Accuracy in Media

At this late date, Joseph Wilson is still trying to cover up the involvement of his wife in his CIA mission, apparently in order to protect a rogue element of the CIA from necessary scrutiny. After the production of the Libby indictment, Wilson wrote an October 19 Los Angeles Times article that said, “Although there were suggestions that she was behind the decision to send me to Niger, the CIA told Newsday just a week after the Novak article appeared that ‘she did not recommend her husband to undertake the Niger assignment.’ The CIA repeated the same statement to every reporter thereafter.”

In fact, a CIA spokesman tells me that the agency did not comment on the record about that matter. And this is not what “the CIA” actually told Newsday. The July 22, 2003, Newsday story by Timothy M. Phelps and Knut Royce quoted an unnamed “senior intelligence official” as saying that Valerie Wilson did not recommend her husband to undertake the Niger assignment. This official may or may not be from the CIA. In any case, it is not an official CIA statement. It was an unnamed official leaking information to these reporters for a specific purpose?to exonerate Valerie Wilson of charges that she played a role in the mission.

It bears repeating: the Senate Intelligence Committee cited “interviews and documents” that Wilson’s CIA wife “offered up his name” for the assignment and that she actually wrote a memorandum saying he would be perfect for the mission.

What is to be made of Wilson’s false claim that “the CIA” told the press that his wife had no role in his trip? Not only is Wilson misrepresenting the facts, but if we assume that “the CIA” is actually a high-level official of the agency, then this official was lying to the press. But Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald didn’t investigate this leak.

The Wilson comments show that he is still determined to conceal the truth about his wife’s role in the sordid affair. That is the truth that Libby uncovered but which has been shunted aside by most of the media. It demonstrates that the press would rather protect their sources in the CIA than in the Bush Administration. Those sources, who seem determined to undermine the global war on terrorism, are likely behind the recent Dana Priest Washington Post article on the CIA’s “secret prisons.”

Interestingly, after the CIA got a Justice Department investigation into the leak of the name of Valerie Wilson, then-Counsel to the President Alberto R. Gonzales sent a message to all White House employees that requested that they also preserve information relating to contacts with Knut Royce and Timothy M. Phelps.

Yet the Special Prosecutor, Patrick Fitzgerald, did NOT investigate these contacts. If he had, we might have had a small window into the rogue elements in the CIA, besides Valerie Wilson, that were manipulating the press in the Wilson affair.

Former Cheney aide Lewis Libby has an opportunity to blow the whistle on this rogue element in his trial. Let’s hope that “national security” doesn’t keep the public in the dark.

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