What CNN Won't Tell You About the CIA Leak Case

A Closer Look at the CNN Special Report Page on the “CIA Leak Investigation”

CNN’s Major Events of the Case:

CNN put out a whole section devoted to the CIA LEAK Investigation but was careful to pick and choose what information it would share with its audience. Here is a more complete look at the events surrounding the CIA Leak investigation.

(CNN’s report is in bold print, the additions have asterisks.)


** Late February 2002
Joseph Wilson arrives in Africa on an investigative mission regarding nuclear weapons, but never asked to sign any sort of secrecy agreement(!). Wilson returns, does not file a written report. (via Instapundit)

** September 2002
George W. Bush at the United Nations
The United States has no quarrel with the Iraqi people; they’ve suffered too long in silent captivity. Liberty for the Iraqi people is a great moral cause, and a great strategic goal. The people of Iraq deserve it; the security of all nations requires it. Free societies do not intimidate through cruelty and conquest, and open societies do not threaten the world with mass murder. The United States supports political and economic liberty in a unified Iraq.
(via Instapundit)

** Nov. 8, 2002-
The UN Security Council unanimously approves Resolution 1441, imposing tough new arms inspections on Iraq and precise, unambiguous definitions of what constitutes a “material breach.” Should Iraq violate the resolution, it faces “serious consequences,” which the Security Council would determine.

** January 27, 2003-
President Bush sketched an expansive vision last night [at his American Enterprise Institute speech] of what he expects to accomplish by a war in Iraq. Instead of focusing on eliminating weapons of mass destruction, or reducing the threat of terror to the United States, Mr. Bush talked about establishing a ‘free and peaceful Iraq’ that would serve as a ‘dramatic and inspiring example’ to the entire Arab and Muslim world, provide a stabilizing influence in the Middle East and even help end the Arab-Israeli conflict. The idea of turning Iraq into a model democracy in the Arab world is one some members of the administration have been discussing for a long time.” — New York Times editorial, February 27, 2003.
(Andrew Sullivan via Glenn Reynolds)

January 28, 2003
With a U.S. invasion of Iraq looming, President Bush tells the nation in his State of the Union speech that, “The
British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa.”

** January 31, 2003
E.J. Dionne, Jr. Washington Post Writer’s Group
“Bush still has a problem that goes beyond style: We don’t know if this war is primarily about (1) taking weapons of mass destruction out of Saddam’s Hussein’s hands, or (2) removing Saddam from power, or (3) bringing democracy to Iraq and revolutionizing the politics of the Middle East.”
(via Instapundit)

** March 9, 2003
Maureen Dowd from the New York Times

The case for war has been incoherent due to overlapping reasons conservatives want to get Saddam. The president wants to avenge his father, and please his base by changing the historical ellipsis on the Persian Gulf war to a period. Donald Rumsfeld wants to exorcise the post-Vietnam focus on American imperfections and limitations. Dick Cheney wants to establish America’s primacy as the sole superpower. Richard Perle wants to liberate Iraq and remove a mortal threat to Israel. After Desert Storm, Paul Wolfowitz posited that containment is a relic, and that America must aggressively pre-empt nuclear threats. And in 1997, Bill Kristol of The Weekly Standard and Fox News, and other conservatives, published a “statement of principles,” signed by Jeb Bush and future Bush officials — Mr. Rumsfeld, Mr. Cheney, Mr. Wolfowitz, Scooter Libby and Elliott Abrams. Rejecting 41’s realpolitik and shaping what would become 43’s pre-emption strategy, they exhorted a “Reaganite policy of military strength and moral clarity,” with America extending its domain by challenging “regimes hostile to our interests and values.” (Andrew Sullivan via Instapundit– Glenn Reynolds)

** March 19, 2003
Operation Iraqi Freedom Begins

** April 9, 2003
The Fall of Baghdad

** June 4, 2003
Maureen Dowd at the New York Times
For the first time in history, Americans are searching for the reason we went to war after the war is over… Conservatives are busily offering a bouquet of new justifications for a pre-emptive attack on Iraq that was sold as self-defense against Saddam’s poised and thrumming weapons of mass destruction.”
(Andrew Sullivan via Instapundit– Glenn Reynolds)

