Statement on the White House's Admission of Error on Iraq's Attempt to Get Uranium from Africa: News Releases: The Independent Institute

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News Release
July 8, 2003

Statement on the White House’s Admission of Error on Iraq’s Attempt to Get Uranium from Africa
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 House’s admission that they shouldn’t 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 Cheney’s 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 Niger’s uranium industry. Since the vice president’s office had questions about the allegation, one would assume that the CIA transmitted Wilson’s refutation of it back up the line. Yet the accusation of African sales of uranium to Iraq somehow still made it into the president’s 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 Wilson’s information never reached them, other key members of the administration have admitted to the press that before the president’s 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?”

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