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November 09, 2005


Rick Ballard

Winston Smith could explain this very easily. There are no new concepts involved whatsoever.


We act angry but we're really just sad.

Eternal vigilance is indeed a hard price.

Not saying it's not a fair bargain, mind you.


Here's a question. If Fitz's prosecution founders because of witness lying or 'claiming not to know' is he bound to pursue the witnesses? Or does the case against Libby just fail?

And please add to my list of possibilities.

Innocent or guilty by jury decision.
Charges dropped.
I'm sure there are more.

Abdul AlZarpana Banana Popana

That's just pathetic TM. Good grief they're spinning for Wilson in their fookin corrections.

As I read this I was imagining you are going to have to write a program that will constantly pull up and compare previous NYTimes versions to current versions to detect their Kremlinesque historical revisions.

What the heck kind of thinking goes on to produce the kind of revisions you are quoting? I don't know the answer, but it is obvious it is NOT getting clear, accurate information to their readers.


Fee, Fie, Foe, Memo.

Gary Maxwell

I have to admit that "behest" is not a word that I use in every day conversation. I know how I would use the word if I did and what I would mean, but to be fair I thought that perhaps in sophisticated NY ( Manhatten actually ) that perhaps it could mean something else. So I pulled out my World Book dictionary and therein note that the primary definition is "command" or "order". Secondarily is "request". Either does nothing to provide shelter to the Kristof dodge.


If you spent as much time parsing the statements that you use to criticize Kristof as you do parsing Kristof's statements, you might draw different conclusions.

For instance you write...

Mr. Kristof's new entry does preserve the theme of the old one - Wilson *might* have debunked specific signatures and dates, rather than the broader question of whether the deal actually happened. Well, yes, and pigs might have flown. We still hope that one day Mr. Kristof will tackle the point made by DCI Tenet in his July 11, 2003 letter:

There was no mention in the report [based on Wilson's debriefing] of forged documents -- or any suggestion of the existence of documents at all.

Tenet's statement, however, does not contradict Kristof's. Kristof refers to discrepancies of dates and signatures, Tenet says only that Wilson didn't say "forged documents" or even mention documents. But Wilson could have easily reportered that "the people who supposedly authorized this sale were not in a position to do at the time they allegedly authorized them".

(BTW, one of your commenters noted that there weren't any "moonbats" commenting last night. I would suggest that the credibility that you once had within the "reality based community" is being torn to shreds by you paranoid obsession with Joe Wilson.... and if you don't want to be relegated to the "wingnut" dustbin occupied by World Net Daily, LGF, and such, you get back to paying attention to what is relevant in this case.)

[Relegate me anytime you want, p.]


I have to admit that "behest" is not a word that I use in every day conversation.

personally, I think the use of an odd word like "behest" signalled that one should not assume that Cheney was directly responsible for sending Wilson.

Columnists have a limit on the number of words that they can use to tell their stories. What was important was Cheney's involvement in the story --- Wilson (legitimately, although possibly not correctly) assumed that when an upper-level official asks for more information from an agency, and the agnecy acts to procure that information, the agency would report back to the official on the results of their efforts.

The focus of this aspect of the story should be on why the CIA did not report back to Cheney. (The answer is intuitively obvious---the CIA briefing that Cheney got on the same day that Wilson was coming back from Niger told Cheney that the whole "Niger-yellowcake" story was a pile of crap. Wilson's report added nothing to the conclusions already drawn by the intelligence community, and thus there was no need to give Cheney a specific briefing on the subject of Wilson's trip.)


the point made by DCI Tenet in his July 11, 2003 letter:

There was no mention in the report [based on Wilson's debriefing] of forged documents -- or any suggestion of the existence of documents at all.

