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Catfish and Cod
Tuesday, July 15, 2003
Interference in domestic politics: Intelligence matters.
(Link path: King of the Blogs, London Telegraph)

There's more going on here than meets the eye. Why does the CIA doubt British intelligence? Surely the Brits know their stuff; after all, they taught our intelligence services how to operate back in WWII. If MI6 is holding firm, even in the face of American public skepticism, then perhaps they really do have more then they're letting on. But, again: why does the CIA brass doubt it? Have they invested enough resources to be sure? Are they covering for their Agency compatriots? Or is something deeper occurring?

Then, there is the matter of the forged documents. Who forged them? If the forged documents were all that existed, any pro-war advocate might have forged them, and suspicion would lay heavy on the Administration. But if the forged documents existed to divert the trail from real documents, then it is likely that an anti-war advocate produced them, so as to discredit the idea that Iraq was buying uranium. The Mukhabarat, who would have to be mad to produce these documents in a no-purchase scenario, suddenly become a suspect. The KGB (oh, I'm sorry, I mean the Federal Security Service) might have done it, too. And who else is both devious enough to forge intelligence and so staunchly anti-war that they had a motive to do so?

If the above report is true, and the French are behind it all, there will really be hell to pay between France and the Administration.

UPDATE: Josh Marshall reports that US European Command was in Niger ahead of the CIA. But where did this un-named "high-ranking official" get his intelligence? (These guys don't head off to Niger for vacations, you know.) Was the DIA ahead of the CIA? Or was USEUCOM tipped off by MI6? Stay tuned.

UPDATE TWO: The Washington Post names the General, one Carlton W. Fulford, Jr. , who investigated Niger's uranium stocks on 24 Feburary 2002 "at the request of the U.S. ambassador". How often are four-star generals called upon to fly 4000 miles to personally verify uranium stocks? Not too terribly often, I'll bet.

"Given the time frame of 16 months ago, information concerning Iraq not obtaining uranium from Niger would not have been as pressing as other subjects," says the spokesman for the joint chiefs. Nonsense. Why all the hustle and the bustle from the Armed Forces, the CIA, MI6, everyone? Someone felt, at that time at least, that there was a good chance Niger's uranium was headed for Iraq. Who? And why?

Another good question: when exactly were these forged documents received? How about the documents MI6 purports to have, but can't share?

And finally: the French are the ones actually stockpiling the uranium. This wouldn't be the same French that are blocking our access to intelligence about the yellowcake, now would it?