Reader Chris Wildermuth draws our attention to Dafna Linzer’s Washington Post story on Valerie Plame’s new book, Fair Game. There is much to quarrel with in Linzer’s account, which uncritically repeats several assertions from Fair Game, but this is the one item that jumped out at me:
The title refers to a comment attributed to Karl Rove, who during his tenure as a White House adviser reportedly told a journalist that “Joe Wilson’s wife is fair game” for a White House intent on discrediting the former ambassador. [Wilson] became a target after he publicly revealed that he had investigated, on behalf of the CIA, reports that Iraq had tried to buy uranium from Niger. A year after he reported that there was no evidence to support the claim, it appeared in Bush’s State of the Union speech, two months before the president ordered troops into Iraq.
Readers should recall that the Washington Post was a protagonist in the circulation of Wilson’s anonymously sourced falsehoods prior to the publication of Wilson’s July 2003 New York Times column. The Post nevertheless contrbuted one moment of clarity in this matter. Susan Schmidt’s “Plame’s input is cited on Niger mission” summarized the July 2004 Senate Intelligence Committee report that belies much of the Wilson/Plame mythology:
Wilson’s assertions — both about what he found in Niger and what the Bush administration did with the information — were undermined yesterday in a bipartisan Senate intelligence committee report.
The panel found that Wilson’s report, rather than debunking intelligence about purported uranium sales to Iraq, as he has said, bolstered the case for most intelligence analysts. And contrary to Wilson’s assertions and even the government’s previous statements, the CIA did not tell the White House it had qualms about the reliability of the Africa intelligence that made its way into 16 fateful words in President Bush’s January 2003 State of the Union address.
One is left wondering whether Post editors read their own newspaper.
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