Thursday :: Dec 1, 2005

Treasongate: The Niger Forgeries v. the CIA Intel Reports - Post Script 2: The 6/20/03 IAEA Letter to Rep. Henry Waxman


by eriposte

This is a follow-up to my series (see Introduction, Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Preliminary Conclusion and Post Script 1) focused on comparing the CIA (uranium) intel reports on Niger to the corresponding contents of the relevant Niger documents (mostly forgeries) to understand how the forgeries were "mainstreamed" and to what extent Italian intelligence (SISMI) was complicit in this affair. This post focuses on an IAEA letter to Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) from June 2003 to wrap up the open-and-shut case against SISMI - and to provide a brief preview of the case against the Bush administration.

If you have read my series you will know that, based on the conditional assumption that the CIA did not lie to or mislead the SSCI about what they received from SISMI in late 2001/early 2002, one of my key inferences using carefully documented evidence, was the following:

...the CIA most likely did not receive some of the fake information in the Niger documents (on 10/15/01, 2/5/02 and/or 3/25/02) because their source (SISMI) was excising [or changing] the overtly fraudulent material from the information they sent to the CIA.

A quick analysis of a June 2003 letter from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the U.N.'s premier nuclear agency, to Democratic Congressman Henry Waxman, written in response to a query from Rep. Waxman, provides indirect proof for the validity of my inference. Let me reiterate therefore that it is way past time for U.S. media outlets to provide coverage for this story (just like the Italian newspaper La Repubblica did last month). Readers and bloggers can also help by contacting media outlets and/or your Democratic Senators and Congressional representatives to ask for a more thorough investigation of this scandal.

The discussion in this post is divided into the following sections:

1. Key facts in the IAEA letter
2. The significance of the information in the IAEA letter

2.1 The 1965 Constitution
2.2 Allele Elhadj Habibou

3. Implications for the Bush administration
4. Conclusions
APPENDIX: Contact information for media/Congress


1. Key facts in the IAEA letter

The IAEA letter was dated 6/20/2003 and was in response to a query from Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) on the uranium from Africa issue and the Niger forgeries. The information in the letter that is most useful in the context of my ongoing analysis and reporting are the following two bullet points (with bold text being my emphasis):

Open-source information cast serious doubt on the documents. Key anomalies included:

  • In an alleged letter dated 27 July 2000, the President of Niger refers to the Constitution of 12 May 1965, whereas the constitution in place in 2000 was dated 9 August 1999;
  • A letter, allegedly signed by the Foreign Minister of Niger on 10 October 2000, bears the signature of Mr. Allele Elhadj Habibou, who was Foreign Minister in 1988-89;

In the next section I explain why these facts are significant.


2. The significance of the information in the IAEA letter

In the Preliminary Conclusion to this series I explained my thesis using two examples.

(a) The 1966* Niger Constitution: One of the CIA's claims in its 10/15/01 intel report was based on information in forged Niger Doc 3 [TLC numbering explained here]. Doc 3 was a letter dated 7/27/2000 which invoked powers established by Niger's 1966* constitution - a constitution that had been obsolete since 1991. Yet, per the SSCI Report, the CIA's 10/15/01 report evidently did not mention the obviously false reference to the 1966* constitution. If the letter had really been written in 2000, it would have referred to the July 1999** constitution, not the May 1966* constitution. (More details on this in Part 2 of this series.)

[Footnotes:
*This is likely 1965, as discussed in Sec. 2.1 below; whether or not it is 1965 or 1966, however, makes absolutely no difference to the main issue under discussion and to my conclusions;
** This could be July or August 1999 as discussed in Sec. 2.1 below; again whether it is July or August 1999 is totally irrelevant to the issue at hand here.]

(b) The "Nassirou Sabo" letter: Another claim from the CIA's 10/15/01 report was based on forged Niger Doc 4. Doc 4 was a letter dated 10/10/2000 and allegedly signed by Nigerien Foreign Minister Allele Elhadj Habibou. However, the 10/15/01 CIA report actually claims that it was signed by Nassirou Sabo. As it turns out Nassirou Sabo would have been the correct signatory if the letter was real (based on its October 2000 date) since Habibou was not Foreign Minister of Niger at that time. The CIA report is also missing the "received date" marked on the letter - 9/28/00, which was ~2 weeks prior to the sent date, which would have shown that the letter was fake. (More details on this in Part 3 of this series.)

