Flawed Uranium Intelligence Came From Forged Documents Sold to Italians

Czar

Lifer
Oct 9, 1999
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http://abcnews.go.com/sections/wnt/US/uranium030715_docs.html

July 15? The most sophisticated intelligence operation in the world was fooled by a low-level diplomat from Africa, intelligence sources told ABCNEWS.

For nearly a week, the Bush administration has been trying to explain how it came to pass that President Bush, in his State of the Union speech, erroneously claimed that Saddam Hussein was trying to get uranium in Africa.

The president said Monday the main thrust of his case for the Iraq war is, and was, accurate. "The speeches I have given were backed by good intelligence," he said. "And I am absolutely convinced today, like I was convinced when I gave the speeches, that Saddam Hussein developed a program of weapons of mass destruction."

President Bush's claim about Saddam Hussein's seeking uranium from Africa was just one part of his case for war, albeit a very important one.

However, the intelligence debacle grew out of a scam when an underpaid African diplomat who was stationed in Rome created bogus documents, which he then sold to the Italian secret service, sources said.

The Italians officially deny the sale, but intelligence sources told ABCNEWS the fake documents were produced in late 2001 in Rome, in a building that houses the tiny embassy of Niger.
 

308nato

Platinum Member
Feb 10, 2002
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intelligence sources told ABCNEWS.....sources said...... but intelligence sources told ABCNEWS .......



Ahhh, the proverbial unnamed intelligence source.

 

Gaard

Diamond Member
Feb 17, 2002
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I think I've read where these forged documents were an 'obvious' forgery. I'm just wondering if they're available to read...just curious. They are forgeries afterall, what harm can it do.
 

Czar

Lifer
Oct 9, 1999
28,510
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Originally posted by: 308nato
intelligence sources told ABCNEWS.....sources said...... but intelligence sources told ABCNEWS .......



Ahhh, the proverbial unnamed intelligence source.
yeah, sounds very very weak
 

etech

Lifer
Oct 9, 1999
10,597
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Originally posted by: Czar
http://abcnews.go.com/sections/wnt/US/uranium030715_docs.html

July 15? The most sophisticated intelligence operation in the world was fooled by a low-level diplomat from Africa, intelligence sources told ABCNEWS.

For nearly a week, the Bush administration has been trying to explain how it came to pass that President Bush, in his State of the Union speech, erroneously claimed that Saddam Hussein was trying to get uranium in Africa.

The president said Monday the main thrust of his case for the Iraq war is, and was, accurate. "The speeches I have given were backed by good intelligence," he said. "And I am absolutely convinced today, like I was convinced when I gave the speeches, that Saddam Hussein developed a program of weapons of mass destruction."

President Bush's claim about Saddam Hussein's seeking uranium from Africa was just one part of his case for war, albeit a very important one.

However, the intelligence debacle grew out of a scam when an underpaid African diplomat who was stationed in Rome created bogus documents, which he then sold to the Italian secret service, sources said.

The Italians officially deny the sale, but intelligence sources told ABCNEWS the fake documents were produced in late 2001 in Rome, in a building that houses the tiny embassy of Niger.
"For nearly a week, the Bush administration has been trying to explain how it came to pass that President Bush, in his State of the Union speech, erroneously claimed that Saddam Hussein was trying to get uranium in Africa. "

Would anyone care to post the exact quote that Pres. Bush used in his speech?

Was what he said true or false?

 

Hayabusa Rider

Admin Emeritus & Elite Member
Jan 26, 2000
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There was a great deal the CIA did not swallow, but Tenet made it look like they did. It worked.
 

etech

Lifer
Oct 9, 1999
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Originally posted by: WinstonSmith
There was a great deal the CIA did not swallow, but Tenet made it look like they did. It worked.
What exactly? Details please.

 

Bowfinger

Lifer
Nov 17, 2002
15,776
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Originally posted by: Gaard
I think I've read where these forged documents were an 'obvious' forgery. I'm just wondering if they're available to read...just curious. They are forgeries afterall, what harm can it do.
I don't think it had a copy of the documents, but I read an article that quoted people within the IAEA. They said that they were easy to detect as forgeries for multiple reasons including letterhead that was from the wrong time period, Niger officals listed with titles they never held, and Niger officials listed with titles they didn't hold during the dates of the documents.

I think it also mentioned that it had at least one official in the wrong role, i.e., the person listed as the (whatever) was neither the person who performed that duty, nor was his forged title the appropriate title for the person who performed that duty. For example, it listed Joe Smith as the seller, and gave his title as Secretary of Transportation, when in fact the seller in these transactions would be Bill Jones, Secretary of Commerce. (I hope it's obvious that I made up the details in the example. The article gave the specifics, but I don't remember the details.)

Sorry, don't have the link. It was a month or two ago.
 

BaliBabyDoc

Lifer
Jan 20, 2001
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For starters, the October claim was apparently identical to the original SOTU speech. CIA insisted it be removed and Bush gave the Cinncinnati speech without it. For the SOTU someone put it in again. The CIA objected again. Someone did a rewrite highlighting British intelligence. The CIA winced but said it was close enough for government work.

There's a certain lack of clarity in this situation b/c no one has taken credit for placing these items in the President's speeches. Inquiring minds want to know.
 

etech

Lifer
Oct 9, 1999
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Had Iraq ever obtained uranium from an African country and was the Niger document the only evidence that Iraq might be attempting to do so again?
 

Hayabusa Rider

Admin Emeritus & Elite Member
Jan 26, 2000
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Originally posted by: etech
Had Iraq ever obtained uranium from an African country and was the Niger document the only evidence that Iraq might be attempting to do so again?
Ever? Careful, that is a dangerous word.

