Sometimes is takes a while for the pieces to drop into place.
When Cheney said he didn't know Joe Wilson I knew he was lying, but I didn't know why I knew. I knew my reaction was deeper that "they attacked Wilson, so Cheney had to know". That would be my surface reaction, but I KNEW Cheney and Wilson were acquainted.
It finally came to me: Gulf War I.
Cheney was the Secretary of Defense under G.H.W. Bush for the first Gulf War and he was so involved that he went to Saudi Arabia to watch the build up and launch of the war.
At the time, Joe Wilson was number 2 in the Baghdad embassy under April Gillespie. At the start of the war Ms. Gillespie was out of the country and Wilson was the highest ranking American official in Iraq. Wilson would have been the main source of information on the official position of the Iraqi government and about conditions in Baghdad. Bush I cited him for bravery in dealing with Saddam.
Cheney and Schwartzkopf would have been on the address list for Wilson's reports and the reports would have been featured in the daily intelligence briefings. Wilson would have been the channel to Saddam to arrange the end of the war.
There is no way I can accept that Cheney didn't know a major player in the most important event in his political life before he ran for Vice President.
Does anyone believe that a Secretary of Defense doesn't know the name of the highest American official in a country we are about to invade?