The CIA Got the Niger Documents!!!

Here’s the holy shit no one has noticed from yesterday. Here’s the version of the INR memo introduced in court yesterday.

 You’ll note in the last paragraph of the second page–it says, "These documents, which were sent to Washington via both CIA and [State] Department channels…"

This is really big news. The CIA got the forgeries. But all this time, they’ve been saying CIA only got the forgeries through State.

Nope. They had their own copies. And still didn’t analyze them until after it was too late.

Also note that it says that INR "may" have concluded the forgeries were forgeries earlier than January 12. This is totally disingenuous–they say they’ve looked at emails, but they clearly are ignoring the email the INR analyst sent back in October 2002. Huh. Still reading this, but it’s time to go to the Court House.

  1. katie Jensen says:

    This I did catch yesterday…but it seems so irrelevant now. It’s proof as far as I am concerned that this president lied to us about the war. At the very least, he lied about whether or not they knew they were forgeries. And okay, so we can’t prove that he read the analysis but we can prove that he ignored them and that he stated that they never made it to his office. (deep within the bowels of the agency.) That is impeachable. At the very least, even if the impeachement were not won, it would be that we finally discussed the problem. That we finally recognized that we could have a leader who has an agenda for war and that as a democracy it is only â€we the people†who can stop it. And that our congress and senate were not told the full story so that they were able to make an informed decision about the call to war. It makes that peice very clear.

    Where is the outrage and why wasn’t that a headline?? I know why but holy s–t, I am sick of this.

  2. Rayne says:

    This should be trumpeted at DailyKos in a post of its own.

    Have to go back and re-read this bit from your â€neo-transcripts†from yesterday…wondering whether this was one more piece that Tenet was expected to eat, along with other BS to cover this administration’s *ss?

  3. Anonymous says:


    The wording is a bit terse (“sent to Washington via both CIA and Department channelsâ€) but I believe it is fair to interpret this to mean that both the CIA and the US Embassy sent copies over to their counterparts in the US. This doesn’t surprise me for a couple of reasons. The corresponding section in the SSCI report was classified/redacted and made to appear that it was only INR/State Dept that got the documents through the Embassy. More importantly, as I kinda harped on this a bit last year, there is some circumstantial evidence that the CIA independently got copies of the forgeries outside of what was received from Burba:…..5211.php#6

    What I mean by this is that the documents that the CIA in Washington got may not have necessarily been the same set that INR got via the US embassy in Rome. That’s why I say the wording is terse. It’s not clear if the CIA channel already had a version which they got previously which they sent to the CIA in Washington or was it truly just the same set that was obtained from Burba. I’d certainly be curious to find out.

  4. emptywheel says:

    Also note–the trip report is attached as well. It describes Baghdad Bob as an â€algerian-Nigerien businessman.â€

    If Ari actually read this, it is unbelieveable he made the mistakes he made when he referenced the report.

  5. Sue says:

    I’m kinda lost here, folks. I’ve tried to keep up with the storyline, even read Fitz’s indictments, etc., but I’m definitely not as fluent in the case as you all are. Sorta like a baseball fan watching the Super Bowl and trying to keep up. So let me ask, why is getting the doc about the forgeries important? Was it known that the docs were forgeries at that time?

    Thanks to whomever can shed some light on this.

  6. katie Jensen says:


    President Bush released the niger forgeries to committees in congress and senate as proof that Iraq was trying to get yellow cake from nigeria which would be evidence that Iraq was moving toward developement of weapons of mass destruction. This document was used as evidence also in Bush’s speech to the state of the union when he used â€the sixteen words†that Iraq was developing nuclear weapons. The investigators at the time denied evidence of this. Lying to the congress and senate and the american people in order to start a war is treason. This is one area where exagerations and hyperbole are not tolerated by our constitution. Bush then argued that including the sixteen words in his speech was â€just a mistakeâ€. They didn’t know that the the Niger documents were forged, didn’t even know they existed. Condeleeza Rich stated that the reports never made it to the administration and ended up â€buried in the bowels of the agency†never making it to the Bush administration.

