The whole Plamegate ruckus has now been shown to be a lot of hot air and nothing of substance. But one thing has been accomplished by all the news reports. The entire premise for the initial trip to Niger has been misstated so many times that the falsehood has been accepted as truthful. Even in a not-unfriendly posting about the end of the controversy, it is stated wrongly.
For those outside the Beltway who haven’t been paying attention with the same diligence as those inside it, Wilson is a former minor ambassador who got sent to Africa to determine the accuracy of American and British claims that Saddam Hussein was buying uranium for weapons of mass destruction, a major justification for the invasion of Iraq. Wilson reported the allegations unsupported, angering the administration from Bush down, and setting off a furor about who sent him to Africa. In an apparent effort to refute his report, it was disclosed to the press that Wilson’s wife worked for the CIA and may have had a hand in his assignment.
That’s not what was claimed and not what was investigated. The whole thing was over the famous “sixteen words” that is: “the British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa“. Nothing was said about Saddam actually purchasing the uranium, only that British Intelligence believed that he had sought to do so. That was actually confirmed by Joe Wilson when he verbally reported back to the CIA unless you think that Iraq’s top nuclear guy was wandering around Niger trying to make a deal to buy goats.
There is a considerable difference between seeking something and actually procuring it. I have been seeking a good 6 cent cigar, but have been unable to procure one.
But it shows the power wielded by the press. In this case they have consistently misstated what was said and succeeded in convincing everyone, including other members of the press, of something totally false. But don’t look for any acknowledgement of that from them.