Wednesday, January 18, 2006

New Evidence of Uranium Lies By Administration

The Bush administration lies about the fictional Iraqi attempt to buy uranium from the African nation of Niger is again in the news. Today's New York Times has details of a heretofore unknown product from the most highly regarded intelligence shop in Washington.

The State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR) issued a classified study in early 2002 that concluded that no such attempt was made. The administration knew about the truth of the matter a year before Bush's infamous 2003 State of the Union speech in which he declared that Iraq was actively attempting to obtain uranium in Africa.

The report said that the purchase "was "unlikely" because of a host of economic, diplomatic and logistical obstacles."

Among other problems that made such a sale improbable, the assessment by the State Department's intelligence analysts concluded, was that it would have required Niger to send "25 hard-to-conceal 10-ton tractor-trailers" filled with uranium across 1,000 miles and at least one international border...

A handful of news reports, along with the Robb-Silberman report last year on intelligence failures in Iraq, have previously made reference to the early doubts expressed by the State Department's bureau of intelligence and research in 2002 concerning the reliability of the Iraq-Niger uranium link.

But the intelligence assessment itself - including the analysts' full arguments in raising wide-ranging doubts about the credence of the uranium claim - was only recently declassified as part of a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit brought by Judicial Watch, a conservative legal group that has sought access to government documents on terrorism and intelligence matters. The group, which received a copy of the 2002 memo among several hundred pages of other documents, provided a copy of the memo to The New York Times.

The existance of such early doubts casts a new light upon the administration's interlocking webs of scandal, including the unjustified invasion of Iraq and the Valerie Plame case. The distribution of the study to the highest levels of government indicates that the leadership was lying and not simply uninformed about one of the central allegations that they used to con the nation into going along with their war of profit.

The memo, dated March 4, 2002, was distributed at senior levels by the office of Secretary of State Colin Powell and by the Defense Intelligence Agency.

A Bush administration official, who requested anonymity because the issue involved partly classified documents, would not say whether President Bush had seen the State Department's memo before his State of the Union address on Jan. 28, 2003.

The apologists are out in full form:

But the official added: "The White House is not an intelligence-gathering operation. The president based his remarks in the State of the Union address on the intelligence that was presented to him by the intelligence community and cleared by the intelligence community. The president has said the intelligence was wrong, and we have reorganized our intelligence agencies so we can do better in the future."

It doesn't sound to me like the intelligence was wrong.


Blogger DrewL said...

No wonder Colin Powell has been so conflicted about his UN speech. He basically lied, and perhaps did so knowingly - although he claims otherwise now. Maybe the administration had something on him or just did an incredible sell job on him. Either way, Powell's credibility likely is shot. It would be nice if he would step up and call out the administration on all of this nonsense. Perhaps, one day, he will.

1/18/2006 7:05 PM  
Blogger Effwit said...

Drew L:

The U.N. speech was certainly not one of Colin Powell's finest moments.

Remember that George Tenet and John Negroponte were seated directly behind him.

The talking heads at the time were saying that Tenet was there to show the rest of the world that we had "high confidence" in the intelligence info that Powell was putting forward.

It turned out to be the crowning act of the performance being put on by the confidence men in the administration.

1/18/2006 8:00 PM  

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