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Preview: RealClearPolitics - Articles - Rick Ballard

RealClearPolitics - Articles - Rick Ballard

Last Build Date: Thu, 15 Mar 2007 19:30:22 -0600

Copyright: Copyright 2007

Serious Questions for Henry Waxman's Show Trial

Thu, 15 Mar 2007 19:30:22 -0600

The primary responsibility for the protection of agents' identities rests with the agents themselves. That is a fact hammered into all CIA employees from the moment they are hired. Valerie Plame Wilson initiated her own 'outing' by participating in her husband's successful effort to become an advisor to the Kerry campaign. The precise moment in which she abandoned any pretense of being 'undercover' is difficult to determine, but it is safe to presume it occurred prior to May 2, 2003. On that day, during a meeting of the Senate Democratic Policy Committee, the Wilsons succeeded in inserting Joe Wilson into the electoral political process. They also made contact with New York Times reporter Nicholas Kristof. From Vanity Fair: "In early May, Wilson and Plame attended a conference sponsored by the Senate Democratic Policy Committee, at which Wilson spoke about Iraq; one of the other panelists was the New York Times journalist Nicholas Kristof. Over breakfast the next morning with Kristof and his wife, Wilson told about his trip to Niger and said Kristof could write about it, but not name him." The Wilsons pitched Ambassador Munchausen's fable to Kristof and he bought it with the same degree of faith that won Walter Duranty (and the New York Times) a Pulitzer prize for publishing every lie Stalin's propagandists fed him. The very gullible Kristof cobbled the Wilsons' bogus concoction into an article in the New York Times, published on May 6, 2003. In that article Kristof stated: "Consider the now-disproved claims by President Bush and Colin Powell that Iraq tried to buy uranium from Niger so it could build nuclear weapons. As Seymour Hersh noted in The New Yorker, the claims were based on documents that had been forged so amateurishly that they should never have been taken seriously. 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." The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence disposed of Wilson's fable on pages 443 - 444 of the report: ... The plan to send the former ambassador to Niger was suggested by the former ambassador's wife, a CIA employee. The former ambassador's wife suggested her husband for the trip to Niger in February 2002. ... On February 12, 2002, the former ambassador's wife sent a memorandum to a Deputy Chief of a division in the CIA's Directorate of Operations which said, "[m]y 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." ... Rather than speaking publicly about his actual experiences during his inquiry of the Niger issue, the former ambassador seems to have included information he learned from press accounts and from his beliefs about how the Intelligence Community would have or should have handled the information he provided. ... The former ambassador told Committee staff that he, in fact, did not have access to any of the names and dates in the CIA's reports and said he may have become confused about his own recollection after the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) reported in March 2003 that the names and dates on the documents were not correct. Of note, the names and dates in the documents that the IAEA found to be incorrect were not names or dates included in the CIA reports. ... While the CIA responded to the Vice President's request for the Agency's analysis, they never provided the information gathered by the former Ambassador. ... The Committee found that, for most analysts, the former ambassador's report lent more credibility, not less, to the reported Niger- Iraq uranium deal. [emphasis added] According to the Vanity Fair piece, [...]