That night, former United States Ambassador Wilson was watching the speech from the studio of a Canadian television network in D.C, where he would be commenting on the speech afterward for French-speaking viewers. When the President reached the anticipated section about Iraq, he listened keenly. And when the President uttered the phrase about the uranium, Wilson felt something wasn't right. The next day he called a former colleague at the State department. The colleague figured that Bush must've been referring to another African country; it couldn't have been Niger he was referring to.
That's because just 12 months earlier Wilson himself had been to Niger to research that very claim, and he had found the likelihood of an Iraq-Niger connection "highly doubtful."
Stranger still, was the fact that the President's office should have known that this information was questionable. Wilson had been sent by the C.I.A. to look into the uranium sales in response to a request from Vice President Dick Cheney's office for the CIA to investigate the link. He'd been chosen for several reasons: as a former diplomat who'd worked under the first President Bush and under President Clinton Wilson had a lengthy list of contacts both around the world and in central Africa. In 1999, he had also gone to Niger to investigate uranium sales. He had been the last American diplomat to meet with Saddam Hussein prior to Hussein's invasion of Kuwait in 1990. And then there was the fact that his wife, Valerie Plame Wilson, was a CIA agent.