Smearing Wilsons Washington Power

Smearing the Wilsons

The Washington power elite, like sharks, smells blood in the water. The midterms may well be a political earthquake. If the Dems take the House, investigatory committeess are suddenly going to be subpoenaing documents on the high crimes and misdemeanors of the Bush adminstration. Traitor Rove’s and Traitor Libby’s outing of Valerie Plame as a CIA agent to the press to punish Joe Wilson for blowing the whistle on the Bush administration’s foreknowledge that Iraq had not brought yellowcake uranium from Niger is likely to be item number 1 on the indictment list. The recennt revelation that the first leaker to journalist Bob Novak was Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage, in a book by David Corn and Michael Isikoff, is irrelevant to the facts of the case. It is possible for Armitage innocently to banter with Novak about something that Libby and Rove deliberately leaked to other reporters for more sinister reasons. Rove said that Plame was “fair game,” which shows his malice.

Still, the Right (including an editor at the Washington Post) is using the revelation about Armitage to try to get Rove, Libby and Cheney off the hook. It is an illogical argument for the reason just stated.

Two responses:

Larry Johnson Smearing the Wilsons.

and this press release:

Response to Wash Post Editorial of 9/1/06

Allegation: It is untrue that the WH orchestrated leak of Plame’s identity to ruin her career and punish Joe Wilson

• According to Washington Post article of 10/12/03: “two top White House officials disclosed Plame’s identity to at least six Washington journalists.” An administration source told the Post: “officials brought up Plame as part of their broader case against Wilson . . . It was unsolicited . . . They were pushing back. They used everything they had.”

• After Novak’s column appeared Rove called Chris Matthews and told him Mr. Wilson’s wife was “fair game” (Newsweek 7/11/05)

• Mr. Fitzgerald, who has long been aware of Mr. Armitage’s role, stated in court filing: “there is ample evidence that multiple officials in the White House discussed [Valerie Wilson’s] employment with reporters prior to (and after) July 14, “ and further that “it is hard to conceive of what evidence there could be that would disprove the existence of White House efforts to ‘punish’ [Mr.] Wilson.” (Washington Post 4/7/06)

Allegation: Mr. Wilson’s charge that he had debunked reports of Iraqi uranium-shopping in Niger is false

• The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI) Report on the U.S. Intelligence Community’s Prewar Assessment of Iraq describes Mr. Wilson’s role:

• The CIA’s decision to send Mr. Wilson to Niger was part of an effort to obtain responses to questions from the Vice President’s Office and State and Defense on “the alleged Iraq-Niger uranium deal” (p. 39)

• Two CIA staffers debriefed Mr. Wilson upon his return from Niger and wrote a draft intelligence report that was sent to the CIA Director of Operations (“DO”) reports officer. (p. 43)

• The intelligence report based on Mr. Wilson’s trip was disseminated on March 8, 2002, and was “widely distributed.” It did not identify Mr. Wilson by name to protect him as a source, which the CIA had promised Mr. Wilson. (p. 43)

• According to the report, the CIA’s DO gave Mr. Wilson’s information a grade of “good” “which means it added to the IC’s body of understanding on the issue.” (p. 46)

• After Mr. Wilson’s July 6, 2003 New York Times op-ed, the Administration acted as if he had made a major revelation:

• The day after a spokesman for the President told The Washington Post: “the sixteen words [“The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa”] did not rise to the level of inclusion in the State of the Union.” (NY Times 7/8/03)

• On July 11, 2003, CIA Director George Tenet said “These 16 words should never have been included in the text written for the president.” (LA Times 7/12/03).

• According to a Washington Post article, the National Intelligence Council stated in a January 2003 memo that “the Niger story [that Iraq had been caught trying to buy uranium from Niger] was baseless and should be laid to rest.” (Washington Post 4/9/06)

• According to a Vanity Fair article of July 2006, there was a last-minute decision before the President’s State of the Union Address to attribute the Niger uranium deal to British intelligence even though “the CIA had told the White House again and again that it didn’t trust the British reports.”

• On March 7, 2003, Mohamed ElBaradei, the Director General of the IAEA, publicly disclosed that the Niger documents which formed the basis for reports of a Iraq-Niger uranium transaction were false. He stated that “the IAEA has concluded, with the concurrence of outside experts, that these documents . . . are in fact not authentic. We have therefore concluded that these specific allegations are unfounded.”

Allegation: Mr. Wilson “ought to have expected . . . that the answer [to why he was sent to Niger] would point to his wife.”

• A July 22, 2003 Newsday article cites a senior intelligence officer who confirmed that “she [Valerie Plame] did not recommend her husband to undertake the Niger assignment.”

• Joe Wilson’s July 15, 2005 letter to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence explains that Valerie Wilson was not at the meeting at which the subject of him traveling to Niger was raised for the first time and then only after a discussion of what the participants at the meeting did not did not know about Niger. This is confirmed by SSCI report at p. 40.

Melanie Sloan

Executive Director

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington

1400 Eye Street, N.W.

Suite 450

Washington, D.C. 20005

202-408-5565

202-588-5020 (f)

www. citizensforethics. org