have confused the conversation with one they had in October 2003 after Pincus wrote a story about being called to testify.

"In October, I think he did come by after I had written about being called and said I wasn't the only one who would be called," Pincus said, adding that he believed Woodward was talking about himself, but did not press him on it. "Bob and I have an odd relationship because he is doing books and I am writing about the same subject."


Am I missing something? TM?

Woodward said he kept his independent knowledge on the down-low because he was purposely trying to avoid being called, so why in OCT. 2003 would he tell Pincus he expected to be called?

I thought this is why the Post was embarrassed, because Woodward kept knowledge a secret?

Woodwards explanation, just that he told (confirm for?) Pincus he had been told of Plame too, makes more sense at least. Maybe JPod was on to something.

maryrose

Kim:
Agreed, what a gross and tawdry spectacle he made of himself on that occasion. He along with Berger trying to cover-up the obvious failings of the Clinton administration.Impugning Condi and pretending he wasn't listenedto at the time. What a piece of work exploiting the 9/11 families with his insincerity and fawning mannerisms.

kim

I hardly ever watch TV(Family Guy) but I happened to see just a few minutes of Clarke's spectacle without even hearing the words. I barely knew who he was at the time, but was impressed with the revulsion I felt just watching him. Whew!
==========================================

clarice

Very good, ts-but I'm afraid I don't get the jpod reference.

topsecretk9

Hopefully Clarice, you'll think this is funny!

topsecretk9

(Family Guy)?

Pea+Tear Gryphon?

Beto Ochoa

http://justoneminute.typepad.com/main/2005/10/arianna_stalkin.html#comment-10494730

"Bingo! There is a winner!
Yes, Leah is the one who figured this out.
I had posted so long ago no one remembers;
"This entire affair was initiated, orchestrated and executed by the Wilsons. They had help from CIA elements that specialize in dirty tricks. Elements that found themselves out of favor in a Republican Administration. Elements that would do anything to discredit said administration. It was done for a single minded purpose with the added reward of great celebrity in the cottage industry left wing republican bashing that sells so well to it's captive audience. Write a book or tell a tale that bashes this President or the people around him and you are guaranteed major news segments, scads of greenbacks and the eternal praise of the "progressives". Then add the bonus of spin, smoke and cover fire from your MSM promoters and it becomes a "Slam Dunk"."
Please to tell me anything not a fact in my statement."

clarice

ts--that is funny..I had no recollection of reading let alone posting that..Hope Fitz doesn't zero in on me--(Seriously, when I was a kid, I used to have nightmares about being called before HUAC and not rememberng havinng known someone who the Committee had pics of standing with me..)LOL

kim

BO, you've always been right.

Stewie slays me, even though I only catch one word in ten. I think they did that so I'll watch rerun after rerun after rerun.
=============================================

Neo

And just when the Fitz thing was getting boring .. a new scandal
.

This one is Starrless.

cathyf
nitty, I think anyone who thinks records of sales from mines in a desperately poor country run by corruptocrats overseen by French officials is the sort of person who bought a salad shooter.
Hey!!! Wait a minute!!! I'm on my 2nd salad shooter, because I wore the first one out. It's great when you have a bunch of cheese to grate, like making quiche or fondue. Although to be technical I didn't buy either one -- they were gifts. Although I did buy the powerpop... And I admit it -- I laughed at that one when I saw the commercial, too. Not as much as I laughed at the idea that Saddam would have much trouble getting as much yellowcake as he wanted, of course...

cathy :-)

Syl

Elephant in the room!

The New York Times is bringing up the 16-words not to have us argue over the underlying facts, but to pre-discredit Bush's SOTU which is coming in a few days.

clarice

The NYT' version of the Barrett report is amusing--Barrett, the CLinton officials say, eas incompetent and blaming them for his shortcomongs.

Gabriel Sutherland

Why did Stephen Hadley take the fall for the SOTU yellow cake citation?

The 16 words may not be good politically, which seems to be the plausible explanation for Hadley's short fall, but the same words still seem to make sense in terms of uncovering the AQ Khan network.

Khan's expertise is only valuable if the market dictates 4 key points.

1) The nuke buyer must have money.
2) The nuke buyer must have weapons to deliver the product, ie missiles.
3) The nuke buyer must have total control over his subjects.
4) The nuke buyer must have enemies.

Additionally, the challenges to produce nuclear weapons are so high that it is difficult for any nation to do it entirely on their own. In fact, the only nation to have acquired nuclear energy entirely through its own fruition is the United States. Everyone else chasing after the nuclear train hoping to hitch a ride.

