20 July 2005 at 12:47:35 PM
What the 10/17/2003 WSJ Niger Memo Leak Tells Us
It is fascinating to note the facts that are omitted from David Cloud's October 17, 2003 Wall Street Journal article that described the memo detailing the CIA meeting planning Joseph Wilson's trip to Niger:
(1) The date of the memo is omitted. Omission of the date leads readers to assume that the memo was contemporaneous with the February 2002 CIA meeting. Including the actual June 10, 2003 date of the memo would immediately call into question the purpose of the document and the circumstances under which it was prepared.
(2) The memo is described as being prepared by "U.S. Intelligence personnel". It omits the fact that the document was prepared by State Department personnel. This omission cloaks the executive branch's involvement.
(3) The fact that the document was designated as sensitive and not to be shared is also omitted. As a result, the fact that any reader of memo would know the contents were classified is obscured. In addition, it hides the fact that releasing the contents of the memo for the subject article may itself be another illegal leak of classified information.
4) The sources will not reveal how Valerie Plame Wilson is identified in the memo:
Other officials with knowledge of the memo wouldn't say if it mentions Ms. Plame by name as the one who suggested Mr. Wilson, or if her identity is shielded but obvious because of what is known now about the mission. Operations officers like Ms. Plame are sometimes identified only by their first names even in interagency meetings.
(5) Cloud refers to his sources as "two people familiar with the memo", "current and former officials familiar with the memo" and "other officials with knowledge of the memo". He omits mentioning if the officials are senior or what part of the government they represent.
Of News and Truth- Gene Lyons
Why are the sheep agitated? Basically, I believe, for the same reasons White House operatives attacked Wilson to begin with: They’d concocted a nuclear threat to scare Americans into supporting a war against Iraq that Bush’s neoconservative supporters had planned for other reasons and they were afraid the public would figure it out. They attacked Wilson’s wife to punish him for telling the truth.
To hold otherwise requires what Orwell called "doublethink": believing simultaneously in two contradictory facts. That evidence for Saddam Hussein’s nukes was powerful, for example, although the Bush administration’s own Iraq Survey Group, after searching everywhere and interviewing arrested Iraqi scientists, concluded that no nuclear weapons program existed there after 1991; therefore, no attempts to buy uranium.
It’s this simple: Wilson was right, Bush was wrong. All the rest is rubbish.
GOP robo-pundits were everywhere last week saying that Wilson lied about Cheney authorizing Wilson’s trip—Newt Gingrich, Rush Limbaugh and the allegedly thoughtful New York Times columnist, David Brooks.
But Wilson never said that. Here’s the relevant passage from his original whistle-blowing article:" In February 2002, I was informed by officials at the Central Intelligence Agency that Vice President Dick Cheney’s office had questions about a particular intelligence report.... 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. "
Who sent him?" Agency officials. "
Did his wife, the secret agent," authorize" the trip, as Rove sneered to reporters? Not that it matters, but no. Her bosses did. "She was not in a position to send Joe Wilson anywhere except to bed without his supper," Larry Johnson, a former CIA colleague, told the Los Angeles Times. Sometimes even the most brazen agitprop can’t stand against reality. Under Communist rule, Moscow had two newspapers. The standard joke was that "There is no Pravda in Izvestia, and there is no Izvestia in Pravda" (" There is no Truth in News, and there is no News in Truth. ") No, Americans aren’t there yet, but the Wilson/Plame affair is pushing them in that direction.
Cheney and Plame
We were all children once. Remember how, when you and your peers got caught in some mischief, the ringleader had to be protected? “Who decided to do this terrible thing?” was often the question. “Not Dick (or Tom or Harry)” was often the instinctive, immediate answer. Remember how, as a parent, that made you really wonder about Dick (or Tom or Harry)?
In our memo of July 14, 2003, we warned President George W. Bush that the Iraq-seeking-uranium-in-Niger forgery was “a microcosm of a mischievous nexus of overarching problems” in his White House. We cited the remarks of then-presidential spokesman Ari Fleischer earlier that week, which (as noted above) set the tone for what has followed—right up to today. When asked about the forgery Fleischer noted—as if drawing on well-memorized talking points—that the vice president was not guilty of anything. (The denial was gratuitous; the question asked did not even mention the vice president’s possible role.) And the liturgy of absolution continued on July 11, 2003, when then-director of the CIA, George Tenet, did his awkward best to absolve the vice president of responsibility.
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