Sunday, July 13, 2003

CIA warned of Niger docs 3 months before SOTU

As the White House and its supporters try to spin themselves out of the yellowcake scandal -- "it's only one line in the speech!"; "the statement is technically true"; "it's a minor detail"; "Bush didn't pin his war case on Niger docs"; "it's the fault of the Brits"; etc. -- the Washington Post reports that the CIA "successfully intervened with White House officials to have a reference to Iraq seeking uranium from Niger removed from a presidential speech last October, three months before a less specific reference to the same intelligence appeared in the State of the Union address."

The Post continues: "The new disclosure suggests how eager the White House was in January to make Iraq's nuclear program a part of its case against Saddam Hussein even in the face of earlier objections by its own CIA director. It also appears to raise questions about the administration's explanation of how the faulty allegations were included in the State of the Union speech...and as new facts emerge a different picture is being presented than the administration has given to date."

So, the White House can't pass the buck on this one. They knew the Niger docs were dubious, and chose to include the reference because it lent a sense of urgency to their claims that we needed to invade Iraq, and invade soon.