Mar 11 2007
While I was flying out on vacation last week I was contemplating the Joe Wilson/Valerie Plame partisan hit job, specifically one aspect of this whole mess that has bugged me from the start: why pick the apparently loose lipped Wilson for a CIA field investigation into WMD trafficking? And not just once but apparently many times. On the surface Wilson appears to be a bungling fool who cannot keep his lies straight to save his life, and who blabs on and on about how great he his (clearly a legend in his own mind). I have, from day one of this story, never been able to resolve the apparent conflict of the clown and the seriousness of the missions he was sent opn. And then it hit me.
Joe Wilson is/was a deep cover operative. The indications are everywhere, and in so many places I will not even try to link to all the material that has been published on each aspect of Joe Wilson’s life that hint this may be true. I am sure the Plamiac experts here and elsewhere will correct anything I use to support my theory. But it makes some sense and puts a lot of things into a different, more coherent perspective.
First, Joe Wilson worked in the Baghdad bureau of the State Department and was the one who ‘stayed behind’ when the first Gulf War broke out. His role as Chief of Station could be a dual one, with an intelligence side as a covert agent. It would make sense why he received so many accolades for his stint there – he could have been a lead CIA coordinator in country.
Second, when Wilson and Plame met at a party at the Turkish Embassy in 1997, it is reported she blurted out she worked at the CIA early on in their encounters (under 48 hours). Plame doesn’t seem to be the type, after being a NOC, to simply blurt that out. But Wilson is gifted in saying things he shouldn’t at times (like noting Val’s job at Brewster and Jennings on a political donation, but more on that in a second). So it is not a big shock if the conversation was more along the lines “I work at the CIA too” and Wilson was trying to be too cute by half. Valerie had just come back from Greece because it was feared her cover had been blown by Aldrich Ames, so I doubt she would tell just anyone where she worked. In fact, there has been speculation that Marc Grossman, who seems to have known them both, may have helped get the two together. The intelligence world is a very small clique, which is why Grossman could get a request answered in a day when it came time to find out who sent Wilson to Niger (though I still suspect he knows). So maybe she knew about his work and was just letting him now she was from the same clothe.
Third, there is the first hand knowledge of CIA cover Brewster and Jennings by Wilson. Should he have known about Val’s cover? I am not sure, but some cover story had to be established. All I know is it seems he was the one who noted it on campaign donation records. As I noted way back here in this post it appears Wilson donated too much money initially to the Gore campaign, well over the hard money limit, and had to redistribute the money between him and Valerie so it looked like two donations. But why use the CIA cover company after years of supposedly keeping it secret? Well, what if B&J was a well known cover company that was a code word Congress and others in the Federal Government used to refer to black ops work? Maybe Wilson was trying to send a signal to someone on the Gore campaign? Who knows. Granted, this is a weak connection, but the B&J mystery has always been what a lame cover it is, which makes it perfect as a code phrase for top government officials to use to hint at a group of people and their intel work.
Fourth, Wilson’s many trips to Niger at key, critical points and on jobs that would not be in the hands of just anyone. His first trip, in Wilson’s own words was to turn a military coup detat, inside a country that’s prime product was a nuclear power source, towards a democratic government. And this was in a country that basically was a French protectorate. So why send the CIA in? Probably because the French could not have a US official openly working for them or some other such nonsense. But Wilson did play a large role in this 1999 effort (which happened to occur right after his donation to the Gore campaign). At least that is what Wilson claims. My knowkedge of the government is they DO NOT outsource these kinds of responsibilities to private individuals – probably because legally they cannot. Agents of the government have certain authorities which cannot be conveyed on private individuals. It makes more sense Wilson, as an agent, was operating as a US official under cover.
And there is the claim that this entire news media fiasco was an attempt to send a signal to Joe Wilson himself. Now that is still a silly claim, but if Wilson was a covert agent then the news getting out his wife worked at the CIA COULD have been seen by Wilson as a warning of what would be coming his way. He may have actually felt his career was being threatened if he was the one who was now the covert agent.
