Friday, December 19, 2008

The Lie that Started a War

Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) in his parting gesture as chair of the House Government Oversight Committee (he will take over Energy and Commerce) writes his colleagues that the CIA objected on the record to using the Niger yellowcake claim in presidential speeches justifying the disastrous invasion of Iraq. Jami Miscik, Deputy Director of Intelligence, told National Security Advisor Rice by telephone that the CIA was "recommending that it [the enriched uranium purchase claim] be taken out". Another official, John Gibson, Director of Speechwriting for Foreign Policy at the NSC, told Waxman's committee that the CIA "never cleared" the uranium purchase claim. Nevertheless in January 2004, White House Counsel Roberto "Gonzo" Gonzales in response to questions wrote the committee on Rice's behalf that the CIA had "orally cleared" the claim for use by the President. On March 7, 2003, two weeks before the Iraq invasion, Mohamed El Baradei director of the IAEA reported to the UN Security Council that the Niger documents forming the basis for reports that Iraq had purchased enriched uranium from Niger were not authentic. Secretary of State Rice never responded to the committee's repeated request for testimony about the deceptive selling of the war. The rest is history.