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Iraq, Niger And Uranium: Bush's `16 Words' Based On Credible Evidence
Fort Wayne.com - The News Sentinal ^ | 4/18/06

Posted on 04/18/2006 6:03:55 AM PDT by areafiftyone

Much of the media has characterized the Iraq-uranium story as false or discredited, even though the Senate Intelligence Committee and a British investigation concluded that the 16 words may well have had a sound basis.

Last week there was another fuss about the famous 16 words in President Bush's 2003 State of the Union Address: "The British Government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa."

A running battle over that passage has taken place in Washington since the invasion of Iraq and the failure to find Hussein's weapons of mass destruction.

Much of the media has characterized the Iraq-uranium story as false or discredited, even though the Senate Intelligence Committee and a British investigation concluded that the 16 words may well have had a sound basis.

The latest flap was triggered by revelations that Bush authorized the selective release of intelligence reports to discredit an administration critic, former Ambassador Joseph Wilson.

Wilson was sent by the CIA to Niger in an attempt to validate reports that Hussein was trying to buy uranium there.

Later, Wilson publicly dismissed the Iraq-uranium reports and accused Bush of lying. Naturally, the White House sought to undermine his version of the story.

The U.S. intelligence community was extremely leery of the Iraq-uranium report. Then-CIA Director George Tenet discounted it. State Department intelligence experts called it "dubious." And then-Deputy National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley took "responsibility" for including the passage in the president's address.

The notion that the 16-word passage was utterly baseless has since become embedded in the conventional wisdom, and the stories I read last week all reflected that belief. None mentioned the British investigation or the findings of the Senate panel, which came to different conclusions.

Are these reports now discredited? The news stories don't say. Instead, those reports are simply ignored - even though their conclusions are material facts in the debate over the 16 words.

For example, a Washington Post story said the Iraq-uranium-Africa notion had been "disproved months before." The United Nations, the paper said, discovered that the "main evidence" was tied to forgeries.

The New York Times was slightly more circumspect. Much of the information about Hussein's "search for uranium was questionable at best," it said.

A Knight Ridder story appearing in The Kansas City Star said flatly that the administration's claim "proved to be false."

Yet in addition to his public comments, Wilson gave an oral report to the CIA about his findings in Niger. As FactCheck.org noted, "Ironically ... Wilson, who later called Bush's 16 words a `lie,' supplied information that the Central Intelligence Agency took as confirmation that Iraq may indeed have been seeking uranium from Niger."

Wilson said he'd been told by a former Nigerien prime minister that Iraq was seeking expanded "commercial relations." According to a CIA analysis, the former prime minister took that as meaning the Iraqis "wanted to discuss uranium yellowcake sales."

After it was learned that part of the Iraq-uranium story was tied to forgeries, the CIA changed its thinking. But the forgeries weren't the story's only basis, and FactCheck.org observed that both the British investigation and the Senate panel's report "make clear that Bush's 16 words weren't based on the fake documents."

The British investigation was conducted by a panel called the Butler Commission, which issued its report in July 2004.

It concluded that "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."

Soon after the Senate Intelligence panel and the Butler Commission issued their reports, The Washington Post editorial page offered a cautionary warning for those inclined to jump to conclusions and join the "Bush lied!" chorus.

First, even if a uranium deal with Niger had been unlikely, that didn't negate Bush's point, the paper said. Intelligence reports had indicated Hussein was looking for stuff with which to make bombs - and along with the postwar findings of weapons inspector David Kay, that indicated Hussein never gave up his plans to develop WMDs. The evidence may not be conclusive, the paper said, but Bush didn't invent it.

And let's not forget that after the first Gulf War, U.S. intelligence found that Hussein's nuclear program was much more advanced than previously thought.

The Post offered another point, one that also might apply to much of the Washington media these days: "Some of those who now fairly condemn the administration's `slam-dunk' approach to judging the intelligence about Iraq risk making the same error themselves."

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TOPICS: News/Current Events; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: 16words; bushlied

1 posted on 04/18/2006 6:03:57 AM PDT by areafiftyone
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To: areafiftyone

Why should mere facts be allowed to interfere when the goal is so worthy? Impeach Chimpy Bushitler!!

/sarcasm off


2 posted on 04/18/2006 6:18:51 AM PDT by Clioman
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To: areafiftyone


Imagine that...

Yep, facts don't matter to the Bush hating liberal media propaganda wing of the DNC...(CNN, CBS, ABC, NBC, NYT, LAT)

I am sure any day now the news services are going to honestly go through the timeline and reasons why we went to war in Iraq, and the War On Terror in general, with an honest perspective...any day now....yep.


3 posted on 04/18/2006 6:21:27 AM PDT by in hoc signo vinces ("Houston, TX...a waiting quagmire for jihadis. American gals are worth fighting for!")
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To: Clioman
Impeach Chimpy BushitlerM

LOL You have the Leftist names down perfectly.

4 posted on 04/18/2006 6:22:04 AM PDT by areafiftyone (Politicians Are Like Diapers, Both Need To Be Changed Often And For The Same Reason!)
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To: areafiftyone
Well this kind of story gets about as much play as the Saddam docs and PROOF of everything Bush has been saying since the start.

Of course I fully expect that IF there is a day it actually does break out, it will be demeaned and suspicions of "why did these just show up now?" from the tinfoil hat libs.
5 posted on 04/18/2006 6:27:12 AM PDT by FreedomNeocon (I'm in no Al-Samood for this Shi'ite.)
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To: aflaak

ping


6 posted on 04/18/2006 6:29:51 AM PDT by r-q-tek86 (Black ribbon on my IPW card in memory of PaulaB)
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To: areafiftyone; Howlin; neverdem; Calpernia
Now, tell me WHY the Senate Intelligence Committee (OR ANYBODY ELSE) has consistently refused to send SOMEBODY ELSE to Niger to investigate what Wilson blatantly reused to do: Find out who and when what countries were trying to buy Niger's Uranium?
7 posted on 04/18/2006 6:33:38 AM PDT by Robert A. Cook, PE (I can only donate monthly, but Hillary's ABBCNNBCBS continue to lie every day!)
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To: UCANSEE2

ping


8 posted on 04/18/2006 7:00:39 AM PDT by Calpernia (Breederville.com)
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To: areafiftyone

The lies postulated by the left about what Bush and the Bush admin in general supposedly said are becoming too numerous to count. We have the "Bush said Iraq was an imminent threat" lie, the "Bush's SOTU sixteen words" lie, the "neocons said we'd have a quick and easy victory" (in Iraq) lie, the "there were no links between Hussein and Al-Qaeda" lie. There are probably many others Freepers could add, but the fact is the above lies have been thoroughly rebutted. Naturally Big Media refuses to print the truth.


9 posted on 04/18/2006 7:24:02 AM PDT by driftless ( For life-long happiness, learn how to play the accordion.)
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To: areafiftyone

I read this earlier... and almost fell out'a my chair. How did Knight/Ridder let this one thru?


10 posted on 04/18/2006 7:27:51 AM PDT by johnny7 (ďNah, I ainít Jewish, I just donít dig on swine, thatís all.Ē)
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To: areafiftyone

bttt


11 posted on 04/18/2006 7:57:16 AM PDT by Christian4Bush (FreeRepublic and Rush Limbaugh: kevlar protection from the Drive-By Media.)
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