Many of us have felt for years that the President was as the very least exaggerating how much of a threat Iraq was. Sure Saddam might have wanted a nuclear bomb to drop on Tehran, or Tel Aviv or Toledo, but many of us simply did not believe that he had the weapons of mass destruction, or that he was on the verge of producing them.
So in order to quell us skeptics the President stood up in front of the world in his State of the Union address on January 28, 2003 and said that the CIA believed that Iraq was trying to obtain yellowcake uranium from Niger. It was a key claim that helped the American people support the war; the claim was reinforced by Dick Cheney and crew making the rounds of news shows saying, “We don’t want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud over an American city.”
For months, more and more information has come out that has confirmed that these original claims were based on forged documents that were passed on to the U.S. through an Italian intelligence agency. But it has never been completely known who forged the documents, why they were forged, or when the CIA/NSA/State Department knew that the documents were fakes. The claim has been that everyone thought the Iraq-Niger claim was legit when it made its way into the State of the Union.
Here is the memo that proves that the President was lying.
A recently declassified State Department memo, obtained by the New York Sun, and published by TruthOut plainly states:
“On January 12, 2003, INR [the State Department Bureau of Intelligence and Research] expressed concerns to the CIA that the documents pertaining to the Iraq-Niger deal were forgeries. The conclusion may, however, have been reached and communicated for the first time somewhat earlier…”
January 12, 2003----The CIA is told the documents are fake and that Iraq is not trying to obtain Uranium from anyone.
January 28, 2003----Bush speaks it as truth in his State of the Union address.
Best case scenario: This is just another example of the dangerous incompetence of this administration. Even in a post-terror attack world it still takes months for vital memos to make their way from the CIA to the President (even though the President met with the CIA director every day).
Worst case scenario (and frankly most likely): This is definitive proof that they were not only manipulating intelligence, but were deliberately lying to us the whole time.