Wednesday, July 13, 2005

JOE WILSON & THE SENATE

The wingnuts have been attempting to save Rove by casting aspersions on Joe Wilson so I thought I'd provide some relevant excerpts from the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence's report on Iraq and WMD. You can get the entire report here or just the conclusions here. NOTES: Page numbers refer to the document, not pages in Acrobat. There are portions of the report that were blacked out and I indicated that here by putting in "[redacted]". I did not do this for headings, so when you see just (), that means that what was inside the parentheses was blacked out in the original. "[snip]" means I left out some text that I felt wasn't needed for the essential story.

PAGE 37

(U) Only the CIA wrote a finished intelligence product on the report (Senior Executive Intelligence Briefing [SEIB] , Iraq: Nuclear-Related Procurement Efforts, October 18, 2001).
Regarding the Niger reporting, the SEIB said:


According to a foreign government service, Niger of as early this year planned to send several tons of uranium to Iraq under an agreement concluded late last year. Iraq and Niger had been negotiating the shipment since at least early 1999, but the state court of Niger only this year approved it.
--- There is no corroboration from other sources that such an agreement was reached or that uranium was transferred.
--- United Nations Security Council (UNSC) Resolution 687 prohibits Iraq from purchasing uranium, although the transfer would not require the application of safeguards.

In view of the origin, the uranium is probably in the form of yellowcake and will need further processing to be used in an uranium enrichment plant. Iraq has no known facilities for processing or enriching the material.
--- The quantity of yellowcake to be transferred could support the enrichment of enough uranium for at least one nuclear weapon.



() On November 20, 2001, U.S. Embassy Niamey disseminated a cable on a recent meeting between the ambassador and the Director General of Niger’s French-led consortium. The Director General said “there was no possibility” that the government of Niger had diverted any of the 3,000 tons of yellowcake produced in two uranium mines.

() Reporting on the uranium transaction did not surface again until February 5, 2002 when the CIA’s DO issued a second intelligence report which again cited the source as a “[foreign] government service.” Although not identified in the report, this source was also from a foreign service. The second report provided more details about the previously reported Iraq-Niger uranium agreement and provided what was said to be “verbatim text” of the accord.

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() IC analysts at the CIA and the DIA were more impressed with the detail and substance of the second report. One analyst noted that the report provided much more information than they had seen previously in similar reporting about alleged uranium transactions to other countries.

[snip]

() Based on information from the CIA report from the foreign service, on February 12, 2002, the DIA wrote a finished intelligence product titled Niamey signed an agreement to sell 500 tons of uranium a year to Baghdad (NMJIC [National Military Joint Intelligence Center] Executive Highlight, Vol 028-02, February 12, 2002).

[snip]

() After reading the DIA report, the Vice President asked his morning briefer for the CIA’s analysis of the issue. In response, the Director of Central Intelligence’s (DCI) Center for Weapons Intelligence, Nonproliferation, and Arms Control (WINPAC) published a Senior Publish When Ready (SPWR021402-05), an intelligence assessment with limited distribution, which said, “information on the alleged uranium contract between Iraq and Niger comes exclusively from a foreign government service report that lacks crucial details, and we are working to clarify the information and to determine whether it can be corroborated.” The piece discussed the details of the DO intelligence report and indicated that “some of the information in

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the report contradicts reporting from the U.S. Embassy in Niamey. U.S. diplomats say the French Government-led consortium that operates Niger’s two uranium mines maintains complete control over uranium mining and yellowcake production.”

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() The former ambassador told Committee staff that he met with the former Nigerian Prime Minister, the former Minister of Mines and Energy, and other business contacts. At the end of his visit, he debriefed Ambassador Owens-Kirkpatrick [redacted], Chad. He told the Committee staff that he had told both U.S. officials he thought there was “nothing to the story.” Ambassador Owens-Kirkpatrick told the Committee staff she recalled the former ambassador saying “he had reached the same conclusions that the embassy had reached, that it was highly unlikely that anything was going on.”

(U) On March 1, 2002, INR published an intelligence assessment, Niger: Sale of Uranium is Unlikely. The INR analyst who drafted the assessment told the Committee staff that he had been told that the piece was in response to interest from the Vice President’s office in the alleged Iraq-Niger uranium deal.

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[snip]

() When the former ambassador spoke to the Committee staff, his description of his findings differed from the DO intelligence report and his account of information provided to him by the CIA differed from the CIA officials’ accounts in some respects. First, the former ambassador described his findings to the Committee staff as more directly related to Iraq and, specifically, as refuting both the possibility that Niger could have sold uranium to Iraq and that Iraq approached Niger to purchase uranium. The intelligence report described how the structure of Niger’s uranium mines would make it difficult, if not impossible, for Niger to sell uranium to rouge [sic] nations, and noted that Nigerien officials denied knowledge of any deals to sell uranium to any rogue states, but did not refute the possibility that Iraq had approached Niger to purchase uranium. Second, the former ambassador said that he had discussed with his CIA contacts which names and signatures should have appeared on any documentation of a legitmate uranium transaction. In fact, the intelligence report made no mention of the alleged Iraq-Niger uranium deal or signatures that should have appeared on any documentation of such a deal. The only mention of Iraq in the report pertained to the meeting between the Iraqi delegation and former Prime Minister Mayaki. Third, the former ambassador noted that his CIA contacts told him there were documents pertaining to the alleged Iraq-Niger uranium transaction and that the source of the information was the [redacted] intelligence service. The DO reports officer told Committee staff that he did not provide the former ambassador with any information about the source or details of

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The original reporting as it would have required sharing classified information and, noted that there were no “documents” circulating at the time of the former ambassador’s trip, only intelligence reports from [redacted] intelligence regarding an alleged Iraq-Niger uranium deal. Meeting notes and other correspondence show that details of the reporting were discussed at the February 19, 2002 meeting, but none of the meeting participants recall telling the former ambassador the source of the report [redacted].

(U) The former ambassador also told the Committee staff that he was the source of a Washington Post article (‘CIA Did Not Share Doubt on Iraq Data; Bush Used Report of Uranium Bid,” June 12, 2003) which said, “among the Envoy’s conclusions was that the documents may have been forged because ‘the dates were wrong and the names were wrong.’” Committee staff asked how the former ambassador could have come to the conclusion that “the dates were wrong and the names were wrong” when he had never seen the CIA reports and had no knowledge of what names and dates were in the reports. The former ambassador said that he may have “misspoken” to the reporter when he said he concluded the documents were “forged.” He also said he may have become confused about his own recollection after the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) reported in March 2003 that the names and dates on the documents were not correct and may have thought that he had seen the names himself. The former ambassador reiterated that he had been able to collect the names of the government officials which should have been on the documents.

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