PLAME UPDATE….The Washington Post follows up today on the infamous State Department memo about Joe Wilson’s trip to Niger. It’s pretty similar to the Wall Street Journal’s Tuesday story on the memo, but it’s a little clearer about what the memo said and who saw it:

A classified State Department memorandum central to a federal leak investigation contained information about CIA officer Valerie Plame in a paragraph marked “(S)” for secret, a clear indication that any Bush administration official who read it should have been aware the information was classified, according to current and former government officials.

….The memo was delivered to Secretary of State Colin L. Powell on July 7, 2003, as he headed to Africa for a trip with President Bush aboard Air Force One. Plame was unmasked in a syndicated column by Robert D. Novak seven days later.

….Several other administration officials were on the trip to Africa, including senior adviser Dan Bartlett, then-White House spokesman Ari Fleischer and others. Bartlett’s attorney has refused to discuss the case, citing requests by the special counsel. Fleischer could not be reach for comment yesterday.

As a sidelight, it turns out that even the State Department thought Wilson’s trip to Niger was a dumb idea. They had a slightly different objection than the hawks, though. They opposed the trip because their own investigations “already had disproved the allegation that Iraq was seeking uranium from Niger.”

That was February 2002. Even then the State Department knew that the whole uranium business was bogus, and for the next year they kept repeating that to anyone who would listen. Unfortunately, no one wanted to listen.

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