And I cannot help and wonder about why Wilson was not debriefed at the CIA but was instead dedbriefed at his home with Valerie present. It is a well known fact that covert agents avoid Langley like the plague, so that would fit into the overall theory. Especially AFTER the trip to Niger. To avoid any potential connection to the CIA and Wilson’s trip the debriefing would best be done outside a known CIA facility.
And Wilson being a CIA agent may be why the complaint from the CIA was dismissed three times by Justice Agent Wilson claiming he was the target of a political hit by the outing of his wife would show a paranoia of thinking and could have easily been seen as the joke it was by many in the CIA and Justice. But if Wilson was a CIA operative, now outside the government (completely plausible), then a complaint noting that fact would carry sufficient minimal weight requiring an invesitgation, and it would makes sense why the complaint is still classified.
Wild speculation? Of course. But a lot of strange things surrounding this topic make a lot more sense if Wilson was also a CIA operative. His history shows he easily could have been. Three trips to Niger in 4 years discussing key topics with the government’s top leaders is plenty strong evidence itself, but there are many other indicators, as I tried to point out. And that may be why Wilson has been able to weather this storm as well as he has. A bumbling, exaggerating, second-rate diplomat carries little clout in DC. But a field agent who worked closely with the core of two administrations on such hot topics as Iraq and the coup in Niger would carry a lot of weight in DC. And to play and survive DC politics you need some power or prestige to stay in the game this long.
So was Wilson a CIA undercover operative who took the outing of his CIA wife’s name as a threat he was soon to be outed? Read back through some of his comments and it seems highly plausible (from the UVA speach linked above):
The breach of trust and the people at the agency will tell you this, is between those who risk their lives to get the information necessary for us to do the sorts of analysis that Pat did in his distinguished career and do the sort of consuming of product I did during my less than stellar career to quote Casper Weinberger.
They really need to have their identities and covers protected. Otherwise, we will not be able to recruit people to do that job. So, I would encourage everywhere I go, the President and the senior officials in the Administration to get serious about this. Not necessarily because my wife is in danger or I am in danger, but because the national security of our country is compromised by this.
Emphasis mine. When I first read this I thought Wilson was just grandstanding when he tried to make it out he was ‘in danger’ too. But now I think he was simply saying he, spy, and his wife, spy, were not the issue or in danger. Read the whole article and how Wilson discusses his many decades of work in Niger, both in and out of Government for more possible hints to his true history. For example, this recollection of his time in Niger sounds a lot more like that of an agent on a mission than anything else:
I was out there both in government and in African government helping them. In fact after the President, the military dictator had been assassinated, I went to see his successor and at the request of some of my friends there and some of the colleagues with whom I had been working, I went to see the new military dictator and I told him in no uncertain terms, that the only way he was going to get out of this mess, not just alive, but perhaps with a chance to restore his own personal honor, and the honor of his organization, the Presidential guard that had been responsible for the assassination of his predecessor. The only chance he had was to get out and effect a change back to democratic rule as quickly as possible. I told him, I said, that you need to understand from my experience in Africa that your successor president probably will not be very comfortable with you standing watching his back after you have effected the transition. After all, your organization was responsible for the assassination of your predecessor shooting him in the back. Therefore, I said to him, I think that you probably ought to leave the country for a while. Those are pretty strong words to walk into a military barracks and tell a guy who has assassinated his predecessor and has assumed responsibility for his country.
Sound like a businessman out trying to see what he could find out for the CIA? Sound like someone just gathering intel? Or does it sound like someone sending a message for the government? If accurate, then this tells me Wilson was an agent communicating mssages from the US to these new owners of a nuclear power base. Anyway, some wild speculation for everyone’s weekend reading.
Update: I forgot one other item which would indicate he was inside the CIA not outside – the Niger Forgeries and his detailed knowledge about them. Wilson had to backpedal a lot on why he knew so much about he forgeries when he testified to the Senate. I post here in a campanion piece all the indications Wilson knew a lot about those forgeries, including the fact he admitted in Oct 2003 (albeit accidentally) the US did not have the forgeries in hand until after his infamous trip. So was the backpedalling a lie under oath or was it a cover story to attempt to undo his mistake at nearly exposing himself? Who knows. Maybe we will find out more at the civil trial.