Jul 16 2005

Compiling The Case Against Plame/Wilson

Published by at 1:53 pm under All General Discussions,Plame Game

So much time continues to be wasted on Rove and the White House as if any of this still matters now that Wilson has admitted his wife was not a Secret Operative covered under IIP laws. What is remains relevant is the leaking of classified material.

Tom MaGuire has the most information compiled over years of watching this scandal evolve, so I will respectfully use many of his links to make the case that the Grand Jury is looking into the release of classified material by Plame and Wilson to the press.

First is defining the crime itself. Please realize all the information related to Niger and Saddam’s nuclear intentions are classified. The methods for obtaining this information is classified. The contacts used to provide the information are classified. The names of the people gathering the information is classified. (Yep, you got it – just about everything Plame and Wilson leaked to the press is classified).

If you think not, then use another example – terrorist detainess in GITMO. What we know about the terrorists intentions and plans is classified. The methods for obtaining this information is classified. The contacts used to provide this information are classified…

You get the picture.

Now for the evidence these acts took place. We will start with Nicholas Kristoff and one of the earliest NYTimes pieces on this matter. It is apparently well known, at least by the guru on this subject, that Kristoff’s source was Wilson for this information.

I’m told by a person involved in the Niger caper that more than a year ago the vice president’s office asked for an investigation of the uranium deal, so a former U.S. ambassador to Africa was dispatched to Niger. In February 2002, according to someone present at the meetings, that envoy reported to the C.I.A. and State Department that the information was unequivocally wrong and that the documents had been forged.

The only thing possibly saving this ‘source’ is the erroneous nature of all the claims.

In another Kristoff piece more information on methods and sources

Piecing the story together from two people directly involved and three others who were briefed on it, the tale begins at the end of 2001, when third-rate forged documents turned up in West Africa purporting to show the sale by Niger to Iraq of tons of “yellowcake” uranium.

Italy’s intelligence service obtained the documents and shared them with British spooks, who passed them on to Washington. Mr. Cheney’s office got wind of this and asked the C.I.A. to investigate.

The agency chose a former ambassador to Africa to undertake the mission, and that person flew to Niamey, Niger, in the last week of February 2002. This envoy spent one week in Niger, staying at the Sofitel and discussing his findings with the U.S. ambassador to Niger, and then flew back to Washington via Paris.

Immediately upon his return, in early March 2002, this senior envoy briefed the C.I.A. and State Department and reported that the documents were bogus, for two main reasons. First, the documents seemed phony on their face — for example, the Niger minister of energy and mines who had signed them had left that position years earlier. Second, an examination of Niger’s uranium industry showed that an international consortium controls the yellowcake closely, so the Niger government does not have any yellowcake to sell.

Wilson never had any information on the forged documents – he couldn’t have (or shouldn’t have). But note the sources. Two people directly involved (Plame and Wilson) and three people briefed (Plame’s rogue agent comrades in the CIA). Kristoff should not have any of this information.

And here are details on the State Dept Memo which was probably a product of the CIA and State top level managers trying to ascertain who rogue agent Plame and others got it in their head to send her blabber mouth husband on an intelligence gathering trip only to spill the results to the press.

The memo, prepared by U.S. intelligence personnel, details a meeting in early 2002 where CIA officer Valerie Plame and other intelligence officials gathered to brainstorm about how to verify reports that Iraq had sought uranium yellowcake from Niger.

Classified memos, like the one describing Ms. Plame’s role, have limited circulation and investigators are likely to question all those known to have received it.

According to current and former officials familiar with the memo, it describes interagency discussions of the yellowcake mystery: whether the reports of Iraq’s uranium purchases were credible; which agency should pay for any further investigation; and the suggestion that Mr. Wilson could be sent to check out the allegations.

It is obvious this memo, and its contents, are likely classified. Kristoff had talked to three of the people briefed, likely the ones who helped authorize Plame’s plans to send her hubby which is why they were being briefed of the results. So are these people being briefed the ones who talked to Kristoff? Very possibly could be.

