July 17, 2004


LETTER TO THE EDITORS: Debunking Distortions About My Trip to Niger (Joe Wilson, July 17, 2004, Washington Post)

For the second time in a year, your paper has published an article [news story, July 10] falsely suggesting that my wife, Valerie Plame, was responsible for the trip I took to Niger on behalf of the U.S. government to look into allegations that Iraq had sought to purchase several hundred tons of yellowcake uranium from that West African country. Last July 14, Robert Novak, claiming two senior sources, exposed Valerie as an "agency operative [who] suggested sending him to Niger." Novak went ahead with his column despite the fact that the CIA had urged him not to disclose her identity. That leak to Novak may well have been a federal crime and is under investigation.

In the year since the betrayal of Valerie's covert status, it has been widely understood that she is irrelevant to the unpaid mission I undertook or the conclusions I reached. But your paper's recent article acted as a funnel for this scurrilous and extraneous charge, uncritically citing the Republican-written Senate Select Committee on Intelligence report.

The decision to send me to Niger was not made, and could not be made, by Valerie. At the conclusion of a meeting that she did not attend, I was asked by CIA officials whether I would be willing to travel to Niger. While a CIA reports officer and a State Department analyst, both cited in the report, speculate about what happened, neither of them was in the chain of command that made the decision to send me. Reams of documents were given over to the Senate committee, but the only quotation attributed to my wife on this subject was the anodyne "my husband has good relations with both the PM (Prime Minister) and the former Minister of Mines (not to mention lots of French contacts), both of whom could possibly shed light on this sort of activity."

Of course no one thinks that his wife, a mere functionary, made the decision. The assertion is that she recommended him, which the quote he cites rather conclusively demonstrates.

Posted by Orrin Judd at July 17, 2004 11:54 AM

His website dedicated to truth seems to have disappeared. Put him on the shelf with Moore.

Posted by: genecis at July 17, 2004 2:53 PM

Apparently it took six days of planning and who knows how many consultations with other people to come up with this line of defense against the original article. That still leaves about half a dozen other discrepencies between Wilson's claims last year and the Senate report unanswered.

Posted by: John at July 17, 2004 3:56 PM

I wonder if any (or should I say "how many"?)of his 'lots of French contacts' have any connection to the UN oil for food scandal?

Posted by: Carter at July 17, 2004 4:23 PM

Liar, liar, Plames on fire.

Posted by: genecis at July 19, 2004 10:27 AM