The Honorable Pat Roberts J. Rockefeller Dear Senator Roberts and Senator Rockefeller,
Dear Senator Roberts and Senator Rockefeller,
I read with great surprise and consternation the Niger portion of Senators Roberts, Bond and Hatch "additional comments to the Senate Select Intelligence Committee's Report on the U.S. Intelligence Community's Prewar Assessment on Iraq." I am taking this opportunity to clarify some of the issues raised in these comments.
First conclusion: "The plan to send the former ambassador to Niger was suggested by the former ambassador's wife, a CIA employee."
That is not true. The conclusion is apparently based on one anodyne quote from a memo Valerie Plame, my wife sent to her superiors that says "my husband has good relations with the PM (prime minister) and the former Minister of Mines, (not to mention lots of French contacts) both of whom could possibly shed light on this sort of activity." There is no suggestion or recommendation in that statement that I be sent on the trip. Indeed it is little more than a recitation of my contacts and bona fides. The conclusion is reinforced by comments in the body of the report that a CPD reports officer stated the "the former ambassador's wife offered up his name'" (page 39) and a State Department Intelligence and Research officer that the "meeting was apparently convened by [the former ambassador's wife] who had the idea to dispatch him to use his contacts to sort out the Iraq-Niger uranium issue."
In fact, Valerie was not in the meeting at which the subject of my trip was raised. Neither was the CPD Reports officer. After having escorted me into the room, she departed the meeting to avoid even the appearance of conflict of interest. It was at that meeting where the question of my traveling to Niger was broached with me for the first time and came only after a thorough discussion of what the participants did and did not know about the subject. My bona fides justifying the invitation to the meeting were the trip I had previously taken to Niger to look at other uranium related questions as well as 20 years living and working in Africa, and personal contacts throughout the Niger government. Neither the CPD reports officer nor the State analyst were in the chain of command to know who, or how, the decision was made. The interpretations attributed to them are not the full story. In fact, it is my understanding that the Reports Officer has a different conclusion about Valerie's role than the one offered in the "additional comments". I urge the committee to reinterview the officer and publicly publish his statement.