Of course, neither Larry King nor his callers asked former ambassador Joe Wilson the questions I suggested. But more infuriating was the fact that King did not seem to know enough about his subject to challenge Wilson when he started lying about his report about uranium from Niger and the sixteen words about uranium in the 2003 State of the Union address. Here’s what Wilson said:
KING: Do you believe, ambassador, that this was a deliberate effort, this was rather than misinformation this was provoked?
WILSON: Well, I think it’s — in the case that I’m most familiar with, of course, the yellow cake from uranium, there were three reports that were done contemporaneously.
There was my report, there was one done by our ambassador on the ground and there was a separate one done by a four-star Marine Corps general, all of which concluded that there was no there there, that there was no reason to believe that the transaction that had been alleged in this documents that were later deemed to be forgeries had ever taken place or could have taken place.
The fact that these ended up in the State of the Union address I think in and of itself is something that’s worth looking into. After all, four months before the State of the Union address, George Tenet told the White House and this is almost a direct quote, “I don’t want the president to be a witness of fact on this matter because the evidence is weak and because we believe the British have exaggerated the case.”
In the State of the Union address, Bush did not assert that a transaction ever took place. What he said was, “The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa.” Bush never alleged a transaction. Wilson said he did. Regardless of what Tenet said, the British continue to stand by their report:
We conclude that, on the basis of the intelligence assessments at the time, covering both Niger and the Democratic Republic of Congo, the statements on Iraqi attempts to buy uranium from Africa in the Government