Oh, That Nuclear Program

One thing before I get back to removing old tile:

Comes now a front-page story in The Financial Times by Mark Huband, that international newspaper’s security correspondent, headlined “Intelligence Backs Claims Iraq Had Talks on Uranium.”

Were the documents on which Bush based his charge fake? Yes; though “legal constraints” prevent the F.T. and the Italian magazine Panorama from identifying the suspected forger, the source is reportedly a convicted con man who tried to peddle phony yellowcake papers to several spy services. No wonder everybody belatedly ran from any notion that Iraq sought the uranium product from Niger.

But hold that horselaugh: “Embarrassment on fake documents obscured earlier intelligence that Iraq may have been trying to buy uranium,” notes an F.T. subheading. Huband writes: “Three intelligence services were aware of possible illicit trade in uranium from Niger between 1999 and 2001. Human intelligence . . . had shown Niger officials referring to possible illicit uranium deals with at least five countries, including Iraq. This intelligence provided clues about plans by Libya and Iran to develop their undeclared nuclear programs.”


That’s Bill Safire in today’s NYT. Read the whole thing.


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