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Profile: Joseph C. Wilson

 
  

Positions that Joseph C. Wilson has held:

  • US ambassador between 1976 and 1998
  • Ambassador to Gabon and S ̄o Tom← and Pr■ncipe during the administration of President George H. W. Bush
  • Charg← d'affaires in Baghdad
  • Senior Director for African Affairs at the National Security Council


 

Quotes

 
  

Quote, Early July 2003

   Responding to Condoleezza Rice's assertion that Wilson's report of his 2002 trip to Niger never made its way to high-level officials, Wilson said, “If you are senior enough to ask this question, you are well above the bowels of the bureaucracy. You are in that circle.” He described her story as “inconceivable.” [Washington Post, 7/6/03]

Associated Events

Quote, July 6, 2003

   “The next day [January 29, 2003—the day after President Bush's 2002 State of the Union address], I reminded a friend at the State Department of my trip and suggested that if the president had been referring to Niger, then his conclusion was not borne out by the facts as I understood them. He replied that perhaps the president was speaking about one of the other three African countries that produce uranium: Gabon, South Africa or Namibia. At the time, I accepted the explanation. I didn't know that in December, a month before the president's address, the State Department had published a fact sheet that mentioned the Niger case.” [New York Times, 7/6/03]

Associated Events


 

Relations

 
  

Related Entities:


 

Joseph C. Wilson actively participated in the following events:

 
  

Shortly after February 13, 2002      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       Midlevel CIA officials in the agency's Directorate of Operations (DO) Counterproliferation Division (CPD) decide to send former ambassador Joseph Wilson to Niger to investigate allegations that Iraq sought to procure uranium from that country. Wilson's wife, Valerie Plame, a CPD officer, relays the request to him explaining that “there's this crazy report” asserting that Iraq made a deal with Niger on the sale of a large quantity of uranium. [Sources: Report On The US Intelligence Community's Prewar Intelligence Assessments On Iraq]
People and organizations involved: Counterproliferation Division, Valerie Plame, Joseph C. Wilson
          

February 19, 2002      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       The CIA's Directorate of Operations (DO) Counterproliferation Division (CPD) holds a meeting with former ambassador Joseph Wilson, intelligence analysts from both the CIA and State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR), and several individuals from the DO's Africa and CPD divisions. The purpose of the meeting is to discuss the merits of sending Wilson to Niger. An INR analyst's notes indicate that the meeting is “apparently convened by [Wilson's] wife [Valerie Plame] who had the idea to dispatch [him] to use his contacts to sort out the Iraq-Niger uranium issue.” According to Plame, she leaves the meeting about three minutes after introducing her husband. The INR analyst's meeting notes, as well as e-mails from other participants, indicate that INR expresses skepticism that the alleged uranium contract could have taken place, noting that it would have been very difficult to conceal such a large shipment of yellowcake and because “the French appear to have control of the uranium mining, milling and transport process, and would seem to have little interest in selling uranium to the Iraqis.” INR also says that the embassy in Niger has good contacts and is thus in a position to get to the truth on the matter and therefore believes the proposed trip to Niger would be redundant. Others attending the meeting argue that the trip would probably not resolve the matter because the Nigeriens would be unlikely to admit to a uranium sales agreement with Iraq. An e-mail from a WINPAC analyst to CPD following the meeting notes, “[I]t appears that the results from this source will be suspect at best, and not believable under most scenarios.” CPD concludes that sending Wilson would be worth a try. [Sources: Report On The US Intelligence Community's Prewar Intelligence Assessments On Iraq]
People and organizations involved: Bureau of Intelligence and Research, US Embassy in Niger, Joseph C. Wilson, Valerie Plame, Counterproliferation Division
          

February 20, 2002      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       The CIA's Directorate of Operations (DO) Counterproliferation Division (CPD) provides former ambassador Joseph Wilson with talking points for his scheduled trip to Niger (see February 19, 2002). The points specify that Wilson should ask Nigerien officials if they have been approached, conducted discussions, or entered into any agreements concerning uranium transfers with any “countries of concern.” Wilson should also determine how Niger accounts for all of its uranium each year, the points say. [Sources: Report On The US Intelligence Community's Prewar Intelligence Assessments On Iraq]
People and organizations involved: Joseph C. Wilson, Counterproliferation Division
          

