Cliff May directed me to this excellent post by Tom Joscelyn:
Of course, the whole Joe Wilson imbroglio centers on his (demonstrably false) account of what he found when he went to Niger to investigate the claim that Iraq had sought yellowcake. But, it is worth remembering that the assessment concerning Iraq’s pursuit of yellowcake was not based on just the evidence surrounding Niger.
The evidence in the Butler Report (UK), as cited by Barcepundit and Power Line, makes this clear. As does the evidence contained in our own Senate Intelligence Report from July 2004. In fact, one CIA Iraq nuclear analyst cited this evidence during an interagency debate with the State Department’s INR over the issue. The Senate Intelligence Report reads (p. 47):
“Throughout the time the Niger reports were being disseminated, the [redacted] CIA Iraq nuclear analyst said he had discussed the issue with his INR colleague and was aware that INR disagreed with the CIA’s position. He said they discussed Niger’s uranium production rates and whether Niger could have been diverting any yellowcake. He said that he and his INR counterpart essentially “agreed to disagree” about whether Niger could supply uranium to Iraq. The CIA analyst said he assessed at the time that the intelligence showed both that Iraq may have been trying to procure uranium in Africa and that it was possible Niger could supply it. He said his assessment was bolstered by several other intelligence reports on Iraqi interest in uranium from other countries in Africa.” [Emphasis Added] […]
This, of course, does not mean that Iraq ever actually purchased yellowcake from any nation in Africa during the late 1990’s. But, it clearly demonstrates that the intelligence community had mulitiple reports surrounding Iraq’s efforts to procure uranium from Niger, Somalia and Congo.
It is amazing, however, that almost the entire discussion of this issue has focused on Joe Wilson’s trip to Niger. I guess that says a lot about Wilson’s desire for media attention…and the media’s desire to give it to him.