Cultural Revolutions

The Bush White House

The Bush White House’s use of unreliable information in building its case for war with Iraq prompted continued congressional calls for a full investigation after CIA Director George Tenet’s July 16 closed-door testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee.  The intelligence chief took responsibility for a highly questionable claim about Iraq’s alleged nuclear-weapons program in President Bush’s State of the Union Address in January, when the White House was concentrating on presenting Iraq as a clear and present danger to U.S. security.

Tenet reportedly stated that the President’s claim that Iraq had sought to purchase uranium in Africa, as part of a drive to produce nuclear weapons, should not have made it into the speech but also, according to Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), who was present at the hearing, claimed that an unnamed White House official had insisted on including the uranium claim.

The White House hotly disputed Durbin’s account of Tenet’s testimony: Bush administration spokesman Scott McClellan told reporters that Durbin’s “characterization” of Tenet’s testimony was “nonsense.”  Subsequently, however, President Bush’s deputy national security advisor, Stephen Hadley, said that the infamous reference (“The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from...

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