February 21, 2002-March 4, 2002      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       The CIA sends Joseph C. Wilson, a retired US diplomat, to Niger to investigate claims that Iraq had sought to purchase uranium from that country. The trip is paid for by the CIA. But the identity of the party who requests the mission is later disputed. While Wilson will claim the trip was requested directly by Dick Cheney's office, other sources will indicate that the CIA had decided (see February 19, 2002) that a delegation to Niger was needed in order to investigate questions raised by one of Dick Cheney's aides. [Independent, 6/29/03; New York Times, 7/6/03; The Washington Post, 6/12/03; New York Times, 5/6/03 Sources: Unnamed senior officials, Report On The US Intelligence Community's Prewar Intelligence Assessments On Iraq, Joseph C. Wilson] Wilson arrives in Niger on February 26, two days after Marine General Carlton W. Fulford Jr.'s meeting (see February 24, 2002) with Nigerien officials. Wilson meets with US Ambassador to Niger Barbro Owens-Kirkpatrick who informs Wilson that she has already concluded that the allegations of uranium sales to Iraq are unfounded. She tells Wilson “she had already debunked them in her reports to Washington.” After spending eight days chatting with current government officials, former government officials, and people associated with the country's uranium business, Wilson concludes the rumors are false. He calls the allegations “bogus and unrealistic.” [The Washington Post, 6/12/03; Knight Ridder, 6/13/03; ABC News, 6/12/03; Independent, 6/29/03; CBS News, 7/11/03; New York Times, 7/6/03; Novak, 7/14/03; Vanity Fair, 5/2004, pg 282 Sources: Joseph C. Wilson]
People and organizations involved: Joseph C. Wilson, Barbro Owens-Kirkpatrick  Additional Info 
          

March 5, 2002      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       Two CIA officers from the CIA's Directorate of Operations (DO) debrief former ambassador Joseph Wilson who returned from his trip to Niger the previous day (see February 21, 2002-March 4, 2002). The debriefing takes place in Wilson's home. Based on information provided verbally by the former ambassador, the DO case officer writes a draft intelligence report and sends it to the DO reports officer who adds additional relevant information from his notes. [Sources: Report On The US Intelligence Community's Prewar Intelligence Assessments On Iraq]
People and organizations involved: Central Intelligence Agency, Joseph C. Wilson
          

(September 24, 2002)      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       Joe Wilson, who had been sent to Niger by the CIA in February 2002 (see February 21, 2002-March 4, 2002) and who had determined that the allegations that Iraq had sought to obtain uranium from Niger were false, contacts the CIA and advises the agency to inform the British about the intelligence that had been acquired during his mission to Niger. The London Independent later reports, “When he saw ... claims [that Iraq had attempted to procure uranium from an African country] in Britain's dossier on Iraq last September, he even went as far as telling CIA officials that they needed to alert their British counterparts to his investigation.” [Independent, 6/29/03]
People and organizations involved: Joseph C. Wilson
          

November 2002      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       Former US Diplomat Joseph Wilson warns in an interview with Knight Ridder that a post-Saddam occupation could turn into “a very, very nasty affair.” He explains: “There will be vengeful killings against the Sunnis, against the Tikritites [Hussein's clan], against the Ba'aths. There will be Shi'ia grabs in the south and probably Baghdad. There will be Kurdish grabs for power.... And in the middle of that will be an American occupation force.... This war is not going to be over when we get to Baghdad. In fact, the war will have just essentially begun.” [Knight Ridder, 11/4/02]
People and organizations involved: Joseph C. Wilson
          

May 6, 2003      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof, citing unnamed sources, breaks the story of former US diplomat Joseph Wilson's February 2002 trip to Niger (see February 21, 2002-March 4, 2002). The major source for the story is later revealed to be Wilson himself. [New York Times, 5/6/03; Vanity Fair, 5/2004, pg 282]
People and organizations involved: Joseph C. Wilson, Nicholas Kristof
          

June 9, 2003-July 6, 2003      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       Former ambassador Joseph Wilson is infuriated by Condoleezza Rice's June 9 claim (see June 9, 2003) that top officials were unaware of doubts over the Niger uranium claim. He contacts friends in the government and asks them to pass on the message that if Rice does not correct the record, he will (see 2:28 p.m. May 29, 2003). [Vanity Fair, 5/2004, pg 282]
People and organizations involved: Joseph C. Wilson, Condoleezza Rice
          

July 6, 2003      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       Former ambassador Joseph Wilson writes an op-ed piece in the New York Times describing in detail his 2002 visit to Niger (see June 9, 2003). He makes it very clear that he believes his findings had been “circulated to the appropriate officials within ... [the] government.”. [New York Times, 7/6/03]
People and organizations involved: Joseph C. Wilson
          

'Passive' participant in the following events:

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