Mission Implausible

Ann Coulter

7/13/2005 12:00:00 AM - Ann Coulter

Karl Rove was right. The real story about Joseph C. Wilson IV was not that Bush lied about Saddam seeking uranium in Africa; the story was Clown Wilson and his paper-pusher wife, Valerie Plame. By foisting their fantasies of themselves on the country, these two have instigated a massive criminal investigation, the result of which is: The only person who has demonstrably lied and possibly broken the law is Joseph Wilson.

So the obvious solution is to fire Karl Rove.

Clown Wilson thrust himself on the nation in July 2003 when he wrote an op-ed for the New York Times claiming Bush had lied in his State of the Union address. He said Bush was referring to Wilson's own "report" when Bush said: "The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa."

But that is not what Wilson says he found! Thus, his column had the laughably hubristic title, "What I Didn't Find in Africa." (Once I couldn't find my car for hours after a Dead show. I call the experience: "What I Didn't Find in San Francisco.")

Driven by that weird obsession liberals have of pretending they are Republicans in order to attack Republicans, Wilson implied he had been sent to Niger by Vice President Dick Cheney. Among copious other references to Cheney in the op-ed, Wilson said that CIA "officials asked if I would travel to Niger to check out the story" that Saddam Hussein had attempted to buy uranium from Niger, "so they could provide a response to the vice president's office."

Soon Clown Wilson was going around claiming: "The office of the vice president, I am absolutely convinced, received a very specific response to the question it asked, and that response was based upon my trip out there."

Dick Cheney responded by saying: "I don't know Joe Wilson. I've never met Joe Wilson. I don't know who sent Joe Wilson. He never submitted a report that I ever saw when he came back." Clown Wilson's allegation that Cheney had received his (unwritten) "report" was widely repeated as fact by, among others, the New York Times.

In a huffy editorial, the Times suggested there had been a "willful effort" by the Bush administration to slander the great and honorable statesman Saddam Hussein. As evidence, the Times cited Bush's claims about Saddam seeking uranium from Niger, which, the Times said, had been "pretty well discredited" – which, according to my copy of "The New York Times Stylebook" means "unequivocally corroborated" – "by Joseph Wilson 4th, a former American diplomat, after he was dispatched to Niger by the CIA to look into the issue."

So liberals were allowed to puff up Wilson's "report" by claiming Wilson was sent "by the CIA." But – in the traditional liberal definition of "criminal" – Republicans were not allowed to respond by pointing out Wilson was sent to Niger by his wife, not by the CIA and certainly not by Dick Cheney.

So important was Wilson's fact-finding mission to Niger that he wasn't paid and he produced no written report. It actually buttressed the case that Saddam had tried to buy uranium from Niger, though Wilson was too stupid to realize it. His conclusion is contradicted by the extensive findings of the British government. (I'm not sure, but I think that's what Bush may have been referring to when he said, "the British government.") One could write a book about what Joe Wilson doesn't know about Africa. In fact, I'm pretty sure someone did: Joe Wilson.

About a year later, a bipartisan Senate committee heard testimony from a CIA official that it was Wilson's wife who had "offered up" Wilson for the Niger trip. The committee also discovered a Feb. 12, 2002, memo from Wilson's wife gushing that her husband "has good relations with both the PM [prime minister] and the former Minister of Mines [not to mention lots of French contacts], both of whom could possibly shed light on this sort of activity."

Wilson's response to the production of his wife's memo was: "I don't see it as a recommendation to send me."

Wilson's report was a hoax. His government bureaucrat wife wanted to get him out of the house, so she sent him on a taxpayer-funded government boondoggle.

That was the information Karl Rove was trying to convey to the media by telling them, as described in the notes of Time reporter Matt Cooper: "big warning"! Don't "get too far out on Wilson."

Democrats believe that because Wilson's wife worked at the CIA, the White House should not have been allowed to mention that it was she who sent him to Niger. But meanwhile, Clown Wilson was free to puff up his apocryphal credentials by implying he had been sent to Niger on an important mission for the vice president by the CIA.

Despite the colloquialism being used on TV to describe the relevant criminal offense, the law does not criminalize "revealing the name" of a covert operative. If it did, every introduction of an operative at a cocktail party or a neighborhood picnic would constitute a felony. "Revealing the name of" is shorthand to describe what the law does criminalize: Intentionally revealing a covert operative as a covert operative, knowing it will blow the operative's cover.

Rove had simply said Wilson went to Niger because of his wife, not his skill, expertise or common sense. It was the clown himself who outed his wife as an alleged "covert" agent by saying he was not recommended by his wife, and thus the White House must have been retaliating against him by mentioning his wife.

Wilson intentionally blew his wife's "cover" in order to lie about how he ended up going to Niger. Far from a serious fact-finding mission, it was a "Take Your Daughters to Work Day" gone bad. Maybe liberals shouldn't have been so insistent about that special prosecutor.