    The evidence in this trial suggests that this was a lie and that infact, the administration did have the report and that they knew it was a forgery. If this is true, it also gives the administration reason to go after Wilson. Wilson was outting them for not using his report, for â€cherry picking†the evidence in the lead up to war…to â€purposely mislead our representatives and the american peopleâ€. This is a treasonous act if we can prove that they in fact had read the document and chose to ignore it. It pretty much would prove that Bush lied.

    Bush, Ari, Condi, were all on AF1 when this Niger document was faxed to the plane. Wells in the middle of this testimony now. Did he know for sure it was faxed?? ect.

    It all makes it plausible that Bush purposely lied about the niger claim, that maybe he knew it was false and decided to use it in his speech anyway.

  7. katie Jensen says:

    I just reread my comments and realize that I mushed together the niger forgeries with the Wilson report. Two distinct different reports. The niger documents supported the idea that Iraq was buying yellow cake. The wilson report debunked the idea and supported the idea that this claim could not be verified. The controversy is about when the administration realized that the niger documents were forgery. And whether or not they actually recieved and read the Wilson report. God…I give up…I have great respect for the detail Godesses…and bow out politely. I just have to laugh…My fingers don’t always follow my head.

  8. olds88 says:

    Considering the IAEA immediately suspected the documents were crude forgeries, and conclusively decided they were forgeries within a day using Google, any lag in questioning the documents at either the CIA or State Department is absurd.

    If you have never actually looked at the actual documents, you can see them here with translations (scroll down). Nice hand-drawn logo.

    But this story from 2003 says the CIA got the documents immediately from the embassy in Rome:

    â€We acquired the documents in October of 2002, and they were shared widely within the U.S. government, with all the appropriate agencies in various ways,†State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said yesterday.

    The embassy promptly informed the CIA station chief in Rome that it had the documents and, on Oct. 19, gave copies to intelligence officials.

  9. Anonymous says:

    â€Hmm… now why would such an explosive document be left unanalyzed by the CIA or State…â€

    Good question. I think we may soon get to just that intrigue. Cheney’s MO is to get his people placed inside aagencies all over govt. I wonder if OVP (or at least the neocons) had someone inside the CIA to prevent the vetting of the forgeries. I suspect two stories will emerge from inside CIA: the good guys who tried to inform the WH & the bad guys who tried to insulate the WH to maintain plausible deniability.

    I keep hoping Tenet will flatly tell the public, â€Prior to the 2003 SOTU I told GB to his face that these documents were forgeries.â€

  10. katie Jensen says:

    John Forde– that would make for a dramatic moment indeed. I’ve been somewhat disappointed in Tenant but I don’t know what kind of constraints would be present for him regarding that kind of honesty.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Hi, Marcy –

    If it’s ok to ask a backtrack question (already!), what’s the story on the Cheney memo that Scooter is reported yesterday to have destroyed? Here’s the question and a follow up that I posted (close to the top of the comments thread) of your Dairy at DailyKos today.

    Question re: Libby destroyed Cheney memo (8+ / 0-)

    Is that event referenced in the indictment? Anyone want to speculate about why it wasn’t raised as a specific charge of Obbstruction of Justice — it would seem to be among of the very best evidence of OOJ, as well as implicating Cheney directly in the conspiracy.

    What was contained in that memo?

    Is Fitz saving the memo for another indictment — Cheney?

    by leveymg on Wed Jan 24, 2007 at 06:26:15 AM PST


    David Shuster (5+ / 0-)

    Said he made a mistake in his reporting. He said he misspoke. They have the note. Fitzgerald said that Libby â€wiped†it away, and Shuster first thought he meant Libby destroyed it, but now he realized that Fitz meant that he wiped it away from his memory, from what I understand. I THINK the memo discussed making sure the leak looked as if it came from the reporters, because they wouldn’t risk jail over the leak, because of reporters â€privilegeâ€. They (Cheney & Co) didn’t foresee things like Judith Miller going to jail.

