Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Suskind: Anxiety Over Wilson and Plame Led Bush Administration To Pay Iraqi ‘Hush Money’ On WMD»

It’s already well-known that Amb. Joseph Wilson’s July 6, 2003 op-ed in the New York Times deeply troubled the White House. The piece, “What I Didn’t Find In Africa,” concluded that “some of the intelligence related to Iraq’s nuclear weapons program was twisted to exaggerate the Iraqi threat.” The administration went to extraordinary lengths — including revealing the covert CIA identity of his wife, Valerie Plame — to smear Wilson.

Last night on MSNBC, Pulitzer-Prize winning author Ron Suskind revealed to Keith Olbermann more steps the administration took after Wilson’s op-ed. In 2003, the Bush administration tried to bury statements by head of Iraqi intelligence, Tahir Jalil Habbush, that Saddam Hussein had no WMD. According to former CIA agent Rob Maguire, the decision to then pay Habbush $5 million in hush money came after the run-in with Plame and Wilson:

And, you know, Joe Wilson and Valerie Plame popped up that summer. As Maguire says, “Everyone was terrified that Habbush would pop up on the screen.” That’s his quote. At that moment, they dotted the “I’s” and crossed the “T’s” on his financial arrangement of his resettlement. And they agreed to pay him $5 million.

Now, by almost any reckoning, considering what he provided and that we didn’t use him for anything else going forward, that would be considered hush money in almost any parlance.

Watch it: /


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