Nov 05 2005

FBI On Wilson’s Tale

Published by at 12:28 am under All General Discussions,Plame Game

Pure Speculation Alert!

Folks, it is late, I am tired (just brought my mother back from a few day stay in the hospital) and I am punchy. So I am in the perfect state of mind to go crawling out on twisted, thin branches.

Recently I have been posting on this wave of information coming to the forefront in the blogosphere (from bloggers and readers alike!) that is beginning to really call into question what was Wilson and Plame dealing with during the 1999 and 2002 trips to Niger. Wilson could have been, for all I know, a truly incredible intelligence agent and honestly working with his CIA wife to track down illicit uranium deals.

But he also could be an opportunist working his government contacts with her key WMD proliferation oversight role to make some money on the side. Hopefully more will start to come out in the coming days and weeks to see which way this goes. But let’s take a look at this late breaking news about the Niger documents from the FBI and see what we can discern from it:

The FBI has determined that financial gain, not an effort to influence U.S. policy, was behind the forged documents that the Bush administration used to bolster its prewar claim that Iraq sought uranium ore in Niger.

The FBI’s investigation began after questions were raised about a brief portion of President Bush’s January 2003 State of the Union speech when he said that Iraq was pursuing the uranium ore, part of his argument to justify the coming invasion of Iraq.

This makes sense with the forgery timeline – where the CIA began to start to warn that these documents were forgeries and to hold off on making too many broad comments about uranium yellowcake in Africa. It was not too long after the SOTU that it became clear to the CIA these were forgeries.

So, we know the FBI has been looking into the forgeries all this time. And they were probably coordinating their findings with Fitzgerald. Is Fitz playing a sly game of diversion? Could I have jumped the gun on him and he is holding some cards against the Wilsons? I wouldn’t mind being wrong about Fitzgerald in the least. But so far I see nothing to change my mind.

Anyway, there is more

The FBI had refused comment on the matter until Italian news sources reported this week that FBI Director Robert Mueller sent the Italian government a letter in July with the results of the bureau’s two-year investigation.

The investigation “confirmed the documents to be fraudulent and concluded they were more likely part of a criminal scheme for financial gain,” FBI spokesman John Miller said Friday, describing the contents of the letter.

Miller did not say what led the FBI to its conclusion or identify the perpetrators of the hoax.

Interesting. There are various scenarios for how the forgeries could be used to make money. One is the person shopping them around:

Italian officials earlier this week identified Rocco Martino, described as a one-time informant for the Italian secret service, as the source of the forged documents, according to Italian Sen. Massimo Brutti.

But he made no money. He asked for $10,000 dollars, but when rebuffed gave them over. Now let’s think about this for a moment. Martino is ex secret service – he knows how these forgeries must look (if he forged them). He must know how easily they could be traced to the break in at the Rome Niger consulate (if he was the one who broke in). They were traced there because of the stolen seal and letter head used in the forgeries, and the intermingling of real documents.

So someone who could break into a Niger consulate in Rome, undetected, and then create forgeries will go through all this trouble to simply hand them over? Doubtful. Martino sounds like a washed up has been being used by the real masterminds to be a mule or conduit to the western intelligence agencies.

Martino had previously given media interviews acknowledging his role.

I would wager yellowcake is very expensive to move on the black market. Participants could make serious money working this market. I wonder if Martino is being paid by the masterminds to admit some role. His payment for legal risks could by into the millions of dollars, if not the hundreds of thousands of dollars. No wonder he wouldn’t need a paltry $10K.

There are other illegal methods for ‘financial gain’ – like smuggling uranium to Libya, Iraq, Iran and North Korea. All speculation of course.

22 responses so far

22 Responses to “FBI On Wilson’s Tale”

  1. Snapple says:


    Thanks for your explanation about nuclear trafficking and how all the Western countries are really on the same page about the dangers.

    I am not sure that Laura Rozen is right about her discovery that there is no parliamentary inquiry into the Niger documents.

    Here is a 11-6-05 article (today) about the Niger forgeries that mentions that the Italians did have a closed Italian parliamentary inquiries abaout the Niger documents. The article says they had such a meeting last week, so perhaps Fitzgerald did talk to some closed Italian Parliamentary Commission after all.

    It also says that this Rocco Martino was running around the US with the SISMI on his tail. Why?

    I wonder if Fitzgerald might have been talking to the Italians about who Martino touched bases with in the US.

    The article says that Rocco Martino, the Italian intelligence broker who was trying to sell the Niger forgeries, was even followed by the Italian military intelligence agency (SISMI) when he came to the USA but that the FBI was not informed.

    I wonder what this Martino did in the US and when he did it.
    I wonder who he talked to here. Maybe he showed the documents to prospective buyers.

    I am only speculating, but it says this guy Martino came to America with Italian spies following him. The Italians wanted to see what he was doing pretty badly. They didn’t even tell the FBI they were spying on their own citizen and whoever he might contact.

    The article says:

    “The Sismi chief identified Mr Martino as the source of the forged documents in a closed Italian parliamentary committee meeting last week. [So, Axiom, they did have some closed inquiry about this.]
    [The SISMI chief] described Mr Martino as a former intelligence informer who had been “kicked out of the agency.” Both men have claimed that at the time he was hawking around the documents, Mr Martino was working for the French, a possible source of Britain’s “separate intelligence.” A senior French intelligence official declined to say whether Mr Martino had been a paid agent of France, The New York Times reported last week, but called General Pollari’s assertions that France disseminated the false documents “scandalous”.”

    Well, any thoughts? The Italians called Martino a “former informer,” but they were sticking to him in another country. So they must have wanted to learn what he was up to. Or they may have even been controlling him.

    Who knows? But if my speculation is right then probably SISMI knows. Martino knows, of course. And Fitzgerald may know.

    But I wonder who else knows? That’s the real interesting part to me.

    And I agree that Fitzgerald looked like he was really choosing his words carefully. For such an important man, he seemed pretty nervous.

  2. Snapple says:

    Here is what the article said about Martino in America:

    “Silvio Berlusconi’s government has admitted that agents of Sismi, the Italian military intelligence service, tracked the movements in London of Rocco Martino, an ex-informer, in the autumn of 2001. It did not say whether the British authorities were informed, but admitted that Mr Martino was also followed by Sismi in the US, without the knowledge of the FBI.”