The Rosenbergs were the Soviet vehicle. The Mossad were the Israelis vehicle. Western industry were the vehicles for Pakistan. The Soviet Union were the vehicles for China and India. Every nation REQUIRES HELP to acquire nuclear weapons.

Ergo, AQ Khan is only of value if a market permits the REQUIRED HELP to help. However, the atomic nations have matured under the realization, via Pakistan and Iraq, that civilian atomic energy is exploited for weaponized purposes. Khan recognized this after putting together the nuclear puzzle for Pakistan.

With Pakistan under his belt, Khan has the plans to build the necessary devices to enrich uranium. He needs components, people, and uranium. He gets his components from the Emirates. He gets his people from Pakistan. He gets his uranium from Niger? Nonsense.

Uranium is the hot potato of the recipe. Khan knows that western intelligence closely monitors uranium mines. So if he can't get it from the mines, where does he go? Obviously, seek it after it leaves the mine to go somewhere else. So where is the uranium going?

The question then becomes not who is demanding uranium, but who has the means to do damage with it. Clearly western intelligence was suspicious of Libya for sometime. The US has long held that Libya is a security hazard that should be closely watched. So much haste did the US have for Libya that it maintained heavy trade restrictions for over two decades. Support in the US for the trade sanctions spanned across domestic political discourse. Why? Perhaps the fact that Libya maintained strong relations with Iraq, even after it tried to assasinate the President of the United States.

When the President referred to "Africa" he was talking about Libya. The British maintain their stance on Iraq's attempts to acquire uranium from "Africa". What could not be revealed, when Hadley made his great fall, was still a spook operation in the works.

The concept car was closing down the AQ Khan network. The production car was the war in Iraq.

While the IAEA may have been aware of uranium held by Libya, it was not entirely aware of the enrichment production that they had acheived.

When we allow the NY Times to dictate history we are all dumber for it. There is nothing wrong with dissent. Mr. Plame is free to speak his mind. But when he doesn't have all the facts, we should not, nor should the NY Times, be surprised when State Department officials start talking to Bob Novak, Walter Pincus and Nick Kristof.

clarice

Interesting thesis, Gabriel.

danking70

Hey Gabriel,

Has there been any juicy secret articles written about Libya's WMD programs after they turned it over?

I can't recall any. Are they classified?

Jeff

The lead-off paragraph (of five) concerns a report of possible negotiations

Maybe I misread that very weak claim. I took it to be a counterpoint to the strong doubts expressed about Tandja negotiating, not a report of some possible fact.

Is "relied on faulty intelligence" an accurate summary

In a sense, you're right that it's not an accurate summary, insofar as the intelligence community was quite skeptical. But the claim was certainly one of the planks in the central political case (the threat of WMD and more particularly of a nuclear program), and it was faulty. Similarly, you're right that the Nigerien uranium claim was not much of a part in the decision to go to war. But again, it was a significant -- not the main, but also not a negligible -- part of the central justification offered for the war. So in fact, we didn't rely on the British report, and Tenet's statement does not say that. The SOTU used the British report in order to come up with a techically true statement. But Tenet is clear that is not the standard of certainty for the SOTU. And since he and the intelligence community had little confidence in the claim, that should have been reflected in the President's speech, and was not.

kim

Are you still trying to argue that this was a war we were 'misled' into?
==============================================

Extraneus

It's an article of religious faith on the left that because they weren't found after the start of the war, Saddam had no WMDs. Since it's an undisputed fact that he once did, the assumption is that he destroyed them all, voluntarily, without providing the evidence for having done so to the U.N. arms inspectors. With all of our great intelligence resources, Bush must have known that, so he therefore lied the Congress into war on this one and only pretext, for some nefarious but unspecified reasons probably dreamed up by the evil Cheney and having something to do with their oil buddies or Halliburton, since Bush isn't smart enough to be nefarious on his own. What we never hear, because it doesn't fit the political template, is any speculation that Saddam might have done just what he did with his 140 MIGs during Gulf War I, which was to move them to Iran before they could be destroyed. If he was friendly enough with Iran in 1991, just a few years after a long and bloody war with them that ended in stalemate, why wouldn't this be as logical a scenario as the one where he voluntarily but secretly destroyed his best weapons just to make Bush look dumb? Did we really innoculate and provide chemical suits to our infantry knowing for sure that they'd never encounter a WMD attack?

