Reprinted from NewsMax.com
Senators Rebuke Joe Wilson Claims
Kenneth R. Timmerman
Friday, June 1, 2007
-- In a rare rebuke of a public official by name, the Senate Select
Intelligence Committee has issued a scathing report blasting former
Ambassador Joseph Wilson IV.
Wilson has said in his book and
in numerous public appearances that reports he reviewed from the U.S.
ambassador to Niger, Barbro Owens-Kirkpatrick, "indicated that there
was nothing to the Niger-Iraq uranium story . . . This too is untrue,"
the committee found. On the contrary, Owens-Kirkpatrick wrote a cable
to the State Department which said that the initial CIA reporting of a
Niger-Iraq uranium deal "provides sufficient details to warrant another
hard look at Niger's uranium sales."
The report claims Wilson
mislead the public and the intelligence committee about his trip to
Niger in 2002 on behalf of the CIA to investigate claims that Iraq was
seeking to purchase uranium in Africa.
Best know as the husband of
former CIA officer Valerie Plame, Ambassador Wilson was catapulted to
the limelight after he published an Op-Ed in The New York Times on July
6, 2003, that accused the Bush administration of manipulating
intelligence on Iraq to make the case for war.
In his New York Times article,
Wilson said that in February 2002 he was asked by the Central
Intelligence Agency to travel to Niger to investigate "a particular
intelligence report" that documented the sale of uranium to Iraq by the
The CIA wanted him to "check
out the story so they could provide a response to the vice president's
office," after Vice President Dick Cheney had raised questions about
the purported uranium deals, he wrote.
Once he arrived in Niger's
capital, Niamey, Wilson says he met with U.S. Ambassador Barbro
Owens-Kirkpatrick, then "spent the next eight days drinking sweet mint
tea" and meeting with former government officials and others involved
in the uranium business. "It did not take long to conclude that it was
highly doubtful that any such transaction had ever taken place."
And that is what he reported
back to the CIA and to the State Department African Affairs Bureau,
Wilson wrote. But according to the Senate Intelligence Committee
investigation, released last Friday, much of what Wilson wrote in the
article, and has said since, about the trip "is not true."
Wilson wrote to the committee
in July 2004 when they released an exhaustive investigation into the
Niger uranium story that included the finding that he had been sent to
Niger at the suggestion of his wife. Wilson claimed that was "not true."
At the time, the Committee did
not release the full text of the e-mail sent by Valerie Plame on Wilson
to her superior that recommended him for the job, "thinking it was
unnecessary in light of the other evidence" they had made public.
But now, "considering the
controversy surrounding this document," the Senate committee decided to
make the full text available to the public. The Valerie Plame e-mail
shows without any doubt that she recommended her husband for the
mission in Niger.
After recounting an earlier
fact-finding mission he had carried out in Niger for the Agency, as
well as his good contacts "with both the [prime minister] and the
former minister of mines," she concluded by saying that her husband
"may be in a position to assist. Therefore, request your thoughts on
what, if anything to pursue here."
In sworn testimony before the
House committee on Oversight and Government Reform in March of this
year, however, Plame denied categorically that she had suggested her
husband's name. "I did not recommend him. I did not suggest him," she
It was Valerie Plame's
recommendation for the mission that caught the eye of Vice President
Dick Cheney when Wilson's Op-Ed first appeared and ultimately led to
the Special Counsel investigation into how her name — supposed
classified — was "leaked" to the press.
The committee found that
internal intelligence community notes of meetings in which Valerie
Plame participated "did not mark her name with a (C) as would be
required to indicate that her association with the CIA was classified,"
as both Plame and her husband have said. These aren't the only instance
where Wilson's account did not square with the facts, the senators
Although Nigerian officials insisted
in meetings with the Americans that no uranium would be sold to rogue
nations, "we should not dismiss out of hand the possibility that some
scheme could be, or has been, underway to supply Iraq with yellowcake
from here," she wrote.
Perhaps the most damning
conclusion of the Senate report has been known for nearly three years,
but has remained classified until now. In the initial July 2004 report,
the Senate committee reported that the intelligence community "used or
cleared the Niger-Iraq uranium intelligence fifteen times before the
President's State of the Union address and four times after, saying in
several papers that Iraq was ‘vigorously pursuing uranium from Africa.'"
Despite that finding, Democrats
led by Michigan Sen. Carl Levin blasted President Bush for the "16
words" in the January 2003 speech that described Iraq's efforts to
acquire uranium from Africa, calling them an effort to "cherry-pick"
intelligence and to "mislead" the country and the world in a "rush to
fact, the U.S. intelligence community continued to believe in the
veracity of the Niger uranium story for many months after the speech,
and didn't call back its original reporting until June 2003 — well
after the liberation of Iraq.
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