April 12, 2006

Well, the Smell is Certainly Biological...

The Washington Post, which within the past week blasted President Bush for declassifying a story to defend false allegations by Joe Wilson, collected classified information of its own through anonymous sources and leaked it on page one Wednesday, declaring:

On May 29, 2003, 50 days after the fall of Baghdad, President Bush proclaimed a fresh victory for his administration in Iraq: Two small trailers captured by U.S. and Kurdish troops had turned out to be long-sought mobile "biological laboratories." He declared, "We have found the weapons of mass destruction."

The claim, repeated by top administration officials for months afterward, was hailed at the time as a vindication of the decision to go to war. But even as Bush spoke, U.S. intelligence officials possessed powerful evidence that it was not true.

A secret fact-finding mission to Iraq -- not made public until now -- had already concluded that the trailers had nothing to do with biological weapons. Leaders of the Pentagon-sponsored mission transmitted their unanimous findings to Washington in a field report on May 27, 2003, two days before the president's statement.

Framed the way Joby Warrick presents it in these opening paragraphs, it seems like a slam-dunk case of the Bush Administration lying... but the Post is being less than forthright with it's readers, attempting to bias and shape their perceptions before giving them all the facts.

What facts would those be?

That the one team of inspectors Warrick cites in his opening paragraphs were not the only team to examine these trailers, and that two other teams that initially inspected the trailers did not agree with the team highlighted in the Post article's opening paragraphs. As a matter of fact, one has to navigate a carefully parsed and misleading claim of the "unanimous findings" that were far from unanimous before finding out in the twelfth paragraph that two other teams reached the exact opposite conclusion:

Intelligence analysts involved in high-level discussions about the trailers noted that the technical team was among several groups that analyzed the suspected mobile labs throughout the spring and summer of 2003. Two teams of military experts who viewed the trailers soon after their discovery concluded that the facilities were weapons labs, a finding that strongly influenced views of intelligence officials in Washington, the analysts said. "It was hotly debated, and there were experts making arguments on both sides," said one former senior official who spoke on the condition that he not be identified.

The actual facts are that a single team of nine civilian experts wrote a "unanimous" report that was only unanimous within their one group, while two military teams of experts reached the conclusion that these were bioweapons labs. By careful and I believe willful deceit, the Post would seem to purposefully imply that all experts examining the suspected bio-weapons trailers unanimously came to the conclusion that these trailers were not used to manufacture bio-weapons, and that the Administration blatantly lied in the face of the evidence. The actual facts are that this was not only a not a unanimous report, but that the "unanimous" report of the one team was actually a minority view overall.

This is willful misrepresentation of the facts by Joby Warrick and the editors of the Washington Post in a page one story. There were indeed varied interpretations of the suitability of these trailers to manufacture bio-weapons, yet the Post article purposefully decived its readers to lend weight and column inches to the minority viewpoint that was not unanimous as they suggested.

This appears to be a specific, calculated deception of a national newspaper's readership. The Washington Post must be held accountable.

Update: Seixon finds news reports on these trailers, and determines that the "sharply divided" views of this third team of experts then (2003), is not synonymous with the "unanimous" view attributed to the same team pushed by the Washington Post day.

Joby Warrick's article keeps geting more suspect by the hour...

Posted by Confederate Yankee at April 12, 2006 02:08 AM | TrackBack

This has got to be the shabbiest defense of an obvious line of crap that I've ever read.

You begin by lying that Bush was defending against false allegations. Wilson's allegations have been proven time and again.

Then, you speculate and reach conclusions based on your speculation that the Post purposely didn't spell out that the report wasn't unanimous. Two military experts disagreed with nine civilian experts.

Fact: 82% of the experts concluded the trailers had nothing to do with WMD.

So, if I understand correctly, we're supposed to completely ignore the report that the so-called bio-weapons trailers story was bullshit because you speculate about the Post's intentions? Pure folly!

Don't you think readers are smart enough to see through your nonsensical drivel?

Posted by: Ed at April 12, 2006 02:45 AM

And that was Ed, ladies and gentlemen: a proud member of the "reality-based" community.


Posted by: Confederate Yankee at April 12, 2006 06:22 AM

Wow, pleased to meet you Ed.

Let's try that reading comprehension thing eh?

Two TEAMS of military experts not two military experts concluded that they were bioweapons trailers. If you go by team percentage you get to 33% said it wasn't. Head count will required knowing how many people were on those other teams. Of course if Bush releases that information I'm sure it'll lead to another demand for a "leak investigation"...

As for the "honorable" Mr. Wilson, well let's just say that a few other people concluded that he was lying about everything he wrote. Those people being of course a bipartisan commission that reviewed the Iraqi intelligence and the providence of his "mission" to secure sweet mint tea.

There is also that UK conspiracy where the Butler commission found Bush's SoU statement to be well founded too.

But hey, you keep up the good work and keep speaking ignorance to power.

Posted by: Rob Crocker at April 12, 2006 06:34 AM

Ed sez: "You begin by lying that Bush was defending against false allegations. Wilson's allegations have been proven time and again."

In what alternate reality? The Duelfer Report (, among others, prove "time and again" that Wilson was, in fact lying. Repeating his lies "time and again" doesn't make them suddenly true.

Posted by: Ric James at April 12, 2006 06:46 AM

I was originally going to post this in reply to, but their registration system is unnecessarily intrusive, so I'll put it here instead...

As you say, there were two teams (of experts in some unspecified field which may or may not be relevant) who viewed (i.e. didn't thoroughly investigate) the trailers soon after their discovery (i.e., before they had a chance to do this thoroughly), and they did conclude that these were the sought-after biological labs.

The story then goes on to say:

"Yet reaction from Iraqi sources was troublingly inconsistent. Curveball, shown photos of the trailers, confirmed they were mobile labs and even pointed out key features. But other Iraqi informants in internal reports disputed Curveball's story and claimed the trailers had a benign purpose"

That is, there was evidence that the initial investigators could have jumped to the wrong conclusion. As a result:

"Back at the Pentagon, DIA officials attempted a quick resolution of the dispute. The task fell to the "Jefferson Project," a DIA-led initiative made up of government and civilian technical experts who specialize in analyzing and countering biological threats."

Which is to say, the DIA had enough contradictory evidence that they felt they needed to mount a thorough investigation to decide the matter once and for all. So they very sensibly decided to put together a big team of truly leading experts. This was going to be the tie-breaker between the two initial reports and Curveball on the one hand, and the counter-evidence on the other. That tie-breaker concluded that the initial reports and Curveball were wrong. But the DIA ended up ignoring their own tie-breaker report.

I'm sure that the argument you presented here is exactly how the people higher up the chain justified their decisions to themselves, and they were after all under an awful lot of pressure. The formal report was delivered only a day or so before the white paper saying they were biological labs was released, so there wasn't much opportunity to slam on the brake.

Nevertheless, this is not "two reports vs. one", but a messy dispute with one investigation specifically set up to be the final, definitive answer. It was clear from an early stage that, when actual experts in the field showed up, they were sure that the trailers were benign. There was plenty of opportunity to see the right answer, if the administration had been open-minded enough to admit it. The criticism in the original article is fair.

Posted by: Mat at April 12, 2006 06:56 AM

Is the identity of these so-called civilian experts known? Why should we assume they know what they're talking about if they insist on remaining anonymous? Also, surely, what they did in talkiing to the Post was illegal? Has anyone heard anything about a pending investigation?

Posted by: Leonidas at April 12, 2006 07:53 AM

And here's another thing: the media goes on and on about how dangerous Iraq is, yet a CIVILIAN team was able to carry out its (dubious) mission with no trouble.

Doesn't sound so dangerous, does it?

Posted by: Leonidas at April 12, 2006 07:56 AM

"Wilson's allegations have been proven time and again!!??"

If you can back this up, you are in the enviable
position of being able to make some money!

It's a money challenge.

There is prize money for any Joe Wilson supporter,
apologist and/or cult follower who can name one
thing, anything
, Joseph Wilson found on
his 2002 trip to Niger that proved "false"
President Bush’s 2003 State of the Union
statement, "The British Government has learned
that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant
quantities of uranium from Africa."

Posted by: George at April 12, 2006 08:00 AM

Regardless of what the Post (or anyone) says, the debate
on these trailers is unresolved. There still is no consensus
on whether they were for biological warfare agent
production or for producing hydrogen for artillery units.

