It's certainly been a long week.
On Wednesday I finally received some of the documents I requested which aren't readily available to others. It's a lot of reading and filtering, but suffice to say, this story is a LOT bigger than a "leak".
However, as I take a little break, here are a few questions for commentators to ponder:
The SSCI report details a visit to Niger just after Wilson's little jaunt to the region.
Just after Wilson's visit, Barbro Owens-Kirkpatrick, Ambassador to Niger arraigned for the Deputy Commander of the European Command, General Carlton Fulford to meet with Nigerian officials using of course his "Official CIA coordinated Talking Points".
The SSCI doesn't really explain why Kirkpatrick asked Fulford to check on the reports indeed we still don't know, but even more important, that meeting, or rather the report of that meeting was subequently passed up the chain and given to everyone except to Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.
Now, here is an account from the Washington Post,dated July 15th, 2003.
"Fulford was asked by the U.S. ambassador to Niger, BarbroOwens-Kirkpatrick, to join her at the meeting with Niger's President Mamadou Tandja on Feb. 24, 2002. "I was asked to impress upon the president the importance that the yellowcake in Niger be under control," Fulford said. "I did that. He assured me. He said the mining operations were handled through a French consortium" and therefore out of the Niger government's control. Owens-Kirkpatrick, reached by phone, declined to comment.
Fulford's impressions, while not conclusive, were similar to those of former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson, who traveled to Niger for the CIA in February 2002 to interview Niger officials about the uranium claim and came away convinced it was not true."
Now let's look at this, altough it's a few years old. General Fulford, flies into Niger (for a scheduled refueling), meets wiith Tandja, asked him to "keep that uranium under control", get's assured, jumps on his plane and leaves.
So the General took the word of a third world thug of a President who's country was in financial dyer straits since he took office, which only has a few ways to make money and much of it is through uranium, and yet Tandja assures Fulford that he has contol of the uranium even though the French controlled the ball.
Now remember the curious request of Wilson by Amb. Owens-Kirkpatrick, that he not meet with any current leaders, but only with former officials and business men. This becaue she said it would complicate on-going discussions they were having - vis. likely Fulford's visit.
The obvious questions that come to mind:
1. Why wasn't Sec. Rumsfeld informed of this meeting?
2. The afformented "talking point" I think are huge. Remember, both Wilson and Fulford were given talking points drafted up by the CPD (Plame's house). But why? If Owens-Kirkpatrick asked Wilson not to tread the same ground, then why would Wilson need talking points?
3. Even if you take Fulford's account as fact, why did Wilson have to go? Meeting with ex-officials, when he had no former investigative or intelligence gathering background, sounds more like his wife just wanted to get him out of the house.
Filed under: judith miller valerie plame karl rove Valerie Plame PlameGate
It's certainly been a long week.