Dems still embrace discredited Wilson

Deborah Orin:

DEMOCRAT John Kerry's campaign yesterday gave a ringing endorsement to Bush-bashing Ambassador Joe Wilson — even though a bipartisan Senate committee just found so many holes in his story that even his own wife won't back it up.

Wilson claimed President Bush lied about whether Saddam Hussein was seeking yellowcake uranium from Niger, and Wilson knew it because the CIA sent him there. The Senate report says, if anything, the truth is the opposite of what Wilson claimed.

But that doesn't seems to bother the Kerryites, who yesterday hailed Wilson's "integrity" and said he's still very much a part of the team that Kerry hopes will make him commander in chief. "Joe Wilson has served for many months as an informal adviser to the Kerry campaign and continues to do so," said Kerry foreign policy adviser Susan Rice.

"As far as I know, we have no reason to believe that Mr. Wilson's words and deeds were not as he spoke them. I know Joe Wilson well . . . I have great respect for his integrity . . . I hold him in the highest esteem," Rice added.

Asked if that means Kerry & Co. don't believe the bipartisan report that shows Wilson is seriously truth-challenged, Rice insisted it was "taken somewhat out of context."

She contended, "There is not a contradiction in the facts between what [Wilson] said last year and what he wrote about what he found in Iraq and the facts as they emerged."

But in fact, the bipartisan report found plenty of contradictions in Wilson's claim that the CIA sent him on a mission to the African nation of Niger, and he debunked claims that Saddam Hussein was angling to buy yellowcake uranium.

For starters, it rejected Wilson's claim that his wife, CIA operative Valerie Plame, had nothing to do with getting him sent on the trip, and instead found that she "offered up" his name.

In fact, an Intelligence Committee member, Sen. Kit Bond (R-Mo.), revealed that Wilson's wife pleaded amnesia rather than backing up his story, and told the panel, "I honestly do not recall if I suggested [his name] to my boss."

That's in addition to finding that Wilson's report on his mission to Niger actually bolstered the idea that Iraq was seeking yellowcake — the exact opposite of what he claimed publicly.

And The Washington Post revealed that Wilson's nose was doing a Pinocchio when he claimed he'd been able to document that Niger-related documents were forgeries because "the dates were wrong and the names were wrong" — in fact, he never saw those documents, and the CIA didn't even have them at the time.


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