Memeorandum


Powered by TypePad

« Do They Know Something? | Main | Uncharacteristically Weak »

October 12, 2005

Comments

Jeff

TM - I think the significant thing about the WSJ article is not the -- as you say, well known -- fact that investigators are looking back to June, but the conjoined suggestions that Fitzgerald might be pursuing a wider conspiracy and that the investigation likely hangs on the inner workings of the WHIG. Again, this is not exactly news in and of itself -- it has been a favorite theory on the left, based in part on the fact that part of Fitzgerald's opening subpoenas back in early 2004 was for records from the WHIG (although, IIRC, they were limited to the fateful week in July, though I could be wrong). So the question is, does the WSJ have new information, or not, on the focus on the WHIG in the investigation, and which category do guesses from lawyers fall into?

kim

My guess is that it only appears that Fitz is widening his investigation because of the tactical moves being made now. I do assume close approach to omniscience by Fitz, but that he would roll antegrade is no surprise.

This is gonna be one big ball of twine when he's done. Right now the world's largest ball of twine is out in the Land of Ahs.
================================================

kim

My perspective may be off. Maybe he is rolling retrograde. One thing for sure, that ol' man river, he just keep rollin', he keeps on rollin', he keeps on rollin', along.
=================================================

pollyusa

I'd have to say the WSJ's really, really big scoop was when they reported their knowledge of the exsistence of the classified State Department Memo (INR Memo) way back in October 2003.

I wonder who leaked to David Cloud about the contents of INR memo? That would be leaking classified information.

lets see

according to two people familiar with the memo.

according to current and former government officials familiar with the meeting at the CIA's Virginia headquarters

According to current and former officials familiar with the memo

Other officials with knowledge of the memo

Officials familiar with the early 2002 meeting at CIA headquarters

quite a crowd.

Since we're thinking about timestamps, I would hazard a guess that the Senate investigation that produced the SSCI report may have been hearing testimony regarding the 2/02 meeting and the memo sometime in October 2003.

Jeff

One might argue that the senior CIA leakers cited below were not fully accurate.

That old AP report is fascinating. But -- the issue of March 8 v. March 9 aside -- I'd like to see the argument that the senior CIA leakers were not fully accurate. I'm not seeing any inconsistency between what the article says and what the SSCI. There is a very different emphasis, of course -- but, as I've been arguing for a while now, the whole interpretive framework of the SSCI report is designed to mislead on some crucial questions.

I'll give you one very significant example that I take it you are highlighting: the question of whether Cheney's office ever saw the intelligence report based on Wilson's trip. We don't know the answer to that, but I defy you to tell me where in the SSCI it says Cheney's people did not see it, though I will grant (it's my point) that the SSCI seeks to leave the impression that it did not. All the SSCI says is "CIA's briefer did not brief the Vice President on the report." The AP article, presumably referring to the intelligence report, says that the CIA informed the White House in March, along with the DIA, the Joint Chiefs, the Justice Dept. and the FBI. There are other ways to inform those folks besides briefing them. For instance, the report could be disseminated in the normal and wide channels that would include all of those destinations. Guess what? It was, per Tenet's famous July 11 2003 statement. It would also be interesting to know whether someone else briefed Cheney on the report, say someone with a funny nickname. But even if not, the basic question is, did the VP's office become cognizant of the report based on Wilson's trip? The SSCI strains to suggest the answer is no, but we do not know that.

Now, if your problem with the CIA's leaks to the AP in that story is that it makes it sound like the CIA was more doubtful about the Niger reports than it was, i would suggest the emphasis in the story is more consistent with what else we know than the SSCI report is. (You'll notice I see no warrant for taking the SSCI report as gospel, rather than as yet another set of interpretations and arguments about what happened.) True, the CIA obviously was not of one mind. But isn't it just possible that it is the SSCI that is really misleading? Insofar as it makes it sound like CIA analysts per se were not impressed by the report. Do we know this? No we don't, and perhaps it was just a couple of them, a couple who were pushing the story, and/or who knew that Cheney's office didn't want to know what they didn't want to hear. Again, go back and look at Tenet's statement. It contains a lot on the CIA's doubts and the reiteration of them to other parts of the administration.

Finally, it's worth noting that the AP report cites three senior administration officials on some of this stuff. That likely goes beyond CIA sources.

You are of course right that parts of the administration were dealing with a push from other parts and from parts of the CIA. Yes, and? There is nothing I see to suggest that any (or any material - which day in March doesn't count) part of the push was wrong.

So I'd like to see the argument.

Al

"it was obvious that the Wilson story did not start on July 6, 2004."

You mean July 6, 2003?

Al

Also, TM, I guess the issue is that the Miller (and other) subpoenas only reference the July 6 - July 12 time period. Why would Fitz have limited his inquiry that way unless he really WASN'T looking into what happened in June?

But what is new is that he's changed his mind and now IS asking about things that were prior to the period in his original subpoenas.

pollyusa

Jeff,

The SSCI report is a fascinating document. In the main sections the report seems to let everyone get their two cents on the record, which is where the contradictions come in.

It's the ultimate outing of the in-fighting.

I really wish there was an html version of the report.

MaidMarion

Does anyone remember reading online about the social encounter Bill Clinton had with "his friend" Tony Blair, while over in Europe in 2003? I believe Clinton's trip was very soon after the successful invasion of Iraq...and I believe it was the first the two had met since Clinton left office.

It was reported that Clinton told Blair that he was sorry Blair had supported Bush in Iraq...'cause some dirty stuff was coming down the pike which may hurt Blair but that he, Clinton, couldn't protect Blair from the attacks.

I thought this was curious, so was keeping a lookout for stuff hitting the fan.

Soon thereafter, the press here started reporting about the Niger trip in America but the bigger coverage was on Blair as he was being attacked for having "sexed up" Iraq's WMD. It was about two months or so later that the Brit defense analyst committed suicide...which was right about the time of Novak's article. Up until Novak's article, more media/press attention was being paid to the attack on Blair, it seemed to me.

I wish I had access to Lexus-Nexus so I could find the internet article and get the date of Clinton's meeting with Blair.

John Gillnitz

WSJ has it up free:
http://online.wsj.com/public/article/SB112907415441266084-VDsI1ez92Qlr0_XPP5IbwfiUKHI_20051111.html?mod=blogs

Wolfman

I have wondered why the press has always focused on what happened after Wilson's NYT article. The earlier (5/6/03) Kristoff article had to catch someone's attention at the WH and CIA.

In it, Kristoff wrote: In February 2002, according to someone present at the meetings, that envoy reported to the C.I.A. and State Department that the information was unequivocally wrong and that the documents had been forged. The envoy reported, for example, that a Niger minister whose signature was on one of the documents had in fact been out of office for more than a decade. . . . The envoy's debunking of the forgery was passed around the administration and seemed to be accepted — except that President Bush and the State Department kept citing it anyway.

The forged documents were the "smoking gun" that really called Bush's State of the Union comments into question.

Did the WH learn they were forged before or after the speech? Kristoff's article clearly claims before. The WH still maintains it did not learn until later.

The WH had to be very interested in the Kristoff article. Who provided the information to Kristoff (BTW, we now know it was Wilson)? If Kristoff's reporting was true, why didn't that information make it to the WH (some probably believe it did)? Was someone at the CIA trying to sabotage the case for war in Iraq?

