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C. Continuing Analysis

(  ) Throughout the time the Niger reports were being disseminated, the          CIA Iraq nuclear analyst said he had discussed the issue with his INR colleague and was aware that INR disagreed with the CIA's position. He said they discussed Niger's uranium production rates and whether Niger could have been diverting any yellowcake. He said that he and his INR counterpart essentially "agreed to disagree" about whether Niger could supply uranium to Iraq. The CIA analyst said he assessed at the time that the intelligence showed both that Iraq may have been trying to procure uranium in Africa and that it was possible Niger could supply it. He said his assessment was bolstered by several other intelligence reports on Iraqi interest in uranium from other countries in Africa.6

(U) On May 10, 2002, the CIA's Office of Near Eastern and South Asian Analysis (NESA) in the Directorate of Intelligence (DI) prepared a Principals Committee briefing book updating the status of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction (WMD) programs. The document noted that a "foreign government service says Iraq was trying to acquire 500 tons of uranium from Niger."

(U) On June 24, 2002, the U.S. Embassy in Niamey published a cable, Niger's Uranium: GON Signs IAEA Accord, But Keeps Looking for New Buyers as Price Falls. The cable reported that, following prolonged lobbying, on June 10, 2002, the government of Niger signed a comprehensive safeguards agreement with the IAEA. The cable indicated that the agreement would help ensure that Niger's uranium production is only used for "peaceful purposes."

(U) On July 22, 2002, the DOE published an intelligence product (Daily Intelligence Highlight, Nuclear Reconstitution Efforts Underway?) which highlighted the intelligence on the Iraq-Niger uranium deal as one of three indications that Iraq might be reconstituting its nuclear program. The report added that there was "no information indicating that any of the uranium shipments arrived in Iraq," and suggested that the "amount of uranium specified far exceeds what Iraq would need even for a robust nuclear weapons program."

(U) On August 1, 2002 CIA NESA published a paper on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction (WMD) capabilities which did not include the alleged Iraq-Niger uranium information.

(U) In September 2002, the DIA published an intelligence assessment (Defense Intelligence Assessment, Iraqs Reemerging Nuclear Program) which outlined Iraq's recent efforts to rebuild its nuclear program. The report focused on a variety of issues related to Iraq's nuclear efforts, including procurement efforts, nuclear facilities, consolidation of scientists and uranium acquisition. On the latter issue, the assessment said "Iraq has been vigorously trying to procure uranium ore and yellowcake." The report described the intelligence on the Iraq-Niger uranium deal and several other intelligence reports on Iraqi efforts to acquire uranium from Somalia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The assessment said that "DIA cannot confirm whether Iraq succeeded in acquiring uranium ore and/or yellowcake from these sources."

(U) In a written response to questions from Committee staff, the White House said that on September 11, 2002, National Security Council (NSC) staff contacted the CIA to clear language for possible use in a statement for use by the President. The language cleared by the CIA said, "Iraq has made several attempts to buy high strength aluminum tubes used in centrifuges to enrich uranium for nuclear weapons. And we also know this: within the past few years, Iraq has resumed efforts to obtain large quantities of a type of uranium oxide known as yellowcake, which is an essential ingredient of this process. The regime was caught trying to purchase 500 metric tons of this material. It takes about 10 tons to produce enough enriched uranium for a single nuclear weapon." The text was identical to the text proposed by the White House except that the CIA had suggested adding "up to" before 500 metric tons. The President never used the approved language publicly.


footnotes

6(  ) Several intelligence reports DELETED alleged Iraq wanted to purchase uranium from countries in Africa. (                    ) said Iraq had offered the Democratic Republic of the Congo                      SENTENCE DELETED                     . Two CIA intelligence reports from separate sources in March and April 1999 said a delegation of Iraqis, DELETED had arrived in Somalia in March to evaluate and discuss DELETED uranium from a Somali       .                      SENTENCE DELETED                     .



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