    The truth about McCain My Blog

    by Hummingbird on Wed Jan 24, 2007 at 06:53:54 AM PST


    Maybe emptywheel (2+ / 0-)

    can answer that?

    by Hummingbird on Wed Jan 24, 2007 at 06:57:44 AM PST


    Is there a follow-up report on this somewhere? (8+ / 0-)

    Such a memo from Cheney would be very important in establishing the VP’s criminal intent in the conspiracy.

    All the better if the proscution has it.

    If Libby didn’t actually destroy it — and Cheney really does discuss using journalists as cover for officials in releasing Plame’s identity — then it would be Prosecution Exhibit #1 in an indictment against Cheney.

    by leveymg on Wed Jan 24, 2007 at 07:01:02 AM PST

    Your insight into this issue would be most appreciated. Thanks – Mark G. Levey

  12. Mimikatz says:

    This may be another instance where â€the CIA†is just too broad a term. There were people at the CIA who would have spotted these were forgeries pretty quickly (and obviously did) and who mistrusted the evidence. In the DO, I believe. The WINPAC folks were more credulous. Who got the documents, and from whom?

    It does seem to me that parts of the CIA were keeping things from other parts for a variety of reasons; that parts were much less on board with the WMD but may have just given up trying to challenge the Cheney view, and maybe kept things from them to keep from them being blown up, but could also have kept some of their skepticism from the Cheney wing, hoping they would shoot themselves in the foot or somewhere else, and this is the genesis of Hersh’s story that ex-CIA people concocted the documents.

    So the issue isn’t whether the â€CIA†had them but who had them, who had what, from whom, and what did they do with them.

    But the cnetral message is clear: Wilson was dangerous because he could show (and had shown) that Cheney at least and most probably many others knew that the purported â€evidence†for the war was bogus, and knew it BEFORE we invaded. So Wilson had to be stopped.

    For Rove it was just a matter of protecting Bush, but for Cheney/Libby, it was more a matter of prtotecting their precious war.

  13. Jim E. says:

    I asked the same question of Christy H. Smith at firedoglake last night, and this was her response to me:

    â€Jim E. at 34 — I think that was a rhetorical flourish, and not a reference to destruction of evidence. If Fitz had evidence that something was destroyed, he would have charged it as another count, I would bet on that. That was my read on it watching him live at the time. David Shuster and I actually had a discussion about that after proceedigs broke for the evening tonight — it was tough to tell Fitz’ expression on the monitors in the media room — but it was pretty clear watching him live that he wasn’t talking about destruction of evidence but, actually, Libby just choosing to “forget†something (indicating it was a forgetting it out of convenience).â€

  14. KevinNYC says:


    Did Isikoff and Corn report that the CIA had the documents in Hubris? Or did they report the CIA had them from State.

    In Hubris, they definitely talk about the CIA having the documents and not analyzing them. I think it was due to the fact the person who recieved them thought it was a dead issue. Just as the uranium was looked into and dismissed several times before Joe Wilson was asked to go to Niger. One of the CIA thought this was resolved and another part (probably WINPAC) kept pushing the issue. By the way, do we know why WINPAC did such lousy work on Iraq? It seems like they were staffed with Cheney acolytes. Has this been looked into?

  15. Cids says:

    ’Was it known that the docs were forgeries at that time?

    Thanks to whomever can shed some light on this.’

    The argument is that the forgeries were part of a foreign intelligence operation that Plame bought into through Wilson(DO and CIA knew it was a foreign intelligence operation and let it through) and later that operaton was used on the US government. It’s simple treason it that’s the case. They knew the forgeries were that before they were bought.

  16. windansea says:

    â€Hmm… now why would such an explosive document be left unanalyzed by the CIA or State…â€

    gee..maybe you could ask Jane Bond in CPD?

    None of the four CIA representatives recall picking up the documents, however, during the CIA Inspector General’s investigation of this issue, copies of the documents were found in the DO’s CPD vault. It appears that a CPD representative did pick up the documents at the NIAG meeting, but after returning to the office, filed them without any further distribution.

