Saturday :: Apr 8, 2006

Uranium from Africa and the NIE: The key judgments and the origin of the uranium claim


by eriposte

Late last year I published a post - one in my WMDgate series - where I mentioned a couple of points, among others, that not too many people were probably familiar with.

One was that the uranium from Africa claim in the National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) was drawn from a Sep 2002 DIA report, and NOT from a CIA report. The other point was that the uranium claim was specifically excluded from the key judgments of the NIE. I repeated these two points in my post a couple of days ago.

As I was reading some of the media coverage yesterday, I noticed a couple that mentioned the DIA connection and the key judgments.

R. Jeffrey Smith in the Washington Post:

Libby told Miller, among other things, that the NIE concluded Iraq was "vigorously trying to procure uranium," according to Fitzgerald's filing. In fact, the CIA did not believe this allegation, which came from the Defense Intelligence Agency and remains unproved to this day, according to intelligence analysts.

William Douglas, Knight-Ridder:

Libby testified "that he was specifically authorized" to disclose the key judgments of the classified NIE to Miller. Two days later, Libby met with Miller because it was thought that the NIE was "pretty definitive" against Wilson and because the vice president thought that it was "very important" for the information in the NIE to be released, court documents say.

The key judgments in the intelligence estimate, however, never mention the allegation that Iraq was shopping for uranium in Niger. The full NIE, far from rebutting Wilson's conclusion, revealed that State Department intelligence experts didn't believe the allegation, either.

As I said, my post from Thursday discussed these points but I'm glad a couple of media outlets also reported this.

UPDATE (4/13/06): Fitzgerald posted a correction to his brief saying that Libby did not actually claim that the uranium claim was part of the key judgements. Click here for my discussion of the implications of this correction.

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