Tuesday, March 25, 2008
The key is to know that there are two things, two intelligence reports (from foreign services) regarding the nation of Niger: 1) That Iraq actually purchased tons of yellowcake from Niger and that the government planned to ship it to Iraq; and, 2) That Iraq sought to purchase yellowcake from Niger but never made the deal.
The first, actual sale, is false, an intelligence report from Italy which is based on forged documents and never happened.
The second, merely seeking to buy yellowcake, an intelligence report from the British, who stand by it, is absolutely true. It has been researched by the British government looking hard at its intelligence about Iraq and was held to be well founded. Christopher Hitchens has written extensively about it.
Frontline started the segment with the President's state of the union address in which he repeated the truth that British intelligence had indeed reported Iraq's desire to obtain yellowcake in Africa (specifically in Niger but elsewhere too). Then the show immediately went back to the report, in the NIE, that there was an actual sale. The words "sale" and "sold" were used, the NIE was shown on the TV with the words "send several tons." Paul Pillar facial tic'ed his way through an explanation, like several former CIA types, that the report turned out to be fabricated. Yeah, the Italian 'actual sale' report, but not the British 'sought' report, not the truth that managed to slip into the President's 2003 speech. That was true. Impossible to tell which is which from Frontline's presentation, however.
Lying Joe Wilson had trouble with the concept of attempted sale versus sale (see his corrected version of his op ed piece in the New York Times-- it corrects some of the times he has been caught lying about this thing in the past) Actually his report supported the British report that Iraq indeed attempted to buy but did not buy yellowcake from Niger. But his inability to keep different things straight in his mind, shouldn't stop Frontline producers, years later, from getting them straight.
It just isn't that hard a concept.
Amazing! (You don't happen to think Saddam had links to Al Quaeda, do you?)