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  #1  
Old 12-03-2005, 11:25 AM
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Bad intel

By Peter Wallsten, Tom Hamburger and Josh Meyer, Times Staff Writers


FBI has reopened an inquiry into one of the most intriguing aspects of the pre-Iraq war intelligence fiasco: how the Bush administration came to rely on forged documents linking Iraq to nuclear weapons materials as part of its justification for the invasion.

The documents inspired intense U.S. interest in the buildup to the war and they led the CIA to send a former ambassador to the African nation of Niger to investigate whether Iraq had sought the materials there. The ambassador, Joseph C. Wilson IV, found little evidence to support such a claim, and the documents were later deemed to have been forged.

But President Bush referred to the claim in his 2003 State of the Union address in making the case for the invasion. Bush's speech, Wilson's trip and the role Wilson's wife played in sending him have created a political storm that still envelops the White House.

The documents in question included letters on Niger government letterhead and purported contracts showing sales of uranium to Iraq. They were provided in 2002 to an Italian magazine, which turned them over to the U.S. Embassy in Rome.

The FBI's decision to reopen the investigation reverses the agency's announcement last month that it had finished a two-year inquiry and concluded that the forgeries were part of a moneymaking scheme and not an effort to manipulate U.S. foreign policy.

Those findings concerned some members of the Senate Intelligence Committee after published reports that the FBI had not interviewed a former Italian spy named Rocco Martino, who was identified as the original source of the documents. The committee had requested the initial investigation.

"This is such a high-profile issue for a lot of reasons, and we think it's important to make sure there aren't lingering questions," said an aide to Sen. John D. Rockefeller IV (D-W.Va.), vice chairman of the Intelligence Committee. "There's always a chance that you do a little more investigating and you uncover something you hadn't seen before or you hadn't realized."

A senior federal law enforcement official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the investigation, confirmed late Friday that the bureau had reopened the inquiry.



Federal officials familiar with the case say investigators might examine whether the forgeries were instigated by U.S. citizens who advocated an invasion of Iraq or by members of the Iraqi National Congress the group led by Ahmad Chalabi that worked closely with Bush administration officials in the buildup to the war.

But the senior federal official said, "I don't expect the results to be any different. I think the answer is going to be that [Martino] wasn't acting in behalf of any government or intelligence agency. This guy was trying to peddle this to whoever he could."

Until now, the FBI's inquiry had been limited to probing whether foreign governments were involved in the forgeries, despite a broader request from Rockefeller that the FBI look into whether the forgeries reflected a "larger deception campaign aimed at manipulating public opinion and foreign policy regarding Iraq."

"I was surprised that [the FBI] ever closed it without coming to a conclusion as to the source," said former Sen. Bob Graham (D-Fla.), who was chairman of the Intelligence Committee when the Niger uranium claims first surfaced in the U.S. "It looks as if it's a fairly straightforward investigation trail to who the source was. And I'm glad the FBI has resumed the hunt."

The claim that Iraq had obtained or was seeking uranium in Niger was a central part of the administration's case for war. It was mentioned explicitly in late 2002 by British Prime Minister Tony Blair and in January 2003 by Bush to illustrate the threat posed by Iraq's then-president, Saddam Hussein.

In March 2003, the International Atomic Energy Agency concluded that the documents on which the Niger claim was partly based were forgeries. Then-CIA Director George J. Tenet later took responsibility for allowing the claim into Bush's State of the Union speech.

The issue erupted in July 2003, when Wilson published his findings in a New York Times opinion piece. Administration officials leaked the identity of Wilson's wife, covert CIA agent Valerie Plame, allegedly as part of an effort to discredit Wilson prompting a separate investigation into the potentially illegal unmasking of a covert agent.

The Plame case in which Vice President Dick Cheney's former Chief of Staff I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby has been charged with obstruction of justice, perjury and making false statements has raised questions about the administration's use of intelligence and how it targeted its critics.

Citing concern that the forged Niger documents might be evidence of a "larger deception campaign," Rockefeller initially had requested that the FBI determine the source of the forgeries and why the intelligence community did not realize earlier that the documents were fraudulent, among other questions.

A senior FBI official said the bureau's initial investigation found no evidence of foreign government involvement in the forgeries. But the FBI did not interview Martino, a central figure in a parallel drama unfolding in Rome.

In late October, Martino told the Los Angeles Times through his lawyer that he did not realize that the documents were forged.

Recent accounts in the Italian press said that Martino, a businessman and former freelance spy who was fired from the Italian military intelligence agency, obtained the documents from a female friend who worked at Niger's embassy in Rome. Martino has said he was working with a more senior Italian intelligence agent, Col. Antonio Nucero, and peddled the documents to French intelligence and eventually, in 2002, to Italian journalist Elisabetta Burba.

