December 1, 2005

The Rage of the Bureaucrat: Joe Wilson Retells the Same Discredited Story

Carroll Andrew Morse

According to Elizabeth Gudrais’ story in today’s Projo, this is what former Ambassador Joe Wilson said last night at Brown Univesity about his famous trip to Niger

Early in 2002, Wilson traveled to Niger to investigate a report that Iraq had attempted to buy 500 tons of uranium ore from the West African country's government, and that a memorandum of sale existed....

Producing 500 extra tons of uranium would have represented a 35-percent increase in production, an increase that would have been apparent in increased quantities of workers, trucks and supplies, Wilson said.

So it came as a surprise, Wilson said, when President Bush said in the State of the Union address, on Jan. 28, 2003: "The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa."

The problem is that you don’t need increased quantities of workers, trucks and supplies to seek uranium, which is what the President claimed.

The CIA analysts that debriefed Wilson after his trip -- not Bush administration officials -- believed that Wilson’s trip provided evidence of an Iraqi quest for uranium. This is from item from, which is run by the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania…

Based on what Wilson told them, CIA analysts wrote an intelligence report saying former Prime Minister Mayki "interpreted 'expanding commercial relations' to mean that the (Iraqi) delegation wanted to discuss uranium yellowcake sales." In fact, the Intelligence Committee report said that "for most analysts" Wilson's trip to Niger "lent more credibility to the original Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) reports on the uranium deal"….

In the CIA's view, Wilson's report bolstered suspicions that Iraq was indeed seeking uranium in Africa. The Senate report cited an intelligence officer who reviewed Wilson’s report upon his return from Niger:

Committee Report: He (the intelligence officer) said he judged that the most important fact in the report was that the Nigerian officials admitted that the Iraqi delegation had traveled there in 1999, and that the Nigerian Prime Minister believed the Iraqis were interested in purchasing uranium, because this provided some confirmation of foreign government service reporting. cites a report from the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence as its primary source of information.

Perhaps Mr. Wilson felt he was qualified to write a book called The Politics of Truth because he is neutral towards rather than a supporter of the idea of truth.

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1) Wilson was sent to determine if Iraq was SEEKING uranium.

2) Wilson found evidence they were SEEKING uranium.

3) The President said Iraq was SEEKING uranium, NOT that they had gotten it.

4) Wilson claims he was "surprised" when the President repeated Wilson's own findings that Iraq was SEEKING uranium.

5) Wilson acted as if the President had said Iraq HAD GOTTEN uranium and he and the media began to act as if that's what the President did say.

6) The Administration made it worse by recanting those "16 words" when it never had to. What they said was the truth. SADDAM SOUGHT URANIUM, BUT HE DIDN'T GET IT (AT LEAST FROM NIGERIA...WE THINK)

Joseph Wilson's entire argument is based on this fundamental and purposeful misunderstanding.

Posted by: Marc at December 1, 2005 1:31 PM