Let’s bring in Walter Pincus and his scoops.

Wilson concluded during the 2002 mission that there was no solid evidence for the administration’s assertion that Iraq was trying to acquire uranium in Niger to develop nuclear weapons, and he angered the White House when he became an outspoken critic of the war.

Oops, that information is a no-no. But it was know by this time because Wilson was now blabbing to the world.

The first public mention of Wilson’s mission to Niger, albeit without identifying him by name, was in the New York Times on May 6, in a column by Nicholas D. Kristof. Kristof had been on a panel with Wilson four days earlier, when the former ambassador said State Department officials should know better than to say the United States had been duped by forged documents that allegedly had proved a deal for the uranium had been in the works between Iraq and Niger.

Wilson said he told Kristof about his trip to Niger on the condition that Kristof must keep his name out of the column. When the column appeared, it created little public stir, though it set a number of reporters on the trail of the anonymous former ambassador. Kristof confirmed that account.

Bad news for Wilson, because this demonstrates he was leaking to Kristoff.

The column mentioned the alleged role of the vice president’s office for the first time. That was when Cheney aides became aware of Wilson’s mission and they began asking questions about him within the government, according to an administration official.

Hence the memo Colin Powell was reviewing, mentioned above.

Wilson’s oral report to a CIA officer had been turned into a routine one-and-a-half page CIA intelligence memo to the White House and other agencies. By tradition, his identity as the source, even though he went under the auspices of the CIA, was not disclosed.

Which means Wilson was not to disclose it either! Oops again for poor Joe.

The Post article generated little public response. But behind the scenes, Bush officials were concerned. “After the June story, a lot of people in government were scurrying around asking who is this envoy and why is he saying these things,” a senior administration official said.

Could they also be asking why is he leaking all this classified information? My bet is yes, they were. Because his facts were so screwed up it matter little. But he was tipping our methods and sources and contacts. But there is more because our scandal gure also believes Wilson was Pincus’ source and here is a tidbit that must be another Wilson “exagger-lie”.

Wilson said those officials told him Rice was not interested and he should publish his story in his own name if he wanted to attract attention.

I doubt this is true, but it would be the last shred of excuse Wilson and Plame may have for running their mouths (as well as their 3 CIA co-conspirators). Pretending he had authorization to spill classified material to the press and public might be the only thing he is holding onto to avoid prosecution.

But Wilson has a problem, he has already admitted reporters were calling him and he was telling them his story. This is why Fitzgerald is talking to these people, to see what else Wilson disclosed.

Here is the guru’s master timeline. Note that the Wilson editorial is not out yet, he his wife are still simply leaking information to the press. On July 26, 2003 Wilson comes out spilling all kinds of classified details.

Those news stories about that unnamed former envoy who went to Niger? That’s me.

That discloses method and person doing the collecting of intel.

The mission I undertook was discreet but by no means secret. While the C.I.A. paid my expenses (my time was offered pro bono), I made it abundantly clear to everyone I met that I was acting on behalf of the United States government.

All CIA intelligence officers working under UN Embassy cover say the same thing – duh.

For reasons that are understandable, the embassy staff has always kept a close eye on Niger’s uranium business. I was not surprised, then, when the ambassador told me that she knew about the allegations of uranium sales to Iraq — and that she felt she had already debunked them in her reports to Washington.

An aside here. There never was any reason for the CIA or the US to send crazy Joe to Niger to find out anything. Cheney wanted answer to recent news and asked the CIA to confirm the rumors. The CIA had been closely monitoring Saddam’s nuclear intentions since 1995 when his brother-in-law Hussein Kamel defected and exposed his vast nuclear WMD program. This statement is a clear concession by Wilson he was not going to plow new ground and the intel was flowing from this area of the world. Something the Senate intel report hints at when it debunks Wilson’s lies about Saddam and his documented attempts to purchase yellowcake in 1998.

