The Madness Continues

Multiple investigations into the famous sixteen words in the State of the Union speech are now underway. Senators Hagel and Rockefeller said on the Sunday news shows, according to the Associated Press that “the credibility of President Bush and the nation are at stake.”
What really seems to me to be at stake, however, is the credibility of the news media. The Associated Press is consistently unable to get the facts right. Here is how it characterizes the 16-word flap: “A crucial question will be to determine how Bush’s State of the Union address on Jan. 28 came to include a reference to what U.S. intelligence had determined was an incorrect British report that Iraq was shopping for uranium in Africa.”
This is wrong. “U.S. intelligence” had not determined then, and still has not determined today, that the British report that Saddam was seeking to obtain uranium in Africa was wrong. U.S. intelligence had merely concluded that a particular set of documents purporting to show that Saddam had bought uranium from Niger was forged, and the CIA had said that it could not corroborate the British report. But the British said then, and say now, that they have sources other than the famous forged documents that show that Saddam was, in fact, seeking unranium in Africa. There is no reason to assume that this British intelligence is incorrect, and the CIA has certainly not disproved it.
So if the Administration can be faulted, it is not for citing evidence that was known to be incorrect. It is for citing evidence that had not been confirmed by domestic intelligence agencies: quite a different thing.
I find it ironic that journalists who launch vitriolic attacks on the Administration based on the nuances of intelligence reports are themselves unable to keep even the simplest facts straight.


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