I'd be shocked if the WH wasn't trying to learn everything it could about the Kristoff article. Among other things, that would mean checking with potentially helpful media figures (Miller?) since the "leak" appeared in the media.

eriposte

Tom,

The SSCI report significantly whitewashed the true state of affairs regarding the doubts of the CIA and what was known after Wilson's trip.

It's too much detail to provide the rebuttal here, but here are a couple of key links.

1. A review of the real facts (minus the spin) on Wilson's trip's findings:
http://www.theleftcoaster.com/archives/004982.php

2. A comprehensive summary page on the real findings of the SSCI report on the uranium from Africa issue, with links to detailed explanations:
http://www.theleftcoaster.com/archives/005047.php

3. A more comprehensive resource page with links - here:
http://www.theleftcoaster.com/archives/005211.php

Unless you mine the *raw data* in the SSCI report and the associated facts available from media coverage from that time period, it is easy to get carried away by the spin.

TM

I really wish there was an html version of the [SSCI] report

Polly - your merest wish is our command, sometimes.

Check the links on the right column of my blog, or here - it is the modified .pdf file of the SSCI, text searchable and copy-able.

Some MIT guys put it up way back when IIRC.

Unrelated, but in a sign of mounting desperation, I revisted the argument that Jpw Wilosn outed himself.

Cliff May does a poor job; my argument would be that, once Wilson went public as a CIA consultant, someone was likely to wonder about his wife. And her Brewster-Jennings cover would not hold up to any real scrutiny.

More on that here - apparently, Brewster-Jennings was set up after she came home following the Aldrich Ames debacle. So that was not even her cover company when she was active.

(The Brewstwer-Jennings article is from Oct 2003, Boston Globe, timeline).

Jeff

my argument would be that, once Wilson went public as a CIA consultant, someone was likely to wonder about his wife.

Huh? Why would someone wonder about his wife? And when, on your view, did Wilson go public as a CIA consultant?

TM

Ok, eriposte suggests I probe the ostensibly bipartisan SSCI report for the real truth, since all the Dems and their staffers lay down to cover Bush's lies. Hmm.

As an aside, I am wondering if this is the eriposte associated with the website of the same name? I thought you did a good job for your side on the Swift Boat debacle (I happen to think Cecil Turner and others did a better job for their side, but that was last year's tussle...)

Anyway, at he Left Coaster I am choking in about the sixth paragraph of the third section, just after we sjkip the intro and get to the analysis:

The dead giveaway among the inconsistencies is July 7, 2000 incorrectly being stated as a "Wednesday" rather than a Friday [on a document reported as authentic]. You want to see a document with "Wednesday, July 7, 2000" associated with an alleged Iraq-Niger sales agreement? It's right here, among the full list of forged Niger documents (scroll down to "ANNEX 1").

You tell me the odds of two supposedly independent sets of documents, describing the same fake deal, having the exact same date error (among other things), and I'll tell you the odds of an elephant hanging off the edge of a cliff using just its tail.

His point - the SSCI referred to supposedly *authentic* docs with the same date error as known forgeries, thereby proving that the "authentic" docs were fake.

My LOL response - if I had in my possession docs that really were authentic, I would use them as a template for forgeries.

And if the authentic docs had a date error, well, I might repeat that.

In which case, the odds of two seemingly coincidental date errors look a lot better. Maybe someone with accces to the first set ginned up some forgeries, too - who knows?

At this early point, my confidence collapsed - if the Left Coaster wants to assume all the Dems went to sleep, and that every oddity is explained in the wildest way, well - have fun.

BR

Hee, I think Fitzgerald already widened the investigation in week one, if not day one. The MSM is only now catching up...sort of. They caught a whiff of it two years ago, and now again. But they keep reporting the snippets they get from lawyers representing the various reporters who testified to the GJ, adding their interpretations of that data. So their reporting becomes tainted by their own wishful thinking suppositions. That's why it's so difficult to decode the articles. Not to speak of the myriad misleading descriptions of their sources. I saw one article a while ago containing three different descriptions for the same anonymous source. Fantastic analyzing you're doing, TM, wading through all of the smoke and mirrors.

If this is really going where I think it is, I hope there is some preparation to ease the press into it, otherwise the shock may be overwhelming to them.

Cecil Turner

I'm not seeing any inconsistency between what the article says and what the SSCI.

Here are three inconsistencies:

  • Wilson's trip proved nothing (and in fact most analysts thought it bolstered the claim)
  • It wasn't briefed to the Administration
  • The 16 words were not based on the forgeries
the whole interpretive framework of the SSCI report is designed to mislead on some crucial questions.

The SSCI report flatly contradicts Wilson's major points. But I don't think the credibility problem is in the report.

Jim E.

Looks like Kevin Drum is plagiarizing TM. He, too, notes that FitzGerald has had his sights on WHIG for a long time. Apparently the Wall St Journal only noticed now.

eriposte

TM,

The argument you extracted is not the only evidence I offered, even though the argument about the date is strong enough. There is a mass of additional evidence available in the SSCI report that independently validates many of the inferences (some of which is captured in the very same post).

Unfortunately, I made the assumption that you are a disinterested purveyor of facts. I realize I have been proven wrong on that count.

Regards.

BR

Looks like someone up higher in the thread didn't end off their italics. Wonder what will happen if I add it here... Testing...

clarice

Here is an html version of the SCCI report--bookmark it--so you don't have to deal with that f'ing pdr version. http://www.globalsecurity.org/intell/library/congress/2004_rpt/iraq-wmd-intell_chapter2-b.htm

TM

it was obvious that the Wilson story did not start on July 6, 2004."

Well, that *was* pretty obvious...

In addition to SpellCheck, I need to install DateCheck and BrainCheck.

Jeff

cecil - You know, you know a lot about this stuff, and you make some good points. But frankly you really way too much on evocations of logic and especially the principle of parsimony. When i spoke of inconsistencies, I was speaking of inconsistencies of facts, as opposed to the interpretation put on those facts. The first inconsistency you cite is the interpretive spin put on by the SSCI. Nothing in the underlying facts to that judgment they make contradicts the AP report, to say nothing of Tenet's July 11 statement. I challenge you to show me facts, facts, facts that are inconsistent.

You next say, it wasn't briefed to the administration. First off, all we know is that the CIA briefer did not brief it. But beyond that, and I thought I was pretty clear on this, the issue is not just whether it was briefed or not. The issue is whether the White House, and more specifically Cheney's office, learned of the report. I challenge you to find me the place in the SSCI where it is denied that the administration had the report distributed widely and in the normal channels, as Tenet's statement affirmed, and I challenge you more speficially to find any facts in the SSCI that deny that it was circulated to the White House, the DIA, the Justice Department and the FBI, as the AP article cites sources stating. Now, last you say that the SSCI says that the 16 words were not based on the forgeries. Could you give me a cite -- not that I don't believe you, I just want to see what is actually claimed -- and then we can start looking at the actual facts. Is the claim that they were not based exclusively on the forgeries, or not at all? And if you are going to play around with dates as to when the forgeries became available, I'm happy to play that game -- because I think we will find that all the relevant intel reports go back to the same discredited info as the forgeries. Or are you talking about other countries in Africa? Then we can do that part as well, if you want to talk about D Congo, and then we can go to the Butler report, which offers just about no substantiation for any of that business.

So again, the SSCI does go out of its way, in its conclusions, to continue the pushback against Wilson. But if we look at facts, and then at their selective presentation, and then at the unwarranted conclusions drawn on their basis, then I think a different picture emerges from the one you are pushing. And after all, that AP piece doesn't seem to rely much if at all on Wilson, but rather on senior CIA sources as well as (apparently) other administration officials.

