TIMELINE UPDATE….Did Tenet/Powell/Cheney/Rice/Bush really believe the Niger story? Ever? It looks like probably not:

CIA Director George J. Tenet successfully intervened with White House officials to have a reference to Iraq seeking uranium from Niger removed from a presidential speech last October….

Tenet argued personally to White House officials, including deputy national security adviser Stephen Hadley, that the allegation should not be used because it came from only a single source, according to one senior official.

So what happened? How come it magically reappeared in January?

“The information was available within the system that should have caught this kind of big mistake,” a former Bush administration official said. “The question is how the management of the system, and the process that supported it, allowed this kind of misinformation to be used and embarrass the president.”

Yep, just your typical bureaucratic snafu. Nobody was actually pushing to having this in, you see, it was just something that got lost in the shuffle. Except for this:

Administration sources said White House officials, particularly those in the office of Vice President Cheney, insisted on including Hussein’s quest for a nuclear weapon as a prominent part of their public case for war in Iraq. Cheney had made the potential threat of Hussein having a nuclear weapon a central theme of his August 2002 speeches that began the public buildup toward war with Baghdad.

Cheney? Dick Cheney? Oh yeah, maybe he did have something to do with it. Guess we should look into that. We’ll let you know if anything turns up….

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