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SUMMER READING! Did Condi lie about the tubes? Why are we driving the Niger side road instead of this big superhighway?


SUMMER READING: If you want to explore that Niger side road, we recommend three items for reading:

The July 22 Dan Bartlett/Steve Hadley press briefing: But be sure to read all the way to the end, including the parts about how the CIA kept changing its posture on uranium-from-Africa. For us, one question came to mind as we read this transcript: Where was Condi? What role did Condoleezza Rice play in the crafting of this speech? In every account the Bush Admin gives, she seems to be missing-in-action.

Terry Jeffrey’s op-ed about Iraq-in-Niger: Jeffrey’s piece, in this morning’s Washington Times, puts new information on the table.

The Ackerman/Judis New Republic piece: The mother of all Bush-on-Iraq studies! This is the detailed report that got it all started, and it includes allegations of actual lying about serious claims—serious claims that played key roles in the run-up to Iraq. For example, read the claim (by an anonymous intelligence official) that Condoleezza Rice flat-out lied in September 2002 about those aluminum tubes. Is that true? At THE HOWLER, we’d like to know. But one thing is clear—this issue is massively more significant than that murky Niger road. Unfortunately, such issues are being completely ignored as we chase a more entertaining tale, one involving crudely forged documents! and an honest ambassador!
Niger is murky and very minor. Those tubes are stark—and very important. But tubes are dull, and forgery’s fun. And yes, that is a large part of the reason that we’re off on that Niger side road.

The Niger discussion is off in deep weeds. We’d like to see major matters pursued. Is it true? Did Rice flat-out lie about those tubes? On the surface, Ackerman and Judis make a strong case. Why are we driving the Niger side road instead this big superhighway?