What they do agree on is that the trailers were not
ideally configured for either use but could be made to
work for either. The Kay Report agrees with this and
noted "...nothing we have discovered rules out their
potential use in BW production."

An Iraqi artillery officer says they never used these types
of systems and that the hydrogen for artillery units came
in canisters from a fixed production facility.

It is a known fact that Saddam Hussein was pursuing
dual-use technologies that could be converted over to
his WMD programs once the U.N. inspections stopped.

More information can be found here:

Posted by: George at April 12, 2006 08:03 AM

If they transmitted their report on 27 May and Bush spoke on 29 May ... how many people think that such a report would have made it to Bush's desk by the time he spoke? Would it even have made it to Chaney's desk? ;)

Posted by: htom at April 12, 2006 08:07 AM

Leonidas: "Why should we assume they know what they're talking about if they insist on remaining anonymous?"

From the article: "Their accounts were verified by other current and former government officials knowledgeable about the mission." Also, the fact that the Pentagon trusted them to do this work in the first place argues in their favour. These aren't lunatic fringe leftists we're talking about here. They're a specialist group specifically set up by the Pentagon to be the undisputed experts in this field.

Leonidas: "Also, surely, what they did in talkiing to the Post was illegal?"

It could be a breach of contract, but certainly not a crime, especially for the British guy. Also from the article: "Those interviewed took care not to discuss the classified portions of their work."

Leonidas: "a CIVILIAN team was able to carry out its (dubious) mission with no trouble. Doesn't sound so dangerous, does it?"

Many civilians from many different countries have been killed over the last few years, so it does sound quite dangerous, yes. This team would certainly have worked under heavy military guard though. Also, they were just doing tests on seized equipment inside a military compound.

George: "the debate on these trailers is unresolved. There still is no consensus on whether they were for biological warfare agent production or for producing hydrogen for artillery units."

There's never going to be any kind of iron-clad consensus on anything in the war debate, and this is no exception. The point of this article, however, is not whether or not the trailers were biological weapons, but whether the administration deliberately ignored evidence in order to beef up its claims.

George: "The Kay Report agrees with this and noted '...nothing we have discovered rules out their potential use in BW production.'"

From the article: "But Kay said he was not apprised of the technical team's findings until late 2003, near the end of his time as the group's leader. 'If I had known that we had such a team in Iraq," Kay said, "I would certainly have given their findings more weight.'"

Posted by: Mat at April 12, 2006 08:19 AM


The ultimate accuracy of the civilian team is not the issue here—based upon what I’ve read since the trailers were originally found, I think that I probably agree with their conclusions barring substantial evidence to the contrary.

What is the issue is that the Washington Post attempted to frame this article to make it appear that President Bush was willfully misrepresenting the facts in the face of a consensus view. This was not the case. There was not a consensus view, and at the time President Bush made his claims, it was in fact a minority view, albeit one that was ultimately proven correct.

Joby Warrick and his editors at the Washington Post willfully misrepresented facts to the point I would consider it fraudulent. If you want to debate a point, debate that, because that is the question under discussion.

Posted by: Confederate Yankee at April 12, 2006 08:34 AM

I'd like to know why you would clean and disinfect a 'hydrogen producing' facility with strong caustic agents to remove any traces of whatever it was producing. If it was something as benign as hydrogen, wouldn't you just leave it alone? When it was found, the inspectors would test it, say "just hydrogen, no contraband here". When you try to hide something, it looks like you have something to hide. I'd also like to see the experts try to produce hydrogen, using said trailers, and see if it really works that well, and maybe explain why producing hydrogen in the field is more efficient than putting canisters on a truck and delivering them to the field units. Then, they can explain the brewing canister, the feeding canisters, the heater/cooler, and so on.

Posted by: Tim at April 12, 2006 08:36 AM

So your conclusion from everything that's come out in the last 3 years that it WAS a good idea to invade Iraq? It looks like it was a big ol' mistake, at the very least. It sure cost a lot and killed a lot of people. I'd rather have health care and public education. But I'm funny that way.

Posted by: patrioticity at April 12, 2006 08:43 AM

You don't have health care and public education?

Or did I miss the US closing down hospitals and schools to pay for the war?

I guess all the sick students have been conscripted into the Army ...

Posted by: Steve in Houston at April 12, 2006 08:50 AM

Actually, Saddam would have killed at least 3 times as many people during the same time frame. Witness the new mass graves uncovered in the Kurdish areas. And this administration has spent far more on education than any previous administration. Yet we still end up with undereducated tools. Funny, that.

Posted by: Tim at April 12, 2006 08:53 AM

Except Patriot City if you add up all monies paid to the Public education system, you would see the Defense budget dwarfed. Maybe if the school systems made efficient use of the Monies recieved they could do a better job. They could start by dropping the multitude of Social Science classes, except for History and American government and concentrate on Math, reading and Science. When I say reading, I don't mean send the book home with the kid and hope it reads it. Test them on it.

And if I remember right, the Constitution does not provide for either Health Care or Public Education. Maybe I am not reading it right, could you point it out to me please?

However, it does talk about the defense of the country.

Posted by: James Stephenson at April 12, 2006 08:53 AM

Confederate Yankee,

"What is the issue is that the Washington Post attempted to frame this article to make it appear that President Bush was willfully misrepresenting the facts in the face of a consensus view"

Not quite. The article doesn't claim that Bush was wilfully misrepresenting the facts, but rather that U.S. intelligence officials knew that what he was about to say on their advice was dubious, and let him say it anyway. This article isn't about Bush at all, and therefore isn't really all that politically explosive.

"There was not a consensus view, and at the time President Bush made his claims, it was in fact a minority view, albeit one that was ultimately proven correct."

I don't agree with your characterisation of this as a minority view. Why would the Pentagon commission a third report when the two existing ones already gave the same opinion? The answer is in the article: there was a lot more information floating around than just two reports, and it was inconsistent. This final investigation was specifically set up by the Pentagon to authoritatively resolve the debate. Hence, not a minority report, but a tie-breaker. You don't just take a vote on these things: you judge the report on the thoroughness of the investigation and the credentials of the people who performed it. The final report was the most thorough, and the best qualified. And that's not my opinion, that's the Pentagon's.

Posted by: Mat at April 12, 2006 08:55 AM

The article "isn't about Bush at all?"

Care to explain the subhead for this article on the main page of Washington

In 2003, Bush administration pushed the notion of banned Iraqi weapons made in mobile "biological laboratories" despite evidence to the contrary.

Then you state "I don't agree with your characterisation of this as a minority view." Is this the "new math" I've heard of, where 1 is somehow greater than 2?

Again the information may have been inconsistent or even wrong, but the Washington Post presented it in such a way as to make it appear that is wasn't in doubt, and that Bush lied in the face of overwhelming evidence.

That is fraud.

Posted by: Confederate Yankee at April 12, 2006 09:02 AM

I'm sorry, I'm not clear on this- how was invading Iraq defending our country exactly? From what? Did I miss the invading Iraqi hordes?

James, Bush FY 2006 request for education was $56 billion.

As of March 31, 2006, Congress has appropriated $251 billion for Iraq and Afghanistan (not much going to Afghanistan these days), and the total Department of Defense annual budget is around $425 billion.

Of course, a lot of funding for education comes from the states. But do you really like what we've gotten for our $251 billion (and counting)? I'd rather have given it to my children.

By the way, the Constitution mentions providing for the "general welfare" twice. It's a matter of priorities.

“WE THE PEOPLE of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

Posted by: patrioticity at April 12, 2006 09:31 AM

Okay, here's the hard question.

Exactly how do you propose to "hold the WaPo accountable"?

Posted by: Chap at April 12, 2006 09:35 AM

Again the information may have been inconsistent or even wrong, but the Washington Post presented it in such a way as to make it appear that is wasn't in doubt, and that Bush lied in the face of overwhelming evidence.

That is because Bush and the people in the administration continued to state that the mobile labs were proof of WMD, when they knew that there was a strong opinion (that turned out to be fact) that the mobile labs where not for WMD. They talked as if it was a proven fact and they hid the report that contradicted their claim. That is called lying.

Posted by: Mr. Purple at April 12, 2006 09:38 AM

Is it fraudulent for the President of the United States to say that "we have found saddam's weapons of mass destruction" when he possessed credible classified information that we had not?

