Tuesday, September 30, 2003


The American blogs seem to be all busy this morning commenting on whether the Bush administration leaked the name of a CIA agent. For those who haven't been following the story, it goes something like this:

  • The CIA sends former ambassador Joseph Wilson to Nigeria to check out claims that Saddam is trying to buy Uranium. He concludes that "it was highly doubtful that any such transaction had taken place".
  • Bush uses the Nigeria claim in his State of the Union address anyway.
  • Wilson publicly says the Nigeria claims are false.
  • Columnist Robert Novak reports that Wilson's wife "is an Agency operative on weapons of mass destruction. Two senior administration officials told me Wilson's wife suggested sending him to Niger to investigate the Italian report".

(I guess I should point out that exposing an undercover agent carries serious criminal penalties in the United States).

The story has simmered away for the past two months, then suddenly hit the news in the last few days when the Justice department announced an investigation. Meanwhile, all those American pundits who were so quick to call "TREASON!" on those who opposed the war are making excuses as to why this isn't a big deal...

For more commentary see Mark Kleiman, CalPundit, Crooked Timber or Atrios.