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Meanwhile, At the CIA..........


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Heads will roll. Most like George Tenent's head.


Bush Blames CIA for State of Union Error

By Dana Milbank

Washington Post Staff Writer

Friday, July 11, 2003; 12:39 PM

ENTEBBE, Uganda, July 11 – President Bush and his national security adviser today placed full responsibility on the Central Intelligence Agency for the inclusion in this year's State of the Union address of an erroneous allegation that Iraq's Saddam Hussein was trying to buy nuclear materials in Africa.

At a brief stop here in Uganda, the fourth nation on Bush's five-nation trip, Bush defended his use of the false allegation in the January speech by saying the speech "was cleared by the intelligence services." In repeated questions this week, Bush has avoided any statement on the accuracy of the allegation, although his spokesmen have acknowledged that the charge was wrong and should not have been included in the State of the Union address.

"I gave a speech to the nation that was cleared by the intelligence services," Bush said after a meeting with Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni. "And it was a speech that detailed to the American people that dangers posed by the Saddam Hussein regime. And my government took the appropriate response to those dangers. And as a result, the world is going to be more secure and more peaceful."

Bush's national security adviser, Condoleezza Rice, was more specific in pinning responsibility on the CIA for approving the allegation, which involved a claim that Hussein was seeking "yellow-cake" uranium from Niger to make nuclear weapons.

The International Atomic Energy Agency told the U.N. Security Council in March that the claim was based on forged documents.

"I can tell you, if the CIA, the director of Central Intelligence, had said, take this out of the speech, it would have been gone, without question," Rice said in a briefing aboard Air Force One en route to Uganda from South Africa. Rice said, "There was even some discussion on that specific sentence, so that it reflected better what the CIA thought. And the speech was cleared."

"The agency cleared the speech and cleared it in its entirety," Rice said.

Senior administration officials said on Thursday that the CIA tried unsuccessfully in early September 2002 to persuade the British government to drop from an official intelligence paper the reference to Iraqi attempts to buy uranium in Africa. At that time, the CIA was completing a classified national intelligence estimate on Iraq's weapons programs that mentioned alleged Iraqi attempts to buy uranium from three African countries but warned that State Department analysts were questioning its accuracy when it came to Niger. The CIA paper's summary conclusions did not include references to Iraqi attempts to buy uranium in Africa.

In addition, various news organizations reported Thursday that CIA officials involved in the discussions before Bush's speech was drafted questioned whether his statement was too strong, because of doubts about the British intelligence. The allegation was left in the speech but attributed to British intelligence. Rice said yesterday that "some specifics about amount and place were taken out" of the speech after the objections were raised.

The remarks today by Rice and Bush follow a similar but less forceful statement by Secretary of State Colin L. Powell on Thursday. Some administration officials believe the CIA has been trying to distance itself from the allegation. Democratic lawmakers have called for public hearings into how the administration handled intelligence related to Iraq.

Rice said Bush "absolutely" had confidence in CIA Director George Tenet. "We wouldn't put anything knowingly in the speech that was false; I'm sure they wouldn't put anything knowingly in the speech that was false," she said. "In this case, this particular line shouldn't have gotten in because it was not of the quality that we would put into presidential speeches."

Rice discussed the issue for nearly an hour on Air Force One. Asked about the CIA efforts to discourage the British from making the claim, Rice said: "If there were doubts about the underlying intelligence in the NIE" -- the National Intelligence Estimate that mentioned yellow cake -- "those doubts were not communicated to the president." She said the only mention of doubts was in a "standard INR footnote, which is kind of 59 pages away from the bulk of the NIE." INR is the State Department's intelligence arm, the Bureau of Intelligence and Research.

"If there was a concern about the underlying intelligence there, the president was unaware of that concern, as was I," Rice said.

A senior administration official who spoke on condition of anonymity said Rice had called Tenet before she gave her briefing. The official said Tenet was sent a final version of Bush's State of the Union address before it was delivered. The official said "a valuable lesson" had been learned about vetting Bush speeches.