Based on those examples, I had stated that:

  • Either the CIA did not receive some of the fake information in the Niger documents (on 10/15/01, 2/5/02 and/or 3/25/02) because their source (SISMI) was excising [or altering] the overtly fraudulent material from the information they sent to the CIA
  • Or SISMI themselves received from their source only selective portions of the Niger documents with the overtly fraudulent material excised

Then, I had explained why the former conclusion was the correct one.

At the same time, I had added one caveat. I said that:

It is also possible that SISMI-F may have noticed the obviously fake material from the Cabal and asked the Cabal to "fix it" and send them "corrected" versions of the Niger forgeries - which have not surfaced yet. Regardless, that would still make SISMI-F complicit in this matter. In effect, this scenario is no different from the above.

Since then, I had been trying to get independent confirmation on the specific contents of the forgeries that were passed on to the State Department and the CIA in Oct 2002. The IAEA letter provides exactly that. As I discuss in the next two sub-sections, the information in the IAEA letter proves that the forgeries that were distributed to U.S. intelligence by Elisabetta Burba in Oct 2002 did not actually have any "corrections" or "deletions" associated with the two specific examples I discussed above. This confirms that someone at SISMI must have made the "corrections" or "deletions" before they sent selective extracts from the forgeries to the CIA in late 2001/early 2002.

There is another reason why this conclusion holds.

If the Niger Forgery Cabal had "fixed" the obviously fake information in the Niger dossier for SISMI-F (my previous post explains the significance of the term SISMI-F), then that would have occurred in the late 2001 time frame (which is when SISMI sent their first Niger uranium "report" to the CIA). However, the Niger dossier was handed over to the U.S. embassy in Rome by Panorama reporter Elisabetta Burba roughly one year later - in October 2002. Since the October 2002 dossier contained the obviously fake information that was missing in the CIA intel reports (as attested to by the IAEA letter), it is an easy conclusion that the dossier was not edited back in 2001, to remove the fake information. Someone in SISMI-F must have masked the obviously fake information before passing it on to the CIA (or to other colleagues within SISMI).


2.1 The 1965 Constitution

As I mentioned in Section 1, the IAEA letter says:

In an alleged letter dated 27 July 2000, the President of Niger refers to the Constitution of 12 May 1965, whereas the constitution in place in 2000 was dated 9 August 1999

The real significance of this IAEA observation is that the forged letter that the U.S received in October 2002 actually included the mention of the 1965 Constitution - something that was conspicuously missing in the October 15, 2001 CIA intel report on the alleged Niger uranium transaction. This means that what SISMI originally received from the Niger Fogery Cabal was also a forged document with the mention of the 1965 constitution. This, in turn, means that if the CIA (and INR) were not lying to or hiding something from the SSCI (Senate Select Committee on Intelligence), it was someone at SISMI who must have removed the mention of the 1965 Constitution when transmitting selective contents from the corresponding forged document to the CIA in Oct 2001.

MINOR CLARIFICATIONS:

  • Until now, I have been referring to the "1966 Constitution". That was based on the Cryptome website's translation of the corresponding forged Niger document [Niger Doc 3]. When I saw the IAEA letter I went back to look at the original forged Niger document and, as I suspected, the resolution of the scanned document is weak enough that the last digit could potentially be read as a 5 or as a 6. Since the IAEA has the top experts in the field, I will use the year 1965 going forward, rather than 1966. (As and when I get a chance I will go back and edit my previous posts accordingly).
  • The IAEA mentions that the 1999 constitution was dated 9 August 1999. The State Department website actually refers to a date of July 18, 1999. This is irrelevant to the main thesis of my reports and analysis and changes nothing. (Perhaps the two different months refer to ratificiation by two different entities in Niger?)

