Thursday, October 20, 2005

Inside Bay Area coverage of Joe Wilson incompetent 
Brian Babcock, a reporter for Inside Bay Area assigned to cover a Joe Wilson speech, is either lying or incompetent to cover his subject:

To read his fellative, admiring piece on Joe Wilson ("he said his decision to tell the truth was not heroic, but what any good American would do." Pardon me while I adjust my blood sugar levels.) the reader would have no idea whatsoever that there was ever any kind of controversy surrounding Wilson's truthfulness. The reader would have no idea that Wilson has been branded as a liar by a bipartisan Senate intelligence committee.

To wit: Inside Bay Area writes:

Wilson, a former ambassador to Iraq and 23-year veteran in foreign diplomacy, told how he had been called a hero by the first President Bush. He was subsequently asked by the Bush administration in 2002 to check intelligence reports that Niger had sold uranium to Iraq for use in nuclear weapons. Wilson's investigation into those allegations showed they were false, a conclusion that other high-intelligence investigators also came to.

Now, the fact that IBA uses the syntax "high-intelligence investigators" ought to tip you off to the fact that neither the reporter, nor anyone on the editorial staff, has ever bothered to do much reading on national security and intelligence matters.

But that aside, the IBA also fails to note that their statement (it's unclear to me if it's being attributed to Wilson or if this is the writer making this assertion), that this is flatly contradicted by Wilson's own report to the CIA.

From the Washington Post:

Wilson's assertions -- both about what he found in Niger and what the Bush administration did with the information -- were undermined yesterday in a bipartisan Senate intelligence committee report.

The panel found that Wilson's report, rather than debunking intelligence about purported uranium sales to Iraq, as he has said, bolstered the case for most intelligence analysts. And contrary to Wilson's assertions and even the government's previous statements, the CIA did not tell the White House it had qualms about the reliability of the Africa intelligence that made its way into 16 fateful words in President Bush's January 2003 State of the Union address.

This reporter failed to do any background research at all on his controversial subject, beyond perhaps calling Wilson's publicist.


Wilson's reports to the CIA added to the evidence that Iraq may have tried to buy uranium in Niger, although officials at the State Department remained highly skeptical, the report said.

Wilson said that a former prime minister of Niger, Ibrahim Assane Mayaki, was unaware of any sales contract with Iraq, but said that in June 1999 a businessman approached him, insisting that he meet with an Iraqi delegation to discuss "expanding commercial relations" between Niger and Iraq -- which Mayaki interpreted to mean they wanted to discuss yellowcake sales. A report CIA officials drafted after debriefing Wilson said that "although the meeting took place, Mayaki let the matter drop due to UN sanctions on Iraq."

According to the former Niger mining minister, Wilson told his CIA contacts, Iraq tried to buy 400 tons of uranium in 1998.

Folks, this isn't hard to find. This is the Washington Post we're talking about. WSJ doesn't show up in Google searches much, but the Post does. The reporter could have found it even faster by taking advantage of hive intelligence resources and using Technorati to search on Wilson's name.

The information that Joe Wilson is an established serial liar is more than a year and a half old. But you'd never know, from the adoring coverage in Inside Bay Area, that anyone ever raised a question about him.

Inept reporting, inept editing, inept all the way around.

Splash, out


Hat tip to Powerline who noticed the WaPo article here.


WaPo article was later corrected. It was Iran not Iraq that tried to buy the 400 tons in 1998.
In general though I agree with you on Wilson. Here's how "Mr. Politics-of-Truth" answered the following basic question:

Did the former Niger prime minister meet with any Iraqi officials in June 1999?

In brief:

1. Wilson says “yes” during his private CIA debrief in March, 2002.

2. Wilson fails to mention the meeting in his NYT op/ed and his first “Meet the Press” in July, 2003.

3. Wilson lies and says “no” during a “Frontline” PBS Interview in August, 2003.

4. Wilson lies and says “no” twice during his second “Meet the Press” interview in October, 2003.

5. Wilson says “yes” during his third “Meet the Press” interview in May, 2004.

6. Wilson says “yes” to SSCI committee staff --report released in July, 2004.
Hey, excellent website. A great Iraq resource is Deaths in Iraq. It breaks all of the casualties down by age, race, branch of the military, country, etc.
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