    Wednesday :: Jul 27, 2005
    Uranium from Africa and the Senate (SSCI) Report: Part 3A-4 (Uraniumgate v2.0)

    by eriposte

  17. SaltinWound says:

    Wheel, thanks for all the updates today at firedoglake. I have a confession: I was refreshing wildly!

  18. Anonymous says:

    None of the four CIA representatives recall picking up the documents, however, during the CIA Inspector General’s investigation of this issue, copies of the documents were found in the DO’s CPD vault. It appears that a CPD representative did pick up the documents at the NIAG meeting, but after returning to the office, filed them without any further distribution.

    My own belief is that they were known forgeries, but radioactive because they were going to be used by the OVP and pres to make the case. Anyone with their name attached to the forgeries would feel the full weight and force of blame if/when it became public.

  19. windansea says:

    Anyone with their name attached to the forgeries would feel the full weight and force of blame if/when it became public

    yeah, we wouldn’t want anyone in our Central Intelligence Agency actually checking out documents for us…

  20. olds88 says:


    When Wilson was sent to Niger, no one in the US intelligence community had seen the documents. In October of 2001, the US received a report from a â€foreign intelligence agency†(probably Britain) that Iraq was seeking to buy â€several tons†of yellowcake. That information was based on the forged documents (or the source that forged them), but the actual documents were not part of the report. Sketchy and incomplete, the report was dismissed.

    About a month later, the information resurfaced and, this time, the intelligence community (for some reason) took it more seriously. Plame, for one, did not. She referred to the intelligence as â€some crazy report.†And it was: there was no way that 1/6th of Niger’s annual yellowcake production was going to slip out of the country undetected. Especially since the mines were controlled by the French and the entire output was presold. Even if by some miracle it did slip by and through to Iraq, Iraq would need a large centrifuge enrichment plant to do anything with it. The report was obviously bogus, but Wilson was asked to check into it.

    When Wilson reported back, he thought that was the end of it. A report was circulated within the intelligence community stating the information was very doubtful. Still, the false information kept resurfacing (probably due to the Neocons in the DoD). Finally, the actual documents were obtained in Rome (probably due to Neocon Ledeen’s connections to Italian Intelligence and to Italian fascists– yes, actual fascists). The embassy in Rome immediately informed all relevant agencies, including the CIA, about the documents and the station chief in Rome took possession on Oct 19, 2002.

    What happened to the papers after that isn’t completely known, as emptywheel points out, the INR had concerns– as did probably any expert that looked at them. When the International Atomic Energy Agency finally received the documents after Powell’s speech, they immediately thought they were forgeries, and confrmed the fact using the Internet.

    The IAEA announced to the world that the documents were forgeries on March 7, 2003– almost five months after the US received them, over a year since Wilson told the government the report was crap. The Adminstration’s reaction to the news? â€They fooled us!â€

    Now, in more rational Universes, at this point the President would resign, investigations would begin, and all talk of war would be thrown out the window. In our sketchy reality, bombing commenced a few weeks later.

  21. windansea says:

    When Wilson was sent to Niger, no one in the US intelligence community had seen the documents.

    sure about that?

    SSCI report page 39:

    The former ambassador’s wife told Committee staff that when CPD decided it would like to send the former ambassador to Niger, she approached her husband on behalf of the CIA and told him ’there’s this crazy report’ on a purported deal for Niger to sell uranium to Iraq.

    and then there’s Joe backpeddling from his knowledge of same forgeries with his â€literary flair†comment

  22. windansea says:

    SCCI Report page 44:

    Third, the former ambassador noted that his CIA contacts told him there were documents pertaining to the alleged Iraq—Niger uranium trans action and than the source of the information was the [R] intelligence service.

  23. Steve says:

    Uh, Windandsea, you do realize that what you’re excerpting in no way indicates that anybody had in the US intelligence comunnity had seen the documents, don’t you?

