Treasongate: A Reminder - The Niger Forgeries Were Obvious Fakes
Hold on. Don't post a comment about the apparent ludicrousness of the title of this post. Of course, you say, a forgery by definition is a fake. I know that. But that's not what I'm talking about here. Let me explain, with an example.
I have a $1 bill in front of me which is from a 2003 series, with an imprint of the signature of Treasury Secretary John Snow and a photograph of George Washington. Let's say someone sought to forge this $1 bill. What are some of the ways a forgery might be attempted? Let me offer three examples (categories).
CATEGORY 1: One way to forge the 2003 $1 Bill would be to try and reproduce every detail exactly as it appears on the bill so that the forged copy is a flawless reproduction of the original. In this case, the forgery, while being a fake copy of the original, may still escape someone's attention because it is indistinguishable from the original.
CATEGORY 2: A second approach to forging the 2003 $1 Bill might be to reproduce almost every detail exactly as it appears on the bill, but change the signatory from Treasury Secretary John Snow to, say, the Vice President of the United States, Dick Cheney. If this Bill was passed on to someone who did not have sufficient background to know whether a Bill signed by the Vice President, as opposed to the Treasury Secretary, was authentic, that person might have accepted the Bill outright or with some reservations, combined with a decision to go double-check the authenticity of the Bill. In other words, we have a forgery that has a whiff of validity but potentially raises a doubt that may prompt the need for further investigation into its authenticity.
CATEGORY 3: A third way to forge the the 2003 $1 Bill would to reproduce almost every detail exactly as it appears on the bill, but change the signatory from Treasury Secretary John Snow to Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin (who, was of course, not the Treasury Secretary in 2003, but in the 1995-1999 period). This is an example of a forgery that is an obvious fake.
I point this out because bloggers, media outlets and Congressional Democrats writing or opining about the Niger forgeries are missing the significance of the most important aspect about the Niger forgeries. They were not just Category 2 forgeries (the analog to Dick Cheney's signature being the mention of Iraq's alleged, secret uranium deal with - or attempt to seek uranium from - Niger). They were Category 3 forgeries - with wrong names and wrong dates used in the documents that revealed them to be obvious fakes. In contrast, if you read the Senate (SSCI) Report, you may get the impression that they were Category 2 forgeries.
So, I humbly submit that the question that should be foremost in the minds of everyone who wants to get to the bottom of this sordid affair is this: what is the significance of the CIA (and INR) standing behind this statement in the Senate (SSCI) Report about the three Niger intel reports they received from Italian intelligence (SISMI)?
There were no obvious inconsistencies in the names of officials mentioned or the dates of the transactions in any of the three reports. [page 47]
If you have been reading my series, of course, this question is surely foremost in your mind. :-) And if continue reading The Left Coaster I will offer an answer next week (although you may have guessed it by now). I see that Laura Rozen is heading in the right direction, but, for a different reason.