Even if there was absolutely nothing in the report relating to names and dates on the documents or verbatim reports, there are two outstanding questions that need answering. First, did Wilson or did he not discuss which names on what dates one would expect to find on the relevant documents at the February 19, 2002 meeting at the CIA, before his trip. We know that the verbatim reports of the documents were discussed, and given that just the day before the embassy in Niamey had issued a report that, from what we learn from the SSCI report, made the issue of the names in the report of the documents central to the claim that the report warranted further investigation, that makes it highly likely that those names (and when they would have rightly or wrongly been on the documents) were discussed at the meeting. Second, assuming Wilson understood his trip to be a follow-up on the report, which we do, wouldn't his claim that no agreement was reached or could have been reached between Iraq and Niger constitute de facto debunking of the reported documents?

Oh, and here's a third point, following up on Lukasiak's parsing of Tenet's statement (and recall the odd quote unquoting of "documents" in relevant passage of the SSCI report). No documents were mentioned in the report based on Wilson's trip. But was the report that prompted Cheney's office's questions that prompted the CIA to send Wilson mentioned? This is significant because if it was, that means that in effect the documents were likely mentioned, since the report included verbatim text of the documents, without the documents themselves necessarily being mentioned.




I Spy With My Little Eye


Gary Maxwell

I would suggest that the credibility that you once had within the "reality based community" is being torn to shreds


I dont know about I personally would be all broken up about this news. Oh my lord what to do. Maybe like de Villepin you can make some kind of peace offering? Chuckle giggle snort.


Sorry Lesley, your ex-spook is in the wrong camp and therefore will be drawn and quartered shortly.

Gary Maxwell

Gerecht will likely get the Major General Paul Vallely treatment and very quickly. He is an obvious partisan and what does he know anyway, he is lying and retired for goodness sake. Then a listing of the times he skipped Sunday school and any parking tickets he has accumulated and if necessary rumors about his fidelity.


Sue, my favorite quote in Gerecht's article:

"You have to give credit to Langley: Overseas it may be incompetent; but in Washington, it can still con many into giving it the respect and consideration it doesn't deserve."

Sadly, certain elements in CIA prefer to engage in psy-ops with the American public rather than the job they were tasked to do.


Actually the TruthSelect concept works consistantly with the existing format and procedures of the Times--leakers and liars (often the one and the same) allowed.

In fact, those persons anonomously leaking what is purported to be classified are encouraged, especially when such information (whether truthful or not is immaterial) supports the Times position as political opposition to the WH.

No crime has been committed when information, while neither truthful nor classified, is reported as such.



Concerning your following comment:
"Mr. Kristof's new entry does preserve the theme of the old one - Wilson *might* have debunked specific signatures and dates, rather than the broader question of whether the deal actually happened. Well, yes, and pigs might have flown.We still hope that one day Mr. Kristof will tackle the point made by DCI Tenet in his July 11, 2003 letter:
There was no mention in the report [based on Wilson's debriefing] of forged documents -- or any suggestion of the existence of documents at all."

On page 37 of the SSCI report,it details a second report of the Niger uranium deal that was forwarded by a foreign intelligence agency on Feb 5, 2002:
"The second report provided more details about the previously reported Irq-Niger uranium document and provided what was said to be "verbatim text" of the accord". After this second report, the CIA began meetings with Wilson on his trip to Niger. On page 41 of the SSCI report, it goes on to say:
"The INR analyst's notes also indicate that "specific details" of the classified report on the Iraq_Niger uranium deal were discussed at the meeting."

So, isn't it possible, that while Wilson never actually saw the fake memos (as they weren't passed directly to the State Dept until October 2002), the CIA discussed the purported "verbatim text" transcripts of the forged docs with Wilson? Something that might have included signatures and dates in the transcription?

Just curious...


"the CIA discussed the purported "verbatim text" transcripts of the forged docs with Wilson? Something that might have included signatures and dates in the transcription?"

CIA? How about his wife? Part of Joe's circumlocutions are woven to portray a scenario that his wife didn't tell him anything.

What you want to bet she took home homework and told ol' Joe?

CIA? How about his wife? Part of Joe's circumlocutions are woven to portray a scenario that his wife didn't tell him anything.
well, that's certainly one scenario. But I think we should give equal time to the scenario where nobody told him anything about the specifics of the memos until he read about the IAEA debunking in newspaper reports in March, 2003. And that by May, he was telling the story that he had debunked them a year earlier. It certainly made him seem more important to the rich client (Kerry campaign) that he was courting...

cathy :-)


re: Behest

VIPS: Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity, composed mostly of former CIA analysts along with a few operational agents.

