May 09 2006

More On CIA As Source Of Niger Forgeries

Published by at 10:10 am under All General Discussions,Plame Game

In this post from yesterday I noted that if one were to take Wilson at his word in 2003, before he backtracked on his very detailed claims about the Niger forgeries, and you also noted that Wilson took two trips to Niger for the CIA (1999 and 2002), there is a plausible scenario where the CIA and some supporting Niger officials (who Wilson knew) could be the source of the forged Niger documents. In this scenario the forgeries were possibly used to ensare the Iraqis, whose delegation visited Niger around the same time Wilson did in 1999, and who met with Wilson’s contact PM Mayaki. CIA disinformation efforts against Iraq would not be illegal or immoral. But of course trying to turn the products of those efforts against a sitting President using a gullible and pliant press would be.

Reader Crosspatch has found some interesting material that support this claim (plus much more from readers in the comments of the previous post). It is from blogger Alec Rawls at Error Theory who noticed in April of this year a serious discrepency within the CIA’s story regarding the Wilson Gambit in May 2003:

A story that warrants more attention is “Iraq, Niger, And The CIA,” by Murray Waas, published this February in National Journal. Waas claims to have sources that have provided him with some details about the CIA’s June 2003 internal memo that withdrew the agency’s earlier assessment that Saddam had tried to buy uranium in Niger.

Waas claims that work on the CIA memo was instigated White House uproar over the Nicholas Kristof article in the New York Times in May 2003 where Wilson…

In May of 2003, the public did not know who the unnamed envoy to Niger in Kristof’s article was, but the CIA certainly did, and they knew he was lying. Thus the CIA memo should have nabbed Wilson, identifying him as a traitor who had been caught spreading malicious disinformation about classified intelligence in an attempt to smear the President and undermine America’s war effort.

That is actually a very telling and important discrepency. The CIA should have known the Niger Forgeries could not have been in their possession when Wilson went to Niger in 2002 – which was Wilson’s claim. So why not say so? A year later the story told to the Senate was that the forgery was placed in Valerie’s CIA CPD unit in October and forgotten until they pulled it out months later. Starting from the Senate Report, Section G: Thee Niger Documents, Page 57 through 59:

On October 9, 2002, an Italian journalist from the magazine Panorama provided U.S. Embassy Rome with copies of documents8 pertaining to the alleged Iraq-Niger uranium transaction.


Embassy officers provided copies of the documents to the CIA’s [REDACTED]

…on October 11, 2002, the U.S. Embassy in Rome reported to State Department headquarters that it had acquired photocopies of documents on a purported uranium deal between Iraq and Niger from an Italian journalist. The cable said that the embassy had passed the documents to the CIA’s [REDACTED]

The embassy faxed the documents to the State Department’s Bureau of Nonproliferation (NP) on October 15, 2002, which passed a copy of the documents to INR.

(U) Immediately after receiving the documents, the INR Iraq nuclear analyst e-mailed IC colleagues offering to provide the documents at a previously planned meeting of the Nuclear Interdiction Action Group (NIAG) the following day.

(U) On October 16, 2002, INR made copies of the documents available at the NIAG meeting for attendees, including representatives from the CIA, DIA, DOE and NSA. Because the analyst who offered to provide the documents was on leave, the office’s senior analyst provided the documents. She cannot recall how she made the documents available, but analysts from several agencies, including the DIA, NSA and DOE, did pick up copies at that meeting. None of the four CIA representatives recall picking up the documents, however, during the CIA Inspector General’s investigation of this issue, copies of the documents were found in the DO’s CPD vault. It appears that a CPD representative did pick up the documents at the NIAG meeting, but after returning to the office, filed them without any further distribution.