TM

Unfortunately, I made the assumption that you are a disinterested purveyor of facts.

A dangerous assumption. That said, in the future be sure to offer people the Kool-aid where they can see it - some of those conspiracy theories go down hard on an empty stomach.

From Jeff, on my Wilson Auto-outing theory:

Huh? Why would someone wonder about his wife?

(a) Because John LeCarre often has husband-wife spy teams.

(b) See "Mounting Desperation", above.

Look, all I know is what I see in B movies - I have never done counter-espionage.

But if a retired Ambassador, now a consultant, announced in the NY Times that he undertook a trip for the CIA, I *might* bestir myself to learn a bit more about him, including a bit more about the wife and kids.

And the wife would not hold up to much of a look. Which Wilson should have (and probably did) know.

Well, that is the thought. I never took May seriously, because legally, I think the answer is, so what? I don't think a hypothetical defense of "Her cover was weak" would cut it in court.

But in the court of public opinion, who knows?

This would be perfect for Powerline. No fair asking what I mean by that - I've already said too much.

pollyusa

clarice and TM

Thank you, thank you, thank you for the html copy of the SSCI report.

Cecil Turner

The argument you extracted is not the only evidence I offered . . .

Unfortunately, it was the strongest evidence--the others, well . . . weren't. This one tells us Joe Wilson didn't find anything (uh, no kidding); and this one tells us: "The Senate Report establishes without any doubt that Bush's SOTU claim was based on intel from Niger." Funny then, the SOTU mention of British Intelligence, and equally perplexing is the conclusion of the Butler Report:

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.
Unfortunately, I made the assumption that you are a disinterested purveyor of facts.

Let's see. One set of assertions backed up by links from the no-doubt disinterested left coaster, followed by an ad hominem. Persuasive.

pollyusa

TM

You and Rove

From Cooper's story ""What I Told The Grand Jury"

I have a distinct memory of Rove ending the call by saying, "I've already said too much."
Time

This would be perfect for Powerline. No fair asking what I mean by that - I've already said too much.
TM

heh

clarice

Once again the June 25 conversation is NOT about the nothingburger Wilson/Plame fake "outing". It is about what Miller told him that is the subject of the 2d part of the subpoena to her (Iraqi efforts to obtain uranium). She didn't produce her notebook earlier because the coversation occurred earlier than July 6 which was the dte specified (I think erroneously) in the subpoena. July 6-13 relates to the first part of her subpoena, the nonsensical "leak" inquiry.

Jerkweed

How come conservatives go apeshit when Justice Kennedy cites foreign caselaw in his opinion, but have no problem with the President citing British intelligence as a reason to take the country to war?

Jeff

cecil - There you go again, citing conclusions from the Butler report. If you look at the underlying facts in the Butler report, they don't support that conclusion. Among other things, all the evidence on Niger in the Butler report appears to go back to the same source as the forgeries. Or at least, everything we know of does, and the British have illegally refused to turn over what else they've purportedly got to the IAEA, and Occam's razor dictates that the simplest explanation is that they don't have anything of substance, right?

Cecil Turner

"The first inconsistency you cite is the interpretive spin put on by the SSCI."

The interpretation was provided by CIA analysts . . . which is their job. A quick look at the NIE shows the CIA party line was to buy off on the Niger claims (including the forged documents). Note the INR "alternative view" is included as a minority opinion.

The issue is whether the White House, and more specifically Cheney's office, learned of the report.

I doubt it, since decisionmakers are normally provided interpreted and refined "intelligence" rather than raw "data." But if they had, they'd have learned most analysts thought it supported the uranium from Niger claims. Which doesn't really make the case, does it?

Now, last you say that the SSCI says that the 16 words were not based on the forgeries.

The SSCI is not a good reference for the British Intelligence basis for the 16 words (and actually the SSCI--and all US intelligence--tends to support the forgeries as the main source). If that's your point, conceded. However, TM's original contention was "not fully accurate," and for that particular point, Butler is the prime reference (and they have consistently cited humint sources other than the forgeries).

Jeff

clarice - We know that the June 23 conversation bore on Joe Wilson in some way. Also, by all reports it appears to be the case that Fitzgerald dropped the second part of the subpoena, the part on Iraqi efforts to obtain uranium, in agreeing to let Judy out of jail. I do think one of the things many of the righties and many of the lefties in these parts can agree on is that we'd like to see that topic investigated with greater thoroughness - by the media, by independent investigators - than it has been so far. We may have different ideas of where such an investigation would lead. But we've got consensus on getting going. Maybe we should all lobby the FBI to get moving on its alleged investigation into the forgeries, their circulation and the whys of that.

clarice

cecil, if the forgeries were so patent, why did the CIA hand them over to the IAEA without indicating their disbelief in them as apparently they did in February of 2003?

JayDee

Cecil says "The Senate Report establishes without any doubt that Bush's SOTU claim was based on intel from Niger and leaves off (and specifically based on the contents from the forged Niger documents)

Your Butler report link doesn't work, but how many ways can you spin the same set of forged docs?

The karma of this story is so satisfying. If the country finally gets a glimpse into the intelligence frauds perpetrated by WHIG, maybe we can finally begin to emerge from this long national nightmare.

clarice

Any time someone links karma to intelligence I get the heeby jeebies..%^).

The idea that the Administration deliberately relied on forged documents or was so credulous that they--unlike the grand Wizard Wilson--failed to catch it is absurd.

cathyf
Mai Manga also described how the French mining consortium controls Nigerien uranium mining and keeps the uranium very tightly controlled from the time it is mined until the time it is loaded onto ships in Benin for transport overseas. Mai Manga believed it would be difficult, if not impossible, to arrange a special shipment of uranium to a pariah state given these controls.
I know it's off-topic a bit, but I was wondering if anybody got a chuckle out of this part like I did. Sure, the sanctions regime was so effective. Ok, there's that pesky little detail that it didn't stop Saddam from stealing, oh what's the latest estimate? $20 billion. And of course it's inconceivable that in a poverty-stricken 3rd-world country if somebody dangled lots of cash he couldn't get something for his money. But the part about the French is surely the kicker. The French who played Monica Lewinsky to Saddam's Bill Clinton for all those years. Sure, they were going to protect the world from Saddam.

Yeah, right.

cathy :-)

Jeff

cecil - It's very hard to tell what we're looking at with those bare bones excerpts from the NIE, which is especially important because the key judgments glossed over a number of issues in the actual body of the document, as Woodward documents pretty convincingly in Plan of Attack, including having to do with the CIA's own internal dissensus. What's more, as Tenet emphasized in his statement of July 11 2003, the African uranium issue was left out of the Key Judgments' reasons (six were given) for judging that Iraq was reconstituting its nuclear weapons program. What's more, Tenet also emphasizes other doubts expressed about efforts to acquire uranium in Africa. What we know from the SSCI is that some CIA analysts had a particular take. Is that exhaustive? Was there any disagreement? We don't learn, though there is reason to suspect the answer to the last question is yes. Your point here does raise another important issue, though. Given that some in the CIA lined up with Cheney et al, and knew what they wanted to hear, we can't be sure that the intelligence report based on Wilson's trip accurately reported what Wilson learned and passed on to the CIA. Indeed, the SSCI gives reason to think the reporting was not accurate, given at least the conflicting depictions of the business about Iraq and Niger potentially (though never actually) broaching discussion of trade.

