The Bush administration acknowledged for the first time yesterday that President Bush should not have alleged in his State of the Union address in January that Iraq had sought to buy uranium in Africa to reconstitute its nuclear weapons program.
Asked about the accuracy of the president’s statement this morning, Mr. Fleischer said, “We see nothing that would dissuade us from the president’s broader statement.” But when pressed, he said he would clarify the issue later today.
Tonight, after Air Force One had departed, White House officials issued a statement in Mr. Fleischer’s name that made clear that they no longer stood behind Mr. Bush’s statement.
Capitol Hill Blue:
An intelligence consultant who was present at two White House briefings where the uranium report was discussed confirmed that the President was told the intelligence was questionable and that his national security advisors urged him not to include the claim in his State of the Union address.
“The report had already been discredited,” said Terrance J. Wilkinson, a CIA advisor present at two White House briefings. “This point was clearly made when the President was in the room during at least two of the briefings.”
Bush’s response was anger, Wilkinson said.
“He said that if the current operatives working for the CIA couldn’t prove the story was true, then the agency had better find some who could,” Wilkinson said. “He said he knew the story was true and so would the world after American troops secured the country.”
** story retracted **
Terrence J Wilkinson ceases to exist…