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Intelligence Scandal Escalates As Top Bush Aide Blamed For Forcing False Iraq Nuke Claim Into Bush's State of the Union

July 18, 2003
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While Sen. Grahan says Bush could be impeached, Bush and Blair meet in D.C. to defend why they invaded Iraq. We broadcast portions of their press conference and yesterday’s heated White House press briefing and we hear from writer Rahul Mahajan and human rights attorney Michael Ratner.

Senior intelligence officials say it was a top aide of President Bush’s who urged the inclusion of a false line in his State of the Union address that alleged that Iraq was attempting to buy uranium from Africa.

The man Robert Joseph serves as the director for nonproliferation at the National Security Council. He had previously served in the Bush and Reagan White Houses and has been identified as a close ally to neoconservative hawks including Richard Perle and Elliott Abrams

CIA expert Alan Foley says he had warned Joseph and the White House before the State of the Union that the CIA was not certain about the credibility of the evidence connecting Iraq to Niger and recommended that it be removed from the speech.

The White House has attempted to place the blame for the misuse of the Iraq intelligence on the CIA. Last week CIA Director George Tenet took responsibility for the inclusion of the uranium deal in the State of the Union address. This despite the fact that three months earlier Tenet personally called on the President to remove any references to the uranium transaction from another speech.

But after Tenet and other CIA officials testified on Wednesday in a series of closed door intelligence hearings on Capitol Hill the White House has been put back in the hot seat.

The intelligence scandal escalated on the same day that British Prime Minister Tony Blair arrived in Washington to address a special joint meeting of Congress. Both Blair and Bush defended their choice to invade Iraq. Blair said that the invasion was justified even if no weapons of mass destruction are ever found in Iraq.

Speaking about the alleged threat weapons of mass destruction Blair said, "If we are wrong... that is something I am confident history will forgive."

As a sign that the White House sees itself on the defensive, Vice President Cheney yesterday announced that his former top PR consultant Mary Matalin has returned to the White House to help shape the administration’s communications strategy.

  • President Bush * British Prime Minister Tony Blair, July 17th Joint Press Conference
  • * Rahul Mahajan*, author of the new book Full Spectrum Dominance: U.S. Power in Iraq and Beyond ( Seven Stories). He has a Ph.D. in particle physics.
  • Michael Ratner, president of the Center for Constitutional Rights
  • White House press briefing from July 17, 2003 with new White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan

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