The issue is whether the White House, and more specifically Cheney's office, learned of the report.

I doubt it, since decisionmakers are normally provided interpreted and refined "intelligence" rather than raw "data." But if they had, they'd have learned most analysts thought it supported the uranium from Niger claims. Which doesn't really make the case, does it?

But we know as a matter of fact that the intelligence report based on Wilson's trip was given a normal and wide distribution. To me, this certainly sounds like it tracks what is claimed in the AP article. Or are you saying all those senior intelligence officials and the three senior administration officials cited in the AP article on various related matters were just lying? We also still don't know that most analysts thought the report supported the uranium from Niger claims, though you are right that those allied with Cheney were pushing that idea pretty clearly even at the time.

As for the Butler report, I'll just say again that its conclusions are not supported by the data they are based on, as best as we can tell, and the rest the British are illegally withholding from the IAEA.

Finally, if you actually look at Tenet's statement of July 11 2003, its claim track, to a significant degree, the position of the CIA laid out in the AP article. The CIA did not brief Congress on the uranium claim when Tenet et al briefed hundreds of members on Iraq in the fall of 2002. The CIA expressed reservations to the British in fall of 2002 on including acquisition attempts by Iraq in Africa (n.b not just Niger) in the unclassified dossier, as senior intelligence officials went on to clarify before Senate committees. The CIA also left out the issue in an October White Paper, because it was not fundamental, but also because they had questions about some of the reporting. Similarly, it was left out of lots of public speeches. Finally, the CIA did take issue with some draft formulations of the SOTU, but biffed its final responsibility by falling back on the technicality about citing the British. (I'll note that even on its face the claim is inaccurate, since the British had not learned about etcetc, since you can't learn something that is not the case. If Bush had just said, "The British have claimed . . .", he would have been fine. But of course that is not very convincing, is it?)

clarice

Yeah right! And those French officials (like the Ambassador to the UN SEC and then aide to Annan arrested yesterday in connection with the OFF scandal) could surely be trusted to keep accurate records.

It's impossible to keep a straight face reading how an idiot liar got so far in hoodwinking the mandarins of Fleet Street .

Jeff

clarice says, " . . . an idiot liar . . ."

Oh yes, there's no ad hominem or snark from you, clarice. Never.

clarice

Not to other posters.

And if someone deserves to be more disparaged as a self-promoting, stupid liar than Wilson, I can't imagine who that would be.

Every word he has ever said drips with self promotion and cant.

kim

Jeff since when must British Intelligence spill their sources to the IAEA?

Jay Dee, are you reading carefully? So far I see intelligence frauds from Joe Wilson and the CIA being awfully coy about Yellow Cake and Africa and Joe Wilson. And journalists unable to report.

Clarice, very good. Did the CIA know the Yelow Cake Papers were forgeries, and when did they know it? Ditto Joe.
==================================

kim

cathy f, I am actually ignorant, but I've heard that uranium ore(not yellow cake, which is partly refined) is fairly easy to lay your hands on in Africa. The refining process to yellow cake is easy. This really is not germane to this discussion, but as Jay Rosen might put it, it shimmers. Maybe it glows.
================================================

JayDee

The idea that the Administration deliberately relied on forged documents or was so credulous that they--unlike the grand Wizard Wilson--failed to catch it is absurd.

Speak for yourself. Absurd? This is the admin that gave us phony terror alerts throughout the election campaign - and another just this weekend to coincide with Bush's latest 'be very afraid' speech. They've just produced a laughably bogus "letter from al Zaquari" that reads like it was written by PNAC itself. You can believe what you wish, but I'm feeling very confident at the moment, considering the truth seeker (and soon teller) in this instance is Pat Fitzgerald and not Buckethead.

Wolfman
Did the CIA know the Yelow Cake Papers were forgeries, and when did they know it?

Wilson, through his reported leak to Kristoff repeated in Kristoff's May 6, 2003 op-ed, claimed that the CIA and the State Department knew about the forged documents when he reported about his trip to Niger in November 2002.

Jeff

Jeff since when must British Intelligence spill their sources to the IAEA?

I didn't say anything about spilling sources. UN resolutions bind governments to submit to the IAEA any information concerning Iraqi illegal weapons. To the best of my knowledge, the British continue to refuse to do this.

BR

Wolfman, wasn't it as early as Feb 02 during his briefing before the trip?

Later on, the French forged docs from "Giacomo" surfaced via Italian journalist Burba in Sept. 02. But there are many, many links of articles and interviews in which Wilson describes knowing of the forgeries before his trip. Later, when caught on his blooper in the SSCI hearings, he began backtracking.

BR

Hi Kim, did you my msg to you over in a previous thread?

kim

Ah yes, Buckhead. We should have Buckhead festivals on his anniversary in the blogosphere.

Wolfman, that's Joe you've sourced to.

Jeff, thanks, that is useful info. Those Brits have always been kind of sovereign.
===============================================

BR

PollyUSA – re yours at October 12, 2005 at 07:21 AM

How interesting that the David">http://www.cryptome.org/plame-memo.htm">David Cloud WSJ article is dated 10/17/03. The one that describes the contents of a classified INR memo. That's 11 days before Jeff Gannon's 3-part series interview of Wilson was published on 10/28/03. (Reprinted there">http://mensnewsdaily.com/archive/newswire/nw03/talonnews/1003/102803-wilson.htm">there after TalonNews.com went off line due to the furore over Gannon.)

So even though the WSJ's David Cloud was in possession of classified info as you pointed out, the Washington Post then chose to target Gannon instead, in their 12/26/03 WP article, charging that he along with other conservative news outlets were in possession of the still-classified INR document which described Plame's role in sending Wilson to Niger, implying the WH leaked it to conservative allies. I doubt the WSJ qualifies under that definition.

I believe this INR memo was part of a Trojan Horse setup by the CIA/Plame/INR cabal from the start, but had never seen the David Cloud article until you pointed it out above. Thank you! Another piece of the puzzle in the big picture : )

kim

Oh yes, BR, the aspens fascinate. And you can rhyme!
============================================

kim

What's this latest horseapple that an African diplomat sold the Yellow Cake forgeries to Italian intelligence. Is that smoked herring?

I second someone else's curiosity about the FBI investigation of the forgeries. I hope I'm third, also behind Fitz.
================================================

BR

Hee, Kim, somewhere in the stinky haze I read overnight that the Niger forgery investigation may have been combined with Fitzgerald's - oh yummy.

Cecil Turner

If you look at the underlying facts in the Butler report . . .

You can't look at underlying facts, because they're from unreleased classified reports. However, they describe their sources and the primary initial indications stemmed from the 1998 business trip (well before the forgeries) that Wilson corroborated:

The British Government had intelligence from several different sources indicating that this visit was for the purpose of acquiring uranium.
Occam's razor dictates that the simplest explanation is that they don't have anything of substance . . .

I think in this case it suggests they are protecting their sources. Otherwise you have to explain why an independent investigation (that included government critics and was not shy about poking holes in other parts of the dossier) concluded that portion as "well founded."

if the forgeries were so patent, why did the CIA hand them over to the IAEA

It's fairly obvious they never checked them. Inexcusable.

Your Butler report link doesn't work, but how many ways can you spin the same set of forged docs?

Sorry, here's a better one (and here's a crappy html version). And again, the intel pre-dates the forgeries.

