the left coaster’s conclusions II…

Posted on Thursday 2 March 2006

In his first series, Eriposte definitively showed that there were relatively massive holes in the Administration’s story about the prewar Iraq Intelligence and in the Senate SSCI Report. There is clear evidence that there was one version of the Niger Forgeries and that there was access to these documents well before their advertised arrival from Elizabeth Burba in October 2002. The C.I.A. apparently knew the documents were forged before then. He showed that the C.I.A. was working from transcripts, and that the transcripts were being deliberately "cherry picked" to cover that the were obvious forgeries. In his recent series, he examines the details of the document’s history early on and is focusing on their handling [or mishandling] by the U.S. Intelligence Community. So far, he is outlining the questions that need answers:
  • Uranium from Africa: Why did the CIA completely back off from the uranium claim in 2002? – Introduction:
    The SSCI Report asserts that the C.I.A. backed off of the Niger documents on receiving them on October 9th, 2002. Yet, in the several weeks before receiving them, they actively tried to get the White House to remove references to this claim in public speeches because they thought the British Report was not credible. Why?
  • Uranium from Africa: Why did the CIA completely back off from the uranium claim in 2002? – Part 1:
    Unmentioned in the SSCI Report, the C.I.A. contacted the French Secret Service about a report of Iraq attempting to buy Uranium from Niger before September 11th, 2001, and were reassured that these reports were false. How did they know to make this contact? Why was this omitted from the SSCI Report?
  • Uranium from Africa: The "Secret" History of 2001 – Part 1: "200 tons" of uranium
    In 1981, Iraq had purchased 200 tons of Uranium Ore from Niger. The Niger forgeries that we know about mention 500 tons. But in 2001, the C.I.A.’s query to the French mentioned 200 tons. Eriposte wonders if the C.I.A. actually had a version of the forgeries before 911 and if the forgeries were revised by someone later to make them more credible.
  • Uranium from Africa: How many pages were in the final Niger dossier?
    Elizabeth Burba received 17+1=19 documents from Martino and turned them over to the U.S. Embassy on October 9th, 2002. When she returned to her office, there were 4 or 5 pages more faxed to her which she did not give to the Embassy. The whereabouts and content of these extra pages is unknown. Where are they?
  • Treasongate: The Niger Forgeries v. INR Reports – "Global Support", Part A
    On receipt of the documents in October 2002, the INR commented about several documents, describing them. There are no documents in the packet that fit his description. Eriposte meticulously goes through the documents and concludes that "the CIA (and INR) must have had in their possession one or more forged Niger uranium documents that have not yet been publicly revealed." Where are they?
  • Uranium from Africa and the Niger Forgeries: Look who Elisabetta Burba and Rocco Martino talked about
    Here, Eriposte mentions that Michael Ledeen came up in the conversation between Burba and Martino. Eriposte states that he doesn’t know if Ledeen was involved. but like many others, leaves the impression that suspicion is high.
  • Uranium from Africa and the Niger Forgeries: When did the CIA (in the U.S.) first receive copies of the Niger uranium forgeries? – Introduction
    The SSCI Report says:
    • On October 9, 2002, an Italian journalist from the magazine Panorama provided U.S. Embassy Rome with copies of documents pertaining to the alleged Iraq-Niger uranium transaction.
    • Also on October 11, 2002, the U.S. Embassy in Rome reported to State Department headquarters that it had acquired photocopies of documents on a purported uranium deal between Iraq and Niger from an Italian journalist.
    • The embassy faxed the documents to the State Department’s Bureau of Nonproliferation (NP) on October 15, 2002, which passed a copy of the documents to INR.
    • Immediately after receiving the documents, the INR Iraq nuclear analyst e-mailed IC colleagues offering to provide the documents at a previously planned meeting of the Nuclear Interdiction Action Group (NIAG) the following day.
    • On October 16, 2002, INR made copies of the documents available at the NIAG meeting for attendees, including representatives from the CIA, DIA, DOE and NSA. Because the analyst who offered to provide the documents was on leave, the office’s senior analyst provided the documents.

    Eriposte will be examining this sequence from which much has been redacted. He questions if the C.I.A. already had these documents.

  • Uranium from Africa and the Niger Forgeries: When did the CIA (in the U.S.) first receive copies of the Niger uranium forgeries? – Part 1: The Curious Incident of the CIA in the Daytime
    If you’re going to read any of Eriposte‘s posts, this is the one. It describes what happened after the documents were received. They were distributed to the "CIA, DIA, DOE and NSA." The C.I.A. didn’t recall picking them up, though they were on file. "The CIA told the Committee its analysts did not seek to obtain copies of the documents because they believed that the foreign government service reporting was verbatim text and did not think it would advance the story on the alleged uranium deal. One analyst noted that, at the time, the CIA was preparing its case [DELETED] on reconstitution and since the uranium reporting was not significant to their argument, getting the documents was not a priority." So the C.I.A., having gotten its hands on these documents finally, didn’t even look at them?! After pointing out the multiple fallacies in this part of the SSCI Report, Eriposte concludes, "To sum it up, there is only one obvious explanation, that is both reasonable and plausible, which explains the CIA’s reported behavior. That explanation is that the CIA was already aware of the Niger forgeries and already had them in their possession prior to receiving copies from Elisabetta Burba." If you read this, you will undoubtedly conclude the exact same thing. And in the weeks before this, the C.I.A. had been trying to get the references to this Niger Uranium deal out of the statements by the White House [to no avail]. AND what did the other Intelligence Agencies do with this information and their copies?

So, we’re up to date. Eriposte deserves much credit for providing the clear details that let us know that the story we’ve been told about the history of the Niger Forgeries is complete bull-shit. Our Intelligence Agencies knew about this claim before 911. They knew enough to send Joseph Wilson to Niger in February 2002. They were cautioning against using this information before they got the documents. They couldn’t possibly have overlooked the coming of the documents in October 2002 – this was "hot stuff." Eriposte thinks they had the documents long before they admitted, and that they knew they were forged – as did the Administration. But he’s still at it, and I, for one, am on the edge of my seat.

What sets Eriposte‘s posts apart from the rest of our conjectures is that he’s taking pains to show primary data that backs up his thoughts. My summaries are in no way intended to substitute for direct examination of his evidence. If anything, I hope you’ll be intrigued enough to read them for yourself.

Meanwhile, Murray Waas has a pertinent article that bears on this topic – the first solid evidence that Bush and Cheney both were told that the Aluminum Tube story and the Niger documents were false, as well as given strong opinions that Hussein was not a threat and not tied to Al Qaeda, in this same time period before the build-up campaign started to go to war.

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