© 2003 The Washington Post Company

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Scapegoat and damage control come to mind.

Did I miss the part in the article where Bush, as Commander-In-Chief, takes full responsibility for the actions of an agency that still reports to him?

The bottom line is that the rest of the world won't give the U.S. a pass on this one because Bush was "mis-led".

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The rest of the world wasnt backing him to begin with, so why should he or I care?

Kurp, I dont understand what you mean by this "Did I miss the part in the article where Bush, as Commander-In-Chief, takes full responsibility for the actions of an agency that still reports to him?"

Are you saying he SHOULD be responsible? Or are you saying that the article didnt say that he should be? Which do you believe?

It's not a scapegoat if we hold the person responsible, responsible.

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It's a concept called chain-of-command. Those who are in charge are responsible for the decisions and actions of those who report to them.

In other words, a boss always takes responsibility even when the fault lies with those beneath him. It is not acceptable to finger-point and lay blame at the people below you when mistakes happen or things go wrong. It's called leadership.

Bush reports to the American people. He should put his political ambitions aside and simply accept responsibility for whatever he said in the State of The Union Address.

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Originally posted by TheKurp


It's a concept called chain-of-command. Those who are in charge are responsible for the decisions and actions of those who report to them.

In other words, a boss always takes responsibility even when the fault lies with those beneath him. It is not acceptable to finger-point and lay blame at the people below you when mistakes happen or things go wrong. It's called leadership.

Bush reports to the American people. He should put his political ambitions aside and simply accept responsibility for whatever he said in the State of The Union Address.

:rotflmao: :rotflmao: :rotflmao: :rotflmao: :rotflmao:

yeah right:lmao: :lmao: :quickie:

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Frankly, this is going to come down to "he said, she said".

Did the CIA make a mistake?

Or, did they, after over a year of pressure from their bosses to produce, using whatever it took, any evidence they could find that would support a pre-established conclusion, fail to object enough to a piece of questionable intelligence?

I think this is one of those situations where, even if you had a word-for-word transcript of every word said on the subject, you still could read it both ways. (And, it's guaranteed that some people will.)

They can investigate till doomsday, and nobody will know anything.

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Over at cnn.com guess what?

News Bulletin: CIA director takes responsibility for incorrect information in State of the Union address about alleged Iraqi attempts to obtain uranium in Africa. Details soon.

Shocking news! Oh wait.. no it isn't.

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do you really expect the CIA director to call the President a liar? If he is at fault, good for him for taking the blame although belatedly... if he isn't at fault good for him for taking a metaphorical bullet for his President. In either case, shame on Bush for feeling the need to point fingers and not be the leader with whom the buck stops...

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Speak of the devil..........


Tenet Takes Responsibility for False Iraq Intelligence

CIA Director Admits Analysts Had Doubts About Information

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By John Solomon

Associated Press Writer

Friday, July 11, 2003; 6:53 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) - CIA Director George Tenet acknowledged Friday his agency wrongly allowed President Bush to tell the American people that Iraq was seeking nuclear material from Africa when analysts had doubts about the quality of the intelligence.

"These 16 words should never have been included in the text written for the president," Tenet said in a statement released after Bush and his national security adviser, Condoleezza Rice, blamed the miscue on the CIA and members of Congress called for someone to be held accountable.

"This was a mistake," the director's statement said.

Tenet said the responsibility for vetting the allegations included in Bush's State of the Union address about Iraqi efforts to get uranium from Africa beloing to the CIA and ultimately with himself.

"Let me be clear about several things right up front," he said. "First, CIA approved the president's State of the Union address before it was delivered. Second, I am responsible for the approval process in my agency. And third, the president had every reason to believe that the text presented to him was sound."

