"Wilson's mission was created after an early 2002 report by the Italian intelligence service about attempted uranium purchases from Niger, derived from forged documents prepared by what the CIA calls a "con man." This misinformation, peddled by Italian journalists, spread through the U.S. government. The White House, State Department and Pentagon, and not just Vice President Dick Cheney, asked the CIA to look into it."
The forged documents did not make their way to the White House by way of a few journalists peddling misinformation. The forgeries ended up in the hands of the same people who were responsible for their origin, officials at the highest level of Bush administration.
On August 1 and 2, 2004, both the Sunday Times and Financial Times in the UK reported that a con-man by the name of Rocco Martino admitted that he was involved in disseminating the false stories and documents but said the US and Italian governments were behind the disinformation operation.
"It's true, I had a hand in the dissemination of those documents," Martino said, "but I was duped."
"Both Americans and Italians were involved behind the scenes," he said. "It was a disinformation operation."
In July 2005, an Italian parliamentary report was issued on the forged documents and listed the 4 men likely involved as: Michael Ledeen, Dewey Clarridge (CIA operative in Iran-Contra Affair), Ahmed Chalabi, and Francis Brookes (member of a "public relations" body formed by the Pentagon to promote Chalabi and the Iraqi National Congress).
The report said the forgeries may have been planned at a meeting in Rome in December 2001, attended by Ledeen and Larry Franklin.
Franklin is the Pentagon Iran analyst who earned a lengthily prison sentence last year for passing classified information to former officials with the pro-Israel lobby group AIPAC. Franklin worked closely with Paul Wolfowitz and Douglas Feith in the Office of Special Plans whose main purpose was to manufacture bogus intelligence to bolster the case for war.
On April 12, 2005, the Al Jazeera news organization reported that when the former CIA head of counter-terrorism, Vincent Cannistaro, was asked whether Michael Ledeen had been the one who produced the forged documents, he replied, "You'd be very close."
In holding off on charging Rove, it may just be that Fitzgerald is looking at much bigger fish to fry. On October 23, 2005, UPI editor Martin Walker cited "NATO intelligence sources" as saying, "Fitzgerald's team of investigators has sought and obtained documentation on the forgeries from the Italian government. "
The special prosecutor's team is said to have been provided with the full report on the Italian parliamentary inquiry into the forgeries.
"This opens the door to what has always been the most serious implication of the CIA leak case, " UPI explains, "that the Bush administration could face a brutally damaging and public inquiry into the case for war against Iraq being false or artificially exaggerated."
With any luck, Fitzgerald will do the right thing and file criminal charges against all of the high-level officials involved in the fabrication and dissemination of bogus intelligence that convinced Americans to allow Bush to wage the ill-fated war against Iraq. Hopefully, starting with the guy sitting in the oval office.