July 8, 2003
Foreign Policy Senior Fellow:
OAKLAND, CALIF Ivan Eland, senior fellow for foreign policy at the Independent Institute, issued the following statement today regarding the White Houses admission that they shouldnt have alleged that Saddam Hussein went to Africa to acquire uranium:
It appears that the CIA and higher-level administration officials probably knew in advance that the allegation that Saddam Hussein went hunting in Africa for uranium was suspect. Almost a year before the speech in February 2002 in response to questions by Vice President Cheneys office, the CIA dispatched Joseph Wilson, a former diplomat with experience in both Iraq and Africa, to check out the story. He reported to the CIA and the State Department that reports of uranium sales from Niger to Iraq were extremely unlikely because of intrusive national and international oversight of Nigers uranium industry. Since the vice presidents office had questions about the allegation, one would assume that the CIA transmitted Wilsons refutation of it back up the line. Yet the accusation of African sales of uranium to Iraq somehow still made it into the presidents State of the Union message.
Misstatements seem to be everywhere at the highest levels of government. Remember the president and the vice president made statements that Saddam Hussein was actively seeking a nuclear weapon and could build one in a year or less if he obtained enough nuclear material. The vice president went even further shortly before the war on March 16, 2003: We believe he [Saddam Hussein] has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons. Although White House officials say Wilsons information never reached them, other key members of the administration have admitted to the press that before the presidents speech, widespread questions existed about the quality of the intelligence on that sale of nuclear material to Iraq. It appears then that the president knowingly and unconscionably included suspect information in his justification for taking. With the new news of the uranium 2-step, coupled with the other bad intelligence the administration used as a basis to go to war, one must wonder: what else are they lying about?