Eriposte at the Left Coaster is the premiere braintrust on the Niger documents. And his take on the latest piece from Murray Waas is well worth a read and a re-read. Both Waas and eriposte have been indespensible in filling in some of the Administration gaps on this aspect of the Traitorgate case, and especially on what Dick Cheney and Scooter Libby knew and did not know about Joe Wilson and his trip to Niger for the CIA.
But these latest pieces in the puzzle truly let the sun shine in on one very clear fact: Cheney and Libby knew, in June of 2003, that the claim that Saddam Hussein was trying to obtain uranium ore from Africa was false. From eriposte:
In a nutshell, multiple aspects of what I had reported last year were confirmed by Waas' story and he adds the important additional piece of information regarding the CIA having informed Libby and Cheney in June 2003 about their recall of the uranium from Africa claim.What does this mean for the Traitorgate case? It means that Cheney and Libby were well aware that Cheney's public claims of Saddam's attempts to obtain the uranium were false, that Wilson knew they were false, and to protect the Vice President's public credibility a political hit would need to be made against Joe Wilson to silence him and his criticism before the American public caught on to the fact that Cheney's pre-war claims could not be substantiated.
And that political hit was planned, beginning in June of 2003, and executed through a series of leaks to the press about Joe Wilson's trip to Africa and through an attempt to emasculate Amb. Wilson via releasing the information (also false) that his wife was responsible for his trip.
Apologists for this Administration have tried all along to say that this was pushback, that Amb. Wilson was lying, and have bought the Administration's line on this whole hog. But the bottom line is this: Dick Cheney and Scooter Libby have known since June of 2003 that there was no credible attempt by Saddam Hussein to purchase yellowcake from Africa, and they went forward with their political smear of Amb. Wilson and his wife Valerie to save their own careers and public personas.
Can you say conspiracy? I thought you could. For anyone who has wondered why Fitz went forward with limited charges on obstruction against Libby -- and why he has pressed them forward with such clear, factual lines, I have your answer: Libby is, indeed the firewall between Fitz and the Vice President and others in the WHIG.
Read eriposte and Waas back to back, and see if you don't reach the same conclusion. And then ask yourself what a coincidence it was that e-mails from that same period have mysteriously failed to have been archived properly in the VP and WH systems. And then ask yourself how it is that so many reporters were contacted by so many members of the WHIG with the same message over and over about looking into who sent Amb. Wilson on his trip and why.
And then ask yourself how all of this together can be one big coincidence.
NOTE: There are newly released legal bits from the initial Tatel opinion and severl other things I'm trying to sort through at the moment. There will be more to come today.