Friday, July 18, 2003

Spinning out of control

So this came out today:

The State Department received copies of what would turn out to be forged documents suggesting that Iraq tried to purchase uranium oxide from Niger three months before the president's State of the Union address, administration officials said.

The documents, which officials said appeared to be of "dubious authenticity," were distributed to the CIA and other agencies within days. But the U.S. government waited four months to turn them over to United Nations weapons inspectors who had been demanding to see evidence of U.S. and British claims that Iraq's attempted purchase of uranium oxide violated U.N. resolutions and was among the reasons to go to war. State Department officials could not say yesterday why they did not turn over the documents when the inspectors asked for them in December.

The administration, facing increased criticism over the claims it made about Iraq's attempts to buy uranium, had said until now that it did not have the documents before the State of the Union speech...

"We acquired the documents in October of 2002, and they were shared widely within the U.S. government, with all the appropriate agencies in various ways," State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said yesterday...

A senior intelligence official said the agency did not consider the documents revelatory because they contained the same information, from other sources, already in intelligence reports. But in hindsight, the official said, "we failed to see the signals" that would have indicated they were forged.

Another intelligence official said "the documents were such a minor point of analysis for anyone" because the information was not deemed reliable.

On Feb. 4, the U.N. inspectors' Iraq team was called to the U.S. mission in Vienna and verbally briefed on the contents of the documents. A day later, they received copies, according to officials familiar with the inspectors' work.

Using the Google Internet search engine, books on Niger and interviews with Iraqi and Nigerien officials, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) experts determined that the documents were fake. (Italics Nitpicker's)

Get that? We had this info for months, it was circulated throughout the administration, it was sloppily forged by someone who didn't even fake the right signature and, if they had even bothered to use Google to check it, the Bushies would have known it was all bullshit. So, either they knew it was crap and kept it from the U.N. in order to use it as a dinner bell for the Pavlovian dogs of war or they're completely, utterly, undeniably incompetent.

Either way, should they be running the country?


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