Once and for all

And I could comment on how you've consistently missed the point that Administration officials used evidence they didn't trust in a speech before the American people to oversell a causus belli.

Rat, this has been answered 10 times. Let me do it an 11th, as a direct question to you:

The administration has stated repeatedly that the line about Iraq attempting to purchase uranium in Africa was included in the State of the Union because British intelligence claimed sources beyond ours to support the assertion. They still claim this today, and claim that they have sources that have nothing to do with any forged documents.

Can you prove:
1) The line in the State of the Union was only about Niger, or even had anything to do with Niger.
2) Tony Blair and British intelligence are lying and they have no sources to back up their claim that Saddam sought uranium in Africa.

If you cannot prove either of these, please stop saying that the administration used evidence it didn't trust. They did trust it. They believed, and continued to believe British intelligence in their assertions.

If you want to call the British liars, fine. Present your case. If you want to call the Administration liars, please prove that they meant Niger when they say they didn't.

"ralcydan" wrote:

1) The line in the State of the Union was only about Niger, or even had anything to do with Niger.

By the stories of objections and George Tenet''s own admission, the Administration has pretty much said that it was based on Niger. The blanket-statement attributed to British intelligence was an ass-covering measure. Why would you assert something you didn''t trust? Why haven''t you come up with an answer to that?

2) Tony Blair and British intelligence are lying and they have no sources to back up their claim that Saddam sought uranium in Africa.

There is a pending investigation in Parliament over this very issue. A shame that a star witness in that turned up dead.

By the stories of objections and George Tenet''s own admission, the Administration has pretty much said that it was based on Niger.

Nope, not even close. Give me a quote on this. It simply isn''t true.

There is a pending investigation in Parliament over this very issue. A shame that a star witness in that turned up dead.

Or, in other words, ""I have no proof, Ral""

But in the interest of completeness, the report contained three paragraphs that discuss Iraq''s significant 550-metric ton uranium stockpile and how it could be diverted while under IAEA safeguard. These paragraphs also cited reports that Iraq began ""vigorously trying to procure"" more uranium from Niger and two other African countries, which would shorten the time Baghdad needed to produce nuclear weapons. The NIE states: ""A foreign government service reported that as of early 2001, Niger planned to send several tons of pure ""uranium"" (probably yellowcake) to Iraq. As of early 2001, Niger and Iraq reportedly were still working out the arrangements for this deal, which could be for up to 500 tons of yellowcake."" The Estimate also states: ""We do not know the status of this arrangement."" With regard to reports that Iraq had sought uranium from two other countries, the Estimate says: ""We cannot confirm whether Iraq succeeded in acquiring uranium ore and/or yellowcake from these sources."" Much later in the NIE text, in presenting an alternate view on another matter, the State Department''s Bureau of Intelligence and Research included a sentence that states: ""Finally, the claims of Iraqi pursuit of natural uranium in Africa are, in INR''s assessment, highly dubious.""

An unclassified CIA White Paper in October made no mention of the issue, again because it was not fundamental to the judgment that Iraq was reconstituting its nuclear weapons program, and because we had questions about some of the reporting. For the same reasons, the subject was not included in many public speeches, Congressional testimony and the Secretary of State''s United Nations presentation in early 2003.

The background above makes it even more troubling that the 16 words eventually made it into the State of the Union speech. This was a mistake.

Portions of the State of the Union speech draft came to the CIA for comment shortly before the speech was given. Various parts were shared with cognizant elements of the Agency for review. Although the documents related to the alleged Niger-Iraqi uranium deal had not yet been determined to be forgeries, officials who were reviewing the draft remarks on uranium raised several concerns about the fragmentary nature of the intelligence with National Security Council colleagues. Some of the language was changed. From what we know now, Agency officials in the end concurred that the text in the speech was factually correct – i.e. that the British government report said that Iraq sought uranium from Africa. This should not have been the test for clearing a Presidential address. This did not rise to the level of certainty which should be required for Presidential speeches, and CIA should have ensured that it was removed.

Proof.

Not proof at all. Tenet says that the CIA shared doubts with the NSC, because the Niger report was unverified. Fine. The White House states that the decision to use this line had nothing to do with Niger. Tenet, who you quote as ""proof"", didn''t put the line in, wasn''t involved in the discussions which cleared the line, and didn''t even read the final draft of the speech.

