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Tuesday, November 01, 2005

"Joe Wilson's underlying claims ... were basically true"?

So stated Jonah in a recent post. That's a serious enough claim that it is worthy of a post.

A Washington Post article, discussing a bipartisan Senate intelligence committee report, would tend to refute that assertion.

Wilson Claim: His report to the CIA debunked intelligence about purported uranium sales to Iraq.
Committee Finding: His report added to the evidence that Iraq may have
tried to buy uranium in Niger, bolstering the case for most intelligence analysts.

Wilson Claim: He discussed with his CIA contacts which names and signatures should have appeared on any documentation of a legitimate uranium transaction.
Committee Finding: His report made no mention of the alleged Iraq-Niger uranium deal or signatures that should have appeared on any documentation of such a deal.

Wilson Claim: He concluded the Niger intelligence was based on documents -- -- purported sales agreements between Niger and Iraq -- that had clearly been forged because "the dates were wrong and the names were wrong."
Committee Finding: Wilson never saw the CIA reports and had no knowledge of what names and dates were in the reports. The documents were not in U.S. hands until eight months after Wilson made his trip to Niger.

Wilson Claim: His report refuted both the possibility that Niger could have sold uranium to Iraq and that Iraq approached Niger to purchase uranium.
Committee Finding: His report did not refute the possibility that Iraq approached Niger to purachse uranium.

Perhaps most devistating is that, instead of Wilson's report being some kind of bombshell, intelligence community analysts "had a fairly consistent response to the intelligence report based on [Wilson's] trip in that no one believed it added a great deal of new information to the Iraq-Niger uranium story."

Bottom line? What Wilson claims to have found is at variance with what he reported he found, what he reported he found was not at all groundbreaking, and what new information he did report simply bolstered the intelligence community's then-current views. Ouch.

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