J. Secretary Powell's UN Speech
(U) Beginning in late January the CIA, State Department, White House and NSC officials began to work together to draft, coordinate and clear language to be used in an upcoming U.S. policy speech to the United Nations Security Council (UNSC). In the early stages of the process, it was unclear exactly who would be delivering the speech.
(U) At the White House's request, the initial input for the speech came from the CIA. The CIA sent the input to the White House which reworked it and added additional material. In the final days of January and during the weekend of February 2, 2003, the Secretary of State and officials from the State Department, White House and the CIA, met at CIA headquarters to work through the issues the Secretary would address and to provide substantive clearance for the text. Several CIA analysts told Committee staff, and Secretary Powell has said publicly, that the Secretary did not want to use any information in the speech which was not supported by IC analysts.
(U) According to the CIA's former ADDI for Intelligence for Strategic Programs, who was the point person for coordinating the speech, the CIA removed some of the information that the White House had added to the speech, gathered from finished and raw intelligence, because the information was single source and uncorroborated. All of the individuals interviewed by Committee staff who were involved in drafting and coordinating the speech, said that they never saw any drafts that referenced Iraqi attempts to acquire uranium from Africa. The ADDI told Committee staff that a White House staffer and the Secretary asked about the uranium information, but after discussing the issue with a WINPAC analyst, did not want to include the information in the speech. Committee staff spoke to the WINPAC analyst, but he remembered discussing the issue with a State Department staffer, not a White House staffer. Committee staff interviewed the State Department staffer who said that he did ask about the uranium reporting. He said he asked the analysts if they had any new information on the reporting and, when they said they did not, he dropped the issue.
( )On February 3, 2003, the CIA sent a cable to requesting information from the foreign government service, on its January 27, 2003 report which had information on a Iraq-Niger uranium deal from 1999. The cable said, "the issue of Iraqi uranium procurement continues to resonate with senior policymakers and may be part of SecState's speech to the UN Security Council on 5 Feb 2003 if [a foreign government service] is able to provide a contract for the 1999 uranium deal, confirm that the information was not from another foreign government service, SENTENCE DELETED ." The same day, CIA responded that the foreign government service does not have a copy of the contract, the information was of "national origin,"
( ) On February 4, 2003, the U.S. Government passed electronic copies of the Iraq-Niger documents to the IAEA. Because the Director of the IAEA's INVO was in New York at the time, the U.S. Government also provided the documents to him in New York. Included with the documents were the U.S. Government talking points which stated, DELETED of reporting suggest Iraq has attempted to acquire uranium from Niger. We cannot confirm these reports and have questions regarding some specific claims. Nonetheless, we are concerned that these reports may indicate Baghdad has attempted to secure an unreported source of uranium yellowcake for a nuclear weapons program." The DELETED of reporting mentioned refer to the original CIA intelligence reports from the foreign government service and the CIA intelligence report on the former ambassador's trip to Niger. SENTENCE DELETED . SENTENCE DELETED .
(U) On February 5, 2003, Secretary Powell briefed the UN. His speech did not mention Iraqi uranium procurement efforts.
(U) On February 7, 2003, the State Department's Office of Language Services, Translating Division, completed the translation of the Iraq Niger uranium documents. The State Department passed the translated documents to the CIA. Some signs that the documents were forgeries were not conveyed in the translation process.
( ) On February 10, 2003, the U.S. Defense Attache in Abidjan (the capital of the African country, Ivory Coast) reported that its reports officer examined two warehouses in Benin . suspected of storing uranium on route to Iraq on December 17, 2002. The visit was conducted almost a month after a Navy report indicated uranium destined for Iraq was transiting through the warehouses. The report indicated that the warehouses appeared to contain only bales of cotton. A CIA operations cable on the inspection noted, however, it was not possible to determine if the cotton bales concealed the uranium shipment and that no radiation detection equipment had been used during the inspection. The DIA told Committee staff that this report was not published sooner because of a coup in Ivory Coast and a civil war and unrest in Liberia, a country for which the Defense Attache in Abidjan had temporary responsibility, occupied the office with other responsibilities.
( ) On February 11, 2003, a CIA senior Africa analyst sent an intelligence assessment to other CIA offices for coordination. SENTENCE DELETED . On the Iraq-Niger uranium reporting, the assessment said, "extensive documentary evidence contains several questionable details and could be fraudulent," . The assessment was never published because it was deemed by CIA managers to be policy prescriptive in that it was suggesting a course of diplomatic contact with the Nigerien leader.
( ) On February 27, 2003, the CIA responded to a letter from Senator Carl Levin, dated January 29, 2003, which asked the CIA to detail "what the U.S. IC knows about Saddam Hussein seeking significant quantities of uranium from Africa." The CIA's response was almost identical to the U.S. Government points passed to the IAEA/INVO in early February, saying " of reporting suggest Iraq had attempted to acquire uranium from Niger." The response says the CIA believes the government of Niger's assurances that it did not contract with Iraq but says, "nonetheless, we question," ,whether Baghdad may have been probing Niger for access to yellowcake in the 1999 time frame." The CIA's response made no mention of any concerns about the validity of the documents and left out the sentence, "we cannot confirm these reports and have questions regarding some specific claims," that had been included in the U.S. Government IAEA/INVO points. On March 3, 2003, the IAEA/INVO provided U.S. Mission in Vienna with an analysis of the Niger uranium documents the U.S. had provided the previous month. The IAEA/INVO concluded that the documents were forgeries and did not substantiate any assessment that Iraq sought to buy uranium from Niger. Their assessment was based on analysis of the documents and interviews with Iraqi officials.
