Wednesday, July 27, 2005

'Can't anybody here play this game?'

The FLUBA Committee on Stengelisms directs us to this Walter Pincus-Jim Vandehei piece in the Washington Post:

In a 2002 trip to Niger at the request of the CIA, Wilson found no evidence to support allegations that Iraq was seeking uranium from that African country and reported back to the agency in February 2002.

Along with the question, 'Why, oh why, can't we have a competent reporter at the Post?'

As the not exactly Top Secret report from the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence unanimously reported, Joe Wilson not only said that an Iraqi, who later came to fame as Baghdad Bob, had in fact made overtures to Iraq in 1999 about buying uranium, but that the CIA analysts who graded his debriefing found that to be the most important bit of information he brought back from his trip to Niger.

Wilson merely offered his own opinion that his contacts in Niger should be believed when they told him they had refused to do so. Which brings us to Christopher Hitchens in Slate:

A fairly senior CIA female bureaucrat, not involved in risky activity in the field, proposes her own husband for a mission to Niger, on the very CIA-sounding grounds that he enjoys good relations with the highly venal government there, and in particular with its Ministry of Mines. This government, according to unrefuted intelligence-gathering from British and other European intelligence agencies, is covertly discussing sanctions-breaking sales of its uranium to a number of outlaw regimes, including that of Saddam Hussein. The husband, who has since falsely denied being recommended by his wife, revisits his "good contacts" in Niger for a brief trip and issues them a clean bill.

Hitchens fails to add that said husband is a retired diplomat who now earns his living representing people who would like to invest in gold mines in that country. Imagine the outrage amongst the crowd currently throwing charges of treason at Karl Rove if that former diplomat had turned out to be a foreign policy adviser to George W. Bush rather than John Kerry.

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