YELLOWCAKE-GATE UDPATE….It’s getting awfully hard to keep up with the Niger-Uranium story. Here is Colin Powell’s version from earlier today:
And at the time of the President’s State of the Union address, a judgment was made that that was an appropriate statement for the President to make….Subsequently, when we looked at it more thoroughly and when I think it’s, oh, a week or two later, when I made my presentation to the United Nations and we really went through every single thing we knew about all of the various issues with respect to weapons of mass destruction, we did not believe that it was appropriate to use that example anymore. It was not standing the test of time.
This is getting ridiculous. Powell’s statement is only open to three interpretations:
Something happened between January 28 and February 5 that made the Niger story less credible.
Nobody “really went through” all the claims in the State of the Union address.
The claim was known to be bogus when Bush made it, but he went with it anyway.
I don’t think anybody believes #1, but if that’s the excuse then I think we all deserve to hear a bit more about what supposedly happened during that week to weaken the intelligence. #2 is barely credible either, since the speech was vetted by the CIA, Pentagon and State Department, and in any case seems almost as bad as deliberate deception. So that leaves #3.
The noose is tightening.
UPDATE: On the other hand, Tony Blair is hanging tough, claiming that Britain has evidence that the United States doesn’t:
The government of British Prime Minister Tony Blair, however, has stood behind its September conclusion that Iraq “sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa” for a possible nuclear weapons program despite the release of a report by a British parliamentary commission this week that challenged the allegation and, in effect, Bush’s decision to include it in his address.
British officials have insisted that the Bush administration has never been provided with the intelligence that was the basis for the charge included in the Blair government’s September intelligence dossier.
It would be nice to know just what evidence they have, wouldn’t it?