Posted by: Govs at April 12, 2006 09:42 AM
That is fraud.

Bigger'n Dallas. Might want to provide a link to the CIA report on the subject, titled: "Iraqi Mobile Biological Warfare Agent Production Plants"; and dated 28 May '03. It's fairly unequivocal, with cute pictures and everything. And Administration officials had actually read it . . . because it came from the CIA, who's charged with integrating intelligence and keeping them informed. The contention that President Bush must've lied because he recapped it the next day is frankly hilarious.

Posted by: Cecil Turner at April 12, 2006 09:45 AM

> "Bush was defending against false allegations.
> Wilson's allegations have been proven time and again."

No, that is not true. Ambassador Wilson correctly reported that Iraq had never obtained uranium from Niger.

Wilson's accurate exposure of President Bush's false claims led to the President having to take back the words he spoke in the 2003 State of the Union address.

If Wilson was the liar, why was it that President Bush had to withdraw his words? Why did the Oval Office bring its full force to bear against Wilson in "an organized plot" - even blowing the cover of a CIA agent in wartime to try to punish Wilson?

It was because the truth Wilson brought undermined the lies President Bush was using to try to mislead the country into a disasterous war, where we are still mired today, with no end in sight.

Posted by: B-the-1 at April 12, 2006 09:52 AM

Mr. Purple: "They talked as if it was a proven fact and they hid the report that contradicted their claim. That is called lying."

It's not that simple. I doubt that Bush had ever heard of this team or their investigations when he made his speech. The problem was that everyone, all the way up the command chain, was hoping to find evidence that would back the invasion. This means that "OMG you must read this!!!" from a bunch of civilians in Iraq turns into "This is an important new perspective" to a Pentagon official, which turns into "That's interesting" to his boss, which turns into "I might mention this in the briefing papers" to *his* boss, and so on until it just fizzles out. The system is biased against bad news, and it's a long way from Iraq to the Oval Office.

Which is why I say this isn't really about Bush, and the Washington Post is dreaming if it thinks this is some kind of smoking gun.

Posted by: Mat at April 12, 2006 09:52 AM

Invading Iraq was absolutely essential to our safety. Yes indeed Iraq was deeply involved in the training, funding and harboring of terrorists who were meant to attack both Israel and the US along with any allies we might be fortunate enough to find.

Iraq attempted to Assasinate Former President Bush.

Iraq had terrorist "conventions" each year where operations were discussed

Iraq attempted to blow up Radio Free Europe.

And Iraq was producing WMD's.

Posted by: Pierre Legrand at April 12, 2006 10:08 AM

OK. The famous '16 words'. "The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa". Where in that statement does it say "OBTAINED URANIUM"? You must go to the same school as Patriotidiocy does. 'Sought' means they wanted to buy it. They were trying to buy it. Obtained means they DID buy it. Two different things. According to Joe Wilson, the Iraqis did appear to WANT TO BUY URANIUM. They were not, however, successful. And the President didn't say they were successful. Why they backtracked on that, I'll never know.

Posted by: Tim at April 12, 2006 10:12 AM

It's not that simple. I doubt that Bush had ever heard of this team
Nope, the team was sent to confirm the existence of WMD. Bush knew and if he didn't it's just another case of incompetence.

Posted by: Mr. Purple at April 12, 2006 10:18 AM

By the way, the Constitution mentions providing for the "general welfare" twice. It's a matter of priorities.

Next line.

"...promote the general Welfare,..."

patrioticity read good.

Posted by: mishu at April 12, 2006 10:28 AM

Mat is right about the Post story being about intelligence officials not passing along bad news. But, frankly, it's worse than that. It's not just that the President spoke about the trailers without knowing that this DIA team had just sent along its conclusions. The point is that those conclusions were actually suppressed.

Look at the part about David Kay. He's supposed to be resolving all the WMD issues. But DIA *doesn't tell him* about this technical team's findings *at all* for months! They hint early on that there's been some "backsliding." The report sits on the shelf, labeled "secret," and Kay doesn't learn about it until his time is nearly up.

That's what the story is about. It's not about Bush himself, but it captures the hyping, selective treatment of info, and dishonesty with which the administration handled the WMD issue, all in a nutshell. There's no way you can justify it this time. No wonder Confederate Yankee and Captain Ed are trying to twist the whole story into something else.

Posted by: nandrews3 at April 12, 2006 11:31 AM

Should we even be talking about any of this? There will plenty of time for historians to debate these questions -- when the war is over. For, it is best to present the Islamofascist a united front.

Yes, moonbats, I know that taking pot shots at the president is fun. And when the war on terror is over, you're welcome to say whatever you want. But for now, why not think of our troops and the message that all of this sends to them?

Posted by: DougJ at April 12, 2006 11:34 AM

the Constitution mentions providing for the "general welfare" twice. It's a matter of priorities.

Yes, a matter of priorities. Who sets those priorities? Well, somewhat indirectly it is us, the voters that send our representatives to Washington that set the priorities. I voted for the guy that prioritized our national defense over another gob of self-destructive entitlements to the do-nothing neo-socialist career-dependent "entitlement" crowd.

I got what I wanted from my vote, you did not. Tough lemons, better luck next time.

Posted by: ChrisT at April 12, 2006 11:40 AM

Y'all seem to be in the throes some internet-induced mass psychosis. It'll be interesting to see how long you hold on to this 'Iraq was a good idea' meme while your other Republican comrades are jumping ship left and right. Oops, there goes Newt Gingrich. And oh, Colin Powell, sorry. And Condoleeza "mushroom cloud" Rice admits thousands of mistakes.

It'll just get more and more difficult for your brains to accommodate the dissonance. The Bush administration is a bunch of incompetent liars, and if you can't see that, you have reading comprehension problems.

Posted by: patrioticity at April 12, 2006 11:43 AM

What makes you think this war is ever going to be over? It is a open-ended commitment that will last until either the last terrorist commits seppuku or we decide we're tired of wasting our military chasing mice.

Posted by: notDougJ at April 12, 2006 11:47 AM

If there were no WMD's in Iraq then why did my unit have to sit and watch a stockpile of weapons with our chemical suits on for three months with the chemical alarms going off every time the wind changed direction?????

Posted by: SSGT at April 12, 2006 11:52 AM

Why did the Iraqis keep a combination of mustard gas/cyclosarin as 'insecticide'? And who uses artillery shells and missiles to deliver said insecticide? I guess they wanted to make sure they got good coverage deep in the marshes.

Posted by: Tim at April 12, 2006 11:58 AM

What makes you think this war is ever going to be over?

We will prevail because we will stay the course and will accept nothing less than victory. Total victory. That's something you moonbats probably aren't familiar with.

Victory. Total victory. V-I-C-T-O-R-Y Savor it, let those syllables roll around in your mouth a little as if you were drinking a fine wine. That's what we will achieve in this war. Because this president will accept nothing less.

Posted by: DougJ at April 12, 2006 12:09 PM

The basis of all this debate is the belief that the US is a tributary empire. We are, quite simply, not. It is difficult to undo forty five years of Soviet propaganda, (which lives on after the Soviets have fallen) but, quite simply, we act on a strategy designed to defend us and our allies. When, for example, the Soviet threat dissapeared, we withdrew what limited support we had lent to South Africa's segregationist regime, to Pinochet's authoritan one, to the military juntas in Guatemala and El Salvador. When we were buying Arabian oil for three bucks a barrel, we had no troops on the Arabian Penninsula. We defended South Viet Nam, I believed at the time, for some material that they could sell us. We do indeed trade with the Vietnamese now, but what do we get? Very little. The Soviets concocted the idea to use against us in the Third World, when it had become apparent that they were getting nowhere with American workers. Saddam offered to sell us all the oil we needed, at low prices, too. I know people believe it, I know that I did, but the evidence, on balance, does not support the theory. (Constant repetition is not evidence.) If we wanted oil, we could be getting more here. If we wanted more oil, we could sell out Israel, as many oil company executives have urged that we do. But, without the belief in predatory warfare, opposition to the war seems irrational. Even pacifists have to admit that there is less killing in Iraq today than were occurring before we invaded. Please, if we were a tributary empire, wouldn't we at least have a positive balance of trade?

