|July 14, 2006|
Who Sent Joe Wilson to Niger Is Totally Irrelevant
A BUZZFLASH READER CONTRIBUTION
RE: Ambassador Joseph Wilson
Something has continued to puzzle me throughout the controversy surrounding the Plame scandal, and I have to wonder if anyone has addressed it before now (if they have, I haven't seen it).
It is clear that the Bush administration, and Vice President Cheney in particular, decided quite early to try and discredit Ambassador Joseph Wilson's exposure of the complete fiction the Bush administration was pushing that Iraq was trying to buy yellowcake uranium from Niger. These attempts to discredit Wilson began even BEFORE he went public with the findings from his investigative trip to Niger at the request of the CIA (an investigation, ironically, ordered by the office of the Vice President). It is also clear that Cheney et. al believed Wilson would be thoroughly discredited if they could claim his wife, a covert CIA operative specializing in WMD proliferation, was responsible for arranging the trip. Even now, despite the documented fact that Valerie Plame was NOT responsible for sending her husband to Niger, nor held the authority to arrange such a mission, Cheney and his minions continue to push the meme that Wilson's mission was a frivolous case of nepotism.
The facts are in. They have been in for some time. The Cheney "scenario" of Wilson's trip is complete nonsense. Quite literally - the argument makes no sense. Who sent Wilson is totally irrelevant. But for the sake of argument, let's pretend for a moment that Valerie Plame did arrange for her husband to go to Niger.
SO. . . FRIGGIN. . . WHAT?
How exactly is that supposed to discredit Wilson's findings? Was Plame otherwise qualified to be involved in the CIA investigation of the yellowcake claims? She was a veteran CIA WMD proliferation specialist - of COURSE she was qualified.
Was Ambassador Joseph Wilson qualified to investigate an alleged transaction between Niger and Iraq? Let's take a look. Wilson was a member of the US Diplomatic Service for 22 years. His very first assignment was to the mission in Niger. Following assignments included the U.S. missions in Togo, South Africa, Burundi, and the Congo as well as the State Dept Bureau of African Affairs. He was appointed Ambassador to Gabon and to Sao Tome and Principe. He also held the positions of Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for African Affairs at the National Security Council where he was responsible for the coordination of U.S. policy to 48 sub-Saharan African countries. And finally, he served as Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad - and became acting Ambassador during Desert Shield.
Joseph Wilson had first-hand knowledge of who the main players were in both Niger and Iraq. He had direct knowledge of who would have to be involved on both sides in a transaction such as that being claimed by the Bush Administration. He possessed expert knowledge of who to talk to to get to the truth - who was reliable and who wasn't - who's information was good and who's was suspect. And, in fact, his expertise DID uncover the truth - that the Niger documents were forgeries and that the entire episode was a work of fiction.
If there were anyone MORE qualified to conduct the CIA's investigation, I don't know who they could possibly be.
So again, even if, just for shitz-n-giggles, we were to accept Cheney's fantasy that Wilson's well-qualified wife was responsible for sending her outrageously-qualified husband on this investigation, how does that in any way bring any of Wilson's perfectly-qualified conclusions into doubt?
Obvious answer: It doesn't.
Karl M Evans
A BUZZFLASH READER CONTRIBUTION
BuzzFlash Note: Of course. And let's not lose sight of the fact that Cheney's office requested the trip to Niger. It seems to us, the entire problem is that Cheney expected the CIA to help him "fix the facts" to fit his policy -- that's the language used in the Downing Street Memo for this phenomenon. Joe Wilson and some principled intelligence professionals in the CIA didn't go along with that. Their lack of complicity would, understandably, piss Cheney off and get the ball rolling for a campaign to discredit Wilson and his wife, and the entire CIA by extension. Wilson's Op-Ed in The New York Times presented the first clear evidence that lies sent us to war, and the Downing Street Memo later gave more evidence. Of course, the White House spin that came later (once no WMDs were found) was "bad intelligence" from the CIA. So the administration first tried to shape, cherry pick, and suppress intelligence to fit their goals, dismissing Ambassador Wilson's findings, at the very least. Later, in an about face, they accused the intelligence community of giving them "bad intelligence" indicating Saddam had a WMD program that could threaten us.
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