Saddam once had a nuke program, but as BBD said the CIA decided it had nothing to back up the STOU claims. Perhaps Bush has double uber secret documentation that the intel agencies havent access to.
 

manly

Diamond Member
Jan 25, 2000
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Originally posted by: BaliBabyDoc
For starters, the October claim was apparently identical to the original SOTU speech. CIA insisted it be removed and Bush gave the Cinncinnati speech without it. For the SOTU someone put it in again. The CIA objected again. Someone did a rewrite highlighting British intelligence. The CIA winced but said it was close enough for government work.

There's a certain lack of clarity in this situation b/c no one has taken credit for placing these items in the President's speeches. Inquiring minds want to know.
And then, Condi Rice (if not her, then someone else in the NSC) pressed Tenet to fall on his own sword and plead mea culpa. Publicly, Ari Fleisher says the decision for Tenet to apologize was "mutually" reached. Matter "closed", in the eyes of the leak-proof administration.

And yes, the IAEA report denouncing this intel claim as an obvious forgery was outed in March. I'm sure you can read all about it in all major newspaper archives. Personally, I'm surprised CNN et al even give a damn after so long. Funny that no news is big news.

Didn't Bush make another nebulous claim in the SOTU that Iraq had drones that could in theory strike Americans with chemical WMD (the implication is noteworthy IMO), then soon after clarified that those drones had a range only in the hundreds of km, not thousands? There's a whole trail of possibly overhyped intelligence, of course much of it we'll never see, but this Niger story is but one example.

Finally, the fake intel was apparently good enough for the most important speech of the year by the President, but not good enough for Colin Powell's February address to the (irrelevant?) U.N.?
 

Bowfinger

Lifer
Nov 17, 2002
15,776
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Originally posted by: manly
Didn't Bush make another nebulous claim in the SOTU that Iraq had drones that could in theory strike Americans with chemical WMD (the implication is noteworthy IMO), then soon after clarified that those drones had a range only in the hundreds of km, not thousands? There's a whole trail of possibly overhyped intelligence, of course much of it we'll never see, but this Niger story is but one example.
That was in earlier speeches, maybe part of the first big push in October.
 

Lonyo

Lifer
Aug 10, 2002
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Originally posted by: etech
Had Iraq ever obtained uranium from an African country and was the Niger document the only evidence that Iraq might be attempting to do so again?

Tony Blair said earlier today words to the effect that: Iraw had previously purchased (hundereds?) of tonnes of uranium from Niger in the past, and therefore it was reasonable to assume they might have done it again to give them the ability to PRODUCE weaponds of mass destruction.

The British PM seems to be moving away from Iraq having WMD, but rather having the ability to produce them.
 

phillyTIM

Golden Member
Jan 12, 2001
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sure, both blair and bush are changing their stories as a matter of convenience; their rock-solid evidence turned out to be nothing, they bombed the hell out of a country and killed thousands of people and now cause american service people to die almost daily, so they need to justify all of this in some way. so they will change their reasoning to compensate for their lack-of "rock-solid evidence" they justified this invasion on.

what a farce and joker we have running america
 

Lonyo

Lifer
Aug 10, 2002
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Lynne Jones asked about claims that Saddam had tried to buy uranium from Niger. She asked confusion over the claim was a breach of resolution 1441.

Mr Blair said he stood by his comments on the claims - saying UK intelligence was not based on forged documents, unlike the US evidence.
From Prime Ministers Questions today (12:00pm UK time). Apparently the UK stuff was fine, but the US stuff wasn't.
Sounds like covering your a$$ to me, and of course, lies, as everyone knows, you cannot believe a word Tony Blair says.
 

Czar

Lifer
Oct 9, 1999
28,510
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Originally posted by: Lonyo
Originally posted by: etech
Had Iraq ever obtained uranium from an African country and was the Niger document the only evidence that Iraq might be attempting to do so again?

Tony Blair said earlier today words to the effect that: Iraw had previously purchased (hundereds?) of tonnes of uranium from Niger in the past, and therefore it was reasonable to assume they might have done it again to give them the ability to PRODUCE weaponds of mass destruction.

The British PM seems to be moving away from Iraq having WMD, but rather having the ability to produce them.
thats stupid
extremly stupid, I would have expected more from Blair

 

Lonyo

Lifer
Aug 10, 2002
21,939
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You need to reevaluate your opinion of Blair, he fails to answer any question on a major issue directly, he didges the question or makes a vague comment. He is trying to lead the public into believing the war was justified because of evidence Iraq may have been able to produce weapons of mass destruction rather than the idea there was an immidiate threat. He has got into a hole by going into the war and now is desprerately trying to get out of it. 2/3 of the British public, apparently, don't trust him.
I expect nothing from him at all except possibly lies or avoidance.

So, it's what all politicians do, thus you shouldn't expect anything of Blair.
 

BaliBabyDoc

Lifer
Jan 20, 2001
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I really think Bush and Blair should cut their losses and reveal whatever intelligence they have. For the Bushies it will extend all the way back to the PNAC in 1991 to the initial reaction after 9/11 to lay blame on Iraq. You can easily make a case for a humanitarian invasion of Iraq (which Blair often mentioned in late Feb into March). They should just tell the truth . . . IMHO that Iraq was not an imminent threat but Bush knew that fear mongerering would garner votes and power at home while Blair would come under withering criticism as to why this humanitarian debacle wasn't corrected during his first term.

You cannot argue the primary reason for invasion was humanitarian when Bush had 2 years in office and Blair had over 6. Unfortunately, US/UK actions in postwar Iraq also belie the notion of universal benevolence.
 

Miramonti

Lifer
Aug 26, 2000
28,651
98
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I think I got a document from the same source.

the email said they wanted me to help channel millions into a nigerian bank account and I'd get 30%, all I need to give them is my bank account numbers. :D
 

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