A vehicle for venting on philosophy, religion, and the general state of things. Proprietor: C. W. Powell

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Wilson's Lies Exposed!! But will the Media retract the slander of President Bush?

OpinionJournal - Featured Article: "Mr. Wilson's defense, in essence, is that the 'Republican-written' Senate Intelligence Committee report is a partisan hatchet job. We could forgive people for being taken in by this, considering the way the Committee's ranking Democrat, Jay Rockefeller, has been spinning it over the past week. But the fact is that the three most damning conclusions are contained not in Chairman Pat Roberts's 'Additional Views,' but in the main body of the report approved by Mr. Rockefeller and seven other Democrats.

Number one: The winner of last year's Award for Truth Telling from the Nation magazine foundation, didn't tell the truth when he wrote that his wife, CIA officer Valerie Plame, 'had nothing to do with' his selection for the Niger mission. Mr. Wilson is now pretending there is some kind of important distinction between whether she 'recommended' or 'proposed' him for the trip.
Mr. Wilson had been denying any involvement at all on Ms. Plame's part, in order to suggest that her identity was disclosed by a still-unknown Administration official out of pure malice. If instead an Administration official cited nepotism truthfully in order to explain the oddity of Mr. Wilson's selection for the Niger mission, then there was no underlying crime. Motive is crucial under the controlling statute.
The 1982 Intelligence Identities Protection Act was written in the wake of the Philip Agee scandal to protect the CIA from deliberate subversion, not to protect the identities of agents and their spouses who choose to enter into a national political debate. In short, the entire leak probe now looks like a familiar Beltway case of criminalizing political differences. Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald should fold up his tent.

Number two: Joe Wilson didn't tell the truth about how he supposedly came to realize that it was "highly doubtful" there was anything to the story he'd been sent to Niger to investigate. He told everyone that he'd recognized as obvious forgeries the documents purporting to show an Iraq-Niger uranium deal. But the forged documents to which he referred didn't reach U.S. intelligence until eight months after his trip. Mr. Wilson has said that he "misspoke"--multiple times, apparently--on this issue.

Number three: Joe Wilson was also not telling the truth when he said that his final report to the CIA had "debunked" the Niger story. The Senate Intelligence report--again, the bipartisan portion of it--says Mr. Wilson's debrief was interpreted as providing "some confirmation of foreign government service reporting" that Iraq had sought uranium in Niger. That's because Niger's former Prime Minister had told Mr. Wilson he interpreted a 1999 visit from an Iraqi trade delegation as showing an interest in uranium.

This is a remarkable record of falsehood. We'll let our readers judge if they think Mr. Wilson was deliberately wrong, and therefore can be said to have "lied." We certainly know what critics would say if President Bush had been caught saying such things. But in any event, we'd think that the news outlets that broadcast Mr. Wilson's story over the past year would want to retrace their own missteps.

Mr. Wilson made three separate appearances on NBC's "Meet the Press," according to the Weekly Standard. New York Times columnist Nick Kristof first brought the still anonymous Niger envoy to public attention in May 2003, so he too must feel burned by his source. Alone among major sellers of the Wilson story, the Washington Post has done an admirable job so far of correcting the record.

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