Tenet said CIA officials reviewed portions of the draft speech and raised some concerns with national security aides at the White House that prompted changes in language concerning allegations that Iraq sought to buy uranium from the African nation of Niger. But he said the CIA officials failed to stop the remark from being uttered despite the doubts about its validity.

"Officials who were reviewing the draft remarks on uranium raised several concerns about the fragmentary nature of the intelligence with National Security Council colleagues," Tenet said. "Some of the language was changed. From what we know now, agency officials in the end concurred that the text in the speech was factually correct that the British government report said that Iraq sought uranium from Africa."

"This should not have been the test for clearing a presidential address," the statement continued. "This did not rise to the level of certainty which should be required for presidential speeches, and CIA should have ensured that it was removed."

Tenet's two-page statement came at the end of a tumultous 24 hours in which reports surfaced suggesting the CIA had raised concerns about the nature of the African allegations before the president made his speech.

That prompted Bush and his Rice to take issue. On a trip in Africa, they said Tenet's agency approved the language in the speech and never raised objections to them.

Members of Congress called on the CIA to be held accountable. Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Pat Roberts, R-Kansas, said Tenet was ultimately responsible for the mistake.

"The director of central intelligence is the principal adviser to the president on intelligence matters," Roberts said. "He should have told the president. He failed. He failed to do so," Roberts said.

Tenet said there were "legitimate questions" about the CIA's conduct and he sought in his statement explain his agency's role in the matter.

Although the CIA did not learn until well after the president's speech in January that some documents obtained by British intelligence that formed the basis of the Iraq-Niger uranium allegations were forged, CIA officials recognized at the beginning that the allegation was based on "fragmentary intelligence gathered in late 2001 and early 2002," the director said.

A former diplomat was sent by the CIA to the region to check on the allegations and reported back that one of the Nigerian officials he met "stated that he was unaware of any contract being signed between Niger and rogue states for the sale of uranium during his tenure in office," Tenet said.

"The same former official also said that in June 1999 a businessman approached him and insisted that the former official meet with an Iraqi delegation to discuss 'expanding commercial relations' between Iraq and Niger. The former official interpreted the overture as an attempt to discuss uranium sales," Tenet said.

The diplomat sent to the region has alleged he believed Vice President Dick Cheney's office was apprised of the findings of his trip. But Tenet stated that the CIA "did not brief it to the president, vice president or other senior administration officials."

Tenet said when British officials in fall 2002 discussed making the Niger information public, his agency expressed their reservations to the British about the quality of the intelligence.

A CIA report that came out in October 2002 mentioned the allegations but did not give them full credence, stating "we cannot confirm whether Iraq succeeded in acquiring uranium ore." In addition, the report noted that State Department intelligence analysts found the allegations "highly dubious."

Because of the doubts, Tenet said he never included the allegations in his own congressional tetsimonies or public statements about Iraqi efforts to obtain weapons of mass destruction.

© 2003 The Associated Press

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Originally posted by Burgold


do you really expect the CIA director to call the President a liar? If he is at fault, good for him for taking the blame although belatedly... if he isn't at fault good for him for taking a metaphorical bullet for his President. In either case, shame on Bush for feeling the need to point fingers and not be the leader with whom the buck stops...

Nope. I'm sorry if you got that out of my short post. Maybe you missed the sarcasm in the 'Shocking news! Oh wait.... no it isn't.' part. I'm pretty sure everybody following this story knew the CIA was going to take the bullet(or maybe lack there of? Its too early to tell).

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If we have a chain of command and the Pres is responsible for everything (he has taken responsibility for it) shouldn't he also get ALL the credit for the things that go right?

Or does the chain of command only apply to mistakes?

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Have you ever been in charge of people?

Yes, a leader accepts responsibility when things go wrong and he gives credit to those who work for him when things go right.

There is no better way to garner respect from those above and below you if you follow this simple rule.

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No, I just a run a business.