( ) On March 4, 2003, the U.S. Government learned that the French had based their initial assessment that Iraq had attempted to procure uranium from Niger on the same documents that the U.S. had provided to the INVO. SENTENCE DELETED
( )On March 8, 2003, the DIA provided an info memo (TS-99-177-03) to the Secretary of Defense in response to a March 8, 2003 Washington Post article, "Some Evidence on Iraq Called Fake." The memo said, "we believe the IAEA is dismissing attempted Iraqi yellowcake purchases, largely based upon a single set of unverified documents concerning a contract between Niger and Iraq for the supply of 'pure uranium.' The [memo added that the] USG ha[d] not shared other [information] with the IAEA that suggested a Nigerien uranium deal with Iraq." The other intelligence referenced in the memo is the CIA intelligence report on the former ambassador's trip, which described the Nigerien Prime Minister's belief that an Iraqi delegation was interested in uranium, the Navy report from November 2002 which said uranium destined for Iraq was being stored in a warehouse in Cotonou, Benin, and a fax from late 2001 found in the possession of a Somali businessman which described arrangements for shipping unidentified commodities in an amount that appeared similar to the amount in the Iraq Niger yellowcake deal. The fax, however, did not mention uranium, Iraq, or Niger.
( ) On March 11, 2003, the CIA DELETED assessment with limited distribution, "we do not dispute the IAEA Director General's conclusion - last Friday before the UN Security Council - that documents on Iraq's agreement to buy uranium from Niger are not authentic." The assessment said, "[U.S. Government] on several occasions has cautioned IAEA inspectors that available information on this issue was fragmentary and unconfirmed and early last month told them, `We could not confirm these reports and have questions regarding some specific claims. Nonetheless, we are concerned that these reports may indicate Baghdad has attempted to secure an unreported source of uranium yellowcake for a nuclear weapons program."' The assessment did not say whether the CIA had changed its position that Iraq may have attempted to acquire uranium yellowcake from Africa.
( ) On March 11, 2003, WINPAC drafted a current intelligence piece (SPWR031103-04) for the Secretary of Defense titled Iraq's Reported Interest in Buying Uranium From Niger and Whether Associated Documents are Authentic. The piece said "we do not dispute the IAEA Director General's conclusions . . . that documents on Iraq's agreement to buy uranium from Niger are not authentic." The piece also noted that the
[U.S. Government] . . . has cautioned IAEA inspectors that available information on this issue was fragmentary and unconfirmed and early last month told them, "we could not confirm these reports and have questions regarding some specific claims. Nonetheless, we are concerned that these reports may indicate Baghdad has attempted to secure an unreported source of uranium yellowcake for a nuclear weapons program."
A centerpiece of the British White Paper last fall was U.K. concern over Iraqi interest in foreign uranium. Given the fragmentary nature of the reporting
(U) The piece never addressed whether the CIA had changed its previous assessment that Iraq may have been trying to obtain uranium from Africa.
( ) On April 5, 2003, the NIC issued a Sense of the Community Memorandum (SOCM), (Niger: No Recent Uranium Sales to Iraq, NIC SOCM 2001 12.) The SOCM said, "we judge it highly unlikely that Niamey has sold uranium yellowcake to Baghdad in recent years. The IC agrees with the IAEA assessment that key documents purported showing a recent Iraq-Niger sales accord are a fabrication. We judge that other reports from 2002 - one alleging warehousing of yellowcake for shipment to Iraq, a second alleging a 1999 visit by an Iraqi delegation to Niamey - do not constitute credible evidence of a recent or impending sale." The SOCM added, "the current government of Niger and probably would report such an approach by the Iraqis, especially because a sale would violate UN resolution 687." The SOCM did not say whether the IC continued to judge that Iraq had been "vigorously trying to procure uranium ore and yellowcake" from Africa, as indicated in the October 2002 NIE. To date, the IC has not published an assessment to clarify or correct its position on whether or not Iraq was trying to purchase uranium from Africa.
( ) On June 12, 2003, the DIA sent an information memorandum to Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, in response to questions about Iraq's nuclear program. The memo said, "while the Intelligence Committee agrees that documents the IAEA reviewed were likely 'fake,' other unconfirmed reporting suggested that Iraq attempted to obtain uranium and yellowcake from African nations after 1998. " The other reporting mentioned was the Navy report from November 2002, which said uranium destined for Iraq was being stored in a warehouse in Cotonou, Benin.
(U) On June 17, 2003, nearly five months after the President delivered the State of the Union address, the CIA produced a memorandum for the DCI which said, "since learning that the Iraq-Niger uranium deal was based on false documents earlier this spring, we no longer believe that there is sufficient other reporting to conclude that Iraq pursued uranium from abroad." This memorandum was not distributed outside the CIA and the Committee has not been provided with any intelligence products in which the CIA published its corrected assessment on Iraq's pursuit of uranium from Niger outside of the agency.
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