Posted by: Michael Adams at April 12, 2006 12:18 PM

May, what you have discussed is called intelligence analysis. When you have opposing evidence, then that evidence has to be put into context. The context was that Saddam was caught repeatedly filing purposely false disclosure reports, had used WMD on SEVERAL occasions, and had relationships with several terrorist organizations (whether directly to Bin Ladin or not). When conflicting evidence is taken in context of Saddam's history of cheating and lying, the natural conclusion would be that he was still cheating and lying. Even if nothing Saddam was accused of turned out to be true (which much of it is being proven more every day), many analysts came to that exact conclusion based on that exact context. For those who think that when faced when opposing evidence that analysts should have given Saddam the benifit of the doubt, be honest within yourselves and you will see what a ridiculous position that has become.

Posted by: Ray Robison at April 12, 2006 01:06 PM

Um Ed, in reguards to your comment: "You begin by lying that Bush was defending against false allegations. Wilson's allegations have been proven time and again." which was part of your defense of the Washington Post, please remember that:

""The material that Mr. Bush ordered declassified established, as have several subsequent investigations, that Mr. Wilson was the one guilty of twisting the truth. In fact, his report supported the conclusion that Iraq had sought uranium."

-Washington Post April 9, 2006

Posted by: gerry at April 12, 2006 01:06 PM

It's Cherry-Picking time!

"We have found the weapons of mass destruction."
-- George W. Bush

Let's note right from the start that Bush doesn't say, "we may have found the weapons of mass destruction," but instead gives a FIRM CLAIM THAT THEY HAVE BEEN DISCOVERED.

To back up that claim, who does Bush rely on?

You got one group of independent nongovernmental civilian experts, called in LAST, whose scientific expertise is so great that IT IS THEY WHO ARE CALLED UPON TO PRODUCE the FINAL REPORT -- "Final Technical Engineering Exploitation Report on Iraqi Suspected Biological Weapons-Associated Trailers" -- but on the other side you got a couple of military teams, who know what Bush & Co. want to hear and understand that they better provide it if they're going to have any chance of ever getting promoted.

Answer: Bush relies on whoever gives him the answer he wants to hear, and then tells the American public not that anything is disputed, but that the WMD have been found.

Anyone truly surprised?

Posted by: Highlander at April 12, 2006 01:16 PM

Cecil Turner writes: "The contention that Bush must've lied because he recapped it the next day is hilarious."

But we're not talking about lying here, Cecil, we're talking about deception through cherry-picking the data. The two military teams concluded that Saddam was up to no good, and their results figure prominently in the link you provide. But what exactly does that link say about whether the labs were in fact used for hydrogen production? It mentions only that such usage would be impractical because they are too large.

THAT'S IT!!!!!

Now, does the allegation that they are too large really strike anyone here as necessary and sufficient evidence to establish that they were not used for hydrogen production instead of WMD?

Posted by: Highlander at April 12, 2006 01:30 PM

For one thing, Joe Wilson was very careful to say that no uranium deal was made. NOT that no uranium was pursued or that Iraqi officials even went to Niger. Niger officials confirmed that Iraqi agents were there and were not "entertained" as the Niger officials suspected why they were there; and it wasn't to secure a deal on the best price for cow peas. So Joe Wilson is an idiot of he thinks one can't see through his acts of ommission. This is without even going into his lack of an "official" report on his trip. And I'm so sick of Valerie Plame I could spit. Her name only came up because of her connection in promoting him for that trip to begin with.

Second, if memory serves me right, the big "dispute" over the mobile units was the fact that some of the the equipment found there was dual purpose. This is what war opponents have a tendency to seize upon when ever these issues come up. Their constant claims that whatever was found "only had traces of sarin gas" or "that equipment could have been used for weather balloons" or "so what if they had five hundred 55 gallon drums of pesticides stored next to warheads and ammunition stockpiles. They have bugs in Iraq too." Would that these people were so willing to give that benefit of the doubt to their own countrymen and military!

If the Iraqis had time to bury a whole fleet of Russian migs in the sand, they had time to do a lot more while we were going the dipomatic route. They must have been laughing their pants off over there the whole time.

If anyone thinks for one minute that Joby Warrick wasn't pandering to a certain crowd then you're being intellectually dishonest with yourselves. As Mat said, >"This article isn't about Bush at all, and therefore isn't really all that politically explosive." Well, Mat may see that and interpret the article that way, but ask yourself how many others will? If the intelligence picked up was right about anything, we get stone-cold silence from the left. If it's wrong we get the screamers coming out of the woodwork. Joby Warrick just gave the Kos crowd and DU everything they need to twist this into another vendetta. Just look at the way it's written. These are the people who are still worshipping at the pedestal they've put Wilson on and want to make George Galloway an honorary citizen!


Posted by: Oyster at April 12, 2006 01:57 PM


Pay up. Here's the facts:

Joe Wilson claimed publicly (TV, newspapers, magazines, speeches, etc. etc.) that Bush lied in his SOTU speech. Here is what Bush said:

The British Government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa.

Now the key here is to note that Joe said Bush was lying about "sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa." Pay attention to that because here is where the dishonesty comes in.


Page 38 (REDACTED) Based on information from the CIA report from the foreign service, on February 12, 2002, the DIA wrote a finished intelligence product titled Niamey signed an agreement to sell 500 tons of uranium a year to Baghdad (NMJIC {National Military Joint Intelligence Center} Executive Highlight, Vol 028-02, February 12, 2002). The product outlined the details in the DO intelligence report, namely that Niger had agreed to deliver 500 tons of yellowcake uranium to Iraq …REDACTED…. The piece concluded that “Iraq probably is searching abroad for natural uranium to assist in its nuclear weapons program.” The product did not include any judgements about the credibility of the reporting.

(REDACTED) After reading the DIA report, the Vice President asked his morning briefer for the CIA’s analysis of the issue. In response, the Director of the Central Intelligence’s (DCI) Center for Weapons Intelligence, Nonproliferation, and Arms Control (WINPAC) published a Senior Publish When Ready (SPWR021402-05), an intelligence assessment with limited distribution, which said, “information on the alleged uranium contract between Iraq and Niger comes exclusively from a foreign government service report that lacks crucial details, and we are working to clarify the information to determine whether it can be corroborated.” The piece discussed the details of the DO intelligence report and indicated that “some of the information in…

Page 39

…the report contradicts reporting from the U.S. Embassy in Naimey. U.S. diplomats say the French Government-led consortium that operates Niger’s two uranium mines maintains complete control over uranium and yellowcake production.” The CIA sent a separate version of the assessment to the Vice President which differed only in that it named the foreign government service…REDACTED…

B. Former Ambassador

(REDACTED) Officials from the CIA’s DO Counterproliferation Division (CPD) told Committee staff that in response to questions from the Vice President’s Office and the Departments of State and Defense on the alleged Iraq-Niger uranium deal, CPD officials discussed ways to obtain additional information. …REDACTED…who could make immediate inquiries into the reporting, CPD decided to contact a former ambassadot to Gabon who had a posting early in his career in Niger.

(REDACTED)Some CPD officials could not recall how the office decided to contact the former ambassador, however, interviews and documents provided the Committee indicate that his wife, a CPD employee, suggested his name for the trip. The CPD reports officer told Committee staff that the former ambassador’s wife “offered up his name” and a memorandum to the Deputy Chief of CPD on February 12, 2002, from the former ambassador’s wife says, “my husband has good relations with both the PM {prime minister} and the former Minister of Mines (not to mention lots of French contacts), both of whom could possibly shed light on this sort of activity.”

Page 43
(U) Later that day, two CIA DO officers debriefed the former ambassador who had returned from Niger the previous day. The debriefing took place in the former ambassador’s home and although his wife was there, according to the reports officer, she acted as a hostess and did not participate in the debrief. Based on information provided verbally by the former ambassador, the DO case officer wrote a draft intelligence report and sent it to the DO reports officer who added additional relevant information from his notes.

(U) The intelligence report based on the former ambassador’s trip was disseminated on March 8, 2002. The report did not identify the former ambassador by name or as a former ambassador, but described him as “a contact with excellent access who does not have an established reporting record.” The report also indicted that the “subsources of the following information knew their remarks could reach the U.S. government and may have intended to influence as well as inform.” DO officials told Committee staff that this type of description was routine and was done in order to protect the former ambassador as the source of the information, which they told him they would do. DO officials also said they alerted WINPAC analysts when the report was being disseminated because they knew the “high priority of the issue.” The report was widely distributed in routing channels.

