The Washington Post is reporting that between October of last year and the time of Bush’s State of the Union address in January, almost all of the so-called evidence the U.S. had on Iraq’s nuclear program had been undercut or disproved by UN inspectors in Iraq. It is for this reason, the Post reports, Bush may have gone ahead at his January State of the Union and charged that Iraq was attempting to purchase uranium from Africa although the information was disputed by the CIA and others.
The Post reports that the Iraq-Niger deal was the only publicly unchallenged element of the administration’s case that Iraq had restarted its nuclear program.
At his speech in Cincinnati on October 7 Bush referred to several pieces of intelligence that indicated Iraq may be restarting its nuclear program.
Bush said the U.S. had satellite photographs that showed Iraq was rebuilding past nuclear sites. He also said meetings took place between Saddam Hussein and Iraqi scientists. And finally Bush said Iraq attempts to buy high strength aluminum tubes used to enrich uranium.
But he made no reference to the alleged sale of uranium from Niger to Iraq because CIA Director George Tenet had personally raised questions over the intelligence.
By his January speech, all three of these assertions had been largely proved inaccurate and instead Bush included the Niger link despite warning from the CIA.