Find a Security Clearance Job!

Intelligence

[Table of Contents]

H. The Fact Sheet

(U) On December 18, 2002, the Department of State's Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of Public Affairs (PA) asked the Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security to help develop a response to Iraq's December 7, 2002 declaration to the UN. PA also contacted the State Department Bureau of Nonproliferation (NP) directly. The fact sheet was to be published after Ambassador John Negroponte delivered a speech to the UNSC the following morning, and after the Secretary of State held a press conference shortly thereafter.

(U) Later the same day, an NP special assistant prepared a draft of the fact sheet based on an existing copy of Negroponte's speech and sent the draft to the Director of WINPAC at the CIA for coordination. In a phone conversation with an NP special assistant, the WINPAC Director made a few edits, but did not change the reference to Iraq's procurement of uranium from Niger. The suggested edits were outlined in a State Department e-mail and show no comments regarding the Niger uranium information.

(U) Separately, the NSC staff coordinated the Negroponte speech directly with the WINPAC Director and he recommended that "Niger" be replaced with "Africa" in the speech.

(  ) At 11:28 am. on the morning of December 19, 2002, NP e-mailed its draft fact sheet to several offices in the State Department, including INR's Office of Analysis for Strategic, Proliferation, and Military Issues (SPM). NP sent the e-mail to the senior analyst in the office and did not indicate that there was a response deadline for comments. At 12:20 p.m. the senior analyst passed the fact sheet to three other analysts to solicit comments. At 1:12 p.m. the DELETED Iraq nuclear analyst in SPM sent comments to NP requesting that the word "reported" be added before "efforts" in the sentence, "the declaration ignores efforts to procure uranium from Niger." The e-mail added "as you know, INR assesses this reporting as dubious. Policymakers are entitled to leave out the word `reported,' but the INR/SPM would not sign off on such a move." The INR's comments did not reach NP before the fact sheet had already been forwarded to the Office of Public Affairs. NP did not try to retrieve the document from PA to make the INR's recommended change. (U) At about the same time, the action officer for Iraq in the State Department's Office of United Nations Political Affairs (IO/UNP) responded to NP that the draft fact sheet needed to be vetted with WINPAC because some items in the Negroponte speech had been changed. NP, aware that the fact sheet had already been cleared with WINPAC but unaware that WINPAC had told the NSC the prior evening to change the "Niger" reference to "Africa," told IO/UNP that the fact sheet was consistent with the speech. Later that afternoon, IO/UNP responded to NP's email, saying "didn't we pull `from Niger' from Negroponte's comments at IC request?" By that time, the fact sheet had already been posted to the State Department web page. The fact sheet said Iraq's declaration, "ignores efforts to procure uranium from Niger."

(U) According to the State Department Inspector General, shortly after the fact sheet was posted, NP drafted a cable to all embassies which included the fact sheet, Ambassador Negroponte's speech, and Secretary Powell's public remarks. By this time, aware that the Niger reference in the Negroponte speech had been changed, NP changed the text of the fact sheet that was included in the cable to "abroad" instead of "Niger." None of the text was ever changed to qualify the uranium information as "reported" as recommended by INR.

(U) On December 24, 2002, the Nigerien Prime Minister declared publicly that Niger had not sold uranium to Iraq and had not been approached since he took office in 2000. Niger's President and Minister of Mines also denied the sale. These comments were passed in a State Department cable on December 27, 2002, which noted that the remarks were in response to questions from local press after the State Department released its fact sheet noting Iraq's declaration to the UNSC "ignores efforts to procure uranium from Niger."

(                )On January 6, 2003,                                          , the head of IAEA/INVO, Jacques Baute, requested information on the alleged Iraq-Niger uranium deal mentioned in the Department of State's fact sheet.                      SENTENCE DELETED                     .

(U) On January 13, 2003, the INR Iraq nuclear analyst sent an e-mail to several IC analysts outlining his reasoning why, "the uranium purchase agreement probably is a hoax." He indicated that one of the documents that purported to be an agreement for a joint military campaign, including both Iraq and Iran, was so ridiculous that it was "clearly a forgery." Because this document had the same alleged stamps for the Nigerien Embassy in Rome as the uranium documents, the analyst concluded "that the uranium purchase agreement probably is a forgery." When the CIA analyst received the e-mail, he realized that WINPAC did not have copies of the documents and requested copies from INR. CIA received copies of the foreign language documents on January 16, 2003.

(U) Two CIA Iraq WINPAC analysts told Committee staff that after looking at the documents, they did notice some inconsistencies. One of the analysts told Committee staff, "it was not immediately apparent, it was not jumping out at us that the documents were forgeries." The CIA then sent the documents to the State Department for translation.