To unravel this puzzle we need to know that there were possible mixes of forgeries from different sources. A commentor on the previous post asked about reporting about forged documents from the Niger Embassy employees. Well the Senate report notes two documents: the document consumating the sale of the uranium, and a bizarre document that seems to be the one that couuld have from an amatuer forgery attempt. (Page 58):

(U) The INR Iraq nuclear analyst told Committee staff that the thing that stood out immediately about the documents was that a companion document – a document included with the Niger documents that did not relate to uranium – mentioned some type of military campaign against major world powers. The members of the alleged military campaign included both Iraq and Iran, and was, according to the documents, being orchestrated through the Nigerian Embassy in Rome, which all struck the analyst as “completely implausible.” Because the stamp on this document matched the stamp on the uranium document, the analyst thought that all of the documents were likely suspect. The analyst was unaware at the time of any formatting problems with the documents or inconsistencies with the names or dates.

Emphasis mine. I think it was this strange, conpsiracy theory laden, companion document that is the subject of some of the reporting about forgeries out of Italy, etc. Primarily because the forged document that Wilson discusses has a much longer history than implied from the section above. You need to go back quite a few pages to get the origin of the Niger sale (starting at the beginning of section II, subsection A, Page 36):

Reporting on a possible uranium yellowcake5 sales agreement between Niger and Iraq first came to the attention of the U.S. Intelligence Community (IC) on October 15, 2001.


The intelligence report said the uranium sales agreement had been in negotiation between the two countries since at least early 1999, and was approved by the State Court of Niger in late 2000.

These events precede the Rome handover of documents by 1-3 years! In fact, they predate Wilson’s second trip to Niger (while overlapping his first trips). Recall that the coup d’etat was May 1999, and the Iraq delegation supposedly came in June of 1999 and Wilson sometime in June and July. The handover from the military coup leaders to the newly elected government was January 2000. So any documents from this period could have the name of the transitional military government – which the Niger ‘forgeries’ did. Since this purported agreement spanned the military and civilian governments, then there is reason for various names to be associated with it. But the reporting from this period is pretty firm:

According to the cable, Nigerien President Mamadou Tandja gave his stamp of approval for the agreement and communicated his decision to Iraqi President Saddam Hussein. The report also indicated that in October 2000 Nigerien Minister of Foreign Affairs Nassirou Sabo informed one of his ambassadors in Europe that Niger had concluded an accord to provide several tons of uranium to Iraq.

We know Wilson went back to Niger in 2000, after the change over to civilian rule (he says so in his UVA talk in October 2003). Wilson admits he goes back to Niger AND that he works for ‘the african governments’ – probably Niger itself. So, where the names as bad as Wilson claimed? Well, what did Wilson claim (Page 44)?

Second, the former ambassador said that he discussed with his CIA contacts which names and signatures should have appeared on any documentation of a legitimate uranium transaction. In fact, the intelligence report made no mention of the alleged Iraq-Niger uranium deal or signatures that should have appeared on any documentation of such a deal.

Emphasis mine. The question is what names for what time period! If people assumed only the civilian leaders in the 2000 government were to sign then yes. If you realize and note the transitional military government then no, the names are not all that off, as one IC analyst testified:

There were no obvious inconsistencies in the names of officials mentioned or the dates of the transactions in any of the three reports. Of the seven names mentioned in the reporting, two were former high ranking officials who were the individuals in the positions described in the reports at the time described and five were lower ranking officials. Of the five lower ranking, two were not the individuals in the positions described in the reports, however, these do not appear to be names or positions with which intelligence analysts would have been familiar. For example, an INR analyst who had recently returned from a position as Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Niger told Committee staff that he did not notice any inconsistencies with the names of the officials mentioned. The only mistake in any of the reports regarding dates, is that one date, July 7, 2000, is said to be a Wednesday in the report, but was actually a Friday.

I note that date because it shows on something July 7th, 2003. The time period when a final agreement could have been etablished if the Niger parliament was going to ratify it later that year. In any event, the Niger Forgeries look more and more like something that was around a lot longer than October 2002. There is a foreign intelligence agency referenced as the early source of this information – which can only be 5-6 letters long given the redaction size. It could be the ‘French’ intelligence agency, but ‘Italian’ and ‘British’ is too long. Whatever it is, I am shocked no one in the CIA tried to get a copy or look at documents purporting to cover the sale of large amounts of uranium to Iraq. How is it we have years and years of reporting this event and no hard evidence in hand? No one asks even once for it? Hard to believe.

