Magazine article Newsweek

Did the CIA Shut out Congress on WMD?

Magazine article Newsweek

Did the CIA Shut out Congress on WMD?

Article excerpt

Byline: Michael Isikoff and Mark Hosenball

Democrats on the Senate Intelligence Committee are seeking access to a closely held classified transcript that could resolve a key question in the Iraq-war intelligence debate: whether the CIA misled Congress about documents purporting to show Saddam Hussein was trying to buy uranium from the African country of Niger. The Niger documents have been exposed as a crude forgery--even though President Bush cited the alleged uranium purchases in his January 2003 State of the Union address as evidence that Iraq was seeking to build a nuclear bomb. Last week agency officials acknowledged that a former U.S. diplomat had been sent to Niger nearly a year earlier and concluded the documents were bogus. (The Niger minister who signed them on official stationery had left office a decade earlier.) But the CIA apparently never passed along the diplomat's assessment to its congressional overseers.

One missed opportunity to do that was Sept. 24, 2002--just as Congress was debating an Iraq war resolution--when Robert Walpole, the CIA's national intelligence officer for nuclear issues, was questioned by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee about British assertions that Saddam was seeking "significant" quantities of uranium from Africa. Two sources at the classified hearing tell NEWSWEEK that Walpole appeared to endorse the British report. "He didn't say there was anything to be doubtful about," says one source. But an agency spokesman insists Walpole told the senators that "there were concerns about the accuracy" of reports from Niger. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.