    Page 39 says there’s a crazy report, not actual docs (which didn’t show up till Oct)
    and the page 44 excerpt basically says that they (CIA) knew there were docs, told Wilson, and that the source of the docs was (Redacted) intl service…

    Now, if you’ve got some magical way that Wilson in the Spring of 2002 could have seen docs that didn’t come into US posession until 10/19/02, we’d love to here it….Is your theory that Wilson is capable of time-travel?

  24. windansea says:

    Is your theory that Wilson is capable of time-travel?

    Changing your story is a form of time travel…

    During the Senate Intelligence Committee’s investigation, someone asked Wilson how he could have told Pincus the â€dates were wrong and the names were wrong,†as he never saw the forgeries in the first place. Wilson was nonplussed. According to the report, â€The former ambassador said that he may have ’misspoken’ to the reporter when he said he concluded the documents were ’forged.’†Also, he said, â€he may have become confused about his own recollection after the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) reported in March 2003 that the names and dates on the documents were not correct and may have thought he had seen the names himself.â€

  25. olds88 says:

    Re: SCCI Report,

    No, the Intelligence Community had not seen the actual documents.

    The original report from the â€foreign government service†came on October 15, 2001 and referenced â€several tons of uranium.†There is no mention of receiving actual documents. The report, in fact, was dismissed in large part because there was not enough detail. Page 36:

    At the time, all IC analysts interviewed by Committee staff considered this initial report to be very limited and lacking in needed detail.

    On February 5, 2002, the same foreign service provided a more detailed report which included what was claimed to be â€verbatim text†of the yellowcake deal. Again, there is no mention of actual documents (page 37).

    So the â€crazy report†was just that, a report, not â€crazy, possibly forged, documents.â€

    The continuation of the quote from page 44 confirms:

    The DO reports officer… noted that there were no â€documents†circulating in the IC at the time of the former ambassador’s trip, only intelligence reports from [Redacted] intelligence regarding an alleged Iraq-Niger deal.

    Knowing the deal was with Iraq would have been obvious even if it hadn’t been discussed. As far as Wilson knowing the name of the intelligence agency and the wrong names, there are at least three possibilities:

    1. His wife told him, based on the â€verbatim text†supplied earlier.

    2. The Ambassador to Niger told him.

    3. As he said, he melded information from the IAEA report into his statement.

    None of this means the US Intelligence Community had the actual documents before October 2002. However, the Intelligence Community should have otherwise been able to confirm the information was bogus (and to their credit, in report after report, they did just that).

  26. windansea says:

    Again, shows that everybody,Wilson included, is easily confused, not that anybody saw the docs.

    nice of you to be so forgiving…hey..maybe even Libby got confused…those three witnesses sure seem confused today about what they said and when

    anyhoo…If Hersh was correct in The Stovepipe, its quite possible Joe saw those forged docs…the originals

  27. olds88 says:

    Hmmm… could have saved myself some typing if I had only hit refresh.

    Anyways, it is also completely possible he saw the names in the verbatim text at his initial meeting with CIA & INR– we know they shared other details from the report.

  28. Sara says:

    Well what I want to see explained is Sy Hersh’s â€New Yorker†description of a drunken or at least well oiled New Year’s party with the retired spooks, circa 2001-02, where the discussion was about how these documents had been forged and inserted and accepted into the intelligence stream. As Hersh put it, the forgers had no expectation their half assed forged work product would make it beyond the first gate in evaluation and analysis.

    Just as we follow Hersh now as the canary in the mine regarding Iran War Plans, he was also that little bird upon a tree back about the time Wilson first went to Niger.

  29. tom maguire says:

    yes thats possible…but then why did he backpeddle and say it was literary flair?

    that i can answer – if ’the truth’ is that the cia was looking at obvious forgeries in feb 2002 and missed it, the whole ’white house lied’ meme takes a beating and is replaced by ’cia had head up collective rear area’. and wilson’s complaint that the white house ignored his report becomes re-directed to, my wife and her unit ignored my report.

    anyway, i can’t find the right thread to say ’great job on the liveblogging, marcy’, so i’ll say it here. go do an ad for crystal meth, or red bull, or something – i’m exhausted just trying to read all this stuff.

    sorry, its daffy keyboard time again…