AFRICA ITALY….Yesterday I posted about those forged Niger documents that the CIA relied on for so long as the linchpin of its case that Iraq was trying to procure yellowcake uranium from Africa. Where did those documents come from?
From an Italian journalist. But where did she get them? From a shadowy “security consultant” in Rome who had a relationship with the Nigerien embassy. But where did he get them? Josh Marshall says they originally came from a SISMI officer ? Italian military intelligence ? who gave them to an employee of the Nigerien embassy and asked her to surreptitiously pass them along:
You?ll remember that most of the papers in the bundle of Niger-uranium documents that arrived at the US Embassy in Rome were actually authentic. It was only a subset of the documents — those specifically related to the alleged Niger-Iraq transactions and a couple others — that were bogus.
In late 2001, the SISMI officer brought the Niger Embassy employee a packet of documents — those later identified as forgeries — and instructed her to slip them in with the other documents she was providing to the ?security consultant? on an on-going basis.
She mixed those documents in with authentic documents which she had access to in the course of her work at the embassy. She then passed those documents — again, a mix of authentic and forged ones — to the ?security consultant?.
In other words, SISMI forged the documents ? or at a minimum acted as a knowing conduit for someone else. And despite denials from various intelligence agencies at various times, those forged documents were the source of practically all the evidence that Iraq was trying to procure uranium from Africa, as the CIA tacitly admitted in June 2003:
….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.
Josh promises more later, including a complete account in next month’s issue of the Washington Monthly. Stay tuned.