07/27/04 — Who lied? Committee found the forked tongue

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Who lied? Committee found the forked tongue

For a period of weeks last year, the morning and nightly television news programs and the front pages and editorial pages of many newspapers gave seemingly endless time and space to laments by former ambassador Joseph Wilson.

Wilson had produced the “smoking gun” proving President George Bush had lied in making his case for going to war against Iraq.

He pointed to a now famous 16-word part of the president’s State of the Union address in which Bush had said British intelligence reported that Iraq had sought uranium in Africa.

That statement, Wilson declared, was false. He, himself, had been sent to Africa by the CIA to determine whether reports of Iraq-Niger uranium negotiations had transpired. He subsequently told the Senate Intelligence Committee that such intelligence reports were based on “forged documents.”

Since then, Wilson has criss-crossed the country and appeared on network TV programs repeatedly saying President Bush had knowingly lied about the matter.

The Senate Intelligence Committee’s findings of facts show that there might well have been some lying involving the Iraq-Niger uranium issue. But the liar seems to have been Joseph Wilson, not President George Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney.

Writing of the Intelligence Committee’s finding, Chairman Pat Roberts said that “Time and again, Joe Wilson told anyone who would listen that the President had lied to the American people” and that Wilson had said he had “debunked” claims that Iraq was seeking uranium from Africa.

“Not only did he not ‘debunk’ the claim, he actually gave some intelligence analysts even more reason to believe that it might be true,” wrote Sen. Roberts.

He concluded that much of what Wilson has been saying to the committee and around the country “had no basis in fact.”

Former ambassador Joseph Wilson’s misrepresentations and his attacks on President Bush — like references to those “famous 16 words” — were served up daily and nightly to the American public.

How much have we heard and read about the fact that the president, after all, had spoken the truth? And that the ranting of Joe Wilson had “no basis in fact.”

Published in Editorials on July 27, 2004 1:15 PM