It's very hard to tell what we're looking at with those bare bones excerpts from the NIE . . .

Yes, but it's apparent the CIA did not believe the Niger uranium story was "debunked," even several months after Wilson's report. So Wilson's claim to've done so is clearly disproven.

I'll note that even on its face the claim is inaccurate, since the British had not learned about etcetc, since you can't learn something that is not the case.

You're assuming it was not the case. (Which is not only unproven, but unprovable.)

Neo

Perhaps Fitzgerald is trying to figure out exactly what classified information Joe Wilson disseminated to the press, prior to the White House responding with "official leaks."

Since the President is ultimately responsible for classifying and declassifying secrets, if Rove and Libby are operating under the "presidential aegis," there may be no crime, but the same can not be said of Joe Wilson.

The timing of the "official leaks" may or may not make Joe Wilson's leaks a crime.

BR

Cecil, right - the CIA/Plame faction of the CIA knew very well they were forgeries because they were complicit in their creation around Feb. 02. Handing them over to the IAEA in March 03 just before the war began was part of the scheme to prevent the war, in France's favor, a big part of which was France and Cogema's financial interests in Niger uranium to Iraq and oil contracts between Saddam and French oil company, via Gabon.

The Sept. 02 re-surfacing of the forgeries in Italy was CYA time to cloud their origin, to pin it on Italy, to embarrass Blair and thereafter Bush.

Jim E.

BR,
I never followed the whole Jeff Gannon-Wilson interview thing, but just because the interview was published after the WSJ article doesn't mean the interview itself was conducted after the article was published. Just pointing out that for all we know, Gannon did the interview earlier.

Of course, it's incumbent upon those who think Gannon didn't rely on the WSJ article to have proof.

Well, according to Gannon himself, he DIDN'T rely on the WSJ article. (Is that proof enough?) He had already independently "acquired knowledge" of the memo. He claims his interview with Wilson took place in Sept. 2003, weeks before the WSJ published their article about the memo. See this link:
http://www.jeffgannon.com/archives/2005/06/index.html

I'm not sure if my post is on-point or not, but I think it's what you were referring to 7:30. I'm also assuming that's really a Jeff Gannon website (note: it's work safe -- no gay porn) and not an unfunny parody website.

TM

Maybe we should all lobby the FBI to get moving on its alleged investigation into the forgeries, their circulation and the whys of that.

Good point - Seymour Hersh suggested, seemingly seriously, that is was rogue retired anti-Admin CIA types.

Incredibly, he buried that seeming lead in an article bashing Cheney.

That said, should we get to the bottom of the Niger forgeries before or after the anthrax "investigation"?

Considering the national security implications, those are two pretty big outstanding questions.

Hersh

Rebuttal by Dennis Hans

kim

BR, I am suspicious that that is the source of the forgeries(Plame/CIA), but not convinced. It could just be Joe's craziness and that Italian con man's greed.

But there is a huge discrepancy between the way Joe intitally, and repeatedly, I repeat, talked about debunking the 'crazy' letter from Africa, then rowing back so vigourously it threw both his arms out of their sockets, into the river. He could hear enemy fire too.
===================================================

kim

And his legs were running so fast to keep up with his mouth that they came out of their sockets, too.

I'll have Joe drawn and quartered, yet. Hang the bits up for public display. An example needs to be made of his behaviour.

And hang Berger by his thumbs until he 'fesses up. He is hiding information vital to our safety.

There, now I feel better.
==============================

TM

Jim E - I don't remember if you have been with us quite long enough to remember, but this blog was one of the headwaters of the Gannon push-back. In fact, I was debunking the Gannon/Plame connection even before the Kos people went public with it, and enlisted the NY Times. But after they got the Times on board, I had fun with this. And more - those were halcyon days (halcion?.

Anyway, I just posted this at some Gannon-revival post yesterday (The Left Coaster, and one other... firedoglake? emptywheel?.

Read the Gannon/Wilson interview transcript.

At one point (page 3) he refers to the Oct 11 Kristof column as having come out last week (IIRC).

Which puts him darn close to the Oct 17 WSJ story, and way out of September.

Of course, he may have simply initiated contact with Wilson in September, who knows with Gannon?

But Gannon is one of a couple of subjects where this blog has pretty good game.

clarice

Possums,when you have Rove making this wild charges about classified stuff, how is the Administration to respond except by general denials or declassifying stuff that cannot be declassified in the middle of a war?

When you have a press so in the pocket of a party as cowardly as the Dems--voting for war and then trying to undercut it to beat the President--how do you get a fair hearing?They still aren't standing up to Wilson's claims they misquoted him? They still ignore that his claims were discredited?

Jeff

You can't look at underlying facts, because they're from unreleased classified reports. However, they describe their sources and the primary initial indications stemmed from the 1998 business trip (well before the forgeries) that Wilson corroborated:

The British Government had intelligence from several different sources indicating that this visit was for the purpose of acquiring uranium.

This is a classic example of your (undoubtedly unwitting) strategy, cecil. OK, here we go:

1. What you cite is from 503b. of the Butler report, which is a conclusion.
2. Let's go back to the "several different sources," among which you say the primary initial indication from the 1998 business trip. You take this to be significant because it predates the forgeries. Tell me if I am mistaken, but I take this to be a reference to 493. (I can see nothing else it might refer to, but 493 refers to an early 1999 trip, and specifies that it is different from the discussion Wilson talks about).
3. 493 says,

In early 1999, Iraqi officials visited a number of African countries, including Niger. The visit was detected by intelligence, and some details were subsequently confirmed by Iraq. The purpose of the visit was not immediately known. But uranium ore account for almost three-quarters of Niger's exports. Putting this together with past Iraqi purchases of uranium ore from Niger, the limitations faced by the Iraq regime on access to indigenous uranium ore and other evidence of Iraq seeking to restart its nuclear programme, the JIC judged that Iraqi purchase of uranium ore could have been the subject of discussions and noted in an assessment in December 2000 that:
. . . unconfirmed intelligence indicates Iraqi interest in acquiring uranium."

In other words, there was no direct evidence of any effort to acquire uranium from Niger from this so-called initial indication. I mean, I could have told them that Iraqi purchse of uranium ore could have been the subject of discussions. This is extremely weak intelligence.

4. What else is there before the forgeries? Nothing, as far as I can see. What else is there other than the forgeries? It's impossible to tell, but it looks to me like nothing. Let's turn to the next relevant paragraph, 495, which says

During 2002, the UK received further intelligence from additional sources which identified the purpose of the visit to Niger as having been to negotiate the purchase of uranium ore, though there was disagreement as to whether a sale had been agreed and uranium shipped.

It would be very easy to not compromise sources and methods and yet to indicate something of what this extremely vaguely described "further intelligence from additional sources" is. But there's nothing. Let's remember that by this time the forgeries are in circulation, and reports on them are moving around various intelligence services. It is important to mark this last point: we know, for instance, that the U.S. received intel reports on what turned out to be the forgeries several times in this time period, including, apparently, what was purported to be a verbatim report, before receiving the actual forged documents themselves. You'll see why I'm emphasizing this in a minute; eliding this point enables the Brits, as it did the SSCI, to mislead.

5. The next relevant thing I can see is the observation in 497 that the CIA "agreed that there was evidence that it [uranium] had been sought." Of course, that evidence was either the genuine forgeries themselves, so to speak, or earlier reports on them.

