Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Michael Ledeen has the last word on the Niger documents scam

JJA: Think like a counterintelligence analyst for once. It's an old-fashioned sting operation. You're Jacques Chirac, okay? You want to embarrass the Americans and protect your buddy Saddam Hussein, right? The Americans are running around trying to find evidence of a covert Iraqi nuclear program. So, first you feed them some crappy information along those lines, hoping that they'll buy it, and then you arrange — through Rocco in Italy — to have these documents surface. The documents "confirm" the disinformation and of course also what the Americans want to believe anyway. The Americans launch their accusations, then it turns out that the documents are forgeries, and bad forgeries at that, and so the Americans look like idiots and the causus belli disappears. In one move, you've helped your friend Saddam and hurt the Americans. Terrific. Chapeau, and all that.

ML: But it didn't stop the war, did it?

JJA: No, and it wasn't originally designed to stop Bush. It was designed to stop Clinton.

ML: You're kidding, the documents surfaced in the fall of 2002, just a few months before Bush's State of the Union speech.

JJA: True, and I'll get to that in a second. But the documents were forged earlier, almost certainly by 2000.

ML: Why didn't they surface earlier?

JJA: Because they weren't needed. Clinton looked like he might have been on the verge of going to war, but he didn't, so the documents got filed away. They were used later, as part of an effort to deny Bush that U.N. vote.

Read it all.

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