Well, it’s very important, actually, because it explains why the Brits kept on saying they believed Saddam was trying to get his hands on yellowcake from Niger, when the CIA–and their asset, Seymour Hersh–had loudly and piously blasted the president of the united states for saying it.
The CIA certainly knew that the Brits had both human and electronic evidence–no way that, at a minimum, wasn’t shared with us–but they focused their assault on a forged document that came via Rome. But even there, the CIA certainly knew that the Italians hadn’t taken the forged document seriously.
This is the story that led the White House to send former amb. Wilson to Niger to check it out, and he couldn’t get anyone to confirm it for him. So Hersh came up with the novel idea that the hoax–that is, the forged document–had been perpetrated by “old boys” from CIA in order to gull the president and the likes of Cheney and Rumsfeld (and of course the legendarily gullible “neocons”) so that they could then be discredited.
And then the CIA followed through, by calling for a criminal investigation of the White House–a rare and perhaps even unique event in our history–for a leak about the Wilson mission, which inter alia exposed his wife as a CIA undercover operative.
Maybe the White House is finally beginning to understand that the CIA doesn’t want Bush reelected–I mean, how otherwise could “Anonymous” be publishing anti-Bush screeds?–and maybe even the president, famously loyal to Tenet, might be wondering how come the Agency was so happy to discredit the Niger yellowcake story when, if the Financial Times account is right, the Brits, the Italians, and even the French had good evidence (NOT the forgery) for the claim…
As I say, it’s hard to navigate, but it’s important.
Full disclosure: I’m told by various journalists that for the last several months, CIA folks have been trying to peddle the story that I was the forger, or somehow involved in the forgery. Very funny.