Former U.S. Ambassador Joseph Wilson has died at the age of 69. In 2003, he openly challenged President George W. Bush’s claim that Iraq was trying to buy uranium from Niger — a claim the administration used to justify the invasion of Iraq. Wilson had been sent to Niger by the administration to investigate the claim in 2002 but found no such evidence. Despite Wilson’s findings, the uranium allegation was included in Bush’s 2003 State of the Union address claim that Saddam Hussein was obtaining weapons of mass destruction. Shortly after Wilson wrote a Washington Post op-ed, the Bush administration helped to out Wilson’s then-wife, Valerie Plame, as a covert CIA operative. In 2004, Joseph Wilson appeared on Democracy Now!
Joseph Wilson: “The title of my piece is 'What I Did Not Find in Africa.' And what it catalogued was a trip out to Niger at the request of the CIA, acting in response to a question by the vice president to check out allegations that Iraq had attempted to purchase significant quantities of uranium from that country. Now, it was a very important question, because, after all, Iraq would have only one use for uranium. That would be nuclear weapons programs. And that would be the one piece of incontrovertible evidence that he was attempting to reconstitute nuclear weapons programs, which would have lent some credence to the notion that the smoking gun might be a mushroom cloud. I came back. I said there was nothing to this.”
Click here to see our full interview with the late Joseph Wilson. His ex-wife Valerie Plame is now running for Congress in New Mexico.