** June 14, 2003
Joe Wilson and wife Valerie Plame are listed on the “Education for Peace” website. Joe Wilson gives a talk to this far left peace group:

“Let me just start out by saying, as a preface to what I really want to talk about, to those of you who are going out and lobbying tomorrow, I just want to assure you that that American ambassador who has been cited in reports in the New York Times and in the Washington Post, and now in the Guardian over in London, who actually went over to Niger on behalf of the government-not of the CIA but of the government-and came back in February of 2002 and told the government that there was nothing to this story, later called the government after the British white paper was published and said you all need to do some fact-checking and make sure the Brits aren’t using bad information in the publication of the white paper, and who called both the CIA and the State Department after the President’s State of the Union and said to them you need to worry about the political manipulation of intelligence if, in fact, the President is talking about Niger when he mentions Africa.

That person was told by the State Department that, well, you know, there’s four countries that export uranium. That person had served in three of those countries, so he knew a little bit about what he was talking about when he said you really need to worry about this. But I can assure you that that retired American ambassador to Africa, as Nick Kristof called him in his article, is also pissed off, and has every intention of ensuring that this story has legs.

And I think it does have legs. It may not have legs over the next two or three months, but when you see American casualties moving from one to five or to ten
per day, and you see Tony Blair’s government fall because in the U.K. it is a big story, there will be some ramifications, I think, here in the United States, so I hope that you will do everything you can to keep the pressure on. Because it is absolutely bogus for us to have gone to war the way we did.”

From the website: He is married to the former Valerie Plame and has four children. (via American Thinker)

July 6, 2003
Nearly three months after the fall of Baghdad, former U.S. Ambassador Joseph Wilson writes in The New York Times that he investigated the Niger uranium report for the CIA in 2002 and found it “highly doubtful” such a transaction could have occurred.

** This ensures that people will start asking why he was sent, which leads to the fact that his wife arranged it. Once Wilson’s opinion piece appeared, Plame’s covert status was in serious danger. (Instapundit)

** Wilson’s allegation that Cheney had received his (unwritten) “report” was widely repeated as fact by, among others, The New York Times.

** Wilson was sent to Niger by his wife, not by the CIA and certainly not by Dick Cheney.

** Joe Wilson’s conclusion is contradicted by the extensive findings of the British government. (I’m not sure, but I think that’s what Bush may have been referring to when he said, “the British government.”) – Ann Coulter

** A bipartisan Senate committee heard testimony from a CIA official that it was Wilson’s wife who had “offered up” Wilson for the Niger trip. The committee also discovered a Feb. 12, 2002, memo from Wilson’s wife gushing that her husband “has good relations with both the PM [prime minister] and the former Minister of Mines [not to mention lots of French contacts], both of whom could possibly shed light on this sort of activity.”

** In a direct contradiction to Wilson the Vice President Was Not Briefed On Wilson’s Report.

** The Butler Report (from Great Britain!) Claimed That The President’s State Of the Union Statement On Uranium From Africa, “Was Well-Founded”

July 11, 2003
With no weapons of mass destruction found in Iraq and increasing questions about the intelligence the Bush administration cited during the debate over war, CIA Director George Tenet says the Niger uranium claim should have been left out of the State of the Union speech. Tenet takes responsibility for the mistake.

** July 11, 2003
CNN fails to mention here that George Tenet exposes Joe Wilson as a liar in this report:

Tenet did rebut one of Wilson’s lies at the time Wilson originally made them in the Spring of ’03. Five days after Wilson’s NYT op-ed, Tenet put out a statement describing how the person the CIA sent to check out the Niger story found that the Iraqis had indeed tried to open up trade talks, which were interpretted by government officials in Niger as an attempt to purchase uranium ore. Tenet left the name of the person the CIA sent to Niger out of his statement, possibly to avoid running afoul of secrecy laws, but since Wilson had already outed himself as the person the CIA sent to Niger, it was perfectly clear who Tenet was talking about. I link to Tenet’s statement near the top of a post I wrote Wednesday about Wilson’s Tuesday speech at the National Press Club speech (a scandal in itself): “Wilson lies, press club laughs.”