7 responses so far

7 Responses to “More On CIA As Source Of Niger Forgeries”

  1. clarice says:

    Yours is a plausible theory. Wilson’s fandango about when he saw the forgeries is the weakest part of his fairytale. What I always found interesting is why (a) the forgery remained in a CIA safe for 6 months,(b)why the agency turned over to the IAEA such an obviously forged document.

    But I am still agnostic about it. I just don’t know who forged these documents, when, where and why.

  2. Carol_Herman says:

    Forgeries are the stock and trade of spooks. Up there with invisible inks. Heck, even in our own history, James Madison, in the Federalist Papers, had to explain WHY it was Kosher to lock the doors when deliberating our Constitution.

    As to what Joe (Munchausen) Wilson has, separate from a wife who was hired as eye candy by the CIA, when she was a young bimbo of 22, is the fact that his second wife still IS a amember of the french secret service.

    Now, why would Chirac want to screw America? And. What tools are at his disposal to hurt Bush? If you answered that he could use his own secret service in a ploy to destroy Bush, why not see how the plot can emerge here?

    There’s also no love lost between the Italians and French. Nor is there really a way to keep everything absolutely secret.

    All you have is the MSM’s willingness to distort news.

    When Bill Sammon’s wrote his new book on Bush, “Strategery” … he points out how the MSM dealt with November 2004’s election. Ahead of time, THROUGH COLLUSION, they decided to “never tell” that Bush was ahead. If you tuned in on election night to hear or see the results, ya got BUPKIS. (Only Drudge, at 10:00 PM put up the headline that Bush had won the race.)

    But if you tuned in the TV, you saw the opposite. The tufted hairdo’s kept repeating the counts weren’t in on New Mexico, or Ohio. And, yup. IF YOU WERE DELUSIONAL, you could sleep on it.

    Kerry did. The White House kept calling him to get a time out of him where he would call the president and concede. HE DIDN’T WANT TO! So our President, at 3:00 AM told his dad to finally just go to sleep. And, the President, up way past his bedtime, also turned in.

    What did you miss? Well, it went UNreported that the donks got killed. And, the Republicans had a BLOW OUT! Capturing seats on Bush’s coattails in the House and Senate. Oh, yeah. And, little Tommy Daschle got tossed.

    People also forget that George McGovern, that “uber-alis” leftoid presidential candidate in 1972, happened to have gotten into the senate through SOUTH DAKOTA!

    Do you realize how stupid people are to take their news from the MSM as if its anything but propaganda? (In 1972 McGovern didn’t even win his own state.)

    And, ya gotta give the MSM “credit.” IF you like your government sources to work against the White House, because Nixon had to resign from office on TRUMPED UP CHARGES COUPLED TO AN UNWILLINGLESS TO HIRE THE GOONS THAT WERE ON HIS STAFF. (Well, in war, even Napoleon lost. He lost because he lacked a winning exit strategy at Waterloo.)

    But that doesn’t mean the MSM or the donks, or the CIA, are ahead, now.

    And, you bet. Joe Wilson was an OPERATIVE. He didn’t work alone. And, somebody was fixing his papers for him from their professional stock.

    And, Fitzgerald is such a disgrace! Like Ronnie Earle. They’ve accomplished their missions because our judiciary is partisan. And, good luck to ya if you think this is great.

    I, however, have responded to jury notices. And, boy you should just sit in a room full of ANGRY American citizens, who blame the fact that they voted, as the reason they got called. Or, I should say “summoned.”

    If you’re proud of that you’d have no trouble blessing whores. (While I think whores don’t register all that well when people are asked what they think about them.)

    Will our judiciary system ever get fixed? You’re asking me? Go ask the kids who deal with parents who are hurt, because it sure looks like the judges, in many a home, are considered half-wit idiots.