(REDACTED) The intelligence report indicated that former Nigerian Prime Minister Ibrahim Mayaki was unaware of any contracts that had been signed between Niger and any rogue states for the sale of yellowcake while he was Prime Minister (1997-1999) or Foreign Minister (1996-1997). Mayaki said that if there had been any such contract during his tenure, he would have been aware of it. Mayaki said, however, that in June 1999, …REDACTED… businessman, approached him and insisted that Mayaki meet with an Iraqi delegation to discuss “expanding commercial relations” between Niger and Iraq. The intelligence report said that Mayaki interpreted “expanding commercial relations” to mean that the delegation wanted to discuss uranium yellowcake sales. The intelligence report also said that “although the meeting took place, Mayaki let the matter drop due to the UN sanctions on Iraq.”

Page 44

(U) In an interview with Committee staff, the former ambassador was able to provide more information about the meeting between former Prime Minister Mayaki and the Iraqi delegation. The former ambassador said that Mayaki did meet with the Iraqi delegation…

So - Joe Wilson, through his own report of the situation he found in Niger, stated that not only did Iraq approach Niger for uranium, but gave details of a meeting that actually occurred between Nigerian officials and Iraq. Niger dropped the issue because of the UN sanctions. So Joe saying the President lied in his SOTU is actually a LIE.

According to Joe's current bio at the Greater Talent Network (and at least one other site I have seen), Joe claims:

Wilson is now at the center of a major political maelstrom involving the White House, the C.I.A. and the second gulf war in Iraq. In 2002, at the request of Vice President Dick Cheney, Wilson was assigned by the C.I.A. to investigate claims that Saddam Hussein was seeking to acquire uranium from Niger for the purpose of advancing his nuclear program. When his investigation turned up nothing, Wilson reported back to officials in Washington that there was no basis for the claims.

Wow - Joe claims in public he was sent by Cheney. We know from the report above that Joe's claim is at best an exaggeration. I call it a deliberate lie. But hey - Joe was sent by the CIA - and as a comical side note - the department that created some of the original reports that Cheney was reading was CPD - where Val Plame worked. Coincidence?

But there's more. In Joe's own public words he says that he was sent to Niger to investigate if Iraq was seeking to buy uranium. What he found was that Iraq was seeking to buy uranium. Isn't that amazing. But Bush is the one who lied...right? I mean Bush said Hussein was seeking to buy uranium - wait - isn't that what Joe actually reported? It's not what he said publicly though.

Pay up George. Wilson lied. That is why the WaPo handed him his head in their lead editorial on Sunday.

Posted by: Specter at April 12, 2006 02:29 PM

This story is example number 75 (or so) on how this unfortunately is a war between us and them and not a war between good and evil.

Posted by: Steve at April 12, 2006 02:31 PM

Specter, you're missing the forest for the trees. All your selective quoting allows you to do is speak ill of Joe Wilson. You're 100% wrong, but let's put that aside. Because as Joe himself would say, this isn't about him. This is about the fact that Iraq didn't get the uranium, and it didn't have nuclear weapons, so that was not a good reason to invade a country, and put our troops in harm's way, and commit what is conservatively estimated to be $1 trillion, so that our troops can duck and cover in the middle of a civil war. No reason that our government gave us for invading and occupying Iraq turned out to be true. Doesn't that bother you, just a little bit?

Posted by: patrioticity at April 12, 2006 03:14 PM

What I find fascinating about the whole Wilson/Plame scandal is that you had rogue? agents in the CIA engaging in an unauthorized? operation to deceive the American public about President Bush’s credibility. I’ve not yet heard who authorized Mr. Wilson to go to Nigeria and conduct his investigation. Wilson initially claimed that VP Cheney authorized his mission but that turned out to be a lie. Also, why was such a mission entrusted to a nonagent? Why was he allowed to write a fictional account of his mission for the Times with no vetting from the CIA? There are many such questions that can be pursued in this event but nobody is looking into it as far as I know.

Another thing that has pique my curiosity is that the Left has despised the CIA for meddling in other nations politics with dubious evidence to back it up, yet here we have a clear-cut case of CIA political meddling in our country and there are no condemnations, instead Wilson is praised as a “hero” by the Left.

Posted by: Homerlicous at April 12, 2006 03:30 PM


"The British Government has learned that Saddam Hussein RECENTLY [emphasis added] sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa"

-- George W. Bush

Most likely all that you provide is unsubstantiated nonsense. In any case,
you need to realize, dude, that relative to 2003 (when Bush made his statement above), 1999 is NOT recent.

Posted by: Highlander at April 12, 2006 03:37 PM

You know...I love it when you provide facts from documents and then your told, "but that's not it" or "you made that up" or "it's nonsense."\

Riddle me this oh enlightened ones - why would a liberal paper like the WaPo say that Joe lied. You really should spend more time in the real world rather than you imaginary la-la land.

Posted by: Specter at April 12, 2006 04:21 PM


You weren't told that that's not it, that you made it up, or that it's nonsense. The report is the report. We all see it, you can't make it up. Your interpretation of it is all fubared though. I'll explain why.

First and foremost, Wilson reported that the Prime Minister/Foreign Minister of Niger did not know of any yellowcake sales to Iraq. And this man would also be the person to know about such a transaction if it were to have taken place. So no yellowcake went to Iraq, done deal on that issue.

If you're backing the claim that Saddam SOUGHT uranium, you're still off the mark. The article you posted clearly contradicts that. It says the Prime Minister was confronted by a businessman asking to "expand commercial relations". The Prime Minister ASSUMED that was uranium, but that's just an assumption, all the businessman asked was to expand commercial relations. Furthermore, because of sanctions he decided not to trade with Iraq. That doesn't mean he decided not to give uranium to them, he simply ended all trade, which means commercial relations, because of sanctions.

And THEN, dubiously enough, it goes on to say that the Prime Minister actually went to the meeting! But alas, no talk if the Iraqi delegation actually wanted uranium or not. So the Prime Minster ASSUMED (emphasis added?), PRE-TALKS, that the Iraqi businessmen wanted uranium, and post-talks there is no mention of uranium. Why do you think that is? That's because uranium wasn't mentioned in the talks, his assumptions were off. His assumptions were merely that, assumptions.

You also realize that two days ago the WaPo put out an editorial that was excessively pro-Bush and anti-Wilson, right?

Posted by: clio at April 12, 2006 04:58 PM

Let's see if there is more about your hero Joe Wilson.

This is Joe in one of his interviews. This is with Wolf Blitzer on CNN (emphasis mine):

WILSON: Well, it strikes me that it's typical of a Rove-type operation. "Slime and defend" is what it's been called in the past.

But the fact of the matter is, of course, that this is not a Joe Wilson or Valerie Wilson issue. This is an issue of whether or not somebody leaked classified information to the press, who then published it, thereby putting covert operations and a covert officer at some risk.

Uhhh....nobody has been charged with this. In fact Fitzy says he has not documents that say whether or not Plame was covert. More:

BLITZER: All right. Let's go through some of the charges that have been made against you. For example, on Tuesday I interviewed Ken Mehlman, the chairman of the Republican Party, and he said that -- let me read to you specifically what he said:

"I think, according to what we learned this past weekend, I think what Karl Rove said turned out to be right. Joe Wilson's story was not accurate. It was based on a false premise and he tried to discourage the writing of an inaccurate story based on the false premise," that false premise being that Vice President Dick Cheney asked you to go to Niger to investigate these charges of enriched uranium shipments going to Iraq.

WILSON: Well, of course, if you look back at the original article I wrote, I said it was the Vice President's Office who expressed an interest in following up on this particular matter.

The vice president himself later said that he himself had asked about it. I've never said it was the vice president who sent me. It's clear in the article. And, indeed, it's clear in an interview that you did with me last year. And if you run the tape on that, you'll see that what the statement that they used was chopped out of the...

BLITZER: But, basically, you still hold to the notion that the whole idea of sending someone to Niger originated in the Vice President's Office?

WILSON: No, no, no, no, no. The idea of sending someone to Niger originated in response to a request from the Office of the Vice President -- that's how I was briefed -- that required an answer.

Except that he has publicly stated that he was sent by Cheney. Check his bio from my previous post. More:

WILSON (continued): The decision was made by the operations people at the CIA, after a meeting that I had with the analytical community, to ask me if I would go and help answer some of the questions that still remained so that we would better understand the situation.