Tenet’s statement began with the famous retreat: “These 16 words should never have been included in the text written for the President.” That garnered all the attention, as the press immediately began reporting, in a blatant misrepresentation of Tenet’s remarks, that the intelligence had been admitted to be “false.” Tenet’s exposure of Wilson as a liar got almost no coverage, presumably because the failure to mention Wilson’s name gave the press an excuse to pretend that they didn’t know who Tenet was refering to. Not until the Senate Intelligence Committee report came out in 2004 did Tenet’s rebuttal get attached to Wilson’s name. Still today, almost no one knows that Tenet exposed Wilson as a liar at the time. It would have been nice if Tenet had exposed Wilson’s other lies too — Wilson’s lie that he had exposed the forged documents as forgeries when he went to Niger, eight months before the forgeries had even come into U.S. possession, and the lie that Cheney’s office had sent him on the trip to Niger–but at least Tenet did expose one of Wilson’s lies at the time.

Almost no one seems to know this. I posted an article about it at the time, and Just One Minute noted last year that Tenet had exposed Wilson in 2003. Those are the only mentions I have seen of Wilson’s immediate exposure as a liar. The media knew about it. They all read Tenet’s statement. They just didn’t want other people to know.
(via Powerline)

July 14
Syndicated columnist and CNN “Crossfire” co-host Robert Novak writes that Wilson’s wife, Valerie Plame, is a CIA operative and suggested sending him to Niger. Novak cites “two senior administration officials” for the report.

** July 16, 2003
The first reference to Plame being a secret agent appears in The Nation, in an article by David Corn published July 16, 2003, just two days after Novak’s column appeared. It carried this lead: “Did Bush officials blow the cover of a U.S. intelligence officer working covertly in a field of vital importance to national security — and break the law — in order to strike at a Bush administration critic and intimidate others?”

** July 18, 2003
Wilson Claimed His Wife Did Not Suggest He Travel To Niger To Investigate Reports Of Uranium Deal; Instead, Wilson Claims It Came Out Of Meeting With CIA. (July 18, 2003 on CNN) But, the Senate Select Committee On Intelligence received not only testimony but actual documentation indicating Wilson’s wife proposed him for trip.

** September 14, 2003
Vice President Dick Cheney said “I Don’t Know Joe Wilson. I’ve Never Met Joe Wilson. … And Joe Wilson – I Don’t [Know] Who Sent Joe Wilson. He Never Submitted A Report That I Ever Saw When He Came Back.”

September 26
At the CIA’s request, the Justice Department launches a criminal probe into the leak of Plame’s identity. A 1982 law makes knowingly disclosing the identity of a covert agent a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

September 29
Novak says he won’t reveal his sources. He said the CIA asked him not to identify Plame, “but never indicated it would endanger her or anybody else” if he did.

September 30
Bush says he welcomes the investigation and tells reporters, “If there’s a leak out of my administration, I want to know who it is.”

** October 5, 2003
Wilson talks about Frog Marching at the White House.

December 30
Attorney General John Ashcroft recuses himself from the leak pro
be, citing an appearance of conflict of interest. Patrick Fitzgerald, the U.S. Attorney in Chicago, is named a special prosecutor to take over the investigation.

Investigation news Plame, Cooper, Cheney, “The White House discloses that Bush has hired a private attorney, Jim Sharp.” as if this were unusual!

** July 7, 2004
(Via Powerline) The most important fact from the Joe Wilson report was that the Nigerien officials admitted that the Iraqi delegation had traveled there in 1999, and that the Nigerian Prime Minister believed the Iraqis were interested in purchasing uranium, interested in purchasing uranium, because this provided some confirmation of foreign government service reporting.

(Report on Prewar Intelligence, July 7, 2004, Page 46 of the report, page 56 of the PDF)

Hence, Joe Wilson is a liar of the first order: his research tended (in the CIA’s Opinion) to confirm the report, yet Wilson claimed to the Post and other news sources that his report had shot down those same reports.

** July 14, 2004
The Butler Report is released in Great Britain. The report claimed that the President’s State Of the Union Statement On Uranium From Africa, “Was Well-Founded”.

Rove! Miller goes to jail. Media leaks. Libby indicted on 5 counts not related to outing a CIA agent.

Another Rovian Conspiracy asks, “Why do I know more about the Plame Leak than paid journalists?”
Macs Mind has more background on the investigation.

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