    Meanwhile, the Internet exposes the picture, sort’a like a Polaroid. Where ya have to wait for the film’s picture to emerge. Polaroid’s were a hit. And, then along came digitals. Do you get the picture? Call Joe Wilson what you want, but he ain’t the Lone Ranger. And, his 3rd wife ain’t Tonto.

  3. Carol_Herman says:

    One: I don’t know who turned on “bold.” Not me.

    Two: Up above there’s a typo of distinction. I said Nixon didn’t want to “HIRE,” when I meant FIRE! The staff that caused him all the headaches never went in front of any prosecutor who could have tied them all up worse than the mischief you’re seeing done to Libby.

    I’ve always wondered about Nixon. And, why he didn’t think FIRING his goons might not have saved his White House seat? Was he afraid of what they’d say?

    Later, Reagan had an absolute antipathy to firing people. With Reagan it had nothing to do with fears; he was just that kind of a guy who was well-liked.

    So? Two different men. Two different styles of leadership. But bottom line; if you can’t fire, you’re not going to be served well.

    No. Our President is letting the MSM do all their own mischief.

    As to Negroponte, he put this level UP only after it came recommended by the 9/11 Omission/Commission. And, ya know? He tried to fight it’s implementation.

    And, when George Tenet got kicked out, he got a Medal of Freedom to hang around his neck. (I guess Bush learned something from the Nobel and Pulitzer committees?)

  4. AJStrata says:


    It was me who left the bold on, my apologies!

  5. crosspatch says:

    First of all, I am not a big fan of conspiracy theories. Really. But I am an engineer and I am used to working with fairly complex networks and systems. I can often get a “feel” for how a system works from years and years of experiance. What I am seeing looks like, if not a huge conspiracy, then at least a very convenient intersection of interests. This is a very long standing pattern with many of the same players and methods going back to the Reagan administration when Reagan was being hounded because of his policies in Central America. And not least is the fact that CIA runs conspiratorial ops as their stock in trade as was mentioned in an earlier comment. It is their tradecraft. It is what they do. But it helps to keep this Wilson-Plame issue in context of a larger picture (or at least it helps me). You have groups such as Center for International Policy (CIP) and Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) which are sister organizations. I go so far as to think of them as cells of the same operation but that’s just me. Back in the Reagan/Nicaragua/El Salvador era you had a journalist named Martha Honey who was reporting information concerning CIA operations in the region that was damaging to Reagan. Ms. Honey now works for IPS. Interesting that the same old people and the same old methods keep turning up. What they seem to have in common is a connection to CIA information that is damaging to a Republican administration. But there is a larger picture in that you have a set of associated groups that include connections to journalists are reporting or who have reported damaging CIA information. Kind of interesting how that pipeline works. But then gets larger. You then have around those groups other “sub projects” such IPIP, FPIF (Foreign Policy in Focus), and many more. These are basically agitprop organizations that “educate the media so that the media educates the masses” to use a Fenton Communications phrase. So surrounding the CIA to media operations, you have several other groups whose mission seems to be to give the appearance of a widespread grass roots outcry against the administration policies. The mission here is to create a surrounding political context to make the CIA leaked information a sort of justification for the surrounding movement and validation of it.

    Remember the Alar scare with apples? Can’t eat apples because they have been treated with Alar. They even got this on 60 minutes. They created overnight “grass roots” environmental outrage groups across the country through a series of workshops and information exchange. The taught the groups how to go after the journalists, how to package their message, basically how to create what suddenly seemed like a national issue when in fact, there was no hard proof that there was a problem, nobody had ever been harmed by Alar.

    The point is that they turn media into a passive player. They provide the agenda, create events that create media interest, supply the message and they do this nationally. So you can have a very small number of people participating but give the impression that the opinions are shared more widely than they are by staying in front of the media (heckling Rumsfeld, for example) and they supplying your pre-packaged message (as McGovern did on the talking head shows and to other reporters).

    All of this creates the “proper” political context. Now you start leaking CIA information that is damaging and it seems to “validate” the surrounding agitprop.

