Timeline of Iraq-uranium saga

Since "Wilsongate" is now getting quite a bit of attention - at least among those geeks who run left or liberal blogs - it may be helpful to have a bit of a (certainly incomplete) timeline of major events concerning the major player in this mess: Niger "yellowcake" uranium supposedly intended for Saddam's one fearful centrifuge. Or it may not be helpful - but at any rate, it shows that Bushy boy and his smiling lads have been much, much less than honest about the whole deal.

End of 2001: The British and Italian governments told the United States they had intelligence that Iraq was seeking uranium from Niger. This "intelligence" would turn out to be the forged documents - whose existence is still unexplained by the administration.

February 2002: Former Ambassador Wilson is dispatched to Niger to investigate the claims. He reports the claims to be false. Who got this report has been contentious. The WaPo, quoting "senior administration officials", reported on 12 June 2003 that the CIA did not "pass on the detailed results of its investigation to the White House or other government agencies". However, the Independent, citing an AP article quoting a
"US intelligence official", reported on 13 June 2003 that "the CIA's doubts were made known to other federal agencies through various internal communications, starting more than a year before the war began" (i.e., shortly after Wilson returned from his mission). The CIA also warned British intelligence that the Niger uranium connection was bogus. The same day, the WaPo, in a total volte face from its article on the 12th, reported that "CIA Director George J. Tenet successfully intervened with White House officials to have a reference to Iraq seeking uranium from Niger removed from a presidential speech [in] October [2002]..." (see below).

March 2002: A WaPo article from 13 June 2003 reported that the CIA passed along its findings from the Wilson mission.

24 September 2002: The UK publishes a weapons dossier claiming that Iraq "sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa". According to the article, "That same day, an American intelligence official expressed doubts about the truth of the uranium reports during a closed session of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee." In addition, "A public report, gleaned from the classified intelligence estimate and published by the CIA in early October, made no mention of the specific uranium allegation. The CIA did not think the report was reliable enough to be included, the intelligence official said". This is important in relation to Rice's most recent claim (see below).

7 October 2002: Bush delivers a major speech in Cincinnatti. The words "Africa" and "Niger" do not appear once; "uranium" appears only 4 times, none in connection with a claim that Saddam had actually procured or attempted to procure any. See above, February 2002.

23 January 2003: In a warmup for Bush's State of the Union speech, Rice publishes an article entitled "Why We Know Iraq is Lying" in America's number one administration propaganda outlet, the NY Times. Rice states that Iraq's WMD declaration to the UN "fails to account for or explain Iraq's efforts to get uranium from abroad...".

28 January 2003: In his State of the Union address, "W" states that "The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa".

June 2003: Revelations of bogus uranium claims begin to get press attention. See February 2002 and March 2002 above.

8 June 2003: Rice claims that no one in White House "circles" knew the Niger-Iraq documents to be forgeries: ""Maybe someone knew down in the bowels of the agency," Rice said on NBC's "Meet the Press" on Sunday, "but no one in our circles knew that there were doubts and suspicions that this might be a forgery". The article linked to here, a WaPo report from 13 June 2003, cited a "White House spokesman" as saying that Bush's State of the Union claims were "based on a multiple of other sources" - none of which have been explained by the administration.

11 July 2003: CIA director Tenet accepts blame for inclusion of African uranium claim in Bush's SOTU speech.

14 July 2003: Robert "Use Me" Novak publishes his journalistic blunder naming Valerie Plame, Wilson's wife, as an undercover CIA agent.

22 July 2003: Deputy National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley accepts blame for inclusion of African uranium claim in Bush's SOTU speech.

30 July 2003: Bush and Rice accept blame for inclusion of African uranium claim in Bush's SOTU speech.

27 September 2003: CIA asks DoJ to investigate possible White House role in Plame affair.

28 September 2003: Rice claims that she and Hadley, when vetting "W"'s SOTU address in January, "forgot" that Tenet had scrubbed a major WMD claim only 3 months previously. Rice also stated on national television that she did not think the White House had any responsibility to provide information it has on felony offences injurious to US national security - preferring instead to wait and see how the DoJ "disposes" of the investigation.

Fill in the blanks from here.

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