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FOX's Gibson STILL repeating misinformation: Valerie Plame responsible for sending husband Joe Wilson to Niger

Reported by Chrish - June 15, 2006

In the My Word segment of The Big Story today 6/14/06, John Gibson says that Ambassador Joe Wilson is disappointed that Karl Rove won't be "frog-marched" out of the White House, referring to reports instigated by Rove's attorney, Robert Luskin, that he will not be indicted in the outing of former CIA agent Valerie Plame.

But, Gibson writes,

"it begs the original question: When Joe Wilson went public that he had been sent to clear up the matter of Niger possibly selling yellowcake to Saddam and it was the vice president's office which sent him, was the vice president entitled to say: I didn't send that guy to Niger. It was his wife, and she is in that group of CIA people who are opposed to the president's policy in Iraq?

I think the vice president was entitled to do precisely that. I think we — the public — were entitled to know how Wilson got that mission to Niger, and whatever his secret agent wife had to do with sending him ought to have been out in the open. If that required revealing that Wilson had a secret agent wife, well then, so be it. She had to be revealed.

But that notion incensed the ambassador. He raged that his wife, the mother of his children, had been targeted in political retribution and that Rove was at the bottom of it, so Rove had to be marched off to jail.

Joe Wilson was against regime changing Saddam. Had been since '91. Once his wife maneuvered to have him sent off to investigate a key reason for the war, the public had a right to know who sent him and why.

She had become a political operator by helping to arrange her anti-war husband for the mission."

According to Wikipedia and other sources, Plame had offered up her husband's qualifications for an investigative trip but was not in a position to actually send him:

# 12 February 2002: Valerie Plame Wilson, a C.I.A. analyst working in its Counterproliferation Division, sends a memo to the deputy chief of the C.I.A.'s Directorate of Operations stating that her husband has good contact with the former Prime Minister and Director of Mines in Niger as well as other contacts who might prove useful in shedding light on the supposed Niger-Iraq uranium contract.
# 13 February 2002: An operations official cables an oversees officer seeking approval of Joe Wilson investigation.

Media Matters documents that Wilson had not claimed that VP Cheney sent him to Niger; it was an invention of the RNC, widely echoed throughout the corporate media:

An RNC talking points memo made public on July 12 accused Wilson of falsely claiming "that it was Vice President Cheney who sent him to Niger." The allegation that Wilson had lied about the genesis of his trip was soon repeated by RNC chairman Ken Mehlman, who argued that this fact justified the purported leaking of Plame's identity to the press and that the White House had simply been attempting to set the record straight.

New York Times columnist David Brooks made this argument at least twice (here and here). And a string of journalists and commentators -- including CNN's Dana Bash, The Washington Post's Mike Allen, Newsweek's Jon Meacham, and U.S. News and World Report's Michael Barone -- parroted the allegation during news reports and media appearances in the following weeks. NBC chief foreign affairs correspondent Andrea Mitchell recently repeated the claim as a guest on MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews.

But Wilson never said that Cheney sent him to Niger. To support this accusation, the RNC had misrepresented his July 6, 2003, op-ed in The New York Times (which relevant part reads "In February 2002, I was informed by officials at the Central Intelligence Agency that Vice President Dick Cheney's office had questions about a particular intelligence report. ... The agency officials asked if I would travel to Niger to check out the story so they could provide a response to the vice president's office" - CH), and distorted a remark he made in an August 3, 2003, interview on CNN's Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer. (How they mistakenly distorted this is unknowable: "WILSON: Well, look, it's absolutely true that neither the vice president nor Dr. Rice nor even George Tenet knew that I was traveling to Niger." - CH) Contrary to their allegation, Wilson clearly stated in the op-ed that "agency officials" had requested he travel to Niger. Further, in the CNN appearance, he stated it was "absolutely true" that Cheney was unaware he went on the trip.

It's not good enough for the radical Bush supporters that apparently nobody will be held accountable for the outing of Valerie Plame and the destruction of her Iran counter-proliferation operation. Gibson needs to add insult to injury by again lying about Wilson and, earlier in the column, taking a mean-spirited swipe at Ms. Plame over a book deal that didn't come through.

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