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Larry C Johnson (bio/blog)

The Bush/Cheney acolytes keen on smearing Joe Wilson took a couple of gut shots at the Scooter Libby trial today.  One of the documents released to the public confirms Wilson's account of how he came to be sent to Niger, what he found, and what he reported to CIA debriefers.

Part of the smear effort, which was led by Kansas Senator Pat Roberts from his perch as head of the Senate Intelligence Committee (SSCI), insisted that Joe's trip to Niger actually revealed that Iraq was trying to buy uranium.  According to p. 46 of the July 2004 SSCI report on Iraq, the Republican's reported hearsay about what Joe found:


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Not so fast boys and girls.  During yesterday's testimony key documents were introduced into evidence.  One of these was the INR memo about the Niger affair.

Download inr_memo.pdf.

Buried in the appendix of the this document is the redacted intelligence report, known in CIA parlance as a "TD".  Take a look for yourself at what the CIA debriefers reported:

The following TD shows that Joe met with two key former Nigerien officials--former Prime Minister Ibrahim Mayaki and former Minister of Energy and Mines Boucar Mai Manga.  The INR memo records that Joe Wilson supported the INR position that the Embassy was quite capable of reporting on this matter without his intervention.  Joe was not advocating to go to Niger and his wife, Valerie, was not in the meeting when this issue came up.  (She had only introduced him at the start of the meeting.)  The CIA ultimately prevailed and sent Joe to Niger.  In coordination with the U.S. Ambassador to Niger, Joe agreed to meet with only former officials who were witting of the uranium program.

So what did Joe learn?  Here's the reader's digest version (you can read the full report for yourself below).

  • Former Prime Minister Mayaki told Joe he had rebuffed an effort in June of 1999 to arrange a meeting with the Iraqis he supported the U.S. sanction.  He said, "if there had been any rogue state during his tenure, he would have seen the contract."
  • Former Minister of Enerty Manga said, "there were no sales outside of International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) since the mid-1980s".  He went on to tell Ambassador Wilson that the uranium was tightly controlled and accounted for from the time it is mined until the time it is loaded onto ships.

There is nothing in this report to support the notion that Iraq had succeeded evading UN sanctions and purchased large quantities of yellowcake uranium.  NOTHING!  You can also see for yourself how the Republicans on the SSCI tried to mislead the American people in the July 2004 report.  After you read the following report could you brief the President of the United States that Iraq had acquired yellowcake uranium and had restarted its nuclear program?  No way in hell!

That's why Cheney and Libby were so intent on trying to shut up Joe Wilson.  He told the truth.

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Thank you to emptywheel for posting these documents.

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Originally posted to L C Johnson on Thu Jan 25, 2007 at 09:20 AM PST.

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