The players involved, as you conveniently posted today, say the following:

Foley said he called Joseph to object to uranium language that would single out Niger and mention that a specific amount of uranium was being sought. Joseph agreed to eliminate those two elements but then proposed that the speech use more general language, citing British intelligence that said Iraq had recently been seeking uranium in Africa

So, at the time of the writing of the SOTU, the White House, in this case Robert Joseph at the NSC, specifically cited British intelligence about Africa, not the Niger claim. Not a cover your ass statement later, but one made at the time of the writing of the speech. The CIA couldn''t verify, but the line was included because they trusted British claims.

So only if British intelligence is lying are you right that the President used evidence they didn''t trust. On that matter, I will assume you stand by your earlier statement, ""I have no proof, Ral"" until further notice.

On that matter, I will assume you stand by your earlier statement, ""I have no proof, Ral"" until further notice.

You are seriously testing my civility, pal.

Elysium, lock the thread before I say something unkind.

Um, that''s ""You are seriously testing my civility, Ral.""

Seriously though, you call the Administration liars. Fine. But you don''t then get to disregard their explanation out of hand. They say that the SOTU line was based on valid evidence from British intelligence. The only way they are liars is if British intelligence is lying about their claims and their sources. You have no argument otherwise.

Anytime you are asked for proof for an argument you are making as vehemently as this one, ""I''ll get back to you after a pending investigation"" doesn''t cut it.

No, not locking the thread. It''s a test of self will ... if you find some could you bottle it and send it to me.

It seems clear to me, from the material I''ve heard and that the ''sixteen words'' were constantly put in and taken out of a variety of intelligence documents, and the fact that the State Department did not support the evidence that some people believed it, some people didn''t believe it, and some people wanted to believe it.

I seriously doubt anyone would be able to prove one way or another whether the key officials like Cheney, Rumsfeld, or even Bush had clear reason to trust or not trust this information, which is enough for plausible deniability in the long run. To say no one in the administration doubted the validity of the intelligence seems to me to be missing some convincing evidence, though I''m really not a good hunt and peck kind of guy for evidence, so if you ask me for links I''ll probably just ignore you. The impression I''ve gotten from the multitude of back and forth is that some people really thought that never should have made it into the State of the Union.

As for the line itself in the State of the Union, maybe I''ve missed the part where someone denied it was referring to Niger, but it seems with Tony and Bush''s recent speech that they pretty much admit that''s what we''re all talking about.

Plausible deniability, that''s such a wonderful word. You can have your people break every law imaginable for you and you won''t get touched. It almost worked for Al Capone.

I agree, it''s slimy. But in its defense it is based off the noble ideal of ''innocent until proven guilty''.

Or, it''s way to twist ""innoncent until proven guilty"" to get rid enough proof of guilt. You know, document-burning, tape-erasing, that sort of thing.

Rat, I am still waiting on your case that British intelligence and Tony Blair are lying.

A couple of questions:

1) I see you bring up Al Capone and talk about ""document-burning, tape-erasing, that sort of thing"" - nostalgic for the Clinton years?

2) Can I assume that since you have no proof and are waiting on a parlimentary investigation, you will refrain from your libelous accusations about our President until evidence arises?

Libelous? I''m sorry, how is raising a possibility libelous? I could accuse you of being libelous against liberals, but let''s not get into a tit-for-tat libel and slander debate today.

Can there be *one* thread here without the word ''Clinton'' being mentioned?

Slander is spoken. When it''s printed it is libel. And you haven''t been ""raising a possibility"". Allow me to quote you to you:

Administration officials used evidence they didn''t trust in a speech before the American people to oversell a causus belli.

That isn''t raising a possibility, that''s making an accusation.

And that''s 4 posts on this thread without responding to the argument. I assume you are done, unless you have a pleasant and witty concession speech.

Making an accusation could be also construed here as stating an opinion. It''s all semantics.

And semantics are the tools of lawyers. Those demons...

j/k Lawyeron!

I''ll be glad to post a picture of when I exchanged my soul for my law degree. You should see the evil smile on my face.