Washington admits mistake in claim that Iraq tried to buy uranium in Africa
The White House has acknowledged for the first time that US President George W. Bush should not have claimed in his State of the Union address that Iraq had sought to buy uranium in Africa to reconstitute its nuclear weapons program, according to The Washington Post.
In its Tuesday edition, the newspaper said the statement was prompted by publication of a British parliamentary commission report that raised serious questions regarding the reliability of British intelligence that was cited by Bush as part of his effort to convince Congress that the Iraqi weapons of mass destruction program was a threat to American security.
Asked about the British report, the administration released a statement that effectively conceded that intelligence underlying the president's statement was wrong, The Post said.
"Knowing all that we know now, the reference to Iraq's attempt to acquire uranium from Africa should not have been included in the State of the Union speech," the paper quoted a top Bush administration official as saying, in a statement authorized by the White House.
President Bush said in his State of the Union speech in January that "the British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa."
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) told the UN Security Council in March that the uranium story was based on forged documents.
As it turns out, the CIA had sent a former senior diplomat, Joseph Wilson, to Niger to investigate the claim and received a report from him saying the allegations were false, according to the paper. However, the administration never made Wilson's mission public, the report added. (Albawaba.com)
© 2003 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)
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