Former Ambassador Joseph Wilson on the outting of his wife, CIA operative Valerie Plame; the Bush administration’s lies on Iraq; character assassination; and his time as the acting ambassador to Iraq before the Gulf War when he met with Iraqi President Saddam Hussein. [includes rush
Ambassador Joseph Wilson was the last US official to meet with Saddam Hussein before the start of the so-called Gulf War 12 years ago. As the acting US ambassador to Iraq in the weeks leading up to the war, the White House consulted Wilson daily. He was formally commended by the Bush Sr. administration for his bravery and heroism in the weeks leading up to the war. In that time, Wilson helped evacuate thousands of foreigners from Kuwait, negotiated the release of more than 120 American hostages and sheltered nearly 800 Americans in the embassy compound.
But Wilson’s work in Iraq that won him praise from the current president’s father is not what he is now known for. For months, he was at the center of a controversy that could prove to be one of the clearest cases of documentable criminal conduct by an administration since Watergate or the Iran-Contra scandal.
In the months leading up to the invasion, the CIA sent Wilson to investigate whether Saddam Hussein tried to buy uranium from Niger — the White House’s key case that Iraq was rebuilding its nuclear program.
Through his investigation, Wilson found the claim highly unlikely and reported back his findings. Despite this, the Niger-connection became a key piece of the administration’s justification for the war and President Bush included it in his State of the Union address in January.
Seven months later, Wilson went public. In a New York Times Op-Ed he said he had told the CIA long before the president’s January speech that the uranium claims were fraudulent.