(                )On January 15, 2003, thirteen days before the State of the Union address, WINPAC provided comments on a White House paper, A Grave and Gathering Danger, saying "better to generalize first bullet as follows: Sought uranium from Africa to feed the enrichment process." WINPAC had submitted identical language when it commented on the same paper in October. The paper was never published.

(                )On January 17, 2003, eleven days before the State of the Union address, WINPAC published a current intelligence paper (Request for Evidence of Iraq's Nuclear Weapons Program Other Than the Aluminum Tube Procurement Effort, SPWRO11703-01) in response to a request from the Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff for information, other than the aluminum tubes, that showed Iraq was reconstituting its nuclear program. Regarding uranium acquisition, the paper said, "fragmentary reporting on Iraqi attempts to procure uranium from various countries in Africa in the past several years is another sign of reconstitution. Iraq has no legitimate use for uranium." The information on uranium acquisition attempts was one DELETED streams of intelligence provided to show Iraq was reconstituting its nuclear program.

(U) WINPAC analysts told Committee staff that, even though they were still in the process of analyzing the documents, their analytic position had not changed, so they believed it would have been premature to publish concerns about the documents without having investigated those concerns for themselves. One analyst said that if he were presenting CIA's best evidence on reconstitution he would not have included the uranium information, but when asked what else we had besides the tubes, he "ratcheted" down the threshold of what was appropriate to include. He also indicated that the reference in the paper about efforts to acquire uranium from Africa were broader than the alleged Niger contract in that it included the reports on Iraqi attempts to acquire uranium from Somalia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

(U) Other WINPAC analysts told Committee staff that by January, they had come to believe that if Iraq was in fact attempting to acquire uranium from Africa, it would bolster their argument that Iraq was reconstituting its nuclear weapons program because Iraq had no other use for uranium. Most of the other elements of the reconstitution case, the tubes, magnets, machine tools and balancing machines, were all dual use materials, while for Iraq, uranium had only one potential use - a nuclear weapons program.

(U) On January 20, 2003, the President submitted a report to Congress on Iraq's noncompliance with UNSC resolutions. The report stated that Iraq had failed to include in its declaration "attempts to acquire uranium and the means to enrich it." The CIA and the White House have told Committee staff that the IC did not coordinate on this draft. In a written response to a question from Committee staff, the Department of State said that their usual role was to prepare the pre-decisional drafts of this periodic report. Their draft, which was provided to the NSC on December 9, 2002, did not include the language contained in the final draft on Iraq's failure to declare "attempts to acquire uranium and the means to enrich it. The CIA Inspector General told Committee staff the text for the report had been drawn from WINPAC's assessment of Iraq's UNSC declaration.

(U) On January 24, 2003, in response to a request from the NSC for additional details regarding IC input to "the case for Saddam possessing weapons of mass destruction," the NIO for Strategic and Nuclear Programs faxed a packet of background information to the NSC. The fax contained the information from the October 2002 NIE on Iraq's vigorous attempts to procure uranium ore and yellowcake from Niger and other countries in Africa. The information was used to prepare for Secretary Powell's presentation of intelligence to the UN in February 2003.

(  ) On January 24, 2003, in response to a question for the Office of the Secretary of Defense/International Security Affairs for information on Nigerien uranium sales to Iraq, the DIA provided a background paper which described the original CIA Niger reporting and the November 25 Navy report on alleged storage of uranium destined for Iraq. The paper concluded that "DIA cannot confirm whether Iraq succeeded in acquiring uranium ore or yellowcake from Niger. However, sufficient time has elapsed since the commencement of the recent alleged uranium agreement, that we cannot discount that Iraq may have received an unknown quantity." The report made no mention of the foreign language documents on the alleged uranium deal and did not indicate that there were any concerns about the quality of those documents.

(U) On January 26, 2003, Secretary of State Powell addressed the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. He said, "why is Iraq still trying to procure uranium and the special equipment to transform it into material for nuclear weapons?"

(                ) On January 27, 2003, a CIA intelligence report DELETED indicated that foreign government service reported that the uranium sodium compound in storage at the warehouse in Cotonou, Benin was destined for France, not Iraq. The same report said that separate foreign government service had information on Iraqi attempts to obtain uranium from Niger, dating from 1999, but had no further information. The foreign government service also indicated that Niger had been looking to sell an old stock of uranium for years to the highest bidder. According to the foreign government service, other countries had expressed interest.



[Table of Contents]



NEWSLETTER
Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list