Bush's Uranium Claim Gets Some Support
...A British report concluded that Bush's statement and a similar one by Prime Minister Tony Blair (search) were "well-founded." In his speech, Bush had attributed the uranium claim to the British government.
A Senate Intelligence Committee report found inadequate evidence that deposed Iraqi President Saddam had been rebuilding his nuclear weapons program. It cited various reports, however, that Iraq had sought uranium in Africa. Thus, although Bush cited only British evidence that was determined to have been inconclusive, other intelligence files clearly contained other inconclusive evidence of the truth of the claim...
...Bush, in his State of the Union address on Jan. 28, 2003, used the uranium intelligence to help make the case that Saddam was pursuing nuclear weapons. "The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa," he said.
That claim came under scrutiny after the International Atomic Energy Agency determined that documents purportedly showing Iraq buying uranium from Niger were fake. After Wilson's op-ed appeared, the White House said including the 16 words in the State of the Union was a mistake because the assertion was not well enough corroborated to merit mention in a State of the Union speech. The British have maintain consistently that their intelligence was not based on the forged documents.
But the Senate committee disclosed other intelligence suggesting that Iraq was pursuing uranium.
The committee cited separate reports received from foreign intelligence services on Oct. 15, 2001, and Feb. 5, 2002, and March 25, 2002. The State Department doubted the accuracy of the reports, but the CIA and Defense Intelligence Agency had more confidence in them.
Though Wilson reported to U.S. officials there was "nothing to the story" that Niger sold uranium to Iraq, the CIA and DIA were intrigued by one element of his trip. Wilson had said a former prime minister of Niger, Ibrahim Mayaki, mentioned a visit from an Iraqi delegation in 1999 that expressed interest in expanding commercial ties with Niger, the world's third largest producer of mined uranium. Mayaki believed this meant they were interested in buying uranium.
The British inquiry said it was generally accepted that Iraqi officials visited Niger in 1999, and there was intelligence from several sources that the visit was to acquire uranium. "Since uranium constitutes almost three-quarters of Niger's exports, the intelligence was credible," the report said.
The Senate committee also described various reports about Iraqi attempts to buy uranium from French, British and unidentified foreign governments...
backs up everything I said. thx.