6. The next relevant piece about Niger is the misleader in 501, which says

We have been told that it was not until early 2003 that the British Government become aware that the US (and other states) had received from a journalistic source a number of documents alleged to cover the Iraqi procurement of uranium from Niger. Those documents were passed to the IAEA, which in its update report to the United Nations Security Council in March 2003 determined that the papers were forgeries.

That very well may be true, but it is used to mislead, in the sense that it makes it sound like the Brits could not have been relying on the forgeries before this point -- and in particular back in 2002 -- since they were not aware of the documents in the U.S.' (and others') possession. Yet we know that that is not the case, that the Brits could very well have been relying on those forged documents, in the sense that there were several different intel reports on, and in one case providing what was supposed to be verbatim text, those very forged documents. The fact that they are misleading in this way, and that the description of the other intel is so exceedingly vague, and that the Brits have refused to turn it over to the IAEA in accord with their legal obligations from UN resolutions, leads me to believe that other intel was based on the very same documents.

7. Coming back to the conclusion from 503b. you cite, then, the several different sources were: 1)intel of a visit to Niger by Iraq, with no indication that that visit had anything to do with uranium; 2)some unspecified intel from 2002, which is to say after the forged documents went into circulation; 3)and weak confirmation from the CIA that there was some evidence of seeking uranium, itself based on intel based on the forgeries (plus perhaps some wishful interpretation of Wilson's trip); 4)and nothing. That's it. there is also the fact that uranium constitutes almost three-quarters of Niger's exports, which they claim made the intel credible. But again, the intel had nothing about uranium, zero, nada. Sure, it could have been about uranium. That's it? Tell me if I've missed anything.

I think there are other, more credible explanations for why the report found the claims made by the British well-founded, in light of what I've just laid out.

kim

Now don't anybody misattribute any literary flair to our output.
=============================================

TM

I want to note my all-time favorite Joe Wilson quote:

I never claimed to have "debunked" the allegation that Iraq was seeking uranium from Africa. I claimed only that the transaction described in the documents that turned out to be forgeries could not have and did not occur.

Bob Somerby was very strong on this.

Jim E.

TM,
I was not here for the Gannon stuff and as I wrote, I wasn't ever really into that story anyway, not even the alleged Plame connection. So I'm willing to trust your assertion that Gannon's interview mentions an Oct. 11 NYTimes story, which pushes the interview back into Oct, and into the WSJ territory. (Still, the interview could've taken place post-OCt 11 and pre-WSJ.) If so, that's good enough for me.

It also means that Gannon continues to lie about how he knew about the memo and when the interview actually took place. Shocking that not even GAnnon can be trusted in times like these.

Forbes

JaaDee: The letter was from Zawahiri, but I still want whatever you're smoking 'cuz that buzz is one wicked haze occluding reality. Is there anywhere you don't see conspiracies?
;-)

clarice

Yeah, Jeff, I suppose the subject of the trade talks could have been chick peas, the only other Niger export. But count be sceptical.

And why this fixation about something that we did not rely on? I think because everything else is irrefutable--Even King Jordan and Mubarak warned us before the war that Saddam had WMDs and was likely to use them if we invaded. (Tommy Frank's book).

I suppose if the truth comes out--and I think it will--that this was a well-coordinated side show by a clown , the people behind this will pay a dear price. OTOH Somerby who was right about how stupid it was for the Dems to rely on liar Wilson underestimated the complicity of the press, didn't he?

BR

Whew, this thread moves fast! I'm still trying to reply to Jim E, eeek!

Hi, Jim E. Actually, my thoughts on Jeff Gannon/Guckert are that he was part of the setup, wittingly or unwittingly. That's why the WP knew to point at him rather than the WSJ: they were tipped off in his direction in Dec. 03.

In March 2004, Gannon was responding to an attacker called "JohnGalt" at a FreeRepublic thread: here, Post #18. The subject being discussed was Plame/Wilson and whether Gannon was the recipient of leaked classified info on Wilson's Niger trip to "investigate" an Iraq/uranium sale. It seems Gannon recognized "JohnGalt" as Justin Raimondo. I wonder how Gannon knew Raimondo's real identity?

Justin Raimondo is editorial director of Antiwar.com and [used to be] featured at Bernard Weiner's site, CrisisPapers.org, a major issuing point of DNC strategy to the minions. Weiner was onto it right quick after Gannon/Guckert's secret life got exposed in Feb. 05, insinuating a "Profumo Affair" type scandal: See Feb 05 section entitled Who's the White House Gannon-Enabler?.

Other notables praised by Weiner in their campaign to prevent Bush's re-election are Paul Lukasiak (who - amazingly - posted in a thread at JustOneMinute this morning), John W. Dean, Ellsberg, Josh Marshall, etc. (8/5/04 article, search "Lukasiak" – you'll find the heroes' praise at the 9th hit !)


All connected, like chewing gum... :)

Lesley

The press investigation and media memes (re Plame) reminds me of those Russian matryoshka nesting dolls. Its Rove! Its Rove! (open doll) No, its Libby! Its Libby! (open next doll) Wait, wait! Its Hadley! Its Hadley!

I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the last wooden doll in the bunch will have CIA written all over it.

cathyf
cathy f, I am actually ignorant, but I've heard that uranium ore(not yellow cake, which is partly refined) is fairly easy to lay your hands on in Africa. The refining process to yellow cake is easy. This really is not germane to this discussion, but as Jay Rosen might put it, it shimmers. Maybe it glows.
It's available in the western US, too. (That's where we got our uranium for the manhatten project.) While it may be relatively easy to get small amounts of yellowcake, you need to refine huge amounts (like tons) to get any useable amounts of bomb-making material. So, no, it's not really easy to get, at least not in the quantities you need. But given that Saddam had $20 billion, and owned the French, Germans, and Russians, a lot of "not easy" things would have been well within his reach.

cathy :-)

Jeff

TM -

I don't have time to go through all the Somerby stuff, much of which is wrong, in my judgment, some of which is right. But I'm not sure why that's your favorite Wilson quotation. That seems like a pretty fair account of his article, which is what he is evidently talking about. To be sure, he was hoping to generate a debate and doubt on the wider case for war, but there's nothing wrong with that. If there were no other reasons to have doubts beyond what he didn't find in Africa, then that would have been put in its place. And his article does in fact carefully frame how far his own experience goes. Now, in his book he does make a broader case against Bush's case for war, but again that's perfectly allowed. There's no reason he had to stick to his own personal experience.

kim

Thanks for the memory. I liked the remark near the end where Joe says that whatever people may say about him, and there is a lot, ....

One wonders.

One wonders if his showdown with Saddam was just two madmen having sweet tea.
==========================================

BR

Hi, Kim! Here's a link containing two UK Telegraph articles of 2004 (right around the time of CBSgate!) exposing the Niger forgeries and their French Connection, especially this one: UK Telegraph 9/19/04.

SteveMG

Welcome to Alice in Wonderland where up is down and down is up.

We have critics making allegations that the Bush Administration manipulated intelligence to gin up support for the war and then demanding investigations to reveal this. Of course, a sharp person would ask why they want investigations since the critics have already concluded that the White House lied.

So we have multiple investigations both here and abroad.

Then when the investigations - Butler Report, SSCI, Silberman/Robb - are finished and they show no evidence of falsified or "fixed" intelligence, the critics demand that the raw intelligence data be released.

If the raw intelligence is released (which obviously it cannot because it will compromise our capabilities), critics will then argue, "But wait", there must be more.

