Answer: It appears Wilson changed his story. He also states, regarding his wife and his Africa trip, " … Valerie had had nothing to do with the matter." Turns out, according to the Senate Committee, Wilson's wife -- a CIA agent, known as Valerie Plame or Valerie Wilson -- "suggested his name for the trip."
Question: Why is this relevant?
Answer: Wilson told the New York Times' Nicholas Kristof that the Vice President sent him on the trip. If so, this suggests that the Vice President knew about Wilson's skepticism. But the Senate Committee determined that the CIA sent him, after his wife recommended him for the trip.
Question: Doesn't all this make Wilson a liar, someone not to be believed?
Answer: Yes, but many in the media still believe that Bush did indeed lie to the nation, and consider Wilson a noble "whistle-blower." For example, the Washington Post recently wrote, "Wilson's central assertion -- disputing President Bush's 2003 State of the Union claim that Iraq was seeking nuclear material in Niger -- has been validated by postwar inspections." [Emphasis added.] No it hasn't. Again, both the Senate Commission and the Butler report considered the intelligence on which the President based that part of the speech to be credible.
Question: So how did this end up in the hands of special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald?
Answer: Wilson claims that after he began talking to the press and after he wrote his op/ed piece, the White House retaliated against him by "outing" his wife to reporters. The Bush administration assigned special prosecutor Fitzgerald to determine whether someone in the administration violated the 1982 Intelligence Identities Protection Act, designed to protect the identities of "covert" agents.
Question: How did the Vice President's chief of staff, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, get involved?
Answer: According to the special prosecutor, Libby found out about Wilson's wife from various government sources in the administration. He disclosed her CIA identity to reporters. But according to the indictment, Libby lied to federal investigators and to the grand jury by claiming that the information about Wilson's wife came from reporters, rather than from government sources. Fitzgerald charged Libby with obstruction of justice, two counts of false statements and two of perjury, Note, however, Fitzgerald, at least so far, filed no charges under the 1982 Intelligence Identities Protection Act.
Answer: The statute requires that the "outed" agent must be "covert." The law defines "covert" as an agent operating outside the United States in the last five years. Wilson's wife does not meet the requirement, having worked stateside at CIA headquarters in Langley for well over five years.
Question: How serious is lying to a federal investigator?
Answer: Ask Martha Stewart.
Question: How serious is perjury?
Answer: Ask former President Bill Clinton.
Question: Why don't some in the mainstream news media raise stronger questions about Wilson's credibility?
Answer: Ask someone else.
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