As I understand it, VIPS is mostly anti-Bush and suspected of being in cahoots with Wilson.

Look what mac found! This was before Kristof's 2nd article.

In one of the VIPS so-called memorandums to the President is this wording:

"There is just too much evidence that Ambassador Wilson was sent to Niger at the behest of Vice President Cheney’s office, and that Wilson’s findings were duly reported not only to that office but to others as well."



I would suggest that the credibility that you once had within the "reality based community" is being torn to shreds by you paranoid obsession with Joe Wilson

Odd, it used to be my paranoid obsession with Paul Krugman that would ruin my cred, yet here I am.

And if we are talking about the "reality based " folks that whiffed on the question of whether Wilson and Vallely were ever at Fox on the same days, or the same show - well, let me know when "Crooks and Liar" posts a correction.

Oh, and I know p.luk will be sending them an e-mail urging a correction, since other people's credibility is so important to him - why not cc me on it?

FWIW, Jeralyn Merritt has already pulled the plug on that slice of "reality" (although, given her editing, it is not immediately obvious that initially she endorsed the Crooks and Liars error. Or did Crooks and Liars lie? p.luk will know).

In any case, and I know this is awkward for my caricaturists to accept, I am not that revved up about Wilson's lies. In my mind, this current post is a criticism of an absurd editorial process at the Times.

Finally - why does it matter whether it is "possible" that Wilson might have debunked the forgeries? Aren't any of his defenders the least bit troubled by the fact that he has disavowed that story?

He told the Senate he misspoke; he told Paula Zahn he was misquoted and misattributed; he wrote in the Times that he never saw any documents. Why hasn't he just said "You're damn right I ordered the Code Red"?

Even if he "might" have debunked forgeries, is that what Wilson is currently claiming?

If not, why did he change his story? Who is he covering for?

Now, in my world, I still can't figure out if he lied to Kristof (and Pincus, and Judis/Ackerman), or if they all misheard this trained communicater.

But none of those reporters want to report on that angle.


Well, gosh TM, if you're going to be rational.....


Woodwork ---
"On Wednesday, Wayne Simmons, a 27-year veteran at the CIA, told Fox News Radio: "As most people now know, [Plame] was traipsed all over Washington many years ago by Joe Wilson and introduced at embassies and other parties as 'my CIA wife."

How is it that recognition of Joe Wilson's Jane Curtain impersonation, jumping from cable network to cable network, is obsession, isn't that what he wants?

Gary Maxwell


I take it then I can put you down as definitely not broken up of the news that your cred is suffering with the relaity based community?


Judith Miller is leaving the NYT. I would think that the Times would want to keep her close by rather than allow her to be free to bash her former employer. I suppose she signed an agreement not to discuss any of this in return for a golden handshake, unless she walked away from the hush money because a book deal is worth more.



Do you think this an a-holes' attempt at addressing the issue

"But wait! The Premium Truth Select version now adds this:

And in a later column I said Wilson had been dispatched "at the behest" of Cheney's office; it's true that he was sent in response to Cheney's prodding, but that wording wasn't choice because it can easily be read to mean that Cheney asked for the trip."

Wow---Kristof and Wilson are cut from the same cloth. I guess in enlightened elite world (or if I had ESP) I should know that when Kristof uses behest he means prodding...and in doing this little rehash of word-smithery, he undercuts and side steps the REAL issue of critics, which is explaining that his source lied to him or that he put words in his sources mouth. WOW...So, will Kristof now print an apology to Wilson?

Neil S

p. lukasiak said:
"personally, I think the use of an odd word like "behest" signalled that one should not assume that Cheney was directly responsible for sending Wilson."

Given that Mr. Kristof is an extremely high profile professional writer, I assume that the use of an odd word like "behest" which means:
1) an authoritative order
2) an urgent prompting
was used to mean precisely that...or are you arguing that Mr. Kristof routinely uses words to mean something other than the definitions we can find in our dictionaries?