Personally, I think the Bush Lied tactic is a loser politically. A lot of exceptionally smart and talented people have wasted a lot of time on it, and almost none of the arguments against the present war have any strategic logic or even a hint of concern for the 27 million people we'd be abandoning if we really did pull out prematurely, but I think it's kind of sad that the Democrats decided on this cynical strategy and therefore can't participate in rational debates about the future of the Middle East and our role in shaping that. It's a shame that something so important has been so politicized as to have become paralyzing.

kim

Before the war, Joe Wilson argued that we shouldn't attack Saddam for fear that he would use his chemical and biological WMD on our troops. Shortly after the war, when it appeared that he had neither chemical, biological, or nuclear WMD, Joe Wilson wants to make this bogus case about half of what he found in Niger. Something isn't right, here. Notice that in both cases he is and was against the war? Either Joe Wilson is a deceitful opportunist of the first order, or he has had the role thrust upon him? Well, smart guys and dolls?
===============================================

Cecil Turner

Maybe I misread that very weak claim. I took it to be a counterpoint to the strong doubts expressed about Tandja negotiating, not a report of some possible fact.

You misread it (probably due to lack of experience with this sort of message). Paras 32 and 33 directly relate to the subject line ("NIGER: SALE OF URANIUM TO IRAQ IS UNLIKELY"). Paras 34 and on do not, so the first sentence of each is a subject line, the evidence and amplification follows. Hence in para 34, the subject is "A CORRUPT FORMER PRESIDENT MAY HAVE NEGOTIATED WITH IRAQ," and the primary assertion follows in the next line. That line was not declassified because of sources and cryptology, which suggests a human source and an intercept. (Further, I'd note that a refusal to declassify implies a stronger claim, not a weaker one.)

And since he and the intelligence community had little confidence in the claim, that should have been reflected in the President's speech, and was not.

Utter nonsense. The Intelligence Community funnels information through the CIA, which prepares and briefs policy-makers. The primary vehicle for a crisis assessment is an NIE, the relevant portions of which have been declassified. The first bullet of the intelligence community's assessment, under the heading "high confidence" is:

  • Iraq is continuing, and in some areas expanding, its chemical, biological, nuclear and missile programs contrary to UN resolutions.
You appear to be claiming the opposite, with no evidence whatsoever. Further, even the caveats put forth by INR were weak and contradictory. For example, the first line of the famous "INR Alternate View" is:
(INR) believes that Saddam continues to want nuclear weapons and that available evidence indicates that Baghdad is pursuing at least a limited effort to maintain and acquire nuclear weapons-related capabilities . . .
Wilson's story and the pretense that the IC was sending up red flares is revisionist nonsense.

Jeff

since he and the intelligence community had little confidence in the claim - the referent of "the claim" is the Niger uranium thing, not the nuclear case altogether. And if I'm not misaken, INR said in the NIE that claim was "highly dubious." I have no doubt that the intelligence community was hedging, as Libby charged. But it's not revisionist nonsense to say that there was a real gap between the confidence of the public claims with regard to the nuclear program and the view of the intelligence community, which was far less confident. What was it Cheney said? "Simply stated, there can be no doubt . . ." But we know that there were doubts.

kim

And what's amazing is the revision is for what purpose? I can see it's original purpose, but when Joe was laid open by the SCCI, and Kerry abandoned him, that should have been the end of it. Instead, the idiots on the 'whatever' decide to make insurgents out of criminals, sneer at the enfrancisement of 25 million Iraqis, and continue to try to make Joe Wilson legitimate. It just can't be anything other than politcal judgement blinded by hatred for the injustice of the Ungore Presidency. Such foolishness. I worry, because we have apparently needed a dynamic two-party system here, and the dynamo of one of them's been dynamited by an anger management problem.
==================================================

kim

Doubt, but high confidence. Cheney had the confidence, you can have the doubts. I suppose you still don't think Saddam was training terrorists?
===========================================

cathyf
since he and the intelligence community had little confidence in the claim - the referent of "the claim" is the Niger uranium thing, not the nuclear case altogether.
Jeff, I think you've got right to the essence of Joe Wilson's "big lie" here. There is no real dispute that a particular document turned out to be an absurdly transparent forgery. What Joe Wilson was claiming back in April/May/June/July 2003 is that the existence of this forged document somehow "proved" that Saddam was not seeking nuclear weapons. And that since this "fact" was "proved" then the Administration was dishonest when they claimed otherwise.

cathy :-)

Extraneus

Lest we forget.

kim

Thanks, Intrinsic. Bill could make Hillary President if he advised her to reiterate that speech today; but he won't.
================================================

Cecil Turner

the referent of "the claim" is the Niger uranium thing, not the nuclear case altogether.

