June 12, 2007


Did Valerie Plame Wilson Tell the Truth?: A senator’s investigation suggests the answer is no. (Byron York, 5/25/07, National Review)

In her testimony before the House, Mrs. Wilson said flatly, “I did not recommend him. I did not suggest him.” She told the House committee that a 2004 Senate report, which concluded that she had indeed suggested her husband for the trip, was simply wrong. In particular, Mrs. Wilson pointed to a February 12, 2002, memo she had written, which the Senate said showed that she had suggested her husband for the trip, and claimed that the Senate had taken the memo “out of context” to “make it seem as though I had suggested or recommended him.”

The 2004 Senate report to which Mrs. Wilson referred had quoted a brief excerpt from her memo. In the new report, Sen. Bond publishes the whole thing, and it seems to indicate clearly that Mrs. Wilson suggested her husband for the trip. The memo was occasioned by a February 5, 2002 CIA intelligence report about Niger, Iraq, and uranium. The report had been circulating in the intelligence community for a week by February 12, and Mrs. Wilson headlined her memo, “Iraq-related Nuclear Report Makes a Splash.”

The report forwarded below has prompted me to send this on to you and request your comments and opinion. Briefly, it seems that Niger has signed a contract with Iraq to sell them uranium. The IC [Intelligence Community] is getting spun up about this for obvious reasons. The embassy in Niamey has taken the position that this report can’t be true — they have such cozy relations with the GON [Government of Niger] that they would know if something like this transpired.

So where do I fit in? As you may recall, [redacted] of CP/[office 2] recently approached my husband to possibly use his contacts in Niger to investigate [a separate Niger matter]. After many fits and starts, [redacted] finally advised that the station wished to pursue this with liaison. My husband is willing to help, if it makes sense, but no problem if not. End of story.

Now, with this report, it is clear that the IC is still wondering what is going on… my husband has good relations with both the PM 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. To be frank with you, I was somewhat embarrassed by the agency’s sloppy work last go-round, and I am hesitant to suggest anything again. However, [my husband] may be in a position to assist. Therefore, request your thoughts on what, if anything, to pursue here. Thank you for your time on this.

In addition to showing Mrs. Wilson suggesting her husband for the trip, the memo also sheds light on the timeline of events leading up to Joseph Wilson’s trip to Niger. The conventional wisdom has always been that Mrs. Wilson suggested her husband’s name in response to an inquiry from Vice President Dick Cheney about the Iraq Niger uranium story. But we learned during the trial of Cheney’s former top aide, Lewis Libby, that the vice president was briefed about the Iraq uranium matter on February 13, 2002. Mrs. Wilson’s memo was written on February 12, which seems to show that Ambassador Wilson’s trip was in the works before the vice president asked his question.

Hardly surprising that they wanted to control the raw intelligence so they could could control the spin on the end product.

Posted by Orrin Judd at June 12, 2007 12:00 AM
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