Gary Maxwell

I got a mental image of Jon Lovitz saying "Use behest but dont mean it,yeah that the ticket."


Incidentally, when the White House did once raise the issue of my Niger reporting with me, the senior official who complained did not argue that any of this was incorrect. Rather, he noted that Bush's reference in the State of the Union address was to "Africa" rather than to Niger -- and that even if the Niger connection was fraudulent, there were possible linkages to other African countries like Congo that could have made Bush's 16 words technically correct. That was a very flimsy branch, and the official gave up the argument pretty quickly.

What? The slash-and-burn, lie to discredit your enemy GWB White House called Kristoff and made a correction with some facts that Kristoff simply found inconsequential?
Kristoff was so convinced by Wilson that he found the White House guy flimsy and discarded his argument.
And this is Kristoff's paraphrase of course.

But isn't one argument that the White House should have argued with FACTS! not SMEARS!

Well, we see where this particular set of facts got them. Kristoff couldn't be bothered to stop giving Wilson a platform. But why wouldn't the WH have smeared Wilson to Kristoff, them being so cutthroat and all?


Your questions are good, but here's the thing. There are people who know that, and could tell us. But they aren't bothering.

Kristoff and Pincus could, you know, ask Wilson. I'm sure he would give them another interview. The people that introduced the information should feel some responsibility to us, the reader, to clarify in a meaningful way.


“I'm told by a person involved in the Niger caper that more than a year ago the vice president's office asked for an investigation of the uranium deal, so a former U.S. ambassador to Africa was dispatched to Niger. 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.

OK, so the "person involved in the Niger caper" is JW himself.

Any chance that the "someone present at the meetings" is a different source -- Val?


was used to mean precisely that...or are you arguing that Mr. Kristof routinely uses words to mean something other than the definitions we can find in our dictionaries?

no, I think "urgent prompting" fits what happened quite nicely.

If the president tells congress he wants to cut the deficit, and congress in response passes a bill cutting spending, that bill was passed at the behest of the President. The President didn't specify a spending cut bill (let alone tell congress what specifically to cut.) But the president got what he had "urgently prompted."

Rick Ballard

"should feel some responsibility to us"

I believe that we should be responsible for ourselves and exercise that responsibility by ceasing to purchase consistently defective merchandise. Apparently, approximately 2.5% of the population reach that conclusion every year (if circulation figures are to be believed). Perhaps talking about product defects may encourage more people to examine their rationale for wasting money on defective product. If so, it is a worthwhile exercise.

Kristof is not alone in his mendacity. The NYT has a stable of reporters for whom the truth is an unnecessary adjunct to their purpose. Useful if it fits but fiction serves as well when necessary.


P. Luk,

If I were Cheney, I would kick someone's ass for sending a clown to do his 'urgent request'.


TM -

If you're looking for a little light reading - The Philadelphia Inquirer has weighed in on Wilson/Niger/ Libby situation.

http://www.macon.com/mld/philly/news/columnists/chris_satullo/13091132.htm>Junket to Niger

... When White House leakers tried to discredit Joseph Wilson IV, their method was to insinuate that Wilson's fact-finding trip to Niger in 2002 had been a junket wangled by his CIA-agent wife. In other words, rank nepotism.

Right. A junket to Niger. Niger?

Yes, sir. If you wanted to exploit your CIA badge to score a nice little perk for your hubby, where else would you send him but a sub-Saharan nation where 85 percent of the land mass is arid, where the annual per capita income is a whopping $230, and the locust swarms come repeatedly? Living large in West Africa, eh? Grounds for divorce is more like it.

Chris Satullo, btw, is the Editor of the Inky's Editorial Page. He continues:

... Some boondoggle. Wilson couldn't have run up a big tab. The only way to rustle up a five-course meal in Niamey, the capital city of this drought-plagued land, would be if you fancied the John the Baptist Plate: a side of locusts with honey.

Y'ep. The Editor of the Editorial Page of the Philadelphia Inquirer just made a famine joke.

