The following is an archived copy of a message sent to a Discussion List run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.

Views expressed in this archived message are those of the author, not of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.

[Main archive index/search] [List information] [Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq Homepage]

[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

[casi] CIA Warned Whitehouse That Nuclear Claims Were Untrue

Source: BBC World Service, "White House 'warned over Iraq claim'", 9 July


The CIA warned the US Government that claims about Iraq's nuclear ambitions
were not true months before President Bush used them to make his case for
war, the BBC has learned.

Doubts about a claim that Iraq had tried to buy uranium from the African
state of Niger were aired 10 months before Mr Bush included the allegation
in his key State of the Union address this year, a CIA official has told the

On Tuesday, the White House for the first time officially acknowledged that
the Niger claim was wrong and suggested it should not have been used in the
president's State of the Union speech in January.

But the CIA official has said that a former US diplomat had already
established the claim was false in March 2002 - and that the information had
been passed on to government departments, including the White House, well
before Mr Bush mentioned it in the speech.
Both President Bush and UK Prime Minister Tony Blair mentioned the claim,
based on British intelligence, that Iraq was trying to get uranium from
Niger as part of its attempt to build a nuclear weapons programme.

Mr Blair is under fire from British MPs about the credibility of a dossier
of evidence, which set out his case for war.

And in the US, increasing doubts are being raised about the American use of


In his keynote speech to Congress in January, the President said: "The
British Government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought
significant quantities of uranium from Africa."

But the documents alleging a transaction were found to have been forged.

White House spokesman Ari Fleischer appeared to concede on Tuesday that the
uranium claim in the State of the Union address was based on inaccurate

"The president's statement was based on the predicate of the yellow cake
[uranium] from Niger," Mr Fleischer said.

"So given the fact that the report on the yellow cake did not turn out to be
accurate, that is reflective of the president's broader statement."

But a former US diplomat, Ambassador Joseph Wilson, went on the record at
the weekend to say that he had travelled to Africa to investigate the
uranium claims and found no evidence to support them.

Now the CIA official has told the BBC that Mr Wilson's findings had been
passed onto the White House as early as March 2002.

That means that the administration would have known nearly a year before the
State of the Union address that the information was likely false.

In response, a US Government official told the BBC that the White House
received hundreds of intelligence reports every day.

The official said there was no evidence that this specific cable about
uranium had been passed on to the president.

But in Congress, Democrats are demanding a full investigation into the
intelligence that underpinned the case for war.

They have demanded to know if President Bush used evidence that he knew to
be weak or wrong.


The British Government has stood by its assertion, saying the forged
documents were not the only evidence used to reach its conclusion that
Saddam Hussein tried to buy uranium from Africa.

On Tuesday Mr Blair defended the assessment, telling a committee of MPs that
it was not a "fantasy" and that the intelligence services themselves stood
by the allegation.

"The evidence that we had that the Iraqi Government had gone back to try to
purchase further amounts of uranium from Niger did not come from these
so-called 'forged' documents, they came from separate intelligence," Mr
Blair said.

However, Mr Blair did not specify what that separate intelligence was.


Nathaniel Hurd
Consultant on United Nations Iraq policy
Tel. (Mobile): 917-407-3389
Fax: 718-504-4224
777 United Nations Plaza
Suite 7A
New York, NY  10017

Help STOP SPAM with the new MSN 8 and get 2 months FREE*

Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.
To unsubscribe, visit
To contact the list manager, email
All postings are archived on CASI's website:

[Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq Homepage]