But it's never enough.

This is called bad faith argumentation. Whether it's done consciously or not, I'll leave to others to decide.

Why some here try to respond to this type of misleading argument escapes me.

Anyway, Josh Marshall will have a big story revealing all this. He said so two years ago.

SMG

secret

"Dear Judy: Out West, where you vacation, the aspens will already be turning. They turn in clusters, because their roots connect them. And those roots feed on the nutrients claimed by the soil from the rotting corpses of those who strayed from the cluster. And in the stormy years, pools of water become lakes, and the lonely aspen, having strayed from the cluster, sleeps in the water, with the fishes. Weakened thus, our lonely aspen is pierced by the wind-blown debris, much as the felon rat is suddenly pierced by a shiv fashioned from metal stolen from the prison laundry. Nudge. Wink."

kim

BR, last year I thought the French had forged the papers and fobbed them off on the Italian. Now, I don't know.
===========================

kim

Secret, I wondered for a while if Judy's sojourn within stonewalls was a haven from Chalabi. Now, I don't know.
=================================================

Jeff

SMG - no, bad faith is setting up strawmen. There are a number here, but I'll just point to one that bears on what I've been arguing in particular. You say,

the critics demand that the raw intelligence data be released.

I was saying no such thing (though i don't know why, when possible, we citizens shouldn't be able to see such things). I was saying that there should be all effort made to make as much information available as transparently as possible, so that we citizens can make judgments about such important matters as how and why the case for going to war was made the way it was. And the Butler report, in my judgment, on key matters fails quite obviously by any reasonable standard on that count.

You also are misinformed. The SSCI has not completed its work -- though I doubt they ever will. I will also add that what we have from the SSCI does indeed show evidence of "fixed" intelligence. So I have no complaint that it doesn't. My complaint is with the misleading and partial way evidence is presented and interpreted, and the way unwarranted conclusions are drawn, in the report, as well as in the Butler report. I'd be happy for you to engage specifically with the arguments I made above with regard to quite specific parts of the Butler report. I'm not happy with your construction of strawmen, and your projection of bad faith onto your adversaries.

kim

Did the British defense analyst die by his own hands?

I've heard that he was the most effective interrogator of captured Iraqis after the invasion.

Is that so, that his subjects would cry, just from the questions?

Can you tell me Jeff? I trust your facts, just not all of your conclusions.
=======================================
================================================

Jeff

kim - I have no idea, but I think there's somebody upthread who is convinced it was the Clintons. If I were him, I'd send it to Powerline. Then by the end of tomorrow, it will be a Known Fact on the right.

kim

Berger-Clarke for sure.
=======================

BR

Yes, Kim, this thing is a hundred times more complex than CBSgate. Every now and then I have to remind myself, this is not just a fun whodunnit, it's a serious national security matter. I read that Plame was put off post, but then returned again! Hopefully, she's not in an area where she can access sensitive data until this thing is cleared one way or the other.

Back in July, here's part of what made me realize the French Connection between France, Iraq, and the Wilsons' private business dealings may turn out to be the doll within the political doll, to use Lesley's great comparison. (Starting with the linked comment at July 14, 2005 12:10 AM, and lower down. That thread also contains many links proving Wilson was aware of forgeries in Feb 02 where he is quoted giving minute details). Somewhere, the forgeries were handed over to Giacomo from the forgers. Giacomo was in the US when the UK Telegraph reporter tried to contact him for comment. Would be nice to know if he was also in the US around Feb. 02. We can't hope for another Kinko's; this time it's probably a DC bistro. Hee, wouldn't it be funny if he was a house guest of the Wilsons!

Since my July fun, I've run into even more. In fact, I'm not even looking for further data, but I keep seeing more! Wilson's mouth is like a suicide belt around the whole cabal.

Cecil Turner

This is a classic example of your (undoubtedly unwitting) strategy, cecil. OK, here we go:

Again, you're ascribing nefarious motives to a group of people, with disparate political backgrounds, who trashed several other claims in the dossier, but upheld this one. Unless you can explain why they'd lie about this particular point, I think a presumption of honesty is reasonable. And there's no honest explanation for your contentions.

It would be very easy to not compromise sources and methods and yet to indicate something of what this extremely vaguely described "further intelligence from additional sources" is. But there's nothing.

On this and the IAEA point, they did not share it with their closest ally (us), even after the CIA warned that the information was questionable. (And it's worth noting that the NIE cites the British claim, so apparently CIA leadership concluded the Brits knew more about it than we did.) Again, the logical explanation is that they consider the source(s) too sensitive to share. I don't think that's all that remarkable in the realm of human intelligence, where sources tend to be a bit nervous.

the Brits could very well have been relying on those forged documents

They say they weren't, and again, I see no reason for the Butler investigation to lie to support that point. They also cite other sources, in both Niger and Congo (the latter having been cited in contemporary news reports as well). The contention that any source they don't name must not exist is not convincing.

SteveMG

Jeff:
The bad faith argument comes from those individuals who make a reasonable argument re pre-war intelligence failures - i.e., "We need to get to the bottom of the problem" or "We need to get these questions answered" - even though they don't really believe their questions.

They've already concluded that the Bush Administration falsified intelligence. Any investigation that does not come to that conclusion is immediately dismissed as being jaundiced or incomplete or corrupt.

To these individuals - no investigation will be satisfactory. Their calls for examinations are in "bad faith."

Whether you're in this category, I'll leave to others to decide.

That there are others here and elsewhere who are in that category, well the intelligence on that is irrefutable. Viz., DailyKos, Atrios, Pandagon and a dozen other sites.

Do you seriously deny this? If you're unhappy, for some odd reason, with my accusation, perhaps you need devote more time over there straightening their thinking out and less time here worried about individuals pointing out their bad faith arguments.

Like nearly everyone posting here (I assume), I have no special knowledge or expertise on intelligence matters. I can't tell an aluminum tube from aluminum siding or yellowcake from fruitcake.

All I can do is to read and examine reports that looked into the pre-war intelligence failures. I can't interview the actual agents or analysts or review the technical data. Most of that is classified and even if it were to be de-classified, I doubt I would have the ability to decipher what the material says.

And those reports (Butler+SCSI+ Silberman/Robb) - partial or complete - all say that the the pre-war assessments made by Bush and Blair were fair ones. That the intelligence did show at the time that, inter alia, Iraq was seeking to acquire uranium from Africa. And that there is no evidence of intelligence being fixed or falsified.

If analysts from the CIA or MI-5 or NSA would come forward and show otherwise, I'll listen.

Until then, however, the accusations are essentially groundless.

As I see it.

SMG

clarice

Again, I want to note why this scheme was cunning. The Administration could not answer it without disclosure of secret material. It's why we often have to let spies off the hook, isn't it?

And then the story was made more and more complicated--squid ink. We may find it so fascinating that we pay attention to every jot and tittle. (Tom, bless his heart and mind, has.) But most people spend very little time respecting news like this(Maybe we should have thrown in a lost pretty white girl in Aruba to get their attention) and, therefore, the biggest liar has the greatest advantage.

Though every aspect of his claims has been debunked even if you looked you'd never see that in most news reports of the incident.

PHEH

topsecretk9

whooa

did things open up on TM?

Jim E.

A Washington Post reporter was on Olberman 5 minutes ago and reported that FitzGerald told Miller that she is no longer in contempt, and can write about her grand jury stuff. The reporter made it sound like Miller is not facing any more legal problems in regards to the Plame case. She will not be testifying anymore.

syn

Butler report, Wilson's lies, Plame's games whatever.