Fwiw, here's a review for a restaurant in Niamey.
http://www.igougo.com/planning/journalEntryDining.asp?JournalID=2460&EntryID=1995&n=Le+Koudou>Le Koudou Restaurant
No mention of 'plate of locusts with honey.' being on the menu.

Satullo also thinks Wilson was the 'logical choice for the mission'.

But you probably guessed that.


richard mcenroe

Hey, don't be dissin' Times Select, why, according to their own figures, 135,000 people have already signed up! That's almost a third of their newsstand distribution, and odds are not more than 100,000 or so of them are already Times subscribers...


I thought I'd take your advice about traveling to Niger - so I started looking on the net.

"Niger is just one African country providing a range of exciting holiday opportunities for both the adventurous and the lazy sun seeker as you will quickly find if you search MBendi Travel's extensive directory of Tourist Attractions." Did you know they have 17 attractions?

Attractions (17) : Addax Sanctuary, Agadez Grande Mosquee, Agadez Vieux Quartier, Air Nature Reserve, Camel Market, Dosso Partial Faunal Reserve, Gadabeji Total Faunal Reserve, Musee National du Niger, Niamey Grand Marche, Niger River Sunsets, Tamou Total Faunal Reserve, Tenere Nature Reserve, W National Park, W Ramsar Wetland, Zengou Quartier

That camel market looks like great fun!

But then there is this:

Medical and Safety Information

We strongly recommend getting up-to-date medical and safety information before visiting Niger.

What a perk! My momma always said, "All it takes is the right girl"! ;)

La Dolce Vita

Couple "she's never going to be Rome Station Chief" with "overseas it may be incompetent" and you get
The Spies Who Came in From the Hot Tub

"The CIA agents took rooms in Milan's five-star hotels, running up cumulative hotel bills of $144,984.

They ate in the equivalent of five-star restaurants in Milan, evidently fancying themselves gourmet undercover agents.

After the successful kidnapping was done and the cleric dispatched to sunny Egypt, they evidently decided they deserved a respite from their exertions; so several of them left for a vacation in Venice, while four others headed for the Mediterranean coast north of Tuscany, all on the taxpayer dole.

They charged up to $500 a day apiece, according to Craig Whitlock of the Washington Post, to "Diners Club accounts created to match their recently forged identities"; wielded Visa cards (assumedly similarly linked to their fake identities); and made sure they got or used frequent flier miles. (Our master spies "rarely paid in cash," adds Whitlock, "gave their frequent traveler account numbers to desk clerks and made dozens of calls from unsecure phones in their rooms."

To move their captive in comfort – for them – they summoned up not some grimy cargo plane but a Learjet to take him to Germany and a Gulfstream V to transport him to Egypt, the sorts of spiffy private jets normally used by CEOs and movie stars."

The Rome Station Chief had to give us his newly purchased retirement home near Turin. Poor Valerie - think of what she missed out on.


Kristof continued his mendacity when he said:

"The Senate Intelligence Committee Report is very harsh on Wilson, and there’s a sense in spookdom that it came down too hard on him and was based on interviews with too few people. The C.I.A. seems to have thought that a Niger uranium deal was conceivable but not very likely, while at State the intelligence bureau (INR) was sure that it never happened. But it does seem to be true that Wilson claims to have debunked the Niger deal more firmly than some people remember him debunking it."

Kristoff rests his claim that Wilson has been criticized too harshly on the fact that the CIA and INR concluded that the yellowcake "transaction" never took place. However, that fact is entirely inapposite to the criticism of Wilson. That the transaction never "took place" has never been in dispute in this melodrama. In his 16 words, Bush said that British Intelligence believed Iraq had "sought" uranium, not that Iraq had successfully obtained uranium. In his NY Times op-ed, Wilson merely said that "it is highly doubtful that any such transaction took place." Wilson's mendacity (as well as that of liberals in general) regarding this central point lies in the conclusion that he based upon his "findings" not the "findings" themselves. The main falsehood perpetrated by Wilson was that his trip supported the thesis of his op-ed piece (i.e. "some of the intelligence related to Iraq's nuclear weapons program was twisted [by the Bush administration] to exaggerate the Iraqi threat.")

