When President George W. Bush wanted a war in Iraq, the man he sent to justify that war came back empty.
That man, Joseph Wilson, passed away on Friday at the age of 69. His ex-wife confirmed that Wilson died of organ failure.
Wilson was sent to Niger on behalf of the CIA in 2003 to find a justification for invading Iraq. His task was to find proof of uranium yellowcake having been purchased from Niger in the early 1990s.
When Wilson reported back, he stated that he found nothing. Bush invaded Iraq anyway on the premise the country had weapons of mass destruction.
Wilson, in turn, wrote an op-ed in The New York Times titled “What I Didn’t Find in Africa.” He wrote, “If my information was deemed inaccurate, I understand (though I would be very interested to know why).
“If, however, the information was ignored because it did not fit certain preconceptions about Iraq, then a legitimate argument can be made that we went to war under false pretenses.”
When all was said and done, there were no weapons of mass destruction ever found, justifying Wilson’s words in his op-ed.
Then It All Blew Up…
Wilson’s op-ed did not sit well with anyone in the administration, including Vice President Dick Cheney, who many believe was behind the war in Iraq.
Not long after the op-ed ran, Wilson’s wife, Valerie Plame was outed as a CIA operative. Up to that point, she had been undercover, but now her cover had been completely blown from the leak.
That leak was eventually traced back to Cheney’s chief of staff, Scooter Libby. Libby would eventually fall on his sword and be indicted for obstruction of justice, perjury, and making false statements.
President Donald Trump pardoned Libby after becoming president. The entire ordeal was documented in a 2010 movie starring Naomi Watts called “Fair Game.”
Plame and Wilson divorced in 2017. She recently announced she was going to run for the New Mexico House seat as a Democrat to replace Democrat Rep. Ben Ray Luhan.