Three Years Late, Long After the Flawed Senate Intelligence Committee Report, WaPo Finally Fills in a Very Few Blanks on Bush's Infamous '16 Words' Which Led to War
PLUS: A Quick Follow-up on Last Week's 'Bush Admin/WaPo Swift-Boating of Fitzgerald' Story...
By Margie Burns on 4/5/2007, 1:32pm PT  

*** Blogged by BRAD BLOG D.C. Correspondent Margie Burns

On Tuesday, April 3, 2007 the Washington Post finally got around to publishing a front-page article, “How Bogus Letter Became a Case for War,” on the bogus Niger/uranium/Iraq story underlying those infamous “16 words” in Bush’s 2003 State of the Union speech.

The Post subtitle is “Intelligence Failures Surrounded Inquiry on Iraq-Niger Uranium Claim.” A more accurate subtitle would have read, “Intelligence Community Caved to Bush-Cheney Pressure.”

{Ed Note: We might suggest "Mainstream Media Failure to do Job, Scrutinize Admin's Iraq-Niger Claim, Led to Endless War" - BF}

I, among others, am familiar with the chronology because I wrote about it almost a full three years ago...

The article, from a book by Peter Eisner and Knut Royce also released Tuesday (The Italian Letter: How the Bush Administration Used a Fake Letter to Build the Case for War in Iraq, Rodale Press), follows a chronology most BRAD BLOG may be familiar with by now, about some obviously forged documents purporting a deal by Saddam to acquire uranium for nukes.

Better late than never:

  • July 7, 2004 --- The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence published its long awaited Report on the U.S. Intelligence Community’s Prewar Intelligence Assessments on Iraq, including a chapter (pages 36-83) on the bogus Niger uranium item.
  • July 20, 2004 – Piecing together the narrative from the Senate report, I published an article re the Niger uranium item in Bev Conover’s estimable onlinejournal, titled “No Political Pressure?”
  • Summer, 2004 – Frustrated that little of this really hideous story was being reported in big media outlets, in an election year, I also discussed it on Louie Free’s Ohio radio show;
  • ...And published on the lies leading to war elsewhere, including “Unsung Heroes, Including a Dead One?” published by comite canadien.
  • ...and in my local community newspaper, where this piece is still archived.
  • October 2004 – The conservative Midwestern magazine Chronicles republished my “No Political Pressure?”article.
  • April 2005 – The point that France was uniquely in a position to debunk that “yellowcake” story was worth making again. Et cetera.

Not that I was alone:

  • In 2005, the paperback edition of Joe Wilson’s book,
    The Politics of Truth, was released, with a lengthy foreword by Russ Hoyle covering the same chronology (with disclaimer from the publisher).
  • June 2006 – Craig Unger came out with a good article on the same chronology in Vanity Fair.
  • And Paul Thompson at has pulled together a massively documented timeline leading up to 9/11 and to the Iraq war.

Now, in April 2007, with more than 3,000 U.S. troops killed in Iraq and thousands wounded, with hundreds of thousands of Iraqis killed, the stability of Iraq destroyed, the world’s biggest U.S. embassy being readied in Iraq, and legislation or “government policy” in the works to give U.S. and U.K. oil companies effective control of the distribution of Iraqi oil, the Washington Post finally fills in some missing details on the bogus uranium documents.

How about that "liberal media", huh?

We learn from the front-pager that 1) it was 3 a.m. in Italy when Bush read his 2003 State of the Union address; 2) Italian journalist Elisabetta Burba approached the U.S. Embassy in Rome through a security gate and a magnetometer; and 3) the embassy press spokesman Burba met was named Ian Kelly.

It’s hard to know whether to cry or laugh.

FOLLOW UP... On the recommendation of BRAD BLOG's editor-in-chief Brad Friedman, I have written the Washington Post ombudsman and two Post reporters with questions about what I reported last week as an apparent swift-boating on their pages, purportedly from within the DOJ, of U.S. attorney Patrick Fitzgerald. I've asked for explanation on their having run a misleading (at best) front-pager asserting an "undistinguished" rating for Fitzgerald based solely on unnamed "administration sources" and without apparently viewing the document they reported on. As of this writing, no one at the Post has responded to my queries.