Friday :: Jul 15, 2005

More Fact-Checking On The Post's Flawed Editorial Today


by Steve

I don't normally poach the work of our other editors here, but after reading again and again how flawed the Washington Post's lead editorial is today, I am putting forward my own push-back to this bit of White House flackery, for that is what this editorial is.

I'm going to run the exact quotes from this editorial, and then add some rebuttal.

Claim #1: Wilson's Report Strengthened Niger Story, Not Weaken It

One year after that, reports by two official investigations -- Britain's Butler Commission and the Senate intelligence committee -- demonstrated that Mr. Wilson's portrayal of himself as a whistle-blower was unwarranted. It turned out his report to the CIA had not altered, and may even have strengthened, the agency's conclusion that Iraq had explored uranium purchases from Niger.

Facts:

The Post provides no supporting evidence for the claim ďhis report to the CIA had not altered, and may even have strengthened, the agency's conclusion.Ē The Post editorial neglects to point out reporting from once again their own reporters that the September 2002 National Intelligence Estimate contained a dissenting opinion from the intelligence community on the veracity of the Niger story, and that Colin Powell thought so little of the claim that he refused to use it in his UN presentation. Plus, the Post editorial once again ignores the reporting from its own staff as far back as March 2003, which showed that the CIA questioned the Niger claim, and confirmed that the story was based solely on the forged documents. So tell me how again the Wilson report may have strengthened the Agency's conclusions on the subject given this, and the fact that the CIA tried to get their British counterparts to kill this claim?

Since the Post editorial is fond of citing the Butler report, a report done months after the fact from the events surrounding Wilsonís trip and Plameís outing, then why didnít they also bring up the fact that the IAEA found the story to be bogus and based on forged documents? Why didnít the Post editorial mention that another ambassador said that Wilsonís account squared with his own knowledge? And why didnít the Post, in giving credence to the Butler report not mention that the Butler report relied on a single source for the Niger story, a source that was discredited?

Claim #2: Rove Justified In Rebutting Wilson's "Inflated" Claims

At the same time, Mr. Rove and other administration officials had a legitimate interest in rebutting Mr. Wilson's inflated claims -- including the notion that he had been dispatched to Niger at Mr. Cheney's behest.

Question for the Post: Where exactly did Joe Wilson claim that he had been sent to Niger at Cheneyís request?

Claim # 3: Wilson Lied When He Said That Plame Didn't Recommend Him For Trip

Reporters were told that Ms. Plame recommended Mr. Wilson for the Niger trip -- a fact denied by Mr. Wilson but subsequently confirmed by the Senate investigation.

Despite what the Post claims the Senate investigation said, the Post ignores what its own reporters Mike Allen and Dana Milbank wrote way back on December 26, 2003 (perhaps the Post editorial board doesnít have Google), which is that the CIA itself disputed that Valerie Plame had a role in setting up Wilsonís trip, and didnít recommend him for it. The Post editorial also ignores the fact that Wilson pointed out to the Senate how wrong its findings were regarding this matter.

Steve :: 10:46 AM :: Comments (10) :: TrackBack (0) :: Spotlight :: Digg It!