    These are exactly the kinds of operations we like to run in other countries to get political leadership friendly to us into power. This kind of agitation, leakage, forgery, etc. is the sort of spook stuff that we have spent billions of dollars developing skills for and it is being used against our own population by our own people. Basically our own weapons have gotten out of control and are being used against us.

    So you have hundreds of millions of dollars. Organizations such as the Tides Foundation allow people to donate anonymously to these causes as well as huge individual and foundation fortunes along the lines of Soros and Heinz that act as a funding base. You have a PR agency that keeps all the messages coordinated and prevents the groups from working at cross purposes in addition to “cross seeding” the groups with the messages and catch phrases of other groups in order to give the appearance of further validation … so you might see several different groups use the phrase “speak truth to power” for example. Then you add to that the leakage of damaging information that quite possibly is created specifically for that purpose in the first place to major media through journalists who are connected to the whole thing and there you have it. A very nice, well regulated machine. The only thing that can break it is a very, very bright light and a breakup of the key validation … the sources within CIA. Without the manufacture/dissemination of that key information, the groups themselves are nothing more than a bunch of raving loonies. Give them those documents and they become “justified” and “validated”.

    What baffles me is how it has gone on so long without anyone with the capability of exposing this noticing. I can only come to the conclusion that they have noticed and are willing participants and that is probably the saddest part of all.

  6. crosspatch says:

    HEY EVERYONE!!! You should read this whole thing. Just came out today at Accuracy in Media, I found it over at Sweetness and Light.

    But recent developments in the story lead to more disturbing questions: Was political embarrassment for the Bush Administration her educated prediction or her deliberate intent? And were the allegations true? After months of investigation by European investigators, no evidence has yet surfaced to support her claims about “secret prisons.” Further, fired CIA officer Mary O. McCarthy, one of Priest’s reported “anonymous” sources, has been outed as a Democratic partisan who worked closely with members of the Clinton Administration and the John Kerry Campaign foreign policy team, including Sandy Burger, Richard Clarke, Rand Beers and Joe Wilson.

    As if that isn’t enough to raise eyebrows, Dana Priest’s matrimonial tie, not generally known to readers of the Washington Post, leaves a strong appearance of conflict of interest. As it happens, she is married to William Goodfellow, a far-left political activist and current executive director of the Center for International Policy (CIP), who has been at the vanguard of many of the most rabid attacks on Bush Administration policy.

    Goodfellow has been described by his wife as a human rights activist. Yet, that is hardly an accurate or complete job description. For the past 30 years, William Goodfellow has pushed radical causes in a string of inter-related far-left think tanks.

    And it goes on and on describing Dana Priest’s connections with other groups.

  7. Snapple says:

    A bit off-topic, but here is Bill Gertz describing the CIA reorganizations.

    Intelligence agency’s focus turns to spies on the ground
    By Bill Gertz
    May 9, 2006

    “The Central Intelligence Agency will continue a shift toward developing networks of agents overseas while losing some of its role in analyzing intelligence, Bush administration officials said yesterday.
    Some CIA analytic units will be moved to other agencies, such as the new National Counterterrorism Center, as part of ongoing reforms and the appointment of Air Force Gen. Michael V. Hayden to succeed outgoing CIA Director Porter J. Goss.
    Mr. Goss had opposed some of the reforms proposed by Director of National Intelligence John D. Negroponte, fearing they would undermine the CIA’s mission as a “central” agency among 15 spy services, most of which are linked to the Pentagon, said officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
    “He was somebody who stood up for the agency,” said one official, who added that Mr. Goss opposed plans that he saw as eroding some of the CIA’s core missions.
    Mr. Negroponte told reporters yesterday that the CIA will “remain the intelligence community’s premier human intelligence agency.” He said that Gen. Hayden, currently the second highest-ranking official at DNI, will coordinate all human spying if confirmed by the Senate.
    CIA analysis will remain a “center of excellence” for all intelligence agencies, Mr. Negroponte said, making no reference to the transfer of analytic units.
    CIA reforms are on the way to “increasing their human intelligence and their analytic capabilities by 50 percent,” he said.”
    (continue at link)