The Bush administration invaded Iraq claiming Saddam Hussein had tried to buy yellowcake uranium in Niger. As much of Washington knew, and the world soon learned, the charge was false. Worse, it appears to have been the cornerstone of a highly successful "black propaganda" campaign with links to the White House
I particularly like this paragraph:
The Bush administration made other false charges about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction (W.M.D.)—that Iraq had acquired aluminum tubes suitable for centrifuges, that Saddam was in league with al-Qaeda, that he had mobile weapons labs, and so forth. But the Niger claim, unlike other allegations, can't be dismissed as an innocent error or blamed on ambiguous data. "This wasn't an accident," says Milt Bearden, a 30-year C.I.A. veteran who was a station chief in Pakistan, Sudan, Nigeria, and Germany, and the head of the Soviet–East European division. "This wasn't 15 monkeys in a room with typewriters."
This article appears right after the Wall Street Journal had an utter meltdown yesterday about the Libby case. The Journal claimed that the claims that Iraq attempted to procure Uranium from Niger was true and the infamous documents were valid. Michael Ledeen, who plays a prominant role in this story, makes a similair bizarre claim in the Vanity Fair piece. The Journal completely distorted the Libby indictment in a piece of agitprop out there even for them. What got them so excited?
Patrick Fitzgerald seems to focused on a very narrow part of this story, the outing of Plame and obstruction of his investigation. I suspect though, that the threat of Federal prosecution by a very capable U.S. Attorney, even of peripheral players, is making some people extremely nervous. While it is certainly not unusual for the Journal to pimp an outrageous lie as truth when it suits them, why bring that canard out again? Something is cooking and I doubt it is good for the White House and their co-conspirators.
There is no doubt in my mind that the Niger memo was a document produced by a cabal of some sort to help bring about the invasion of Iraq. Finding any substantive evidence of that is going to be extremely difficult. But it does fit the available facts.
We are going to see some ugliness in the near future as FitzGerald turns up the pressure on Libby and the VP's office. The Journal's column is just a warning shot. These people cannot allow Fitzgerald to gain any traction on Libby or Rove or anyone else. Who knows what might happen then? The trail from the Plumbers to the President seemed pretty convulated until the right connections were made. Libby and whomever else Fitz gets a hold off might not break, this might go nowhere. In fact, that is the likely outcome. Anyone capable of the Niger scam is probably very good at covering their tracks. But once someone is staring at a lenghty prison sentence, their perspective on Omerta might change.
The White House and it's "friends" cannot lose power and they cannot allow a Boy Scout like Fitzgerald anywhere near them.
A storm is coming and it's going to be like nothing we've seen so far.