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July 21, 2004
WaPo: Wilson Lied

Even the Washington Post, in an editorial that had to hurt, has decided that the notorious 16 words from the State of the Union speech in 2003 have turned out to be true, despite Ambassador Joe Wilson's assertions to the contrary. While the WaPo doesn't actually come out and call Wilson a liar, it comes close enough for the Kerry campaign to reassess its association with yet another embarrassment in its advisory council:

A year ago this month official Washington was convulsed by a controversy over whether President Bush had knowingly twisted the truth about Iraq to persuade the country to go to war. A former U.S. ambassador, Joseph C. Wilson IV, made that charge. As evidence he cited Mr. Bush's statement in his January 2003 State of the Union address that "the British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa," a finding that seemed to support the conclusion that Iraq's nuclear weapons program was active. Mr. Wilson suggested that the White House should have known this was not true, because he himself had traveled to the African state of Niger at the request of the CIA a year before the speech and debunked the intelligence. ...

But over the past 10 days two major official reports, by the Senate intelligence committee and a special British commission, have concluded that the claim in the "sixteen words" may, after all, have been justified. Britain's Butler report called it "well-founded"; the bipartisan Senate investigation said the conclusion was a reasonable one at least until October 2002 -- and that Mr. Wilson's report to the CIA had not changed its analysts' assessment.

The Post considerably weakens the actual language and reporting, which found that Niger's prime minister felt that Iraq had tried to establish a connection for uranium with his country and subsequent intelligence by the British and French indicated similar feelers with other African nations. Niger's PM told Wilson directly that he was confident that Iraq's trade delegation wanted to purchase uranium ore. Even so, the editorial marks an important milepost in Wilson's journey from media darling to discredited partisan hack.

The Post has this to say about Wilson and those who rely on his prevaricating testimony to make wild claims about liars in the administration:

The failure to find significant stockpiles of chemical or biological weapons or an active nuclear program in Iraq has caused some war opponents to claim that Iraq was never much to worry about. The Niger story indicates otherwise. Like the reporting of postwar weapons investigator David Kay, it suggests that Saddam Hussein never gave up his intention to develop weapons of mass destruction and continued clandestine programs he would have accelerated when U.N. sanctions were lifted. No, the evidence is not conclusive. But neither did President Bush invent it.

The only question remaining regarding Wilson is why the Kerry campaign employs Wilson as a consultant on foreign affairs, now that he has been shown to be dishonest and incompetent.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at July 21, 2004 5:54 AM

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Tracked on July 21, 2004 7:48 AM

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