If it's on the very specific claim (British Intelligence . . . ), a subsequent review defended it as "well founded." If it's a claim for the forged documentary evidence, it's wrong, but also irrelevant; and certainly has no significant impact on the case for war. If we're extrapolating that to the nuclear case (as you appeared to do above), the case does not rely on the documents, something the IC (and INR) made clear in the NIE. I'd also note the fuzzing up of the terms by many who attempt to make the "Bush lied" case, which appears to be intentional. (Not you, necessarily, but many.)

As a case in point, Lichtblau's story has the headline: "2002 Memo Doubted Uranium Sale Claim." The use of the word "claim" in the text apparently refers to the President's "sought" statement, then to describe the forged documents, and then the more general "Iraq-Niger uranium link." These are three distinct "claims," two of which appear to be true.

M. Simon

I have some technical details on uranium processing for nuke weapons.

It is not kitchen table chemistry.

BTW 22 tons or so of uranium is enough to extract enough U235 for at least two to three bombs.

So 500 or so tons is enough for 40 or more bombs. i.e. it is not an experimental or demonstration amount. It is a political quantity. Militarily significant.

kim

Show me that Saddam wasn't paying Khaddafi to develop a bomb.
============================================

topsecretk9

Sorry if I excerpt too much here, but Timothy M. Phelps has not exactly a love letter to Wilson's' cause, more of a "what have we wrought" (p.s. the whole thing is pretty lengthy and may contain more nuggets of interest)


"(Sources told us [Knut Royce] that the CIA had referred not only Novak’s column but our Newsday story to the Justice Department for investigation because we, too, had revealed new classified information — that Plame was working undercover.)...

...But Royce and I told our editors at Newsday that we would become pariahs in Washington if we agreed to testify — that no other Washington reporter would ever do so. Newsday backed us up, and told Fitzgerald in mid-April that we would not help in any way. He threatened a subpoena that for some reason never came.

Of course, we were dead wrong about what the other reporters would do. But each reporter who has testified in the case has faced different circumstances. Glenn Kessler, a State Department reporter for The Washington Post (and a friend of mine), agreed to be interviewed by Fitzgerald last June about conversations he had with Libby the previous July. Kessler said in a statement that he testified because Libby wanted him to, and that he told Fitzgerald that Libby had not mentioned Wilson or Plame. (See clarification below.)

With somewhat more difficulty Kessler’s colleague, Walter Pincus, eventually reached a deal with Fitzgerald. (His source did not release Pincus from his promise of confidentiality, but eventually revealed himself to Fitzgerald.) Tim Russert of NBC reached a deal that limited the scope of the questions...

...But I think the biggest difference in this case may lie in who Miller is, and who her sources are. And I think that’s a shame.

The journalistic community confused its understandable concern about Miller’s reporting and methods with her First Amendment cause. Not only do we not get to pick our standard bearer in a court of law, but we cannot distinguish between sources we like and those we do not. Some complained that Miller’s sources weren’t “whistleblowers”; they were wrongdoers who ratted out Valerie Plame. And did it perhaps matter that they were Republicans, the dreaded neocons no less?

I asked Floyd Abrams, who represented Miller, the Times, and, initially, Time magazine, why the atmosphere is so different now than during the Anita Hill investigation, in which he also fought. Abrams has a dog in this fight, of course, but he is still the dean of the First Amendment lawyers. He spoke of a press that has lost some of its sense of mission. And he spoke of politics. “Some journalists think the wrong people are getting protection,” he said. “That’s the most dangerous thing of all. Worse than the changes in the law, worse than grand juries going after journalists, is the image of some journalists making such decisions based on a political rather than a journalistic basis. Certainly a lot of the criticism of Judy Miller within the journalistic community is at its core political. There is an extraordinary animus. It’s very hard for me to believe that animus would exist if she were protecting different people in a different administration with different views of the war in Iraq...

...But meanwhile, even the original case involving Wilson and Plame is still fraught with danger for the press, as Fitzgerald continues to plough through the ranks of Washington journalists, now including Bob Woodward of The Washington Post and Viveca Novak of Time. All of the journalists who have testified — mostly under agreements restricting their testimony to very specific issues — are still in jeopardy. If the Libby case goes to trial, Libby’s lawyers are not bound by such agreements...