Burba, a reporter for the magazine Panorama, later told The Times that she was angry that the fraudulent documents "had been used to justify a war." The magazine is owned by Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, a close U.S. ally and supporter of the Iraq invasion.

Last month, Martino was further implicated when Nicolo Pollari, the head of Italian military intelligence, denied that his agency was involved in fabricating the documents. Instead, Pollari told the parliamentary intelligence committee that the dossier came from Martino.

The agency soon realized the documents were fake, Pollari said, according to legislators who were at the meeting. Although Martino's role has long been known, it remains unclear whom he was working with and whether the entire scheme was his idea alone.

After the Pollari testimony, Martino was quoted in an Italian newspaper as saying that he was working for the intelligence agency and not on his own. He acknowledged his role of "postman," as he put it, but said that his instructions were coming from Nucero.

"I did not make this thing up," he was quoted as saying in the newspaper Il Giornale. "I didn't even know where Niger was."
  #2  
Old 12-04-2005, 02:27 AM
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Actually, it was wicked funny, but in a way that can get you in trouble.

No worries.
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  #3  
Old 12-05-2005, 08:27 AM
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Didn't the President refer to British Intelligence in the speech mentioned above?

B
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  #4  
Old 12-05-2005, 11:09 AM
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Yes he did indeed.
  #5  
Old 12-05-2005, 11:12 AM
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Lets open an investigation into why the Democrats adn Clinton could rely of intelligence adn why his massive cuts of the intelligence community casued any mistakes to be made...or maybe that would show the lefties for exactly what they are....which is hypocrits.
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  #6  
Old 12-05-2005, 11:21 AM
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"It's absolutely essential that eight weeks from today, on Nov. 2, we make the right choice, because if we make the wrong choice then the danger is that we'll get hit again and we'll be hit in a way that will be devastating from the standpoint of the United States," Cheney told supporters at a town-hall meeting Tuesday. "And then we'll fall back into the pre-9/11 mindset, if you will, that in fact these terrorist attacks are just criminal acts and that we're not really at war. I think that would be a terrible mistake for us."

MR. RUSSERT: Are we prepared?

MR. HAMILTON: No, we are not as well prepared, as Tom put it early on, as well prepared as we should be. There is plenty of room for improvement, and we've got to get with the task.

MR. KEAN: And God help us if we have another attack and we haven't done some of these thing
  #7  
Old 12-05-2005, 11:24 AM
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and every person crying today was proven to be on the record agreeing with every original item in the intel reports.......

lets hang every one of them for openly lieng to the public namely Bill Clinton, John Kerry and all the Democrats wo ever agreed with the intel reports.
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  #8  
Old 12-05-2005, 11:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boneheaddoctor
and every person crying today was proven to be on the record agreeing with every original item in the intel reports.......

lets hang every one of them for openly lieng to the public namely Bill Clinton, John Kerry and all the Democrats wo ever agreed with the intel reports.
Honorabo Bonehead man - prese not to piss in wind - blow back smell very bad when dry
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  #9  
Old 12-05-2005, 01:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crash9
Honorabo Bonehead man - prese not to piss in wind - blow back smell very bad when dry
just pointing out why the left is trying so hard to pretend never happened....

pre-9/11 they all to a person agreed with the Intel reports....now they try to lie their way out of it and Blame it on Bush.
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  #10  
Old 12-06-2005, 06:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boneheaddoctor
intelligence adn why his massive cuts of the intelligence community casued any mistakes to be made...or maybe that would show the lefties for exactly what they are....which is hypocrits.
What cuts? Hipocrasy? Pentagon spending for '05 is $450 billion, or 18% of ALL Federal spending. This is up 41% since 2001. 'Small Gov' Repubs have now had control of the White House, Senate, and House since 2002. Where are the results?

If for some reason this fraudulent intel is not a setup, such incompetence should be taken very seriously by this administration. The lack of candor with the public is remarkable. They seem more than comfortable with their rushed, flawed decision to invade.

(I underlined the typos in 1.5 lines of your 'intelligence' argument - maybe something to work on in '07).
  #11  
Old 12-06-2005, 06:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boneheaddoctor
just pointing out why the left is trying so hard to pretend never happened....

pre-9/11 they all to a person agreed with the Intel reports....now they try to lie their way out of it and Blame it on Bush.
They "all to a person agreed with the intel reports" that were provided to them by the administration. The administration received their reports from various (and some very, very dubious) sources, compiled the information and presented it to congress. Only in that both the administration and congress saw that compilation can they be defined as having seen the same intelligence.

