'Compelling Evidence' of Iraq Weapons Cited in Report

David McDonald dbmcdonald at comcast.net
Fri Jul 18 15:16:10 MDT 2003


The Times is still participating in the cover-up of the lies about WMDs, as
shown in the following quote from the full article below:

>The report cites "high confidence" within the intelligence community that
"Iraq could make a nuclear weapon in months to a year once it acquires
sufficient weapons-grade fissile material."<

So what's wrong with this? Most countries and most physics graduate students
with access to modern machine shop tools could create a nuclear weapon "in
months to a year" once weapons-grade fissile material is given. But the
point is that it's not.

Getting the fissile material and processing it into weapons-grade material
is 99.9% of the job of making a nuke. It is anything but easy. It requires a
gigantic infrastructure, huge amounts of power, and is generally not
accomplishable by graduate students, unless they are running countries.
There are entire dams and electrical generating systems devoted to producing
sufficient power to reprocess uranium in the United States. Some of these
facilities are probably visible from the moon. So the "high confidence" in
the quoted sentence is confidence in a tautology.

I know this. You probably know this. The writers and the editors at the AP
and the NYTimes ought to know this. You should be getting the skinny on the
extra, incidental lies like this in this report from them, not from me.

David McDonald


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July 18, 2003

By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS


ASHINGTON (AP) -- An intelligence assessment last October cites "compelling
evidence" that Saddam Hussein was attempting to reconstitute a
nuclear-weapons program, according to documents released Friday by the White
House.

Mounting a campaign to counter criticism that it used flawed intelligence to
justify war with Iraq, the White House made public excerpts of the
intelligence community's October 2002 National Intelligence Estimate. That
report helped shaped now-challenged comments by President Bush in his State
of the Union address that Iraq was attempting to buy uranium in Africa.

The report asserts that Baghdad "if left unchecked...probably will have a
nuclear weapon during this decade."

It also cites unsubstantiated reports that Iraq was trying to buy uranium
from three African countries: Niger, Somalia and "possibly" Congo.

The White House sought to bolster its case as U.S. officials said that
documents alleging Iraq sought uranium from Africa were obtained months
before Bush cited them in making his case for war. But intelligence analysts
did not look at them closely enough to know they were forgeries until after
Bush had made the claim, U.S. officials say.

Bush in his State of the Union address in January asserted that, "The
British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought
significant quantities of uranium from Africa."

However, while the British government has stood by the assertion, U.S.
officials, including CIA Director George Tenet, have subsequently challenged
the allegation -- which was based at least in part on forged documents --
and have said it should not have been included in Bush's speech.

The intelligence assessment is put together by all the agencies in the
intelligence community, with the CIA overseeing the presentation of the
report.

The report cites "high confidence" within the intelligence community that
"Iraq could make a nuclear weapon in months to a year once it acquires
sufficient weapons-grade fissile material."

Under the category of "moderate confidence," the report states that "Iraq
does not yet have a nuclear weapon or sufficient material to make one but is
likely to have a weapon by 2007 to 2009."

A senior administration official briefed reporters at the White House on the
document and sought to explain how the information it included provided, in
part, the basis for comments made by Bush in his State of the Union address.

As a result of the flap, the White House pledged to redouble efforts to make
certain that questionable material did not find its way into presidential
speeches.

The material released by the White House also included a "footnote" by the
State Department that said "claims of Iraqi pursuit of natural uranium in
Africa are...highly dubious."

On Thursday, U.S. officials offered new information which suggested a
disconnect between the CIA and the State Department over the handling of
what turned out to be a crucial but faulty piece of intelligence -- the
forged documents -- used to make the Bush administration's case for war.

Officials acknowledged that had U.S. intelligence analyzed the documents
sooner, they could have discovered the forgeries before the information was
used as fodder for Bush administration statements vilifying Iraq.

The State Department said it obtained the documents in the fall of 2002, but
intelligence officials said the CIA didn't get them until the following
February. The State Department said it made them available to other agencies
in the government shortly after acquiring them; officials could not explain
why the CIA did not get copies of them sooner.

The U.S. Embassy in Rome obtained the documents, which purported to show
contacts between officials in Iraq and Niger over the transfer of uranium,
from a journalist there in October 2002, officials said. They were shown to
CIA personnel in Rome and sent to State Department headquarters in
Washington. But the CIA's station in Rome did not forward them to CIA
headquarters outside Washington, where they would have been analyzed.

"We acquired the documents in October 2002 and they were shared widely
within the U.S. government, with all the appropriate agencies," said State
Department spokesman Richard Boucher. Those agencies included the CIA,
another U.S. official said.

But an intelligence official said the CIA didn't obtain the documents from
the State Department until February 2003. The official suggested analyzing
the documents was not a top priority at the time because the CIA had already
investigated their substance.

The CIA only got the documents to respond to a request from the United
Nations, the intelligence official said. U.N. officials, trying to run a
weapons inspections regime in Iraq, asked for evidence behind the allegation
in Bush's Jan. 28 speech that "the British government has learned that
Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from
Africa."

The CIA provided them to the United Nations. U.N. officials announced in
early March the documents were fakes, and the CIA concurred, the
intelligence official said.

The Italian government, which also obtained a copy of the documents, had
passed on their contents -- but not their source -- to the CIA several
months earlier. The CIA had sent a retired diplomat to Africa to investigate
but found little to substantiate the claim that Iraq had sought uranium from
Niger.

Still, the CIA included the claim, with a note that it was unconfirmed, in
the October 2002 National Intelligence Estimate, the classified document
that summarized information on Iraq's weapons programs.

The estimate also noted the U.S. government had other, "fragmentary"
intelligence suggesting that Iraq sought uranium for its nuclear weapons
program in Somalia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Despite the uncertainties, Bush administration officials tried repeatedly to
use this information in speeches and statements. The CIA protested several
times as the statements were being prepared, but the Niger claim made it
into a State Department fact sheet in December, and the more general Africa
claim was used in the president's State of the Union address.



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