In this week's column, Canardmeister Robert Scheer claims to have a "firm basis" for impeaching George W. Bush. Bob has made similar claims before, so it is with cautious amusement that we examine his new "firm basis", which turns out to be:
the White House admission that the charge that Iraq tried to buy uranium from Niger was excised from a Bush speech in October 2002 after the CIA and State Department insisted it was unfounded. Bizarrely, however, three months later -- without any additional evidence emerging -- that outrageous lie was inserted into the State of the Union speech to justify the president's case for bypassing the United Nations Security Council, for chasing U.N. inspectors out of Iraq and for invading and occupying an oil-rich country.Here is what CIA Director George Tenet actually stated:
In October, the Intelligence Community (IC) produced a classified, 90 page National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on Iraq’s WMD programs. There is a lengthy section in which most agencies of the Intelligence Community judged that Iraq was reconstituting its nuclear weapons program. Let me emphasize, the NIE’s Key Judgments cited six reasons for this assessment; the African uranium issue was not one of them...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.So there was intelligence that Iraq was reconstituting its nuclear weapons program, and the claim of Niger uranium was not "unfounded", as Scheer claims, but merely that there were "questions" about it.
Furthermore, Bush cited the British as the source of his claim that Iraq was seeking uranium in Niger, and the British continue to insist that they were right. Oh, and here is another tantalizing item on this subject:
A four-star general, who was asked to go to Niger last year to inquire about the security of Niger's uranium, told The Washington Post yesterday that he came away convinced the country's stocks were secure. The findings of Marine Gen. Carlton Fulford were passed up to Gen. Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff — though it was unclear whether they reached officials in the White House.[emphasis mine].
In an interview, Fulford said he came away "assured" the supply of "yellowcake" was kept secure by a French consortium
Good call, Bob. How much do you want to bet whether the Republican House is going to vote to impeach George W Bush on the basis of French assurances regarding an Iraqi nuclear program.
UPDATE 1 The Telegraph reports that French intelligence gave British intelligence the goods on the Iraq-Niger uranium connection, but forbade the British from sharing the details with the U.S.
UPDATE 2 Jeff of the SoCalLawBlog points out that Scheer wasn't always such a big fan of impeachment.Posted by Stefan Sharkansky at July 15, 2003 05:34 PM