The Financial Times has more information on the sources of the British intelligence estimate that Iraq was pursuing uranium from Africa.
Two foreign governments, thought to be France and Italy, supplied Britain with the intelligence for its claim that Saddam Hussein’s Iraq had sought uranium from Africa.
The Financial Times has learnt from senior Whitehall sources that the information came from two west European countries, and not from now discredited documents that proved to be forgeries.
This information, which does not appear to have been passed on to the US, would suggest why the government felt confident enough to put it in a dossier on Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction last September.
However, for it’s part, the Italian government is denying that it passed intelligence onto the British. The French government is one possible source, although it is also believed that the Germans were actively pursuing these leads as well.
This information only lends credence to the President’s case. If this has just been an issue of a few crude forgeries, why would there be such a rush by Western European intelligence agencies to follow up on the information? It begs the question that there must be something more to this information than is being publically stated.
The article continues:
The foreign secretary also disclosed that the US did not share with London details of a visit to Niger in 2002 by Joseph Wilson, an American envoy, who reported that no contract to buy uranium had been concluded with Iraq. Britain only learnt about this in recent press reports.
But he pointed to a part of the envoy’s report that cited a visit by an Iraqi delegation in 1999 to Niger. This supported the UK claim that Iraq had sought African uranium.
This seems like a gross breech in proceedure, however in the defense of the Administration it seems clear that Wilson’s investigation was shoddy at best. By his own admission he spent only a few days in Niger without any significant staff and interviewed only a few dozen officials. Even so, he only confirmed that Iraq had not recieved any uranium, not that they had never tried.
It appears that its the critics case, not the President’s, that unravels under scrutiny. It appears that the President’s statement was based on the best possible information at the time, and was not known to be false, and may be true after all. Of course, don’t expect such small matters as the truth to stand in the way of the Democrat’s efforts at a partisan witchhunt.