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‘No Basis in Fact’

When Karl Rove’s lawyer announced last week that special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald would bring no charges against Rove stemming from Fitzgerald’s investigation of the leak of CIA employee Valerie Plame’s name, Plame’s husband former Ambassador Joe Wilson, below, just could not let it go. Wilson’s lawyer issued a statement saying, “The day still may come when Mr. Rove and others are called to account in a court of law for their attacks on the Wilsons.”

But the person who has not been fully brought to account in this episode—at least not in the mainstream media—is Joe Wilson. What Wilson did to distort the record on pre-Iraq War intelligence is best told by the Senate Select Intelligence Committee report on that intelligence. In a personal addendum to that report, Intelligence Chairman Pat Roberts (R.-Kan.) was joined by GOP Senators Kit Bond (Mo.) and Orrin Hatch (Utah) in a scathing critique of Wilson’s behavior. “During Mr. Wilson’s media blitz, he appeared on more than 30 television shows including entertainment venues,” said Roberts. “Time and again, Joe Wilson told anyone who would listen that the President had lied to the American people, that the Vice President had lied, and that he had ‘debunked’ the claim that Iraq was seeking uranium from Africa. As discussed in the Niger section of this report, not only did he NOT ‘debunk’ the claim, he actually gave some intelligence analysts even more reason to believe that it may be true. I believed very strongly that it was important for the committee to conclude publicly that many of the statements made by Ambassador Wilson were not only incorrect, but had no basis in fact.” Committee Democrats would not agree to include Roberts’ conclusions in the main body of the report.

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