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Thursday, July 14, 2005

Clip & Save 

And while you're at it, print up a few extra copies so you can hand them out to any Republican butt plug who contends that Karl Rove simply had to commit treason, because it was the only way to stop Joe Wilson's campaign of lies. From Bloomberg, courtesy of Zemblan patriot J.D.:
Two-year old assertions by former ambassador Joseph Wilson regarding Iraq and uranium, which lie at the heart of the controversy over who at the White House identified a covert U.S. operative, have held up in the face of attacks by supporters of presidential adviser Karl Rove . . . .

The main points of Wilson's article have largely been substantiated by a Senate committee as well as U.S. and United Nations weapons inspectors. A day after Wilson's piece was published, the White House acknowledged that a claim Bush made in his January 2003 state of the union address that Iraq tried to buy ``significant quantities of uranium from Africa'' could not be verified and shouldn't have been included in the speech.
  • Bush supporters such as former House Speaker Newt Gingrich contend that Wilson lied in claiming that Vice President Dick Cheney dispatched him on the mission to Niger. That echoes a Republican National Committee talking-points memo sent to party officials.

    Wilson never said that Cheney sent him, only that the vice president's office had questions about an intelligence report that referred to the sale of uranium yellowcake to Iraq from Niger. Wilson, in his New York Times article, said CIA officials were informed of Cheney's questions.

    ``The agency officials asked if I would travel to Niger to check out the story so they could provide a response to the vice president's office,'' Wilson wrote . . . .

  • The ``Wilson/Rove Research & Talking Points'' memo distributed by RNC Director of Television Carolyn Weyforth contends, ``Both the Senate Committee on Intelligence and the CIA found assessments Wilson made in his report were wrong.''

    Yet the Senate panel conclusions didn't discredit Wilson. The committee concluded that the Niger intelligence information wasn't solid enough to be included in the State of the Union speech. It added that Wilson's report didn't change the minds of analysts on either side of the issue, while also concluding that an October 2002 National Intelligence Estimate ``overstated what the Intelligence Community knew about Iraq's possible procurement attempts'' . . . .

  • On March 7, IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei told the UN Security Council that the documents that detailed uranium transactions between Iraq and Niger were ``not authentic'' and ``these specific allegations are unfounded.'' On March 9, Powell acknowledged that the documents were false. The U.S. launched the invasion of Iraq on March 19.

    Finally, in July 2003, after Wilson's piece was published, the White House conceded that the uranium assertion should not have been included in the president's speech. Several administration officials have accepted responsibility for allowing it into the speech, including Condoleezza Rice, then the national security adviser and now secretary of state; Stephen Hadley, then Rice's deputy and now the national security adviser; and then-CIA Director George Tenet.

    In October 2002, as the White House was reviewing drafts of a speech Bush would give in Cincinnati on Oct. 7, the allegation that Iraq sought ``substantial amounts of uranium oxide'' from Africa was removed after Tenet called Hadley to raise doubts about the information. On Oct. 5 and 6, the CIA sent memorandums to the White House expressing concerns about the Niger intelligence and differences on it between the U.S. and British spy agencies.
The one fib that can be laid at Wilson's doorstep: he said his wife hadn't recommended him for the Niger trip. A CIA official later testified that she had.

Here's what Wilson himself had to say earlier today:
"It's very clear to me that the ethical standard to which we should hold our senior public servants has been violated," said former ambassador Joseph Wilson, who has been a vocal critic of Rove and the Bush administration since the leak of wife Valerie Plames's secret CIA status in 2003.

At a Capitol Hill press conference, Wilson also condemned what he described as a "smear campaign launched by the West Wing of the White House" to discredit Plame and himself as the controversy heats up.

Wilson's accusations came after the Republican National Committee, run by a former senior White House aide, sent reporters an e-mail claiming to list "Joe Wilson's Top Ten Worst Inaccuracies and Misstatements," along with other messages challenging his veracity.

The controversy spilled out into the corridors of Congress on Thursday, where lawmakers in the Senate planned to devote 90 minutes debating legislation related to the matter.

At Wilson's side during the press conference, Democratic senator Charles Schumer, who has co-sponsored legislation calling for Rove's top-level security clearance to be lifted, slammed Republican moves to question his Wilson's credibility.

"It's Kafkaesque to turn the tables on this man," Schumer said.

"He served his country and then his wife's name was leaked," Schumer said, calling the attacks "unfair and un-American" . . . .

[President Bush] said in October 2003 that leaking an undercover agent's name was "a criminal action" and in June 2004 that he would fire anyone found to have leaked Wilson's wife's name.

"Karl Rove has now been caught," Wilson said earlier Thursday, speaking to NBC television.

"The president really should stand up and prove to the American people that his word is his bond and fire Karl Rove."

Meanwhile, Democrats in the House of Representatives were planning to introduce a resolution formally requesting information from the White House on the controversy.
What about Wilson's core assertion -- that the Bush administration overhyped the threat of Saddam's (nonexistent) weaponry in order to con the nation into war? Well, on that point the "fucking stupidest guy on the face of the earth" backs him up, and that's good enough for us.

UPDATE: Our stalwart colleagues at BuzzFlash have reproduced Joseph Wilson's letter to Senators Roberts and Rockefeller, in which he answers his critics at great and persuasive length.

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