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Sunday, April 09, 2006 

Last night I called attention at Daily Kos to a remarkable claim in this Sunday's Washington Post. The front-page article refers to an unpublished, and presumably classified, document the White House received in January 2003, apparently before the now infamous State of the Union Address on Jan. 28. This memo states unequivocally that reports alleging Iraq sought to buy uranium from Niger are "baseless and should be laid to rest."

That is precisely what the Bush administration did not do in the run up to war. I would be another six months before they finally admitted the obvious about the Niger claims (without however acknowledging the existence of this memo). It's a bit surprising that this revelation has not gotten more attention. So far, I've seen only Kevin Drum pick up the obvious importance of this memo, buried as it is inside a story about the Plame affair.

Anyhow, I suppose it's our job to help the story along. Here is the Washington Post:

Tenet interceded to keep the claim out of a speech Bush gave in Cincinnati on Oct. 7, 2002, but by Dec. 19 it reappeared in a State Department "fact sheet." After that, the Pentagon asked for an authoritative judgment from the National Intelligence Council, the senior coordinating body for the 15 agencies that then constituted the U.S. intelligence community. Did Iraq and Niger discuss a uranium sale, or not? If they had, the Pentagon would need to reconsider its ties with Niger.

The council's reply, drafted in a January 2003 memo by the national intelligence officer for Africa, was unequivocal: The Niger story was baseless and should be laid to rest. Four U.S. officials with firsthand knowledge said in interviews that the memo, which has not been reported before, arrived at the White House as Bush and his highest-ranking advisers made the uranium story a centerpiece of their case for the rapidly approaching war against Iraq.

There's no getting around it, yet another potentially explosive revelation that George Bush knowingly misled the nation about the evidence for Iraqi WMD as he rushed headlong to war. Will the media report on this memo?

Crossposted at Inconvenient News

 posted by smintheus  # 5:15 PM  
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