And let me also say that raising the question was perfectly legitimate. Indeed, it was an important question to raise. The vice president would have been derelict in not raising it.

Had, in fact, there been evidence of uranium sales from Niger to Iraq, it would have demonstrated conclusively that Saddam Hussein was attempting to reconstitute his nuclear weapons program. The fact that there wasn't evidence to that effect should have reassured the U.S. government that, at least on this side, there was no evidence.

But wait...according to Joe he was sent to see if Iraq was attempting to purchase uranium, not just if there were already sales. Hmmm...kinda strange. And according to the report he gave the CIA there were contacts between Iraq and Niger where Iraq was seeking uranium. More:

BLITZER: But the other argument that's been made against you is that you've sought to capitalize on this extravaganza, having that photo shoot with your wife, who was a clandestine officer of the CIA, and that you've tried to enrich yourself writing this book and all of that.

What do you make of those accusations, which are serious accusations, as you know, that have been leveled against you?

WILSON: My wife was not a clandestine officer the day that Bob Novak blew her identity.

BLITZER: But she hadn't been a clandestine officer for some time before that?

WILSON: That's not anything that I can talk about. And, indeed, I'll go back to what I said earlier, the CIA believed that a possible crime had been committed, and that's why they referred it to the Justice Department.

She was not a clandestine officer at the time that that article in "Vanity Fair" appeared. And I have every right to have the American public know who I am and not to have myself defined by those who would write the sorts of things that are coming out, being spewed out of the mouths of the RNC...

Wait - not clandestine? Not secret or concealed? What is Joe saying here?

Highlander - you said what I posted was unsubstantiated nonsense. How ludicrous is that? And to try to parse the word "recently" - the reporsts started surfacing in 1999. The meeting happened in that year or shortly thereafter. It takes a long time to centrifuge U-238 into U-235. The word "recent" was appropriate. More from the ISSC report (which is available at web. mit .edu/ simsong/www/iraqreport2-textunder.pdf (take the spaces out):

Page 73:

(U) Conclusion 13. The report on the former ambassador's trip to Niger, disseminated in March 2002, did not change any analysts' assessments of the Iraq-Niger uranium deal. For most analysts, the information in the report lent more credibility to the original Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) reports on the uranium deal, but State Department Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR) analysts believed that the report supported their assessment that Niger was unlikely to be willing or able to sell uranium to Iraq.

Page 422:

The Committee began its review of prewar intelligence on Iraq by examining the Intelligence Community's sharing of intelligence information with the UNMOVIC inspection teams. (The Committee's findings on that topic can be found in the section of the report titled, "The Intelligence Community's Sharing of Intelligence on Iraqi Suspect WMD Sites with UN Inspectors.") Shortly thereafter, we expanded the review when former Ambassador Joseph Wilson began speaking publicly about his role in exploring the possibility that Iraq was seeking or may have acquired uranium yellowcake from Africa.

Ambassador Wilson's emergence was precipitated by a passage in President Bush's January 2003 State of the Union address which is now referred to as "the sixteen words." President Bush stated, " . . . the British government has learned that Saddam
Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa." The details of the Committee's findings and conclusions on this issue can be found in the Niger section of the report. What cannot be found, however, are two conclusions upon which the Committee's Democrats would not agree. While there was no dispute with the
underlying facts, my Democrat colleagues refused to allow the following conclusions to appear in the report:

Conclusion: The plan to send the former ambassador to Niger was suggested by the former ambassador's wife, a CIA employee. The former ambassador's wife suggested her husband for the trip to Niger in February 2002. The former ambassador had traveled
previously to Niger on behalf of the CIA, also at the suggestion of his wife, to look into another matter not related to Iraq. On February 12, 2002, the former ambassador's wife sent a memorandum to a Deputy Chief of a division in the CIA's Directorate of Operations which said, "[m]y husband has good relations with both the PM [prime minister] and the former Minister of Mines (not to mention lots of French contacts), both of whom could possibly shed light on this sort of activity." This was just one day before the same Directorate of Operations division sent a cable to
one of its overseas stations requesting concurrence with the division's idea to send the former ambassador to Niger.

Conclusion: Rather than speaking publicly about his actual experiences during his inquiry of the Niger issue, the former ambassador seems to have included information he learned from press accounts and from his beliefs about how the Intelligence Community would have or should have handled the information he provided.

At the time the former ambassador traveled to Niger, the Intelligence Community did not have in its possession any actual documents on the alleged Niger-Iraq uranium deal, only second hand
reporting of the deal. The former ambassador's comments to reporters that the Niger-Iraq uranium documents "may have been forged because 'the
dates were wrong and the names were wrong,'" could not have been based on the former ambassador's actual experiences because the Intelligence
Community did not have the documents at the time of the ambassador's trip
. In addition, nothing in the report from the former ambassador's trip
said anything about documents having been forged or the names or dates in the reports having been incorrect. The former ambassador told
Committee staff that he, in fact, did not have access to any of the names and dates in the CIA's reports
and said he may have become confused
about his own recollection after the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) reported in March 2003 that the names and dates on the documents were not correct. Of note, the names and dates in the
documents that the IAEA found to be incorrect were not names or dates included in the CIA reports.

Following the Vice President's review of an intelligence report regarding a possible uranium deal, he asked his briefer for the CIA's
analysis of the issue. It was this request which generated Mr. Wilson's trip to Niger. The former ambassador's public comments suggesting that the Vice President had been briefed on the information gathered during his trip is not correct, however. While the CIA responded to the Vice President's request for the Agency's analysis, they never provided the information gathered by the former Ambassador. The former ambassador, in an NBC Meet the Press interview on July 6, 2003, said, "The office of the Vice President, I am absolutely convinced, received a very specific response to the question it asked and that response was based upon my trip out there." The former ambassador was speaking on the basis of what he believed should have happened based on his former government experience, but he had no knowledge that this did happen.

These and other public comments from the former ambassador, such as comments that his report "debunked" the Niger-Iraq uranium story, were incorrect and have led to a distortion in the press and in the public's understanding of the facts surrounding the Niger-Iraq uranium story. The Committee found that, for most analysts, the former ambassador's report lent more credibility, not less, to the reported Niger-Iraq uranium deal.

During Mr. Wilson's media blitz, he appeared on more than thirty television shows including entertainment venues. Time and again, Joe Wilson told anyone who would listen that the President had lied to the American people, that the Vice President had lied, and that he had "debunked" the claim that Iraq was seeking uranium from Africa. As discussed in the Niger section of the report, not only did he NOT "debunk" the claim, he actually gave some intelligence analysts even more reason to believe that it may be true. I believed very strongly that it was important for the Committee to conclude publicly that many of the statements made by Ambassador Wilson were not only incorrect, but had no basis in fact.

In an interview with Committee staff, Mr. Wilson was asked how he knew some of the things he was stating publicly with such confidence. On at least two occasions he admitted that he had no direct knowledge to support some of his claims and that he was drawing on either unrelated past experiences or no information at all. For example, when asked how he "knew" that the Intelligence Community had rejected the possibility of a Niger-Iraq uranium deal, as he wrote in his book, he told Committee staff that his assertion may have involved "a little literary flair."

The former Ambassador, either by design or through ignorance, gave the American people and, for that matter, the world a version of events that was inaccurate, unsubstantiated, and misleading. Surely, the Senate Intelligence Committee, which has unique access to all of the facts, should have been able to agree on a conclusion that would correct the public record. Unfortunately, we were unable to do so.

Wow. Joe is such an upright guy. It's not about him. Right.....

Posted by: Specter at April 12, 2006 05:09 PM


yes I know that about the WaPo editorial - I pointed it out to Highlander and patriotcity. The point was, why would such a left-leaning paper publish that piece so prominently. I mean they slammed Wilson for lying - for twisting and exaggerating the truth.

The problem with your analysis is this: You are speaking from the POV of having more knowlege now about what was going on back then. Put yourself in a decision maker's place - in Bush's place. You had CIA saying one thing (that there was a sale; that there were meetings; that Hussein was seeking uranium and not only in Niger; and that Hussein had 500 tons of yellowcake already in-country that was supposedly under the control of IAEA) and INR saying another (no sale). You have what you believe to be a credible foreign service (Italian, France, and then Britain) saying the same things as CIA. You have to make a decision based on that. What do you do?