Why is it that the few remaining supporters of the US' invasion and occupation of a sovereign nation continue grasping at the "let's-find-a-way- to-continue-to pound-on-Clinton-so-as-to-deflect-attention-away-from-the-current-administration" straw? I was never a Clinton supporter (voted against him twice) but for goodness sake, Man, what does he have to do with George W Bush's Iraqi folly?

Bubba's been out of office for nearly five years. Let it go...let it go. And that Clinton supported regime change in Iraq is of little use in your continued bashing of him on the matter of that country, because it's quite obvious to anyone who cares to perform even a cursory investigation that he clearly supported continued sanctions and weapons inspections (the effectiveness of which is also rather easy to confirm - I direct you yet again to the 9/11 commission report) rather than a (nearly, in terms of any sort of global coalition - the type in which Wubbya's daddy put his stock) unilateral invasion of a largely defenseless country.
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  #12  
Old 12-06-2005, 07:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JMela
What cuts? Hipocrasy? Pentagon spending for '05 is $450 billion, or 18% of ALL Federal spending. This is up 41% since 2001. 'Small Gov' Repubs have now had control of the White House, Senate, and House since 2002. Where are the results?

If for some reason this fraudulent intel is not a setup, such incompetence should be taken very seriously by this administration. The lack of candor with the public is remarkable. They seem more than comfortable with their rushed, flawed decision to invade.

(I underlined the typos in 1.5 lines of your 'intelligence' argument - maybe something to work on in '07).
when they can automate a spell checker to correct for lousy typing skill then the typos will go away.

Federal spending is up why? 9/11 that culminated as a direct result of Clinton refusing to accept OBL when he was offered up to us....

Funny how the Dems never had a problem with the intel under Clinton....when it was the same intel from the same people....but then maybe all those massive cuts under Clinton comprimised their ability to do their job to te extent they should have....again the fault of the Dems and not Bush.
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  #13  
Old 12-06-2005, 07:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NKowi
They "all to a person agreed with the intel reports" that were provided to them by the administration. The administration received their reports from various (and some very, very dubious) sources, compiled the information and presented it to congress. Only in that both the administration and congress saw that compilation can they be defined as having seen the same intelligence.

Why is it that the few remaining supporters of the US' invasion and occupation of a sovereign nation continue grasping at the "let's-find-a-way- to-continue-to pound-on-Clinton-so-as-to-deflect-attention-away-from-the-current-administration" straw? I was never a Clinton supporter (voted against him twice) but for goodness sake, Man, what does he have to do with George W Bush's Iraqi folly?

Bubba's been out of office for nearly five years. Let it go...let it go. And that Clinton supported regime change in Iraq is of little use in your continued bashing of him on the matter of that country, because it's quite obvious to anyone who cares to perform even a cursory investigation that he clearly supported continued sanctions and weapons inspections (the effectiveness of which is also rather easy to confirm - I direct you yet again to the 9/11 commission report) rather than a (nearly, in terms of any sort of global coalition - the type in which Wubbya's daddy put his stock) unilateral invasion of a largely defenseless country.
Bubba was the casue of all of this......and the rest of the DEMS...sorry but this is the fact of the matter....
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  #14  
Old 12-06-2005, 08:17 PM
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If you're going to be sorry, BHD, for anything in this forum, be sorry for the way you frequently offer up (mis)information and (mis)statements, most often without even the remotest shred of evidence.

It's a shame that the "lefties" that post here offer up lucid and reasonable arguments that they typically back up with verifiable facts and evidence, while the "righties" rarely show an ability to do so. What's even more of a shame is that the reason the righties here rarely provide evidence is that there is little such evidence for the positions they take.

As a traditional Republican, I am concerned by the message such non-sensical Neo-con rantings send to the left - that everyone on the right thinks the way they do.
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Old 12-06-2005, 08:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NKowi
If you're going to be sorry, BHD, for anything in this forum, be sorry for the way you frequently offer up (mis)information and (mis)statements, most often without even the remotest shred of evidence.

It's a shame that the "lefties" that post here offer up lucid and reasonable arguments that they typically back up with verifiable facts and evidence, while the "righties" rarely show an ability to do so. What's even more of a shame is that the reason the righties here rarely provide evidence is that there is little such evidence for the positions they take.

As a traditional Republican, I am concerned by the message such non-sensical Neo-con rantings send to the left - that everyone on the right thinks the way they do.
lucid and reasonible facts? oh really...Like Dan Rathers assertations..?
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"He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you." - Friedrich Nietzsche
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