Take that permanent smirk off your face, Ambassador (and the look of martyrdom as well, while you are at it). It seems that your contacts in the Niger Ministry of Mines—the ones that your wife told the CIA made you such a good choice for the trip—didn't rate you highly enough to tell you about the Zahawie visit. It would, interestingly, have been a name you already knew. But you didn't even get as far as having to explain it away—or not until last week—because you were that far in the dark. It was left to Italian, French, and British intelligence to discover the suggestive fact and transmit it to Washington. And it's been left to someone else, most probably in the Niger embassy in Rome, to produce a much later fabrication, either for gain or in order to discredit a true story. The forged account has no bearing at all on the authentic one: It bears the same relationship as a fake $100 bill does to a genuine bill. The rip-off remake movie, "Mr. Wilson Goes to Niger," now playing to packed houses of the credulous everywhere, has precisely the same relationship to its own original.
From Slate: Clueless Joe Wilson
See also this by Hitchens: Sorry everyone, but Iraq did go uranium shopping in Niger.
Gee, i wonder if any of those hard-nosed journalists at ABC will ask Joe about this when they take him to dinner?
UPDATE: Transcript of recent interview with Hitchens.