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July 19, 2004

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J Mann

Wilson's in deep on this one. As the Weekly Standard pointed out yesterday, a *bunch* of journalists have come away from interviews with Wilson believing that his report stated that the Niger memo was a forgery.

1) On May 6, Nick Kristof reported that "In February 2002, according to someone present at the meetings, that envoy reported to the CIA and State Department that the information [of a Niger-Iraq uranium deal] was unequivocally wrong and that the documents [purporting to show such a deal] had been forged."

2) On June 30, Ackerman and Judis wrote, in an NPR cover story, "Cheney had given the information to the CIA, which in turn asked a prominent diplomat, who had served as ambassador to three African countries, to investigate. He returned after a visit to Niger in February 2002 and reported to the State Department and the CIA that the documents were forgeries. The CIA circulated the ambassador's report to the vice president's office, the ambassador confirms to TNR. But, after a British dossier was released in September [2002] detailing the purported uranium purchase, administration officials began citing it anyway, culminating in its inclusion in the [2003] State of the Union. "They knew the Niger story was a flat-out lie," the former ambassador tells TNR."

Now, maybe Wilson just has bad luck, and Kristof, Pincus, Ackerman, and Judis all independently and mistakenly walked away from their interviews with him believing that Wilson had detected the forgery himself, but I doubt it.

Dacotti

I'm no intel expert but I think I know what happened and why Wilson is being so elusive. His wife is a CIA counterintelligence analyist: What are the chances that she has NOT told him stuff that she shouldn't have? He accidently shoots off his mough about things that he has no way of knowing otherwise and then has to start obfuscating about where he learned them. His best bet would be to shut the hell up and stop talking to anyone about this.

TM

Dacotti, d'accord - reading through the lines of the Senate report, they were obviously puzzled about these forgeries (which are the focus of a separate FBI investigation), wondered why Wilson seemed to know more than he should about them, and wrote a cryptic, comic comment about his wife, the gist of which was, we don't criticize you for sending the husband of an employee, but we wish you hadn't.

Oh, here we go, p. 25:

The Committee does not fault the CIA for exploiting the access enjoyed by the spouse of a CIA employee traveling to Niger. The Committee believes, however, that it is unfortunate, considering the significant resources available to the CIA, that this was the only option available.

Ernst Blofeld

I emailed the WaPo ombudsman asking for a clarification on Pincus' reporting. Wilson has charged he was misattributed, and that's a serious reflection on Pincus and the paper. Perhaps they would like to clear that up and issue either a retraction for their reporting or a statement that they stand by their story.

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Wilson/Plame