2.2 Allele Elhadj Habibou

As I mentioned in Section 1, the IAEA letter says:

A letter, allegedly signed by the Foreign Minister of Niger on 10 October 2000, bears the signature of Mr. Allele Elhadj Habibou, who was Foreign Minister in 1988-89

The real significance of this IAEA observation is that the forged letter that the U.S received in October 2002 actually had the signature of Allele Elhadj Habibou and not Nassirou Sabo - in contrast to the mention of Nassirou Sabo in the October 15, 2001 CIA intel report on the alleged Niger uranium transaction. As I explained before, Nassirou Sabo would have been the correct signatory if the letter was real (based on its alleged October 2000 sent date) since Habibou was not Foreign Minister of Niger at that time. The fact that the forgery received by the CIA had the name Allele Elhadj Habibou implies that what SISMI originally received from the Niger Fogery Cabal was also a forged document with the name Allele Elhadj Habibou. This, in turn, means that if the CIA (and INR) were not lying to or hiding something from the SSCI, it was someone at SISMI who must have removed the Habibou name/signature and replaced it with Nassirou Sabo's name/signature when transmitting selective contents from the forged document to the CIA in Oct 2001.

NOTE: This aspect was also discussed by La Repubblica. See here.


3. Implications for the Bush administration

Although the main focus of this series has been to elucidate the duplicitous role of one or more individuals in SISMI in the whole Niger uranium fraud, buried in here is an equally big scandal in the context of the Bush administration. I will discuss this further in future posts but suffice it to say that:

(a) This series has established without a doubt that the FBI's shutdown of the Niger forgeries inquiry without holding anyone at SISMI accountable (let alone holding individuals in the Bush administration accountable - see below), was a scandalous whitewash.

(b) The CIA's mysterious lack of interest in examining the Niger dossier once they received it in Oct 2002 takes on greater meaning considering that anyone who compared the contents of the dossier to the CIA reports from late 2001/early 2002 would have immediately noticed something as obvious as a contradiction between the names Nassirou Sabo and Allele Elhadj Habibou. Even my preliminary analysis of the CIA's behavior from at least early October 2002 was strongly suggestive that the CIA likely knew a lot more about the nature/contents of the forged Niger documents prior to the Bush 2003 SOTU than they let on to the SSCI.

(c) The CIA's unexplained altering of the alleged year when the Niger Court was supposed to have ratified the alleged uranium sales agreement requires an investigation.

(d) As the U.K. magazine Private Eye reported last week, it appears that when the U.S. finally passed on the Niger dossier to the IAEA in response to the IAEA's request for proof for the uranium from Niger (Africa) claim, the U.S. withheld the one document from the Niger dossier that an INR analyst had determined to be an obvious forgery. The question of whether this was done deliberately (to preserve the CIA's untenable cover story on their supposed lack of knowledge of the forged nature of the dossier) more than deserves an investigation.

All in all, the reporting in this series (and the revelation by Private Eye) has blown a wide hole in the Bush administration's cover-up of the Niger uranium hoax and the Niger forgeries.


4. Conclusions

The IAEA letter of June 20, 2003, indirectly confirms my original conclusion: that, if the CIA and INR were not lying to the SSCI, then someone at SISMI (or SISMI-F, as I explained in that post) removed or altered overtly fraudulent information in the forgeries and then passed on selective extracts from them to the CIA in late 2001 and early 2002.

That said, SISMI is not the only group that is complicit in perpetrating and covering up this hoax. As I explained in Section 3, the Bush administration's own cover-up of their knowledge and complicity in this affair is barely understood and requires serious investigation.

Let me use this opportunity to repeat my call for a thorough investigation in the U.S. (and in Italy) of SISMI's role and the role of the Bush administration's perpetrating and whitewashing the Niger forgeries as well as the CIA's claimed ignorance about the bogus nature of the forgeries prior to the Bush 2003 SOTU.

Please encourage the media and your Democratic Senators and/or Congressional Representatives to launch an investigation into this scandal.


APPENDIX: Contact information for media/Congress

U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence:

  • Sen. Jay Rockefeller: (202) 224-6472; email
  • Sen. Carl Levin: (202) 224-6221; email
  • Sen. Dianne Feinstein: (202) 224-3841; email

Others in Congress:

  • Sen. Harry Reid: (202) 224-3542 or (202) 224-9521; email
  • Rep. Henry Waxman: (202) 225-3976; email

Some media contacts:

Thank you.

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