Many on the right claim that the Bush administration launched a smear campaign against Joe Wilson because his claims were false and they needed to set the record straight. The opposite is true. Wilson’s core conclusion – that intelligence “was twisted to exaggerate the Iraqi threat” – was correct.
The truth is Joe Wilson was smeared for a reason much larger than himself. Wilson was smeared because the administration knew if whistle-blowers were able to speak freely, their justification for war would fall apart.
Their fears were well-founded. Wilson put into motion a series of events that were not only politically damaging but began to expose how the nation was misled into war. In the days immediately following Wilson’s op-ed:
- Bush officials admitted their intelligence on uranium was a lie
- Congress was calling for an investigation
- the intelligence on the aluminum tubes (the other half of the nuclear argument) was falling apart
- the nation’s leading newspapers and television shows were headlining the story that the Bush administration had misled us into war
Think Progress has chronicled the two weeks following the release of Joe Wilson’s op-ed that demonstrate why his claims represented such a threat to the administration. Read our report here.