If Joseph Wilson’s wife hadn’t worked for the CIA, he would not have been sent on the fact-finding mission to Niger that has caused so much controversy over the past few years. This fact is indisputable. Yet last week, Valerie Plame Wilson, under oath before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, did her best to dispute it, or at least to muddy the waters. The question now is whether she committed a crime in doing so.p>Rep. Stephen Lynch of Massachusetts, a Democrat who is clearly sympathetic to the Wilsons’ beef with the White House, teed her up to downplay the connection between her job and her husband’s trip: br> /p>
REP. LYNCH: Now, I want to ask you, the suggestion that you were involved in sending your husband seemed to drive the leaks in an effort to discount his credibility. I want to ask you now under oath: Did you make the decision to send Ambassador Wilson to Niger?br> The suggestion that Plame Wilson “didn’t have the authority” to make a recommendation to her boss is laughable. Perhaps she could be read as merely saying that she didn’t have the authority to, as Lynch put it, “make the decision,” but no one has claimed that she did, and she plainly means to dispute the charges made by White House sources in Bob Novak’s July 14, 2003 column , where the name “Valerie Plame” first appeared, that she “suggested sending [her husband] to Niger.” But the Senate Intelligence Committee Report on the U.S. Intelligence Community’s Prewar Intelligence Assessments on Iraq, released in July 2004, supports that claim; it says Wilson’s wife “suggested his name for the trip.” p>Here is what Plame Wilson said when Rep. Lynch asked her to “walk us through everything you did that may have been related around the time of the decision to send Ambassador Wilson to Niger”: br> /p>
MS. PLAME WILSON: No. I did not recommend him, I did not suggest him, there was no nepotism involved — I didn’t have the authority.
In February of 2002, a young junior officer who worked for me — came to me very upset. She had just received a telephone call on her desk from someone — I don’t know who — in the office of the vice president asking about this report of this alleged sale of yellow cake uranium from Niger to Iraq. She came to me, and as she was telling me this — what had just happened, someone passed by — another officer heard this. He knew that Joe had already — my husband — had already gone on some CIA mission previously to deal with other nuclear matters. And he suggested, “Well why don’t we send Joe?”br> Here, Plame Wilson is eliding the fact that, as documented in the Senate Intelligence Committee report, Wilson had gone on a previous mission