Mar 11 2007
As I was rereading Wilson’s word’s for the speculative post below I focused in on a key event at UVA where Wilson let his mouth run a bit. And in that talk he tipped his hand on something that has been key to the controversy – who knew what about the infamous Niger forgeries.
In Wilson’s original partisan hit pieces, funneled anonmously through a pliant liberal media, he claimed the President had knowingly used forged documents to make his case to invade Iraq. This was the core of the Wilson claim – forged documents meant Bush lied and people died. That was in May-July of 2003. But by July 7 of 2004 Joe Wilson had to recant, under oath, the claim about the forged documents being the smoking gun he had bunked in his infamous last trip to Niger. Here is the key findings of that report:
When the former ambassador spoke to Committee staff, his description of his findings differed from the DO intelligence report and his account of information provided to him by the CIA differed from the CIA officials’ accounts in some respects. First, the former ambassador described his findings to Committee staff as more directly related to Iraq and, specifically, as refuting both the possibility that Niger could have sold uranium to Iraq and that Iraq approached Niger to purchase uranium. The intelligence report described how the structure of Niger’s uranium mines would make it difficult, if not impossible, for Niger to sell uranium to rouge nations, and noted that Nigerien officials denied knowledge of any deals to sell uranium to any rogue states, but did not refute the possibility that Iraq had approached Niger to purchase uranium. Second, the former ambassador said that he discussed with his CIA contacts which names and signatures should have appeared on any documentation of a legitimate uranium transaction. In fact, the intelligence report made no mention of the alleged Iraq-Niger uranium deal or signatures that should have appeared on any documentation of such a deal. The only mention of Iraq in the report pertained to the meeting between the Iraqi delegation and former Prime Minister Mayaki. …
The former ambassador also told Committee staff that he was the source of a Washington Post article (“CIA Did Not Share Doubt on Iraq Data; Bush Used Report of Uranium Bid,” June 12, 2003) which said, “among the Envoy’s conclusions was that the documents may have been forged because ‘the dates were wrong and the names were wrong.'” Committee staff asked how the former ambassador could have come to the conclusion that the “dates were wrong and the names were wrong” when he had never seen the CIA reports and had no knowledge of what names and dates were in the reports. The former ambassador said that he may have “misspoken” to the reporter when he said he concluded the documents were “forged.” He also 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 and may have thought he had seen the names himself. The former ambassador reiterated that he had been able to collect the names of the government officials which should have been on the documents.
Wilson claimed, under oath, that he had no personal detailed knowledge of the Niger Forgeries, only what was known from reporting after March 2003. But the fact is he knew a lot, details that were not common knowledge. And in fact he knew who’s names should have been on the Niger Forgeries because he knew the dates of the Niger Forgeries. The dates coincide with the brief military rule in Niger from April 1999 to around January 2000, the period which Wilson talks about a lot in his UVA speech in the fall of 2003. Given the names of people and the government in power itself would only be valid for a period of less than a year means Wilson had classified level knowledge of the documents. But he also knew WHEN the documents were at the CIA! Note this section of the UVA speech:
There were two other reports that were done at the same time as mine. One was the Ambassadors on the scene report and one was a report made by a fourth star marine corps general who made his way down to Niger and had taken a look at it. All three of us had concluded the same thing. It did not happen. We have information to the contrary. It cannot be authentic unless it contains three signatures. None of which were on those documents. All those reports were in the US Government files and yet eight months later, the President of the United States, in the most important speech of his administration, in a speech to the world, to the US Congress, and to the American people detailing why we had to go to war with Iraq, contains sixteen words which were on the surface of it, a lie.
The State Of The Union speech in 2003 was on January 28th. So if you go back eight months you end up in May/June of 2002 (depending on how you count) – not February of 2002 when Wilson made his infamous trip to Niger. So clearly Wilson KNEW that the forgeries where not in the hands of the US when he went to Niger in 2002, at least when he spoke at UVA in October 2003. He knew he was lying through his teeth. And therefore he lied under oath to the Senate Committee when he testified about not knowing. He knew exactly when the documents were in the CIA’s hands because May/June 2002 is about the time word started spreading about the forged documents.
And there is one final piece to the puzzle. It seems (and we won’t know until the transcript comes out) that the VP’s interest in Niger actually came from the report of Wilson’s 1999 visit to Niger! It was Wison’s 1999 Niger report that kicked off the VP’s interest, not the Niger Forgeries. So let’s pull this all together.
If the 2002 trip was kicked off because Wilson reported in 1999 that Iraq had made overtures to Niger then Wilson was being sent to Iraq to rebuke is own earlier reporting. And clearly there is little need to go to Niger to detail your previous report’s contents. And when Wilson claimed in his early media attacks that this was all about forged documents the administration deliberately used to support the invasion of Iraq he knew too much about those same documents – including the fact they referred to the very brief set of months when the military was in charge and what were the few valid names for that period. And Wilson knew that the US did not have the forged documents in hand when he went to Niger because he himself placed the documents in US custody 3 months after his trip in October 2003. The wild speculation would be he went to Niger in Fb 2002 to get the forgeries on the street, to weaken his own 1999 report.
Wilson, whatever his gambit, has one fallacy. He weaves detailed and conflicting fictions which show him to be lying whenever his lips are moving. Someone should bring this man up on charges for lying to the Senate under oath. Because now we have him in his own words admitting he did know a lot more about those forged documents than was possible from the reporting out in March 2003.