The fact that the C.I.A. thought such a sale was "not very likely" and that INR "was sure it never happened" don't serve as a defense of Wilson against the criticism of his central allegation. We all know the consensus position is that the transaction never took place. Therefore, neither Wilson nor his trip debunked anything. He actually confirmed what our intelligence agencies believed to be true (that Iraq had not obtained uranium from Niger) and what British Intelligence thought to be true (that Iraq had tried to obtain uranium in Africa).

While Kristoff and his fellow liberals want to obfuscate the truth in this matter, the only reason Wilson has any importance whatsoever is because they chose to use him and his trip as a basis for their claim that Bush made statements that he knew to be false at the time he made them. After all, Wilson also claimed that there had been "specific answer from the agency to the office of the vice president" regarding his findings. Kristoff can try to justify his reporting by confirming a detail here or there, but he has failed to address the bottom line. Wilson and his trip do not support the conclusion that Bush lied.

Lew Clark

And guess who else thinks "behest" means asked specifically that Joe Wilson go to Niger? The behester himself. Because Cheney said "I don't even know Joe Wilson. I never sent him." So if the trip was arranged because Cheney made a passing remark that he'd kind of like to know what was going on in Niger, so if anyone had some spare time, they might just run over there, or not. Wouldn't he, Cheney, have said just that. That would have made the statement that Wilson was not his boy, just as well.

And as to the "what the meaning of is, is" surrounding did Valerie send Joe. I want one CIA official to go on record as saying. “ If Valerie Plame/Wilson never worked for the CIA, we would have sent Joe Wilson to Niger, because he was the best man for the job.”


TT -

Then again, were you president/founder of a consulting organization for international trade specializing in Africa ... well, gee, Niger might be not so much a junket as a prospecting trip.

And, Saltullo is a bit off base in considering Niger's average income given that Joe Wilson will not be consulting or doing business with Average Joe Nigerian.

I think there are enough companies and/or organizations in Niger that could afford the rate to keep Joe (Wilson) in Hermes ties for a while.



I would love to see a cite for that - the success of Times Select is an enduring puzzle here.

As to the use of "boondoggle" to describe Wilson's trip - folks certainly think of it in terms of the corporate golf outing.

However, it is used quite commonly (dare I say, more commonly?) to mean "waste of money", not necessarily with any fun attached.

From Google:

At the TPM Cafe:

Ethanol, in case you were wondering, is still a ridiculous boondoggle. ...

I'm stopping there - a site search on the Washington Post provides lots more. And I picked the Post because Walter Pincus popularized the word in the Plame context, I believe (he was early, if not first).

And we recall from the SSCI that some folks in the meeting thought the whole Niger trip would be an inconclusive waste of time and money, i.e., a boondoggle.

Boondoggle, behest... why did Safire retire?


I find Kristof's waltz about what Wilson told him about the foregeries curious.
This is the very issue that the SSCI came down hardest on Wilson and the one on which he back tracked fast.

In July of this year he asked Pincus and Kristof to correct the record re what he told them about seeing the forgeries.

Is Kristof trying to protect Wilson from some jeopardy or is he trying to protect Wilson'd credibility without hurting his own?

I note that when Pincus wrote his correction recently (with Milbanks) he left in the forgery part.The following day on its own the WaPo coorrected that, too.

Any one have an ideas on this curiousity?


If anyone's interesteed, the preface in Joe Wilson's book talks about the smear campaign against him. http://www.politicsoftruth.com/documents/preface.pdf

Rick Ballard


As the provenance moves to Provence the press can be expected to grow increasingly less interested in the Niger forgeries. After all, they played no part in the famous 16 words, per the conclusions of the Butler report, among others.

I believe that a vast silence is going to observed among "those in the know" concerning the forgeries. The Kossacks will continue to babble but they won't have any new stories in what passes for the legitimate press to which they can point.


Maybe that's all it is, Rick, but as a friend would say "my ears are up". I don't think they made up the part where they reported the "envoy" told him he'd seen the docs and warned everyone they were forgeries. And they stuck with that after the SSCI said that was impossible. They still stuck to it after Wilson said they "misreported or misquoted" him. They even stuck with it thru the first corrections.

