Washington post article:
""""" But the government's centrifuge scientists -- at the Energy Department's Oak Ridge National Laboratory and its sister institutions -- unanimously regarded this possibility as implausible.
In late 2001, experts at Oak Ridge asked an alumnus, Houston G. Wood III, to review the controversy. Wood, founder of the Oak Ridge centrifuge physics department, is widely acknowledged to be among the most eminent living experts.
Speaking publicly for the first time, Wood said in an interview that "it would have been extremely difficult to make these tubes into centrifuges. It stretches the imagination to come up with a way. I do not know any real centrifuge experts that feel differently. """""
The behind-the-scenes wrangling over the purpose of the aluminum tubes is also covered pretty thoroughly in this article in the New York Times (posted here at a lefty site, but it's better than having to register with the NYT):
Also this one that I just googled up. It's a lefty site, too, but it looks pretty well documented:
Bottom line is that the DOE and the State Department were *very* skeptical of the CIA's claim that the tubes were for uranium enrichment, and it looks to me like they had some pretty good reasons for being skeptical.
I am not nearly convinced of that based, in part on what the analysts themselves said.
There is only 1 sentence in the article that disputes that the tubes could be used for centrifuges....
Simply put, the analysis concluded that the tubes were the wrong size - too narrow, too heavy, too long - to be of much practical use in a centrifuge.
The length they gave was 900 millimeters. That is only about 3 feet.
Back to the article...
The American centrifuges loomed 40 feet high,
They said the aluminum tubes in Iraq were too long??? 3 feet is longer than 40 feet?
They also said the tubes were too heavy. What is lighter weight than aluminum?
When asked what the tubes were for, they took weeks to answer, then came up with rockets. Have you ever heard of dual use? They could only be used for 1 purpose?
Also, the report they based all of this on was dated May, 2001. Clinton's people were in place (in DOE) that early after the inaugeration of President Bush.