The Seattle Times: Nation & World: Filing: Iraq's nuclear plans were disproved before leak
Update at the bottom
The spin intensifies on the latest Plame revelations:
Cheney, in a conversation with Libby in early July 2003, was said to describe Wilson's CIA-sponsored trip to Niger the previous year — in which the envoy found no support for charges that Iraq tried to buy uranium there — as "a junket set up by Mr. Wilson's wife," CIA case officer Valerie Plame.
One striking feature of that decision — unremarked until now, in part because Fitzgerald did not mention it — is that the evidence Cheney and Libby selected to share with reporters had been disproved months before.
The fact is Ambassador Wilson's information actually muddied the water. While he reported that the Iraqi's had not purchase Uranium from Niger, he also reported that they had tried. That hardly proves Iraq's Nuclear program was dead. Additionally while the report mentions that the British Parliamnet found that the report on uranium was not sufficiently credible, a number of other reports found it was. So once again we have selective reporting of the news.
Human Events - 3 European Intelligence Agencies suggest Iraq may have sought Uranium
REPORT ON THE U.S. INTELLIGENCE COMMUNITY'S PREWAR INTELLIGENCE ASSESSMENTS ON IRAQ
(U) Conclusion 13. The report on the former ambassador's trip to Niger, disseminated in March 2002, did not change any analysts' assessments of the Iraq-Niger uranium deal. For most analysts, the information in the report lent more credibility to the original Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) reports on the uranium deal, but State Department Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR) analysts believed that the report supported their assessment that Niger was unlikely to be willing or able to sell uranium to Iraq.
A good leak - Washington Post
The material that Mr. Bush ordered declassified established, as have several subsequent investigations, that Mr. Wilson was the one guilty of twisting the truth. In fact, his report supported the conclusion that Iraq had sought uranium.
The Butler Repor
Conclusion 494. There was further and separate intelligence that in 1999 the Iraqi regime had also made inquiries about the purchase of uranium ore in the Democratic Republic of Congo. In this case, there was some evidence that by 2002 an agreement for a sale had been reached.
Conclusion 499. We conclude that, on the basis of the intelligence assessments at the time, covering both Niger and the Democratic Republic of Congo, the statements on Iraqi attempts to buy uranium from Africa in the Government’s dossier, and by the Prime Minister in the House of Commons, were well-founded. By extension, we conclude also that the statement in President Bush’s State of the Union Address of 28 January 2003 that: "The British Government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa" was well-founded.
Conclusion 503. From our examination of the intelligence and other material on Iraqi attempts to buy uranium from Africa, we have concluded that:
a. It is accepted by all parties that Iraqi officials visited Niger in 1999.
b. The British Government had intelligence from several different sources indicating that this visit was for the purpose of acquiring uranium. Since uranium constitutes almost three-quarters of Niger’s exports, the intelligence was credible.
c. The evidence was not conclusive that Iraq actually purchased, as opposed to having sought, uranium, and the British Government did not claim this.
d. The forged documents were not available to the British Government at the time its assessment was made, and so the fact of the forgery does not undermine it.
Although sources other than the Niger documents are mentioned, no evidence of this is advanced.
But ultimately it doesnt matter the press isn't responsible to anyone so they can print any crap they want.
Update: Powerline has more on this, specifically in regards to the NY Times version of this article:
Note that these stories show what we all know: the release of the NIE report was part of an attempt to quell the political uproar that was starting to build over what Bush did and did not know before the war. The stories also show that the leak, while criticized for being "selective," included the State Department minority opinion -- material more than sufficient for most MSM stories written after the briefing to be negative!
The only new element of the story that was added last week via Patrick Fitzgerald's brief is that President Bush, according to Cheney according to Libby, authorized the release of the NIE report ten days earlier than the July 18 briefing that was widely reported, and that they disclosed it to Judith Miller, who didn't write about it. On the contrary, however, today's New York Times story reports that Bush only authorized the declassification and release of the NIE report, not the manner of its disclosure specifically to Judith Miller on July 8. Nevertheless, Kenneth Bazinet's representative New York Daily News story that I wrote about here on Saturday reports, for example, that Fitzgerald's probe uncovered Bush's role in the "leak" of the NIE. Yet the Knight Ridder headline on July 19, 2003 was: "Bush Releases Excerpts of Top-Secret Iraq Report."
One of the things that is really pissing me off about this is the continued reference to the "White House leak effort". In my mind a leak is an unauthorized disclosure of material, but this was authorized so I dont think it should be refered to as a leak.
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