In the previous
post I noted the section of Steve Hadley's White House Q&A in which he said that Condi Rice had received the memo calling the Niger-uranium story into question
. Then I contrasted it with her earlier statements on Meet the Press
Some readers noted that in that appearance Rice said only that those "in [her] circles" didn't know that the documents in question were forgeries. She didn't address the broader issue of whether there were concerns that the intel itself was simply false.
Now, for my money, this is slicing it rather thin, or a matter of violating that part about telling not just the truth, but the whole truth. If what Rice meant was that they didn't know the documents were forgeries only that the charges themselves were likely bogus, I think you could say she didn't quite level with us.
As it happens, the question is moot. One of my well-placed and cherished spies alerts me to Rice's comment on ABC's This Week on June 8th ...
STEPHANOPOULOS: That claim was later discredited by the International Atomic Energy Agency, found that to be based on forged documents. So how did it make it into the State of the Union address?
RICE: At the time that the State of the Union address was prepared, there were also other sources that said that they were, the Iraqis were seeking yellow cake, uranium oxide from Africa. And that was taken out of a British report. Clearly, that particular report, we learned subsequently, subsequently, was not credible. But it was also a very small part, George, of a larger picture of a program aimed at developing nuclear weapons.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Let me stop you right there, because many in the United States government knew before then that this, this ...
CONDOLEEZZA RICE: George, somebody, somebody down may have known. But I will tell you that when this issue was raised, uh, with the intelligence community, because, uh, we actually do go through the process of asking, uh, the intelligence community, can you say this? Can you say that? Can you say this? The intelligence community did not know at that time or at levels that got to us that this, that there was serious questions about this report.
Either Rice didn't read the memo (possible, but improbable) or she didn't level with George.