...Clarification: Glenn Kessler of The Washington Post notes that while he did agree to talk to Patrick Fitzgerald, as this article says, he wants to make clear that the scope of the questioning was very limited. Kessler says he did not divulge what two conversations he had with I. Lewis Libby in July 2003 were about, but merely affirmed that the subjects of Valerie Plame, Joseph Wilson, and Wilson's trip to Niger had not come up...."

kim

The question Phelps, or Lovelady, didn't ask is can journalists honestly offer their customers anything anymore.
================================================

Tracy

This is the first time I became aware of France having control of the uranium in Niger. Does it make anyone a little bit suspicious that the French were controlling the uranium at a time they were also dealing under the table with Iraq on Oil for Food?

Rick Ballard

Not me.

The French are extraordinarily trustworthy.

Ask any Brit.

topsecretk9

Kim

You are exactly right. Relevance. Phelps is on to it, he just needs to take one giant step further back.

He writes

"Not only do we not get to pick our standard bearer in a court of law, but we cannot distinguish between sources we like and those we do not. "

When he poses the question of compromising sources based on personal political beliefs, he should really address the root, which is framing the initial story on personal political beliefs, or
simply applying the same judgement and skepticism to all sources of information.

Of course in a typical schadenfreude fashion to Phelp's story today, the NYT's includes this disclaimer in their story about the Barrett report

"A copy of the report was obtained by The New York Times from someone sympathetic to the Barrett investigation who wanted his criticism of the Clinton administration to be known. On Wednesday, Mr. Barrett declined to discuss the report, saying he would not talk about it until it was officially made public."

Well that's choice now isn't it? Tice anyone?

The fundamental flaw that the "masters of political group think", aka reporters, made in the Plame story is not applying the same kind of distinction to their reporting.

Kristof and Pincus did a terrible, sloppy job reporting an accurate story in the first place. A decent job would have rendered Novak story-less. Kristof, apparently felt no need to do any reporting. Pincus, on the other-hand, was finally clued in, only he felt no reason to believe it. Now investigative isn't it?

It would be refreshing if Phelps (or someone else) had the balls to call this initial reporting out as the root of their self-made crisis. Unquestioning group think has bitten them in the butt, it won't go away, they are realizing the predicament they are in mostly because Bush called their "confidentiality waiver" bluff.

topsecretk9

Now investigative isn't it? =

Now "that's" investigative, isn't it?

Jeff

Cecil - We've been over a number of the specific points before (for instance, my view is that the Brits' review is self- and U.S.-serving; you think it's independent etc). I just want to note one thing. You were able to see really easily that I was reading the newly released memo too literal-mindedly, without attention to the way those things function rhetorically. (Thus I evidently misread the first sentence of #35 or whatever.) But you seem to not accept anything other than literal-minded readings of texts at other times (e.g. Tenet's statement), without recognizing that such statements also have their own rhetorical functions. And then at other times, you defy literal-minded readings very straightforwardly, as with your take on the Times article and its claims about claims.

Also, once again I'm going to make the point that I'm not talking about "the case for war" in the sense of the intelligence community's case, or what really might have been motivating the war. On that count, I think it is clear that there were multiple, different motives by multiple different players, and a bunch of logrolling went on in the administration. My point about the case for war goes to the way the war was justified in public, as part of the democratic debate about going to war. In that debate, WMD was the central justification, the nuclear case was the heart of that, and various members of the Bush administration misstated the level of certainty we had about where Iraq was at with regard to its nuclear program and capacities. And, to paraphrase Cheney, there can be no doubt that Bush's 16 words in the SOTU were significant. Not the only significant thing, to be sure (and we're just leaving aside the quality of the rest of the case, which also looks pretty poor to me), but the SOTU is without question the single most important political speech of the year in the U.S. (indeed, in the world). So Bush's inclusion of those 16 words was significant. Pretty obviously, the reason the 16 words has gotten so much retrospective attention is because the Bush administration acknowledged that they should not have been there. The Bush administration rarely acknowledges it is wrong; so when it does, it's a big deal. The way the Bush administration official in Lichtblau's article puts it,

The president has said the intelligence was wrong

Close enough.

kim

Jeff, you don't seem to understand that it was a mistake to retract the 16 words. I think that was the reason for the two George's falling out. When asked after Wilson if the words were justified, Tenet said no. He shouldn't have.
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M. Simon

I always thought the Bush position was that we could not wait for certainty. By then it would be too late.

maryrose

" Bush called their confidentiality bluff"
Absolutely right T.S.
After that they all went scurrying for the exits. Then we have them spinning their answers on Imus and generally discrediting themselves in the media. Lou Dobbs says no news from Fitz even though probe has lasted 788 days, twice as long as Watergate.

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