Maybe it is that without that allegation the Wilson story isn't very substantive and didn't warrant the initial coverage or the stories that followed .


OTOH, Wilson was making public appearances from Oct 2002 in which he was discussing the Iraq situation and never once mentioned the forgeries. Is it possible that Kristof made that part up and Pincus , too?

Try rewriting their first stories without the forgery claim and what do you get? Nothing..a guy says he went to Niger and found no evidence they sold uranium to Iraq..and the SOTU says Iraq TRIED to buy uranium from AFRICA..

Rick Ballard


I return to COGEMA and Wilson's probable knowledge of at least the names of their people in Niger and the probable relationship of COGEMA personnel with the Nigeri officials involved in uranium export.

The Panorama reporter turned the docs over to US consular officials in October '02 if my memory serves. State was a little slow in passing them to the CIA (again by memory) and I can create a scenario that had State pass copies by Joe of their own volition due to his actual knowledge of the both the Nigeri players and their COGEMA contacts. Depending on how the forgeries were classified upon receipt by State a little security issue might arise from State then having Wilson do vetting without proper clearance. Could Wilson be protecting someone at State from a security investigation?

I find the forgery business very irritating because they played absolutely no part in the Brits intelligence assessment. They couldn't have, because the Brits assessment was delivered prior to the forgeries being delivered to our consulate.


This seems a bit odd.

Just how was the British White Paper of Sept. 24, 2002 based on the forged documents that the Italian journalist provided on Oct 9, 2002 ?

Report on the U.S. intelligence community’s prewar intelligence assessments on Iraq.

Page 50:
On September 24, 2002 the British Government published a White Paper on Iraq’s WMD stating, “there is intelligence that Iraq has sought the supply of significant quantities of uranium form Africa.”

Page 57:
On October 9, 2002, an Italian journalist from the magazine Panorama provide U.S. Embassy Rome with copies of document pertaining to the alleged Iraq-Niger uranium transaction. The journalist had acquired the documents from a source who had request 15,000 Euros in return for their publication, and wanted the embassy to authenticate the documents. Embassy officers provided copies pf the documents to the CIA’s redacted because the embassy, which did collect the information, was sending copies of the documents back to the State Department headquarters.


Then again, were you president/founder of a consulting organization for international trade specializing in Africa ... well, gee, Niger might be not so much a junket as a prospecting trip.

Such a good point. Thank you.

As for Kristoff: "a sense in Spookdom"?????? Is that supposed to be enough for anybody? Like Spookdom is so hush hush but when they whisper, they whisper to Kristoff. But he can't tell us what they say. Only allude to it. And we should believe it, because it is Spoookdom.
Out with it, Nick. Who lives in Spookdom? Larry Johnson? Valerie Plame?
Finally, given story behind the Niger forgeries, is it a coincidence that Kristoff said she'd never be Rome station chief?.
I'm kidding about wondering about that.
Kind of.



Regarding your comment:
"Just how was the British White Paper of Sept. 24, 2002 based on the forged documents that the Italian journalist provided on Oct 9, 2002 ?"

On page 28 of the UK Taylor Committee report, it says that British Intelligence (SIS) had two sources for the Nigerien uranium claim, one of which was based upon documentary evidence. A later paragraph seems to indicate that the forged documents were the basis for that source.


Just how was the British White Paper of Sept. 24, 2002 based on the forged documents that the Italian journalist provided on Oct 9, 2002 ?

1) Its possible that Britain had copies of the documents before we did.

2) Its likely that British intelligence was getting the safe "transcriptions" from the forged documents that the US was.


Any one have an ideas on this curiousity?

The likeliest explanation is that Kristof and Pincus both wrote their articles based on their notes of long conversations with Wilson on the overall question of manipulation of intelligence. Despite the wingnuts obsession with parsing second-hand accounts of conversations with Wilson, there is nothing "incriminating" or underhanded here.

Something like this dialogue could have taken place:

Wilson: In February 2002, Cheney asked the CIA for more info on reports that Iraq had bought yellowcake from Niger. The CIA sent me to Niger to check the reports out, and I determined that they were total bullshit.

