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Niger: Uranium Equals Kryptonite

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    Congressman demands answers from Bolton over Niger fiasco Uranium Equals Kryptonite for Bush Nominee: by James Ridgeway 03/16/05 Village Voice
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 4, 2005
      Congressman demands answers from Bolton over Niger fiasco

      Uranium Equals Kryptonite for Bush Nominee:
      by James Ridgeway
      "Village Voice"

      WASHINGTON, D.C.—Henry Waxman, the Democratic California
      congressman, charges that President Bush's U.N. Ambassador
      designate, John Bolton, participated in promoting the
      administration's phony story about Saddam Hussein negotiating to buy
      uranium for nuclear weapons from the African country of Niger.
      Subsequently, Waxman says, the State Department tried to cover up
      Bolton's involvement by using the designation "sensitive but
      unclassified" to conceal information about his role "in the creation
      of a fact sheet distributed to the United Nations that falsely
      claimed Iraq had sought uranium from Niger."

      Waxman, ranking minority member of the House Committee on Government
      Reform, describes Bolton's role in a letter to Republican committee
      chair Christopher Shays, from Connecticut. And its release comes as
      the Senate considers whether to confirm Bolton.

      The story goes likes this: On December 19, 2002, the State
      Department issued a fact sheet entitled "Ilustrative Examples of
      Omissions from the Iraqi Declaration to the United Nations Security
      Council." It included eight key areas where the Bush administration
      faulted Iraq's weapons declarations to the U.N. on December 7, 2002.
      Under the heading "Nuclear Weapons," the fact sheet read: "The
      Declaration ignores efforts to procure uranium from Niger. Why is
      the Iraqi regime hiding their uranium procurement?"

      Waxman points out this was a bogus claim, and notes that "both State
      Department intelligence officials and CIA officials reported that
      they had rejected the claim as unreliable." So, wondered Waxman, who
      in the State Department prepped the lie?

      On July 21, 2003, Waxman wrote then secretary of state Colin Powell,
      asking him for an explanation of Bolton's role. Bolton's title was
      under secretary for arms control and international security. On
      September 25, 2003, State responded: "Under Secretary of State for
      Arms Control and International Security Affairs, John R. Bolton, did
      not play a role in the creation of this document."

      Later, Waxman and other committee members asked the State
      Department's inspector general for a chronology of just how the
      Niger claim came to be, which they were subsequently sent.

      Writes Waxman: "This chronology described a meeting on December 18,
      2002, between Secretary Powell, Mr. Bolton and Richard Boucher, the
      Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of Public Affairs. According to
      this chronology, Mr. Boucher specifically asked Mr. Bolton 'for help
      developing a response to Iraq's Dec. 7 Declaration to the United
      Nations Security Council that could be used with the press.'
      According to the chronology which is phrased in the present tense,
      Mr. Bolton 'agrees and tasks the Bureau of Nonproliferation,' a
      subordinate office that reports directly to Mr. Bolton, to conduct
      the work."

      The next day, the bureau sent one email to Bolton's office
      accompanying the fact sheet with the Niger claim, and two other e-
      mails mentioning the Niger connection.

      The Inspector General's chronology was marked "sensitive but
      unclassified" and the letter sent out along with it, says
      it "contains sensitive information, which may be protected from
      public release under the Freedom of Information Act." The letter
      asked that no "public release of this information" be made.

      At issue for Waxman is who among the members of the Senate Foreign
      Relations Committee, which will look into Bolton's record, will ask
      about the cover-up? Will anyone ask Powell? Boucher? What is the
      connection between Bolton and the smearing of Ambassador Joseph
      Wilson's wife, the CIA undercover agent Valerie Plame? Wilson had
      been sent out to find out what the Niger deal was all about. When he
      discovered it was a phony, someone in the administration outed his
      wife as a covert agent, to writer Bob Novak and to other agents. A
      federal grand jury is now investigating this situation. Was Bolton
      involved in any of this?

      Be sure to watch this story of a cover-up taking place in plain
      view. Question is, will members of the federal grand jury see it?

      Copyright © 2004 Village Voice Media, Inc



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