This is very simple. It's so simple I can't believe I missed it all this time. We've been looking too closely at this story. I remember at the time there was speculation that she was outed in part because she worked on counterproliferation in places like Iran. And other reasons. But after taking another look it's obvious to me that the Bush administration wasn't interested in debate on the issue.
They wanted a link. Any evidence there wasn't a link was met with harsh criticism and outing of CIA agents.
Joe Wilson was sent by the CIA to investigate claims of Iraq trying to obtain yellowcake uranium from Africa:
Over the past months, however, the CIA has maintained that Wilson was chosen for the trip by senior officials in the Directorate of Operations counterproliferation division (CPD) -- not by his wife -- largely because he had handled a similar agency inquiry in Niger in 1999. On that trip, Plame, who worked in that division, had suggested him because he was planning to go there, according to Wilson and the Senate committee report.
Cheney had asked for more information on an intelligence report earlier on the same day questioning the link between Iraq and al Qaeda. In response to his request, the CIA sent Wilson to Africa, and an aide to Cheney testified that he had no idea his request would result in that trip.
So, he wanted information but didn't think they'd send someone to get information?
The DIA in question had some very interesting and useful information. You're definitely going to want to read this:
WASHINGTON -- A government document raises doubts about claims that Al Qaeda members received training for biological and chemical weapons in Iraq, as Senate Democrats yesterday defended their push for a report on how the Bush administration handled prewar intelligence.
The document from February 2002 showed that the agency questioned the reliability of Al Qaeda senior military trainer Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi. He could not name any Iraqis involved in the effort or identify any chemical or biological materials or cite where the training took place, the report said.
The agency concluded that al-Libi probably misled the interrogators deliberately, and he recanted the statements in January, according to the document made public by Senator Carl Levin, top Democrat on the Senate Armed Services Committee.
Here are Levin's statements on the report.
Got that? Dick Cheney found out about a DIA saying the links between Iraq and al Qaeda were suspect, and that al Libi was probably making stuff up also about the link.
Al Libi was tortured.
Cheney then found out that the CIA had sent Wilson to Africa to investigate these links, and thought, oh shit, what am I gonna do?
So then he and the administration started declassifying and leaking information to help their case, fixing it around the policy, and then going on tv and talking about those stories.
And I vaguely recall this tactic being used recently:
''If Democrats want to talk about how intelligence was used, all they need to do is start by looking at their own comments that they made. Because many of their comments said we cannot wait to address this threat," McClellan said.
They did it too!!!
So, back to the Washington Post story:
Time magazine's Matthew Cooper has written that he was told by Karl Rove on July 11 "don't get too far out on Wilson" because information was going to be declassified soon that would cast doubt on Wilson's mission and findings. Cooper also wrote that Rove told him that Wilson's wife worked for the agency on weapons of mass destruction and that "she was responsible for sending Wilson."
Rove was saying they had information to cast doubt on Wilson's mission? Well then why was Cheney trying to get information? Cheney wants to declassify information NOW that he says proves torture works. He was obviously aware of what goes on.
Here's more on what Plame's job actually was:
Speaking under strict confidentiality, intelligence officials revealed heretofore unreported elements of Plame's work. Their accounts suggest that Plame's outing was more serious than has previously been reported and carries grave implications for U.S. national security and its ability to monitor Iran's burgeoning nuclear program. ...
Intelligence sources would not identify the specifics of Plame's work. They did, however, tell RAW STORY that her outing resulted in "severe" damage to her team and significantly hampered the CIA's ability to monitor nuclear proliferation.
The administration was so worried about finding an actual link that they purposely ruined a good chance of finding the link.
Yes, she was monitoring nuclear weapons and other WMD going into and coming out of Iraq and Iran, as RAW STORY's Larisa Alexandrovna correctly and originally and exclusively reported in February of 2006.
Yes, her outing led to a still-classified CIA damage assessment and "serious" consequences" to other members of her CIA intelligence network.
The Bush administration really caused a lot of damage to future WMD investigations. I guess they didn't get the information they wanted and they couldn't let Wilson expose their lies to get us into war, maybe even because it might have exposed al Libi's torture.
Here's more on that:
"He's an entirely unreliable individual upon whom the White House was placing a substantial intelligence trust," Rockefeller told CNN's "Late Edition," describing the situation as "a classic example of a lack of accountability to the American people."
"It is possible [Libi] does not know any further details; it is more likely this individual is intentionally misleading the debriefers," warned the report, sections of which were first disclosed Sunday in the Washington Post and the New York Times. He "may [sic] describing scenarios to the debriefers that he knows will retain their interest. Saddam's regime is intensely secular and is wary of Islamic revolutionary movements."
Of course he didn't. He was tortured.
The Washington Note speculated, years ago:
The first might be that one of the reasons that Plame was outed had to do with bureaucratic and/or political enemies who were predisposed against the intelligence results of her team's Iran WMD-watching efforts. I would have to be further convinced of that case -- as I think that internal pettiness inside the Bush White House over Joe Wilson's public outing of the contrived Iraq-Niger-Uranium gambit is a pretty compelling rationale for Cheney's machine to out Plame.
Maybe they're onto something, but not with Iran.
I'm just wondering, if there were classified information like they said questioning Wilson's findings, why wouldn't they ask the CIA to investigate? Why would Cheney's aide say that they weren't aware of it? He should've been aware if he were looking for weapons of mass destruction and a link between al Qaeda and Iraq. He should've had every government agency on both of those claims. Instead he found out they were being researched and he freaked the hell out on everyone.
This was all written in The Nation and it means even more in context now:
In the spring of 2002 Dick Cheney made one of his periodic trips to CIA headquarters. Officers and analysts were summoned to brief him on Iraq. Paramilitary specialists updated the Vice President on an extensive covert action program in motion that was designed to pave the way to a US invasion. Cheney questioned analysts about Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction. How could they be used against US troops? Which Iraqi units had chemical and biological weapons? He was not seeking information on whether Saddam posed a threat because he possessed such weapons. His queries, according to a CIA officer at the briefing, were pegged to the assumptions that Iraq had these weapons and would be invaded--as if a decision had been made.
Valerie Wilson was no analyst or paper-pusher. She was an operations officer working on a top priority of the Bush Administration. Armitage, Rove and Libby had revealed information about a CIA officer who had searched for proof of the President's case. In doing so, they harmed her career and put at risk operations she had worked on and foreign agents and sources she had handled.
(Valerie Plame) Wilson, too, occasionally flew overseas to monitor operations.
They outed someone who was investigating WMDs and links between Iraq and al Qaeda when they didn't get the information they wanted. They discredited her and her husband. Then they fed leaks to the press with lies they wanted to tell, and went on shows to talk about the lies.
Then they tortured people to make them say there is a link.
There never was any link but there was a concerted, desperate effort to make one up.
Bloggers Against Torture