Posted by: Specter at April 12, 2006 05:16 PM

"For Zarathustra is a great wind; and one must beware of spitting against the wind."

At some point 6 months ago these arguments became pointless. If GWB can't win with the "bully pulpit" he can't win.

What are you telling us? That papers print leaks? That is what they DO.

Posted by: skip at April 12, 2006 05:27 PM

The reason the Wilson went out there was to find out if any of the alleged yellowcake claims were true. He went out there to find out if Hussein was seeking, or had been seeking, uranium in Niger. His report states that Hussein has not done so.

This is exactly the same deal with the bioweapons labs. You have some initial reports that bolster the claims that Hussein wants mass weapons, but the intelligence community questions the information, so they send a team (or man) to clarify what's going on. In both instances, the clarifier had debunked the initial claims, and was subsequently ignored by the Bush administration.

The point is, if you're doubtful about the information, and you send someone in to see what's really going on, you're sending him in to trust his report. If you don't agree with that report because it's against your intended efforts, you're not doing your job.

Posted by: clio at April 12, 2006 05:31 PM

But his report said that Hussein was seeking. That it was clear what Iraq was looking for. Read the ISSC report.

Posted by: Specter at April 12, 2006 05:42 PM

It's not even that clio - it was not a definite thing one way or the other. There are other countries, like Somalia, that were named as possible places that Iraq was approaching. It was the CIA who sent Wilson - and CIA who doubted him. And that's even funnier seeing as it was CPD that sent the original reports that added fuel to the fire. LOL.

But you can't even begin to explain how Joe was touting that he knew the document were forgeries during his trip when nobody in our government had seen them yet. Get a grip!

Posted by: Specter at April 12, 2006 05:59 PM

Specter declares:

"And to try to parse the word "recently" - the reporsts started surfacing in 1999. The meeting happened in that year or shortly thereafter. It takes a long time to centrifuge U-238 into U-235. The word "recent" was appropriate."

Do you know what happened at that alleged meeting, Specter??? Do you have any evidence at all arising from that meeting that specifically shows that Saddam sought uranium from Africa?? Of course, the answer is "no," isn't it??
As clio has already pointed out, you live in a world of unconfirmed assumptions.

And how long it takes to process different types of uranium is irrelevant (or if you argue otherwise, explain why your beloved Bush didn't mention uranium processing time.). Go outside, Specter, poll Americans, and find out from them what proportion classify an event transpiring three to four years ago as "recent." Then report back to us with your findings.

No, Specter, unless we're talking about geological phenomena, an event happening three to four years ago is NOT recent, though your love for Bush might want to make it so.


BUSH LIED. Deal with it.

"You had CIA saying one thing (that there was a sale" -- Specter

When did the CIA EVER say that Saddam was sold uranium after 1991???

Specter asks:

"You have to make a decision based on that. What do you do?"


Posted by: Herman at April 12, 2006 07:01 PM

Uh, the only way Bush could have "waited for the facts to be in" would be to sit back and let a city or two get annihilated.

Invasion was the only way to know for sure that a lying sack of s**t like Sadaam Hussein had or did not have WMD.

Unless your one of those drooling clowns that think Sadaam was trustworthy, and would have been straight with inspections.

IN which case I say "begone fool"

Posted by: TMF at April 12, 2006 08:22 PM

Word Games, Word Games.

The 16 words in the State of the Union, noted British Intelligence. From all I can determine, Joe Wilson has/had nothing to do with British Intelligence. In England, an investigation conducted with much acclaim, determined that the British determination was accurate/well founded.

Joe Wilson decided to interject himself into the situation by saying that those 16 words were incorrect. He has no EARTHLY or TERESTERAL way to know if those words were correct. What he can rely on is his own visit to Niger, not addressed in the State of the Union. According to the Senate report noted above, his report that the Niger former Foreign and Prime Minister believed that Iraqi overtures dealt with uranium. That nugget confirmed previous CIA suspicions that Saddam was seeking yellowcake. Please notice I used the word seeking. I am sure it is difficult to understand, and may be far more difficult than figuring out which definition of "is" to use, yet to most it will be fairly clear.

Maybe Joe Wilson didn't lie, yet assuridly he did NOT COMMIT Truth.

Posted by: the Dragon at April 12, 2006 08:23 PM

Washington Post, July 10, 2004:

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.

Washington Times:

The British government yesterday bolstered President Bush's assertion that Iraq sought uranium from Niger, casting further doubt on former Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV's claims to the contrary.

The conclusion was reached by Robin Butler, who once was Britain's top civil servant, in a major report on prewar intelligence that came five days after the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence reached a similar conclusion in its report.

Butler Report (Official, British Government):

We conclude that, on the basis of the intelligence assessments at the time, covering both Niger and the Democratic Republic of Congo, the statements on Iraqi attempts to buy uranium from Africa in the Government's dossier, and by the Prime Minister in the House of Commons, were well-founded. By extension, we conclude also that the statement in President Bush's State of the Union Address of 28 January 2003 that: The British Government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa was well-founded.

The famous “16 words” in President Bush’s Jan. 28, 2003 State of the Union address turn out to have a basis in fact after all, according to two recently released investigations in the US and Britain.

Bush said then, “The British Government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa .” Some of his critics called that a lie, but the new evidence shows Bush had reason to say what he did.

* A British intelligence review released July 14 calls Bush’s 16 words “well founded.”
* A separate report by the US Senate Intelligence Committee said July 7 that the US also had similar information from “a number of intelligence reports,” a fact that was classified at the time Bush spoke.
* Ironically, former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, who later called Bush’s 16 words a “lie”, supplied information that the Central Intelligence Agency took as confirmation that Iraq may indeed have been seeking uranium from Niger .
* Both the US and British investigations make clear that some forged Italian documents, exposed as fakes soon after Bush spoke, were not the basis for the British intelligence Bush cited, or the CIA's conclusion that Iraq was trying to get uranium.

None of the new information suggests Iraq ever nailed down a deal to buy uranium, and the Senate report makes clear that US intelligence analysts have come to doubt whether Iraq was even trying to buy the stuff. In fact, both the White House and the CIA long ago conceded that the 16 words shouldn’t have been part of Bush’s speech.

But what he said – that Iraq sought uranium – is just what both British and US intelligence were telling him at the time. So Bush may indeed have been misinformed, but that's not the same as lying.

Posted by: Confederate Yankee at April 12, 2006 08:46 PM


Read the ISSC report. You are so uniformed as to the reality of the situation that it makes you looke really dumb. DIA and CIA thought that the reports detailing the Iran-Niger connection were true. INR (State Department) thought it was not. That was the dichotomy that caused further investigation. Even Joe said in his report to the CIA that the meeting happened and that Iraq was seeking uranium. Niger did right by denying it. You see you keep trying to say that Wilson did not lie. You have been proven wrong by the documentation. If you care to put up any official documents that disprove my position, have at it. But you know that you are arguing simply from rhetoric and opinion and that you have no proof.

But to enlighten you a little bit, here is some basic physics. It takes about 1000 tons of uranium to make a cigar-sized box of yellocake. That is natural uranium - U-238. That is not pure enough to make a bomb. From the cigar box of yellowcake you can get a few grams of U-235 which is weapons grade material. You do that through a process called isotope segregation. That is what the tubes, magnets do - they make a centrifuge. The separation by centrifuge is done in what is called a "centrifuge cascade" - you need a huge number of centrifuges to make a cascade - like over 1000. Once you have that it is just a matter of time to make enough U-235 to build a bomb - about 35 Kg. To build up that amount of material takes several years - and that is if the cascade runs 24/7. They don't - there is maintenance, breakdowns, etc. Ok - very simple explanation.

But here is the concern. Decisions were made by Bush based on the information in the 2002 NIE. That particular NIE was developed in a very short time as compared to what it would normally take. As a country we had lost basically all of our human intelligence in the ME. This NIE was developed based on what we knew, or at least thought we knew at the time - and much of that was developed during the Clinton administration. According to the Key Judgements from the 2002 NIE (and remember that the CIA is in charge of the final form and content of the NIE):

We judge that we are seeing only a portion of Iraq's WMD efforts, owing to Baghdad's vigorous denial and deception efforts. Revelations after the Gulf war Mb>starkly demonstrate the extensive efforts undertaken by Iraq to deny information. We lack specific information on many key aspects of Iraq's WMD programs.

