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Scoop Link: Is The Empire Striking Back?

White House Striking Back?

Former Ambassador Charges Mudslinging Over Statements
By Andrea Mitchell

Monday 21 July 2003

WASHINGTON - They were just 16 words in the State of the Union address - words that we now know were misleading. And this man, retired career diplomat Joe Wilson tried to warn the administration of just that nearly a year before the speech.

Now in an NBC News exclusive, Wilson says his family is the subject of a smear campaign. Wilson tells NBC News the White House deliberately leaked his wife's identity as a covert CIA operative, damaging her future career and compromising past missions after he criticized the administration on "Meet the Press" and in the New York Times.

He told me, "It's a shot across the bow to those who might step forward, those unnamed analysts who said they were pressured by the White House for example would think twice about having their own families names being dragged through this particular mud."

The White House strongly denies the charge. In fact, Wilson was only one of three experts who warned the administration a year before the State of the Union that the Niger information didn't check out.

As previously reported on NBC News, then-Ambassador to Niger Barbro Owens-Fitzpatrick reported it was false in February 2002. So did four-star Marine Gen. Carlton Fulford two months later. So the warnings came to the White House more than a year before the State of the Union.

Wilson reached his judgment without ever seeing the forged documents that led to the charge. We showed him the documents for the first time Monday: I asked, "This is the first you are seeing the documents?" Wilson answered, "Yes. This was never a legitimate piece of information."


And in their first TV interview Monday, the Italian journalists who first gave the documents to the U.S. Embassy in Rome tell NBC News the documents didn't even pass an amateur's test. "The smell of these documents, since the beginning, I was not convinced," says Carlo Rosell. So, the Italian magazine never printed the Niger story.

But the CIA wasn't as careful. NBC News has learned that it sent at least two secret memos to the White House only days before the State of the Union recycling the Niger charge - even though the agency knew it was false.

NBC News has learned one memo said "fragmentary reporting" on the Iraqi attempts to procure uranium from Africa is "another sign of reconstitution of a nuclear program."


The Senate Intelligence Committee is investigating. But the committee itself is at war: Republicans blame the CIA. Democrats say the White House is ultimately responsible.

Monday night the White House tells NBC News these memos show that the CIA did not do enough to protect the president - more ammunition in what is becoming a war between the White House National Security Council and the CIA.


Columnist Blows CIA Agent's Cover

By Timothy M. Phelps and Knut Royce
Tuesday 22 July 2003
Go To Complete Article At NewsDay.Com:,0,1332639.story

Washington - The identity of an undercover CIA officer whose husband started the Iraq uranium intelligence controversy has been publicly revealed by a conservative Washington columnist citing "two senior administration officials."

Intelligence officials confirmed to Newsday yesterday that Valerie Plame, wife of retired Ambassador Joseph Wilson, works at the agency on weapons of mass destruction issues in an undercover capacity - at least she was undercover until last week when she was named by columnist Robert Novak.

Wilson, while refusing to confirm his wife's employment, said the release to the press of her relationship to him and even her maiden name was an attempt to intimidate others like him from talking about Bush administration intelligence failures.

"It's a shot across the bow to these people, that if you talk we'll take your family and drag them through the mud as well," he said in an interview.

Go To Complete Article At NewsDay.Com:,0,1332639.story

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.)

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