Fat Steve's Blatherings

Friday, July 29, 2005

The "Newspaper of Record" STILL Can't Keep Facts Straight


      The New York Times still can't write accurate reports when they report on Nadagate.

  • The Times says that "some" say Wilson "suggested" he was sent to Niger by the CIA by Dick Cheney.  A fair reading of his original op-ed shows he did definitely suggest that.

  • The Times also says that Wilson concluded that "the effort" by Iraq to buy uranium "had not occurred."  As the Senate Committee noted, this isn't true.

  • And finally, the Times Wilson "filed a report" on his trip.  In fact, he was verbally debriefed.

At Length:

      In one of The New York Times's recent stories on Nadagate, they say:
      . . . Mr. Libby made it clear that Vice President Cheney did not send Mr. Wilson to Africa, a notion some said Mr. Wilson had suggested in his [July 6th, 2003] article.

      "A notion some said" had been suggested.  Gee, what did Joe Wilson say in that Times's &article?  This:
      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.

      Wilson most definitely "suggested" Cheney was responsible for him going to Niger (which I'm sure this was an honest mistake on Wilson's part).

      And then there's this gem:
      In Mr. Wilson's article, he recounted a mission he undertook to Niger in 2002 seeking information about a purported effort by President Saddam Hussein of Iraq to acquire uranium there, his conclusion that the effort had not occurred and the filing of his report.

      The effort did not occur?  Here, at last available in HTML format, (die, PDF, die) is the report of the Senate Committee that investigated Iraq intelligence.  In this section, it says that a foreign intelligence service reported to the U.S. that Iraq had been in negotiations with Niger to buy Uranium since at least 1999 (remember that date).  Reporting specifically on Wilson's odyssey, it says:
      The intelligence report based on the former ambassador's trip was disseminated on March 8, 2002. . . .

      The intelligence report indicated that former Nigerien Prime Minister Ibrahim Mayaki . . . [was asked to] meet with an Iraqi delegation to discuss "expanding commercial relations" between Niger and Iraq.  The intelligence report said that Mayaki interpreted "expanding commercial relations" to mean that the delegation wanted to discuss uranium yellowcake sales.  The intelligence report also said that "although the meeting took place, Mayaki let the matter drop due to the UN sanctions on Iraq."

      When the former ambassador [Wilson] spoke to Committee staff, his description of his findings differed from the DO [Directorate of Operations] intelligence report . . . in some respects.  First, the former ambassador described his findings . . . as refuting both the possibility that Niger could have sold uranium to Iraq and that Iraq approached Niger to purchase uranium.  The intelligence report described how the structure of Niger's uranium mines would make it difficult, if not impossible, for Niger to sell uranium to rouge [sic] nations, and noted that Nigerien officials denied knowledge of any deals to sell uranium to any rogue states, but did not refute the possibility that Iraq had approached Niger to purchase uranium.

      [The CIA's reports officer] said he judged that the most important fact in the report was that the Nigerien officials admitted that the Iraqi delegation had traveled there in 1999, and that the Nigerien Prime Minister believed the Iraqis were interested in purchasing uranium, because this provided some confirmation of foreign government service reporting.

      Finally, the Times claimed that Wilson "filed a report."  Wilson himself noted that he did not file a written report, and the Senate Committee said the same thing.

      I've seen high-school newspapers do better than this.

      Do you think the Times will ever report accurately on this subject.  'Cause I don't.



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