Since inspections ended in 1998, Iraq has maintained its chemical weapons effort, energized its missile program, and invested more heavily in biological weapons; in the view of most agencies, Baghdad is reconstituting its nuclear weapons program.

* Iraq's growing ability to sell oil illicitly increases Baghdad's capabilities to finance WMD programs; annual earnings in cash and goods have more than quadrupled, from $580 million in 1998 to about $3 billion this year.

* Iraq has largely rebuilt missile and biological weapons facilities damaged during Operation Desert Fox and has expanded its chemical and biological infrastructure under the cover of civilian production.

* Baghdad has exceeded UN range limits of 150 km with its ballistic missiles and is working with unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), which allow for a more lethal means to deliver biological and, less likely, chemical warfare agents.

* Although we assess that Saddam does not yet have nuclear weapons or sufficient material to make any, he remains intent on acquiring them. Most agencies assess that Baghdad started reconstituting its nuclear program about the time that UNSCOM inspectors departed--December 1998.

How quickly Iraq will obtain its first nuclear weapon depends on when it acquires sufficient weapons-grade fissile material.

* If Baghdad acquires sufficient fissile material from abroad it could make a nuclear weapon within several months to a year.

* Without such material from abroad, Iraq probably would not be able to make a weapon until 2007 to 2009, owing to inexperience in building and operating centrifuge facilities to produce highly enriched uranium and challenges in procuring the necessary equipment and expertise.

o Most agencies believe that Saddam's personal interest in and Iraq's aggressive attempts to obtain high-strength aluminum tubes for centrifuge rotors--as well as Iraq's attempts to acquire magnets, high-speed balancing machines, and machine tools--provide compelling evidence that Saddam is reconstituting a uranium enrichment effort for Baghdad's nuclear weapons program. (DOE agrees that reconstitution of the nuclear program is underway but assesses that the tubes probably are not part of the program.)

o Iraq's efforts to re-establish and enhance its cadre of weapons personnel as well as activities at several suspect nuclear sites further indicate that reconstitution is underway.

o All agencies agree that about 25,000 centrifuges based on tubes of the size Iraq is trying to acquire would be capable of producing approximately two weapons' worth of highly enriched uranium per year.

* In a much less likely scenario, Baghdad could make enough fissile material for a nuclear weapon by 2005 to 2007 if it obtains suitable centrifuge tubes this year and has all the other materials and technological expertise necessary to build production-scale uranium enrichment facilities.

There is more that was in the NIE:

Uranium Acquisition. Iraq retains approximately two-and-a-half tons of 2.5 percent enriched uranium oxide, which the IAEA permits. This low-enriched material could be used as feed material to produce enough HEU for about two nuclear weapons. The use of enriched feed material also would reduce the initial number of centrifuges that Baghdad would need by about half. Iraq could divert this material -- the IAEA inspects it only once a year -- and enrich it to weapons grade before a subsequent inspection discovered it was missing. The IAEA last inspected this material in late January 2002.

Iraq has about 500 metric tons of yellowcake and low enriched uranium at Tuwaitha, which is inspected annually by the IAEA. Iraq also began vigorously trying to procure uranium ore and yellowcake; acquiring either would shorten the time Baghdad needs to produce nuclear weapons.

* A foreign government service reported that as of early 2001, Niger planned to send several tons of "pure uranium" (probably yellowcake) to Iraq. As of early 2001, Niger and Iraq reportedly were still working out arrangements for this deal, which could be for up to 500 tons of yellowcake. We do not know the status of this arrangement.

* Reports indicate Iraq also has sought uranium ore from Somalia and possibly the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

We cannot confirm whether Iraq succeeded in acquiring uranium ore and/or yellowcake from these sources. Reports suggest Iraq is shifting from domestic mining and milling of uranium to foreign acquisition. Iraq possesses significant phosphate deposits, from which uranium had been chemically extracted before Operation Desert Storm. Intelligence information on whether nuclear-related phosphate mining and/or processing has been reestablished is inconclusive, however.

Posted by: Specter at April 12, 2006 08:48 PM

Note: all of text between links above should be in blockquotes. The software seems to have had a hiccup...

Posted by: Confederate Yankee at April 12, 2006 08:49 PM

I gotta go with Tim on this. Having had to fill weather balloons in the field, in the middle of the Mojave desert, it is far easier to load a cylinder of hydrogen into the back of a pickup truck. That's the way we did it and you don't even need a full sized cylinder since you use so little gas to fill a balloon the size of the six-pack dualie we were driving in.

But hey, maybe the iraqis were engineers instead of craft workers and preffered large, clumsy, complicated, and expensive to simple, efficient, and KISS. ;)


Posted by: Kalroy at April 13, 2006 12:28 AM

relative to 2003 (when Bush made his statement above), 1999 is NOT recent

To a 5 year old, 4 years ago is ancient history. To a 60 year old its recent.

In any case, what's up with Clinton being asleep at the switch allowing Saddam try and get nuclear materiel?

Posted by: Purple Avenger at April 13, 2006 05:10 AM

I guess the trolls crawled back under the bridge...

"Who's that trip, trip, trapping across my bridge?"

Posted by: Specter at April 13, 2006 10:51 AM

What a wonderful collection of cheap propaganda. If you want to see for yourself how valuable the other two "majority' reports are check for yourself:

The two reports honestly state that the two trailers must be mobile WMD labs since the Iraqi source for the inelligence recognized the trailers and neither one of the two teams could think of any use of the trailers and equipment other than mobile WMD labs. Now that's an innovative approach.

Posted by: Volki1 at April 13, 2006 01:30 PM

Why was a third team of experts sent to evaluate the trailers? The first two teams were split in their determintation regarding use of trailers and more expertise was needed.Since there was disagreement even amongst the first two teams and quite substanial certainty from the third team you would think the Bush administration would be cautious in peddling this tale.Lets give Bush the benefit of doubt that he wasnt informed of the report 2 days after it was sent to the White House and that's being very generous.Why were various members of the administrations still peddling the mobile weapons of mass destruction trailers story well into 2004 when the report came May 27,2003?

Posted by: Baldwin at April 13, 2006 06:04 PM

IS that MR. Ed - proving once again the old equine Paradox, that there are more Horse's Asses in the world than there are horses.

As to Joe Wilson - even the wimpy 9/11 called Joey's allegations about as close as lies as one can get without actually calling Joey a liar.

Wilson's went to Niger on a govt-paid junket suggested by his wife - he was UNQUALIFIED to make a judgement, gave no WRITTEN report to the CIA (in and of itself unusual) and actually confirmed the suspicion that Iraq was looking to buy Niger yellocake, since the recent Iraqi trade delegation was headed by a nuke expert (confer with the National review - theyve been all over this bogus WIlson story). Seeing as the only commodity other than yellowcake Uranium that Niger exports are goats intestines (sarcasm intended), I am very confident that the trade delegate's head had exertise there. Keep in mind, the Niger trade minister nixed any deal with Iraq.

ya gotta wonder why. Over goat intestine, killed hallal-style? I dont think so.

SO Joey becomes a proven liar, and Ed has been sipping too much of the MSM koolaide.

swhitebull - in the words of my favorite wascally wabbit, what a maroon.

Posted by: swhitebull at April 13, 2006 08:22 PM

Trying to deny the words of the hard left's prophet Joe Wilson is a useless task. "Bush Lied!" is one of the five pillars of liberal orthodoxy and their entire belief system will collapse if it's ever removed in the face of the facts. No matter how many reports, editorials, articles, interviews, etc. exist to counter their misconceptions, their faith remains unshaken.

It is truly an amazing thing to see.

Posted by: inmypajamas at April 13, 2006 11:10 PM


Where's my MONEY. You stated publicly that you would pay for proff Joe lied. It has been done with nothing to show the opposite was true. PAY UP.

Posted by: Specter at April 14, 2006 09:12 AM

George - apologies - I read your original post incorrectly. I went over to the other site an now have egg on my face for misreading your intentions. Sorry.

Posted by: Specter at April 14, 2006 09:26 AM

"...promote the general welfare..."

Cash payments to citizens promotes their specific welfare. Our Founders used words with purpose, and "general welfare" does not mean "whatever."

Posted by: Houston Euler at May 15, 2006 05:48 PM