Monday, July 18, 2005

Joey the Wimp

All hit men have nicknames, and what better nom de guerre for Joseph Wilson--who, after attempting a cheap shot at the Bush Administration and having the big boys fight back, ran behind the reputedly lovely Valerie--since he lacks the self-awareness to see how he resembles Saddam Hussein. From The Politics of Truth:

...a statue of Saddam...had recently been erected in the Arab Knight Square in Baghdad...Since Saddam clearly wanted to be recognized as the Arab Knight perhaps we ought to point out that true Arab knights do not hide behind the skirts of women....

Wilson resembles Saddam in another way too, delusions of grandeur. In his ironically titled book Wilson makes numerous references to his having brought back the 'truth' back from Niger, and to Bush's obligation to find out who had inserted a lie in the 2003 State of the Union speech.
But, the actual truth is that the CIA analysts didn't have as high an opinion of Mr. Wilson's information as he did (and seemingly still does). From the Senate Intelligence Committee report:

The CIA...gave the former ambassador's information a grade of "good," which means that it added to the [Intelligence Community's] body of understanding on the issue.... The possible grades are unsatisfactory, satisfactory, good, excellent, and outstanding....The reports officer said that a "good" grade was merited because the information responded to at least some of the outstanding questions in the Intelligence Community, but did not provide substantial new information. He said he judged that the most important fact in the report was 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.

(U) IC analysts had a fairly consistent response to the intelligence report based on the former ambassador's trip in that no one believed it added a great deal of new information to the Iraq-Niger uranium story. An INR analyst said when he saw the report he believed that it corroborated the INR's position, but said that the "report could be read in different ways." He said the report was credible, but did not give it a lot of attention because he was busy with other things.

(U) DIA and CIA analysts said that when they saw the intelligence report they did not believe that it supplied much new information and did not think that it clarified the story on the alleged Iraq-Niger uranium deal. They did not find Nigerien denials that they had discussed uranium sales with Iraq as very surprising because they had no expectation that Niger would admit to such an agreement if it did exist. The analysts did, however, find it interesting that the former Nigerien Prime Minister said an Iraqi delegation had visited Niger for what he believed was to discuss uranium sales.

(U) Because CIA analysts did not believe that the report added any new information to clarify the issue, they did not use the report to produce any further analytical products or highlight the report for policymakers. For the same reason, CIA's briefer did not brief the Vice President on the report, despite the Vice President's previous questions about the issue.

If the CIA didn't notice him, why should the president and his inner circle?

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