Tuesday, July 12, 2005


Plame Questions

What common denominator is involved through the entire Joseph Wilson - Niger - Yellow Cake, story that is causing all the current "who leaked" fuss?

"Valerie Plame"

You know when I was in law enforcement, we had a saying. When you investigate a case, to find the "true story", you first toss out the "easiest" answer.

Here is where I'm coming from. Back in 2004, the CIA "conspiracy" angle was being floated around. For example this article by Christopher Hitchens wrting in Slate:


"Two recent reports allow us to revisit one of the great non-stories, and one of the great missed stories, of the Iraq war argument. The non-story is the alleged martyrdom of Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Wilson, supposed by many to have suffered cruel exposure for their commitment to the truth. The missed story is the increasing evidence that Niger, in West Africa, was indeed the locus of an illegal trade in uranium ore for rogue states including Iraq.

The Senate's report on intelligence failures would appear to confirm that Valerie Plame did recommend her husband Joseph Wilson for the mission to Niger. In a memo written to a deputy chief in the CIA's Directorate of Operations, she asserted that Wilson had "good relations with both the Prime Minister and the former Minister of Mines [of Niger], not to mention lots of French contacts." This makes a poor fit with Wilson's claim, in a recent book, that "Valerie had nothing to do with the matter. She definitely had not proposed that I make the trip." (It incidentally seems that she was able to recommend him for the trip because of the contacts he'd made on an earlier trip, for which she had also proposed him.)

Wilson's earlier claim to the Washington Post that, in the CIA reports and documents on the Niger case, "the dates were wrong and the names were wrong," was also false, according to the Senate report. The relevant papers were not in CIA hands until eight months after he made his trip. Wilson now lamely says he may have "misspoken" on this.

Given the CIA's institutional hostility to the "regime change" case, the blatantly partisan line taken in public by Wilson himself, and the high probability that an Iraqi delegation had at least met with suppliers from Niger, how wrong was it of Robert Novak to draw attention to the connection between Plame and Wilson's trip? Or of someone who knew of it to tell Novak?"

Has the media ignored the greater story here? Was there a plot within a group of "anti-regime change" CIA personnel ops, which somehow involved Valerie Plume? Was that a part of the story Novak was trying to tell?

If not, what was the reason that Joseph Wilson lied about who recommended him for the trip to Niger in the first place? Just to protect her identity? I doubt that.

My suspicions were first aroused in 2003 after reading this from an article posted on Accuracy in Media's Website.


"But the question has remained is who forged the (Niger) documents? Some believe the forgeries were produced by one of the European intelligence services, possibly the Italians. Herbert Romerstein, in a Washington Times op-ed, thinks the Iraqis may have forged the documents themselves as part of a disinformation campaign. He thinks the forgeries were so transparent that the Iraqis thought that anyone relying on them would be immediately discredited. But veteran investigative reporter Seymour Hersh says that retired CIA clandestine officers may have forged the documents as part of a "sting operation" against the Bush administration.

Writing in a recent issue of the New Yorker magazine, Hersh reports the intent may have been to embarrass "Iraqi hawks at the top of the Bush administration." These officers calculated that the "hawks" couldn't resist using the forgeries to make their case and would then look foolish when the hoax was revealed. But, Hersh writes, the tactic backfired and the forgeries gained "widespread acceptance within the administration." If true, Hersh has uncovered a scandal that could easily eclipse the Wilson affair. But so far, the media have ignored Hersh's allegations. Is that because the White House was the intended victim of the hoax?"

Again, while everyone is looking at the "easy" question "who leaked", the real story should be about what "Valerie and Joseph were cooking?" That is what needs to be looked into.

While I'm on the 'conspiracy' theme, make sure to check out Powerlineblog and JustOneMinute bog discect the NY Times over the coverage of the Rove affair. Yes, much, much more to this story.

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