I can agree with what you are saying, but we've had Presidents in the past that have tried to micromanage everything and they were collosal failures (Carter ie). If Bush needs to held responsible for his underlings, fine. HE should fire those that provided the info. But you cant hold him to the fire because he trusted his advisors.

BTW, Congressman Dreier was on H&C last night and said that Blair and the Brits had wires proving the Niger nuke offer (also made to Mali (sp?) and Botswana) BEFORE the Italians offered the bogus documents. We'll see how much play it gets.

And I still havent heard ONE person say that the Nuke evidence was the deciding factor for their vote.

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That's your opinion.

Both the Senate and the House are having inquiries. That's enough for me. I also dont blame the left for the witch-hunt. They are desperate to find any kind of traction.

But here's what's happening. The left demands an explanation, the WH gives them the explanation, then the left accuses them of finger pointing and scapegoating. So the question is, do you want to know what happened or not?

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It's quite simple. Knowing what happened and taking responsibility for what happened is not one in the same.

I have yet to hear Bush accept responsibility for not thoroughly verifying the information that he used in the State of The Union Address. Unless we're to believe that Bush is a puppet parroting words handed to him, then he is ultimately responsible for every sentence uttered from his lips.

Instead, what I'm hearing out of the White House is, "Hey, not my fault. I just simply read what was handed to me. Go blame the guys who wrote the speech."

What Bush should be saying is, "Yes, we did a less than thorough job of gathering accurate information and my speech to the nation contained certain facts that proved to be unfounded. We will do what is necessary to insure that this Administration not repeat this mistake in the future."

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Guest SkinsHokie Fan

Based on articles that I have read in various papers apparently the info was cleared by all intelligence. Furthermore the quote was never "Saddam has tried to buy uranium from Niger" or whatever they are saying but it was more along the lines of "Saddam has looked to acquire nuclear matierals from Africa."

And yes that could be true. He may have sent Habib and Abu to Africa a few months ago to see if there was a possibility of it.

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Guest SkinsHokie Fan

Yes I know this article is from NRO but it makes the point much better then I could. People who claim to have an open mind will read this.


July 11, 2003, 11:00 a.m.


Bush’s enemies aren't telling the truth about what he said.

he president's critics are lying. Mr. Bush never claimed that Saddam Hussein had purchased uranium from Niger. It is not true — as USA Today reported on page one Friday morning — that "tainted evidence made it into the President's State of the Union address." For the record, here's what President Bush actually said in his SOTU: "The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa."

Precisely which part of that statement isn't true? The British government did say that it believed Saddam had sought African uranium. Is it possible that the British government was mistaken? Sure. Is it possible that Her Majesty's government came by that belief based on an erroneous American intelligence report about a transaction between Iraq and Niger? Yes — but British Prime Minister Tony Blair and members of his Cabinet say that's not what happened.

They say, according to Britain's liberal Guardian newspaper, that their claim was based on "extra material, separate and independent from that of the US."

I suppose you can make the case that a British-government claim should not have made its way into the president's SOTU without further verification. But why is that the top of the TV news day after day? Why would even the most dyspeptic Bush-basher see in those 16 accurate words of President's Bush's 5,492-word SOTU an opportunity to persuade Americans that there's a scandal in the White House, another Watergate, grounds for impeachment?

Surely, everyone does know by now that Saddam Hussein did have a nuclear-weapons-development program. That program was set back twice: Once by Israeli bombers in 1981, and then a decade later, at the end of the Gulf War when we learned that Saddam's nuclear program was much further along than our intelligence analysts had believed.

As President Bush also said in the SOTU:

The International Atomic Energy Agency confirmed in the 1990s that Saddam Hussein had an advanced nuclear weapons development program, had a design for a nuclear weapon and was working on five different methods of enriching uranium for a bomb.

Since Saddam never demonstrated — to the U.S., the U.N., or even to Jacques Chirac — that he had abandoned his nuclear ambitions, one has to conclude that he was still in the market for nuclear materials. And, indeed, many intelligence analysts long believed that he was trying to acquire such material from wherever he could — not just from Niger but also from Gabon, Namibia, Russia, Serbia, and other sources.

