The LA Times picks

The LA Times picks up the La Repubblica story …

As anticipation swirled in Washington of potential indictments — and what it would mean for a Bush administration already beset by low approval ratings, the Iraq war and an embattled Supreme Court nomination — a related controversy was brewing in Italy over how the Niger allegations made their way into the intelligence stream.

Italian parliamentary officials announced Tuesday that the head of Italy’s military secret service, the SISMI intelligence agency, would be questioned next month over allegations that his agency gave the disputed documents to the United States and Britain, according to an Associated Press report. A spokeswoman said Nicolo Pollari, the agency director, asked to be questioned after reports this week in Italy’s La Republica newspaper claiming that SISMI sent the CIA and U.S. and British officials information that it knew to be forged.

The newspaper reported that Pollari met at the White House on Sept. 9, 2002 with then-Deputy National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley. The Niger claims surfaced shortly thereafter. A spokesman for Hadley, now the national security advisor, confirmed that the meeting took place, but declined to say what was discussed.

Hadley had played a prominent role in the controversy over Bush’s claims in his State of the Union address — taking responsibility for the insertion of the 16 words that laid out the allegations.

Won’t be the last.