Kristof: This relates to the Niger forgeries that El Baradei talked about at the UN. The ones with the wrong signatures?

Wilson: Yes. The administration knew in February 2002 that the story was bullshit, but kept pushing it anyway.

It would be helpful to keep in mind that what was relevant to both Kristof and Pincus was that Wilson was telling them that the administration knew the Niger story was bogus early on -- but kept pushing it. The specifics regarding what precise elements of the story were rebutted by Wilson was not central to their stories.


Now how is Occam's razor supposed to cut through that Gordian knot of tortured reasoning?

We are, by the way, still very curious about the provenance of those little letters.

Rick Ballard

For the benefit of the Stuck on Stupid commmunity:

From our examination of the intelligence and other material on Iraqi attempts to buy uranium from Africa, we have concluded that:
a. It is accepted by all parties that Iraqi officials visited Niger in 1999.
b. The British Government had intelligence from several different sources indicating that this visit was for the purpose of acquiring uranium. Since uranium constitutes almost three-quarters of Niger’s exports, the intelligence was credible.
c. The evidence was not conclusive that Iraq actually purchased, as opposed to having sought, uranium and the British Government did not claim this.
d. The forged documents were not available to the British Government at the time its assessment was made, and so the fact of the forgery does not undermine it

From the Butler Report at page 126 Section 6.04 Para 503


Andrea Mitchell back tracks--says bloggers took her words out of context--says all that was common knowledge was that an envoy had gone to Niger..Didn't know names Wilson or Plame.


Rick Ballard

Gee, I wonder who [Russert] she might be protecting by changing her story? Is she perhaps squirming a tad at the thought of her butt planted on the witness stand?


Sure looks to me that way--I didn't see a lot of wiggle room in her original statement..


Pincus, Kristof and Mitchell--looks like an Plympics Backstroke finals to me.


Ahem--Olympics backstroke...

Rick the SSCI report says that Plame's office stuck those docs in a safe in Oct 2002 and forgot about them until six months later when they were rediscovered..

Rick Ballard


If copy machines did not exist I might believe State. Probably not though. Are we to procede from the notion that the Panorama journo didn't make copies? That's a difficult proposition for me, too.

A chain of custody on copies that runs from the Panorama journo to Josh Marshal or David Corn to Wilson is also possible. I don't think that Wilson was in on the genesis of the forgery meme within the Stuck on Stupid community. Joshie's fingerprints (and Blumenthal's) are on it and possibly Corn as well. Wilson is certainly a propagator but his affliction with Baron Munchausen's syndrom could account for the "I told everyone that they were obvious forgeries" statements. He is such a schlemiel.


Wouldn't that me worth tracing back and writing up , Rick? Start with TPM stuff a day or so before the Kristof article and see if Sid's boy left some clues--You may have a story there..(I did that with the TANG memo story and sure enough Sid's IT mouthpiece told us it was coming..Isn't he prescient? LOL


The British "Butler Report" seems satisfied with the Bush "16 words," but note the inclusion of the Democratic Republic of Congo into the mix (some folks seem to think Africa is a country and not a continent of countries). This inclusion could mean from Joe Wilson's tiny myopic view of the world, he may be right, so to speak, but Joe didn't go to the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Butler Report Page 123:

499. 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. By extension, we conclude also that the statement in President Bush’s State of the Union Address of 28 January 2003 that:

The British Government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa.

was well-founded.


Speaking of Plympics, George Plimpton could probably stroke that story into credibility or at least a game narrative and a little jollity, but not that trio.

Where is Ring Lardner when we need him?


Might be right , Kim..

Imagine this were an archeological dig trying to decipher what these three said and when they said it .. the KPM Kronicles (Kristoff Pincus and Mitchell)or Pentimento (cleaning up an old oil painting and finding all the earlier traces..Hmmm to bad I'm in Fla the weather is gorgeous and the pool beckons..


That's a damn fine job. Clear as a bell, too.

Wonder what she's really trying to hide or hide from?

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