Saturday :: Oct 15, 2005

The Treasongate Disinformation Campaign Continues


by eriposte

Via Booman23 at Daily Kos, I see that Stephen Hayes of the Weekly Disinformation Standard has written a misleading and dishonest article (what's new) of the realities surrounding the uranium from Africa issue, the Joseph Wilson trip, his op-ed and the aftermath - including the Valerie Plame expose. His article is based on generous use of selective quotations from the highly incomplete and deliberately misleading Senate (SSCI) Report (a report tagged, as usual, as "bipartisan" in order to mislead people about the fact that even supposed "bipartisan" reports can be full of omissions or misleading statements). As expected, he also falsely tags Wilson as a liar without doing much fact checking about the claims he attributes to Wilson.

Let me give you a small (but highly consequential) example of the article's dishonesty. Hayes says:

If the White House launched a campaign to counter the claims Wilson was making to columnists like Kristof, it doesn't appear to have been very comprehensive. Officials who worked on other aspects of the Iraq WMD story say they do not recall any coordinated effort to correct Wilson's misrepresentations. And, in any case, the results were hardly what you'd expect from a White House offensive. Several reporters known to have spoken with Karl Rove and Scooter Libby, the senior White House officials apparently at the center of the current investigation, have testified that they did not learn of Plame's identity or status from either person.

This is utter dishonesty, which ignores deliberately ignores the fact that 6 reporters are known to have received confirmation or first knowledge about Valerie Plame's CIA identity from Rove and Libby. It also deliberately ignores [the growing] evidence in the public record of an organized effort to retaliate against Wilson and out Valerie Plame. [Hayes also seems to have conveniently forgotten that the Bush administration's entire defense of their outing Valerie Plame to multiple reporters was that it was not intended, but rather a part of a concerted effort to wean the press off Wilson's claims under the guise that his claims were inaccurate.]

So, you can imagine how the rest of the article is. Unfortunately, I really have no time to do a line by line debunking of yet another of these fact-challenged pieces of distortion (and this is a long one) [Booman23 has done a bit of debunking here]. So, let me refer people to the parts of my earlier series which address (and debunk) key portions of Hayes' article.

  • Regarding his claims about the first two intelligence reports on a Niger uranium deal, the real facts are here.
  • Regarding his claims about the findings of Wilson's Niger trip and its interpretation by some in the CIA (as having supported the uranium from Niger claims), the real facts are here.
  • Regarding his claims about uranium from Somalia and the Congo, the real facts are here, here and here.
  • Regarding his claims that Wilson was found to have made numerous false claims per the SSCI Report (among others), the real facts are here and here (also see this for more context/details).
  • Regarding his claim that Ari Fleischer was wrong in admitting the essential incorrectness of Bush's 16 words and its connection to the forged Niger documents, the real facts are here and here (for those who want to get into more details, also see this).
  • Regarding his claim that Wilson's trip was "suggested" by Valerie Plame, the real facts are here.

I could go on and on but, as I said, I just don't have the time to keep debunking volumes of dishonest crap.

A final comment is in order regarding this particular claim from Hayes:

...the CIA never objected to including the Iraq-Africa language in the State of the Union on the grounds that the information was not reliable.

This is total hogwash and is only true if you simply pick and choose selective information and if you exclude much of the evidence that showed that the CIA had voiced significant objections or concerns to the actual credibility of the British evidence (which Bush cited). Not to mention, Bush's SOTU statement was false on its face.

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