I spent the next eight days drinking sweet mint tea and meeting with dozens of people: current government officials, former government officials, people associated with the country’s uranium business.

Well, that outed a bunch of intel sources now didn’t it. One last interesting quote:

If my information was deemed inaccurate, I understand (though I would be very interested to know why)

Well, it was deemed inaccurate. Because Wilson was wrong. But somehow I get the feeling he did not truly ‘understand’. And one other

I was convinced before the war that the threat of weapons of mass destruction in the hands of Saddam Hussein required a vigorous and sustained international response to disarm him. Iraq possessed and had used chemical weapons; it had an active biological weapons program and quite possibly a nuclear research program — all of which were in violation of United Nations resolutions.

Er…OK. So he seems to support Bush and Congress in their opinions of the nature of the risk, he just differs on what to do about it. Interesting that is all the difference there is here – on the facts. But we are off subject, some more intel leaked by Wilson, later on CNN [scroll down nearly half way to 3rd segment]

Which they had sought in the ’80s, and all that was well documented. And there was, in fact, a delegation that went from Baghdad to Niamey in 1999. That visit was well documented in U.S. reporting as well.

Doubtful this was ‘well documented’ outside the classified world. And classified information can never be confirmed or denied to the public even if it is leaked – for obvious reasons. So whether he leaked it or simply confirmed previously leaked intel results in the same conclusion. Unless this was ‘cleared’ information like the speech Powell gave at the UN. Then Wilson is OK.

Well, look, it’s absolutely true that neither the vice president nor Dr. Rice nor even George Tenet knew that I was traveling to Niger.

Hmmm, more proof that this is a the result of a rogue group in the CIA.

I think that is sufficient. What we learned about Saddam’s nuclear intentions was provided by Wilson, possibly backed up by Plame and the 3 CIA cohorts on record as sources. That is classified information. The methods and contacts for gathering this information is known (and in greater detail in some places I have seen but cannot find). The source of who Wilson met with is surely Wilson, or those debreifed by him. And Wilson agrees that it was a group of mid-level CIA employess, including his wife, who cooked up this scheme and allowed all the leaks. And probably participated in them. There was plenty of classified information leaked in this affair.

And Wilson all this time believed Saddam had bioligical, chemical and nuclear WMDs or WMD programs and was a risk!

Wonder what those London bombers could have accomplished with some of Saddam’s WMD know-how??? Hopefully we will never find out.


Ed Morrissey trolls into the Plame Game today with an interesting fisking of another liberal MSM reporter who cannot seem to include all the facts in his story. This would not pertain to this except near the end where Morrissey states

All this begs the question: why was Plame so set on using her husband for the job? Wilson told the SSIC that she had characterized the initial report of Iraq-Niger contacts as “crazy”. After Wilson returned, he reported that the Iraqis had indeed tried to start trade talks in secret with Niger, and that the Nigerian PM believed that to be an effort to get yellowcake uranium. However, after the invasion of Iraq, Wilson started leaking a warped version to journalists such as Walter Pincus, also described in the SSIC report and determined to be false.

It looks like Plame wanted a specific result from the Niger investigation, and she selected the man who she felt would guarantee it.

It may have been Plame, her three cohorts at the CIA who also spoke to the press early on – but one things is coming clear. Rove is irrelevant. What were Plame and Wilson up to?

3 responses so far

3 Responses to “Compiling The Case Against Plame/Wilson”

  1. What about Wilson’s leaks?

    But what about the boatloads of classified information that Wilson leaked about his trip to Niger? AJ Strata pulls together the evidence of leaked information from Wilson to the New York Times.

  2. […] I have long maintained that Valerie Plame, Joe Wilson and Plame’s CIA cohorts were the true targets of the Fitzgerald investigation. My take on the possible events that would warrant charges for divulging classified material is presented here, while my reasoning on why these are the only real possible targets is here. […]

  3. […] As I have pointed out before, the actual leaking of classified information was the publication of the intel, methods and conclusions surrounding Saddam’s nuclear intentions (here and here). […]