Plame Game Revisited

Oddly enough, the Washington Post has revisited Joseph Wilson's credibility, prompted by the same Wall Street Journal opinion piece I quoted yesterday. It's a decent enough summary, with some good parts:

Wilson has also armed his critics by misstating some aspects of the Niger affair. For example, Wilson told The Washington Post anonymouslyin June 2003 that he had concluded that the intelligence about the Niger uranium was based on forged documents because “the dates were wrong and the names were wrong.” The Senate intelligence committee, which examined pre-Iraq war intelligence, reported that Wilson “had never seen the CIA reports and had no knowledge of what names and dates were in the reports.” Wilson had to admit he had misspoken.

He misspoke? He concluded documents he had never seen were forgeries?

That inaccuracy was not central to Wilson's claims about Niger, but his critics have used it to cast doubt on his veracity about more important questions, such as whether his wife recommended him for the 2002 trip, as administration officials charged in the conversations with reporters that special counsel Patrick J. Fitzgerald is now probing. Wilson has maintained that Plame was merely “a conduit,” telling CNN last year that “her supervisors asked her to contact me.”

It is very rare to find a human conduit that doesn't add his or her own value to the information they pass on, nor would it be odd to think that she would have encouraged her superiors to ask for someone she knew well.

But the Senate committee found that “interviews and documents provided to the committee indicate that his wife… suggested his name for the trip.” The committee also noted a memorandum from Plame saying Wilson “has good relations” with Niger officials who “could possibly shed light on this sort of activity.” In addition, notes on a State Department document surmised that Plame “had the idea to dispatch him” to Niger.
The CIA has always said, however, that Plame's superiors chose Wilson for the Niger trip and she only relayed their decision.

The CIA's credibility hasn't been so hot since they became politically charged, either.

Wilson also had charged that his report on Niger clearly debunked the claim about Iraqi uranium purchases. He told NBC in 2004: “This government knew that there was nothing to these allegations.” But the Senate committee said his findings were ambiguous. Tenet said Wilson's report “did not resolve” the matter.

Basically Wilson's trip didn't add any new information to the mix, and what he says his report meant, and what the bipartisan committee said it conveyed were different.

It sounds to me like Wilson's credibility is not beyond question, here, so I stand by yesterday's posting.

Josh Poulson

Posted Tuesday, Oct 25 2005 01:37 PM

Adjacent entries


« Plame Game
(Non-)Response From Washington Senator Patty Murray Re: Porkbusters »





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