Remember U.S. diplomat Joe Wilson and his wife, Valerie Plame? In 2003, Wilson made himself a national celebrity by announcing that the CIA had sent him to Niger to see if Saddam Hussein had attempted to buy uranium there.
According to Wilson, he conclusively reported that there was no such attempt, but the White House ignored him, and lied to the American people in order to justify the Iraq War. In retaliation, the White House "outed" Wilson's wife, exposing her as a CIA agent by telling columnist Robert Novak.
It used to be a very big story. The News ran 19 articles on it, most recently on June 25. The Post had nine articles including a glowing review of Wilson's book, A Defense of Truth, on May 16, and an excerpt from Wilson's book on May 23.
So given all this attention to Wilson and his claims, it would seem responsible for the Denver papers to let readers know that the U.S. Senate has determined that Wilson is not exactly a guy who always acts "in defense of truth," as detailed recently by The Washington Post.
Wilson told the public that Niger had denied the uranium connection. But the Senate found that Wilson's report said that the Niger government had confirmed that Iraq had tried to buy uranium.
Wilson told the public that his report proved that certain documents showing that Saddam had approached Niger were unreliable, and were probably forged. According to the Senate, Wilson never even saw the documents, which did not come into CIA custody until months after Wilson's report.
Wilson had very publicly complained that the White House had ignored his report. But the Senate Intelligence Committee found that the CIA never sent the Wilson report to the White House.
Wilson told several journalists the same thing he said in his book: that his wife had nothing to do with him going on the trip to Niger. But actually, the Senate found a memo in which she recommended to the CIA that he be selected for the mission.
The Washington Post story has traveled all over the Internet, but has been ignored by much of the establishment media. From the Denver dailies, we have not a word now that a major anti-Bush scandal - which the papers considered newsworthy just a few weeks ago - has turned out to be a con.
In the U.K., an official independent investigative committee on WMD intelligence, the Butler Report (www.butlerreview.org.uk, section 6.4 of the report) has found that Iraq was trying to buy uranium from Niger as late as 2002. The report declared that Bush's statement in the 2003 State of the Union, "The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa," was "well-founded."
The Financial Times began reporting the story a week ago, but the Denver dailies remain oblivious - refusing to let their readers know that all the partisans like Wilson and various newspaper columnists who proclaimed "Bush lied!!!!" about the African uranium are completely wrong.
The Daily Sentinel in Grand Junction and The Aspen Times, though, take the booby-prize for being fooled by Wilson. In articles about Wilson's recent speech in Aspen, The Times and Daily Sentinel went beyond summarizing Wilson's remarks; the papers restated many of Wilson's claims as if they were facts - even though readers of The Washington Post had learned two days beforehand that Wilson was not telling the truth. (Hat tip to ombudsgod.blogspot.com for noticing the Sentinel and Times stories first.)
Dave Kopel is research director at the Independence Institute, an attorney and author of 10 books.