In Reader Mail, Greg Richards says, “This entire thing arose from a query by Cheney to the CIA as to what they knew about reports from abroad that Saddam tried to buy uranium in Africa.” Not quite, comrade. Mr. Cheney never asked the CIA to send anyone to Niger. It was a CIA affair from the beginning. Which raises a very important question. Or five or ten.
Who sent Joe Wilson to Niger? Who would have hired him to perform a sensitive intelligence task when: (a) he had no expertise in WMD and hadn’t been in Niger for any length of time since the 1970s; (b) his personal history was so checkered he couldn’t qualify for a security clearance; and (c) he wasn’t trained in intelligence-gathering? Who was agreeable to Valerie Plame’s suggestion that Wilson be sent, and why?
And while we’re asking uncomfortable questions, let’s ask why Wilson — charged with an intelligence mission – wasn’t required to sign a confidentiality agreement with the CIA. EVERYONE involved in intel — or anything at the top secret level – has to do that. Why not Wilson? There are so many anomalies in the whole Wilson/Plame affair, they could comprise the syllabus of how not to conduct an intelligence op. Which brings us back to Square One:
Who at CIA was responsible for the operation?