Quoth Josh Marshall

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There aren't many subjects on which I claim expertise. But this is one of them. I think I know the details of this one -- both the underlying story of the forgeries and their provenance and the epi-story of Wilson and Plame -- as well as any journalist who's written about the story. ....

And with that knowledge, I have to say that the claim that Wilson's charges have been discredited, disproved or even meaningfully challenged are simply false. What he said on day one is all true. It's really as simple as that.

Hm. We know that all of the evidence we have on the subject points to Bush basing those "16 words" on intel completely separate from the intel Wilson knew about: that is, the 16 words themselves (which linked the intel to Britain), the explanations of all who were aware of the intel, and the Butler Report.

We do not know what that intel is. We only know what everyone who knows about that intel has said it is distinct from the intel Wilson knew about. They could all be lying, of course.

And we know that Wilson claimed that, because of his experience in Iraq, he believed those 16 words "twisted" the intelligence. That was his main claim, that everyone was transfixed on. Except -- even as he admitted in that op-ed -- he didn't actually have any knowledge to back that claim of "twisting" up, since he did not know what intelligence Bush's "16 words" was based on.

So I wonder to Josh Marshall, was Wilson's claim that the 16 words were "twisted to exaggerate the Iraqi threat," as you said, "true"? And if so, what evidence do you have to back that up?

Oh, I know, he's tried to show the Butler Report backs up Wilson, but that's a clear fraud: he claimed "that most of the British judgment about 'uranium from Africa' was based on the phony documents the Butler Report claims had nothing to do with their judgment." Except the word "most of" is not backed up by the Butler report, or anything else, but a completely unsubstantiated assertion that "the more important" intel Britain had was a written summary of the forged documents.

Now, we don't know for sure it is a summary of those documents, but it seems plausible. Fine. But on what basis is that "more important" or the basis of "most of the British judgment"? There's no clues in the Butler Report, and Marshall doesn't attempt to explain. He just asserts it.

Now, again, we do not know what this separate intel is. We only know Britain asserts it exists, and that it is distinct from the forged documents. We also know that Bush, in the 16 words themselves, specifically distanced the claim from the forged documents claim, by referring to the British.

And we also know no evidence exists that implies that the this intel does not exist or has been undermined.

So I ask again, to Josh Marshall: how can you claim Wilson's claim that the 16 words were "twisted to exaggerate the Iraqi threat" was "true," when there's no evidence that points to it being true? slashdot.org

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