Jan 31 2007
[Note: Updates at the end. Folks, the jem is at the bottom after the fold. To summarize, Wilson went to Niger to debunk his own earlier report from 1999]. Now we have Judith Miller, and the case for the prosecution starts to fall apart more. Key date to hold in your mind while going through all of this is July 8th. On that date the information regarding the NIE (and I believe Wilson’s trip as it related to it) was declassified. So here we go with Miller’s first meeting with Libby on June 23rd and something I noted way back when she first wrote about her meetings – and that is Libby did NOT discuss Wilson by name or occupation at this meeting.
F Did there come a time when you met with Libby
M In OEOB, June 23. (Voice waivers)
M Mr. Libby appeared agitated and frustrated and angry
F HOw could you tell
M He’s a lowkey and controlled guy, what he said made me think I was correct. He was concerned that CIA was beginning to backpdal to distance self from unequivocal estimates it provided before the war through a “perverted war of leaks.”
F Did the topic of Joseph Wilson come up
F What do you recall was said
M His office had learned that he had been sent overseas, initially referred to as clandestine guy. VP had asked about a report in Winter 2002, in Africa, CIA hd sent Mr Wilson out to investigate claim.
F Was Libby saying VP sent WIlson
M the contrary. He said that VP did not know that Mr Wilson had been sent.
F What he said about Winter 2002 and how it related to trip.
M There had been reports, a report had gone up to the Hill indicating that Iraq hunting for uranium in Niger. VP had asked about those reporters, agency had taken upon itself to find out more. In the beginning he referred to Wilson as clandestine guy.
F Mr. Wilson’s wife (voice not in gerat shape)
M Yes, when he was discussing intell reporting, he said his wife (referring to Wilson) worked in the bureau
If Libby did discuss Wilson only in the abstract of “clandestine guy” then he while he was, in essence, discussing Wilson and Plame he was not using their names and therefore not divulging them to the media. This is absolutely critical. Because this is where Fitzgerald’s whole case implodes. If Libby was going to out Plame he would have used the name “Joe Wilson” at least! But if he was being careful and did not let on about Wilson’s identity, then talking about some mystery guy’s wife is clearly not a campaign against any individual. What is interesting, and I understand it is in cross examination later, is Miller knew the name “Joe Wilson” before she met with Libby because she had talked to him! She had his phone number in her notes. The reason Wilson and variants of Plame’s name are in her notes are not because of Libby – he used ‘clandestine guy’. No one can derive “Joe Wilson” from that. So it is clear that while Libby was trying to hide the specifics about who this clandestine guy was, Miller already knew (and clearly did not tell Libby she knew). Or did she? Interesting question from Walton
Walton Was he using Wilson’s name
M First as a clandestine guy, then began talking about Joe Wilson by name
Question is, did she say something to lead him to understand she knew who the clandestine guy was.
Here is a real trip for Plamiacs. We all know Valerie Plame sent Joe Wilson to Niger in 1999 as well, that 2002 was not his first mission for the CIA to that country. It turns out the report that Iraq and Niger were back at the Yellow Cake dance (they had traded in Yellow Cake prior to the first Gulf War – without the knowledge of the French who supposedly oversaw the trade) in 1999 was from a report by one Joe Wilson from his earlier trip to Niger! There were serious concerns at the time that AQ Kahn, father of the Pakistani Nuclear Bomb, was out selling his knowledge to other muslim countries. As we discussed in one of many earlier posts on this site, that earlier trip was during major upheavels in Niger and after a military coup d’etat. News that Iraq had come calling at this pivotal stage was probably very alarming in non-proliferation circles. It has been my suspicion the CIA bribed some key folks to forego the coup and turn the country into a democracy.
But either way, the report that Iraq might have been talking to Niger about yellow cake which hit the Hill and caused the VP to ask questions, and subsequently send Wilson back to Niger in 2003 – was Wilson’s own earlier report!:
F what discussed. [Judy uncomfortable]
M SAid plenty of info before Powell presentation was given, supporting Iraq hunting uranium, it had been shown that IRaq HAD acquired uranium in Africa, prior to 1st gulf war, in 80s IAEA stated taht Iraq had acquired, after that several different reports that Iraq in market again for uranium. 2 reports, for a long-term arrangement for large quantities, and then a shorter term amount, then referred to anohter report, a third report, the arrival of a delegation in 1999 this delegation was seeking a broader trade relationship, since Niger only had one export, officials had concluded that Iraq was interested in uranium, Author of this report was Joe Wilson. The report had gone up to the Hill. Talking about info provided to Hill, which had prompted VP questions.
F Did he indicate who provided this report
How interesting. Wilson went to Niger in 2002 and then came back debunking his own report from 1999? How totally fascinating (and never reported to the American people). So Kristof’s headline should have been “Ex Ambassador changes his mind on Iraq WMD”. Ugh! This is what this was all about? Wilson reported a serious Iraq overture to Niger in 1999 and then goes back in 2002 and debunks his own earlier report? Were they his forgeries as well? More later on Miller if I have time.
Addendum: Just wanted to add some more to the Miller-Libby meeting and whether Libby ever deviated from the “clandestine guy” line in their first meeting:
J Did you say to the GJ:
[GK Transcript]: I really have to rely on my notes because my memory is not good
M Sir, I’d like to see the context of that.
J Were you asked the following question.
Judy swallowing nervously.
[GJ Transcript] And is it fair to say that in describing Wilson’s wife, your best recollection is he did not refer to her by name?
I still think Libby was really cautious but Miller knew about Wilson and actually has no recollection if Libby used their names or not – in her head they names would automatically be associated. More later.