Skip to comments.French secret service 'kept CIA in the dark over Iraq and uranium'
Posted on 07/13/2003 5:14:06 PM PDT by Pokey78
The French secret service is believed to have refused to allow MI6 to give the Americans "credible" intelligence showing that Iraq was trying to buy uranium ore from Niger, US intelligence sources said yesterday.
MI6 had more than one "different and credible" piece of intelligence to show that Iraq was attempting to buy the ore, known as yellowcake, British officials insisted. But it was given to them by at least one and possibly two intelligence services and, under the rules governing cooperation, it could not be shared with anyone else without the originator's permission.
US intelligence sources believe that the most likely source of the MI6 intelligence was the French secret service, the DGSE. Niger is a former French colony and its uranium mines are run by a French company that comes under the control of the French Atomic Energy Commission.
A further factor in the refusal to hand over the information might have been concern that the US administration's willingness to publicise intelligence might lead to sources being inadvertently disclosed.
US sources also point out that the French government was vehemently opposed to the war with Iraq and so suggest that it would have been instinctively against the idea of passing on the intelligence.
British sources yesterday dismissed suggestions of a row between MI6 and the CIA on the issue. However, they admitted being surprised that George Tenet, the CIA director, had apologised to President George W Bush for allowing him to cite the British government and its claim that Saddam had sought to acquire uranium from Africa in his State of the Union speech last October.
The apology follows the International Atomic Energy Authority's dismissal of documents given to it by the CIA, which purported to prove the link, as fakes.
Those documents have been widely identified with last September's British dossier on Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, which said Saddam Hussein was trying to buy uranium ore from an unnamed country in Africa.
British officials admitted that the country was Niger but insisted that the intelligence behind it was genuine and had nothing to do with the fake documents. It was convincing and they were sticking with it, the officials said.
They dismissed a report from a former US diplomat who was sent to Niger to investigate the claims and rejected them. "He seems to have asked a few people if it was true and when they said 'no' he accepted it all," one official said. "We see no reason at all to change our assessment."
The fake documents were not behind that assessment and were not seen by MI6 until after they were denounced by the IAEA. If MI6 had seen them earlier, it would have immediately advised the Americans that they were fakes.
There had been a number of reports in America in particular suggesting that the fake documents - which came from another intelligence source - were passed on via MI6, the officials said. But this was not true.
"What they can't accuse MI6 of doing is passing anything on this to the CIA because it didn't have the fake documents and it was not allowed to pass on the intelligence it did have to anyone else."
It will be interesting to see this unfold. P.S. I love the coin flipping blog.
No problem. I had fun learning about this, just now, using google.
There are two (or more) items of intelligence involved. Only one of them was forged. By inserting the forged documents into the pipeline, the French a.) intended that the forgery be discovered, so that b.) it would discredit the other evidence and c.) end up embarrassing the U.S.
The article (and your question) assumes that French intelligence was also the source of the legitimate evidence. That could be the case. But, then again, it may not be. In may be a Frenchman...as distinct from French intelligence.
In any event, we should recognize that, while France is not necessarily an enemy, she is no longer an ally.
Maybe I should post that as a vanity.
French link to UK's Iraq intelligence From correspondents in London July 14, 2003
TWO foreign intelligence services, thought to be those of France and Italy, supplied Britain with the information for its controversial claim that Saddam Hussein's Iraq had sought uranium from Africa, the Financial Times newspaper reported Monday.
Britain made the uranium claim in a dossier last September despite being told the US Central Intelligence Agency had "reservations" about its inclusion.
The paper said its information came from senior Whitehall sources.
US administration officials have criticised the inclusion of a reference to the nuclear claim and the nation in President George W. Bush's January 28 State of the Union Address, and pointed out that it had not been corroborated by Washington's intelligence network.
CIA chief George Tenet, who took the blame for Bush's discredited prewar claim, has come under fire again with a leading Republican senator suggesting he resign.
The Financial Times said it had learnt that the original information on the nuclear claim came from two west European countries, and not from now discredited documents that proved to be forgeries.
The Italian government on Sunday denied reports that its intelligence services handed the United States and Britain documents indicating that Iraq was seeking uranium from Niger for a nuclear weapons programme.
The denial followed a report by Italy's Corriere della Sera newspaper that Rome's SISMI intelligence services had given Washington and London documents in late 2001, showing the regime of Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein had sought uranium from the African state.
There is considerable doubt in London and Washington over the strength of the US and British case for ending UN arms inspections and launching the March 20 invasion to topple the Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.
Hans Blix, the UN weapons chief inspector in Iraq in the run-up to war, added to the criticism, telling The Independent on Sunday newspaper that Britain had "over-interpreted the intelligence they had".
'France and Italy gave information on Saddam' By Mark Huband and Christopher Adams
Two foreign governments, thought to be France and Italy, supplied Britain with the intelligence for its claim that Saddam Hussein's Iraq had sought uranium from Africa.
The Financial Times has learnt from senior Whitehall sources that the information came from two west European countries, and not from now discredited documents that proved to be forgeries.
This information, which does not appear to have been passed on to the US, would suggest why the government felt confident enough to put it in a dossier on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction last September.
US criticism of British claims about Iraq's efforts to buy uranium has exposed flaws in intelligence-sharing between London and Washington and caused deep concern in some parts of Whitehall, officials said on Sunday.
Britain made the uranium claim in last September's dossier despite being told the US Central Intelligence Agency had "reservations" about its inclusion.
Tony Blair faces difficult talks this week in Washington with George W. Bush over the US's controversial plans for a military trial of two British-born terrorist suspects held at Guantanamo Bay. Downing Street, however, denied reports of a rift with the US.
Ministers rushed to defend the inclusion of the uranium claim in the September dossier. Peter Hain, leader of the Commons, said all the intelligence he had seen proved "absolutely conclusively" that Mr Hussein had WMD and was developing more.
Condoleezza Rice, the US national security adviser, said on Sunday: "We have never said that the British report was wrong . . . the British stand by it because they have sources we did not have."
Jack Straw, foreign secretary, has written to the Commons foreign affairs committee saying British officials were confident the dossier's statement was based on reliable intelligence.
The information from foreign intelligence services was not shared with the US because it "was not ours to share", an official said.
The foreign secretary also disclosed that the US did not share with London details of a visit to Niger in 2002 by Joseph Wilson, an American envoy, who reported that no contract to buy uranium had been concluded with Iraq. Britain only learnt about this in recent press reports.
But he pointed to a part of the envoy's report that cited a visit by an Iraqi delegation in 1999 to Niger. This supported the UK claim that Iraq had sought African uranium.
The sixties is what happened to the Democrats.
For several months, I have contended that the liberals and al-Qaida are natural allies.
They certainly share the same objective...
Jim, I think the word is "treasonous".
"...liberals and Democrats nearly lost the Cold War by providing aid and comfort to the Soviet Union and ... they are behaving in a similar fashion in the ongoing war on terrorism."
- Dawn Harris, of the Kansas City Star, summarizing the main argument made by Ann Coulter in her new book Treason.
You could always just call them the Mishmash Movement.
Now there's an oxymoron for you.
Let's all remember the contempt with which Bill Clinton spoke about then Governor Bush right before the Republican convention, calling him a "frat boy" who was wanting the Presidentcy because "his daddy had once had it."
I am telling you, the words of Chretien, Chirac, and Schroeder sound exactly like Clinton.
Then we have Clinton over at the "Progressive Government Leaders" convention in Britain siting with the President Of Chile and good old Chretien, giving HIS ideas on how the Iraqi occupation should be handled.
Grrrr. The more I think about this the madder I get.
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