Truth to Power

Lying to war

How Bogus Letter Became a Case for War

Intelligence Failures Surrounded Inquiry on Iraq-Niger Uranium Claim

By Peter Eisner

It was 3 a.m. in Italy on Jan. 29, 2003, when President Bush in Washington began reading his State of the Union address that included the now famous – later retracted – 16 words: “The British Government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa.”

Like most Europeans, Elisabetta Burba, an investigative reporter for the Italian newsweekly Panorama, waited until the next day to read the newspaper accounts of Bush’s remarks. But when she came to the 16 words, she recalled, she got a sudden sinking feeling in her stomach. She wondered: How could the American president have mentioned a uranium sale from Africa?</em>


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