The Iraqi Liberation Act of 1998 provides all the legit reasons why Saddam needed to be removed.

Jim E.

On Hardball, Matthew's first guest was Matt Cooper's attorney (Sauber or Sauder). Kind of a strange guest since he didn't claim to have any insider info. But he was interesting in that he was almost chuckling through the entire inteview, telling Chris Matthews that administration officials had selective memories and only grudgingly admitted to certain conversations. He said it was a "toss-up" over whether Libby or Rove had a more problematic memory. He confidently said that there would be indictments against administration officials, although he didn't know how many or against whom.

Like I said, the attorney didn't reveal anything, except his laughing confidence that people in the administration would be charged. It was a little strange. I wonder if MAtt Cooper likes that his attorney is giggling about all of this on national tv. I think Cooper himself will be on MSNBC tomorrow night.

clarice

Hmmm Everytime someone tells me what went on in a grand jury, the picture of Sid Blummenthal lying his ass off about what Jen Starr asked him pops up like a Phoenix University ad and I say--fergetaboutit...

clarice

KEN, not Jen Starr--ugh

cathyf

Scooter Liddy, Jen Starr -- we're all starting to sound like Dick Daley!

cathy :-)

kim

Speaking of porno names, Jen Starr should be up in lights.
=====================================

SteveMG

Syn:
"The Iraqi Liberation Act of 1998 provides all the legit reasons why Saddam needed to be removed."

But you're not arguing, I hope, that IF the W.H. did falsify intelligence that they shouldn't be held accountable?

Speaking of prosecutors, what the W.H. appears to have done was act as a prosecutor against Iraq. They looked at the available evidence re WMD with the goal of convicting Saddam. If the case was gray or inconclusive, they weren't going to give the benefit of the doubt to Iraq.

Did they look at the material "fairly" or in a disinterested manner? Of course not. They were assembling a case to go to war because, right or wrongly, they viewed Iraq as a threat and a destabilizer to a region where terrorists were operating (among other myriad reasons that Wolfowitz mentioned in his interview with Sam Tanenhaus).

For critics of the Administration, this appears to be manipulating or "fixing" the intelligence. This is because they're looking at the intelligence differently. Not because they support Saddam or are anti-American; but because they view the motives of the White House in a darker light.

SMG

kim

And the Dems are the Public Defender stuck with Wahabbi terrorists.
=============================================

Crew v1.0

"Does anyone remember reading online about the social encounter Bill Clinton had with "his friend" Tony Blair, while over in Europe in 2003?.... It was reported that Clinton told Blair that he was sorry Blair had supported Bush in Iraq...'cause some dirty stuff was coming down the pike which may hurt Blair but that he, Clinton, couldn't protect Blair from the attacks."

I don't know about this anecdote, but I do remember Clinton's article published in, of all places, the Guardian, on March 18, 2003, wherein Bill lent his support (albeit ever so mildly qualified) to Blair's case for war on the eve of Blair's own Parliamentary vote to "authorize force" (roughly speaking).

http://www.guardian.co.uk/comment/story/0,3604,916233,00.html

I commend the article to one and all as an interesting piece of writing, a veritable time machine in which we are magically transported back to a time and place in which, for instance, the then-"young turk" John Edwards was something of a hawk on Saddam, and the prevalent Dem talking point was not yet 'Bush Lied, People Died'. Come, come, step into the time machine with me:

"Once again, Blair stepped into the breach, with a last-ditch proposal to restore unity to the UN and disarm Saddam without military action. He secured US support for a new UN resolution that would require Saddam to meet dead lines, within a reasonable time, in four important areas, including accounting for his biological and chemical weapons and allowing Iraqi scientists to leave the country for interviews. Under the proposed resolution, failure to comply with this deadline would justify the use of force to depose Saddam.

"Russia and France opposed this resolution and said they would veto it, because inspections are proceeding, weapons are being destroyed and there is therefore no need for a force ultimatum. Essentially they have decided Iraq presents no threat even if it never disarms, at least as long as inspectors are there.

"The veto threat did not help the diplomacy. It's too bad, because if a majority of the security council had adopted the Blair approach, Saddam would have had no room for further evasion and he still might have disarmed without invasion and bloodshed. Now, it appears that force will be used to disarm and depose him.

"As Blair has said, in war there will be civilian was well as military casualties. There is, too, as both Britain and America agree, some risk of Saddam using or transferring his weapons to terrorists. There is as well the possibility that more angry young Muslims can be recruited to terrorism. But if we leave Iraq with chemical and biological weapons, after 12 years of defiance, there is a considerable risk that one day these weapons will fall into the wrong hands and put many more lives at risk than will be lost in overthrowing Saddam.

"I wish that Russia and France had supported Blair's resolution. Then, Hans Blix and his inspectors would have been given more time and supprt for their work. But that's not where we are. Blair is in a position not of his own making, because Iraq and other nations were unwilling to follow the logic of 1441.

"In the post-cold war world, America and Britain have been in tough positions before: in 1998, when others wanted to lift sanctions on Iraq and we said no; in 1999 when we went into Kosovo to stop ethnic cleansing. In each case, there were voices of dissent. But the British-American partnership and the progress of the world were preserved. Now in another difficult spot, Prime Minister Blair will have to do what he believes to be right. I trust him to do that and hope that Labor MPs and the British people will too."

kim

Shazaam. Sometimes you can just feel the brains churning inside that vault of his.
==================================

Seven Machos

Yeah, crew. Absolutely. In hindsight, the Iraq War has been horrible for the politicians who supported it, such as Blair, and godwonderful for opponents of the war, such as Schroeder. Right?

I think any objective observer would conclude that support for Iraw has been politically successful. (It's dumb Supreme Court picks that can get you in trouble.)

And we have JayZeeDee saying that the "the karma" of Plamegate "is so satisfying."

Do any of the Lefties here understand democratic politics? Do any of the Lefties here understand grand jury proceedings? Do any of you understand that winning is good in elections, and losing is bad? Do any of you understand that people who testify to a grand jury are generally NOT indicted?

pollyusa

Jim E. TM, and BR

I like to play Gannon. Two points.

First, note the text used to describe the memo.

The only difference is that Gannon includes the phrase "an internal government" memo not a problem since that phrase is the lead in the WSJ article.

The WSJ had this on 10/17/10

The memo, prepared by U.S. intelligence personnel, details a meeting in early 2002

and Gannon had it this way between 10/11-10/28 2003

An internal government memo prepared by U.S. intelligence personnel details a meeting in early 2002



Second, is the 12/26/03 WAPO article that refers to the Gannon/Wilson interview referring to Gannon in this passage?

FBI agents showed up unannounced last week at the home of a private citizen who was believed to have some knowledge of White House handling of Plame's identity, according to a source involved in the investigation. The source refused to identify the person who was interviewed, but said it was a man who had only peripheral knowledge of the case and had discussed it with officials in the White House.

Might be Gannon, probably not.

Seven Machos

Polly -- I know you think you are a brilliant investigator. Jeff Guckert/Gannon was a hot male prostitute by night but worked for a small, conservative-leaning wire-type service by day.

DO YOU KNOW WHAT A WIRE SERVICE DOES?

Also, it's good to see poor Jeff make it back into the demonology of the Left. Which concentric circle of hell do you currently have him in?

The comments to this entry are closed.

Wilson/Plame