Monday, June 28, 2004

Buried on page 8 of the Financial Times is the news that, oops, the intelligence was correct when it said that Saddam was trying to buy uranium from Niger.
Illicit sales of uranium from Niger were being negotiated with five states including Iraq at least three years before the US-led invasion, senior European intelligence officials have told the Financial Times.

Intelligence officers learned between 1999 and 2001 that uranium smugglers planned to sell illicitly mined Nigerien uranium ore, or refined ore called yellow cake, to Iran, Libya, China, North Korea and Iraq.

These claims support the assertion made in the British government dossier on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction programme in September 2002 that Iraq had sought to buy uranium from an African country, confirmed later as Niger. George W. Bush, US president, referred to the issue in his State of the Union address in January 2003.

The claim that the illicit export of uranium was under discussion was widely dismissed when letters referring to the sales - apparently sent by a Nigerien official to a senior official in Saddam Hussein's regime - were proved by the International Atomic Energy Agency to be forgeries. This embarrassed the US and led the administration to reverse its earlier claim.

But European intelligence officials have for the first time confirmed that information provided by human intelligence sources during an operation mounted in Europe and Africa produced sufficient evidence for them to believe that Niger was the centre of a clandestine international trade in uranium.

Of course, this validates the conclusion that Joe Wilson, sent over to investigate the claims, didn't know what he was talking about. He claimed to have had tea with some government officials who denied the report so he concluded that the report must, therefore, be false. But let's not forget why the report was important in the first place. Saddam was trying to BUY URANIUM. Doesn't that scare you about the possibilities? Aren't you glad that he's no longer in the uranium-buying market?

Okay, prepare for this validation of the President's and Prime Minister's claim to be ignored by the media. (Link via Lucianne via Belgravia Dispatch)