Maybe there was no reliable evidence to support the particular intelligence report saying that Saddam had acquired yellowcake (lightly processed uranium ore) from Niger. But the British claim was only that Saddam had sought yellowcake — not that he succeeded in getting a five-pound box Fedexed to his palace on the Tigris.

And is there even one member of the U.S. Congress who would say that it was on the basis of this claim alone that he voted to authorize the president to use military force against Saddam? Is there one such individual anywhere in America?

A big part of the reason this has grown into such a brouhaha is that Joseph C. Wilson IV wrote an op-ed about it in last Sunday's New York Times in which he said: "I have little choice but to conclude that some of the intelligence related to Iraq's nuclear weapons program was twisted to exaggerate the Iraqi threat."

Actually, Wilson has plenty of choices — but no basis for his slanderous allegation. A little background: Mr. Wilson was sent to Niger by the CIA to verify a U.S. intelligence report about the sale of yellowcake — because Vice President Dick Cheney requested it, because Cheney had doubts about the validity of the intelligence report.

Wilson says he spent eight days in Niger "drinking sweet mint tea and meeting with dozens of people" — hardly what a competent spy, detective, or even reporter would call an in-depth investigation. Nevertheless, let's give Wilson the benefit of the doubt and stipulate that he was correct when he reported back to the CIA that he believed it was "highly doubtful that any such transaction ever took place. "

But, again, because it was "doubtful" that Saddam actually acquired yellowcake from Niger, it does not follow that he never sought it there or elsewhere in Africa, which is all the president suggested based on what the British said — and still say.

And how does Wilson leap from there to the conclusion that Vice President Cheney and his boss "twisted" intelligence to "exaggerate the Iraqi threat"? Wilson hasn't the foggiest idea what other intelligence the president and vice president had access to.

It also would have been useful for the New York Times and others seeking Wilson's words of wisdom to have provided a little background on him. For example:

He was an outspoken opponent of U.S. military intervention in Iraq.

He's an "adjunct scholar" at the Middle East Institute — which advocates for Saudi interests. The March 1, 2002 issue of the Saudi government-weekly Ain-Al Yaqeen lists the MEI as an "Islamic research institutes supported by the Kingdom."

He's a vehement opponent of the Bush administration which, he wrote in the March 3, 2003 edition of the left-wing Nation magazine, has "imperial ambitions." Under President Bush, he added, the world worries that "America has entered one of it periods of historical madness."

He also wrote that "neoconservatives" have "a stranglehold on the foreign policy of the Republican Party." He said that "the new imperialists will not rest until governments that ape our world view are implanted throughout the region, a breathtakingly ambitious undertaking, smacking of hubris in the extreme."

He was recently the keynote speaker for the Education for Peace in Iraq Center, a far-left group that opposed not only the U.S. military intervention in Iraq but also the sanctions — and even the no-fly zones that protected hundreds of thousands of Iraqi Kurds and Shias from being slaughtered by Saddam.

And consider this: Prior to the U.S. invasion of Iraq, Wilson did believe that Saddam had biological weapons of mass destruction. But he raised that possibility only to argue against toppling Saddam, warning ABC's Dave Marash that if American troops were sent into Iraq, Saddam might "use a biological weapon in a battle that we might have. For example, if we're taking Baghdad or we're trying to take, in ground-to-ground, hand-to-hand combat." He added that Saddam also might attempt to take revenge by unleashing "some sort of a biological assault on an American city, not unlike the anthrax, attacks that we had last year."

In other words, Wilson is no disinterested career diplomat — he's a pro-Saudi, leftist partisan with an ax to grind. And too many in the media are helping him and allies grind it.

— Clifford D. May, a former New York Times foreign correspondent, is president of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, a policy institute focusing on terrorism.

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