Monday, December 12, 2005

French Reported to Have Warned CIA About Niger Claim

These are the reasons I question what Bush knew and when he knew it. As I have said before, I believe Bush honest felt that we would find WMDs in Iraq. But, if he knew that the information he presented to the American people as fact was known to be faulty (or even highly suspected to be faulty), then yes, he did mislead us. In the world of international diplomacy and domestic credibility, the ends do not justify the means. Or, at least, the ends must closely mirror the means. There was a time in our history when an American president spoke, the rest of the world accepted it as fact. We have lost that, and it is as important to the fight against terrorism that we regain it as boots on the ground. Like it or not, we need the rest of the world on our side.

French Told CIA of Bogus Intelligence

By Tom Hamburger, Peter Wallsten and Bob Drogin, Times Staff Writers

PARIS — More than a year before President Bush declared in his 2003 State of the Union speech that Iraq had tried to buy nuclear weapons material in Africa, the French spy service began repeatedly warning the CIA in secret communications that there was no evidence to support the allegation.

The previously undisclosed exchanges between the U.S. and the French, described in interviews last week by the retired chief of the French counterintelligence service and a former CIA official, came on separate occasions in 2001 and 2002.

The French conclusions were reached after extensive on-the-ground investigations in Niger and other former French colonies, where the uranium mines are controlled by French companies, said Alain Chouet, the French former official. He said the French investigated at the CIA's request.

Chouet's account was "at odds with our understanding of the issue," a U.S. government official said. The U.S. official declined to elaborate and spoke only on condition that neither he nor his agency be named.

However, the essence of Chouet's account — that the French repeatedly investigated the Niger claim, found no evidence to support it, and warned the CIA — was extensively corroborated by the former CIA official and a current French government official, who both spoke on condition of anonymity.

(Full Story)

4 comments:

tommy said...

There was a time in our history when an American president spoke, the rest of the world accepted it as fact.

We haven't had that during my lifetime, or at least during my time in the military, granted that only spanned the first Bush and Clinton, but the rest of the world didn't trust them either. The main difference was there wasn't a European Union clamoring for a dominant position on the world stage looking for an opposing position to the U.S.

As for the rest of your post, the basis is the French and the CIA, two organizations whose credibility at best is approaching non existant.

Dingo said...

"We haven't had that during my lifetime, or at least during my time in the military, granted that only spanned the first Bush and Clinton"

It started to erode with LBJ. Nixon actually regained some of it, as did Carter. But Reagan on, it has been pretty lacking.

I agree with you somewhat on the EU, but some of it also is from a vacuum due to lack of the type of US leaders we produced (Wilson-Kennedy).

What I find interesting is how, during the cold war, the world turned to us for leadership against a common enemy. I would expect to see the same thing with the fight against terrorism, but it hasn't materialized. I think it if three fold. 1) I don't think we have done a good job of convincing the world that the enemy is in fact common. With the threat of communism, regardless if you were allied with the US, the threat was real. With Islamist, many see not being allied with the US their best protection. 2) we have not convinced the world that our way of fighting the war is the right way. We are no longer given the latitude we were in the cold war. 3) Many see terrorism against the US as something of our own making, where we had nothing to do with creating the Soviet Union. Since many see our own foreign policy (right or wrong) as one of the root causes of terrorism, they are unwilling to accept our justification for fighting it in the manner we do. We are seen more as the provoker in the bar fight, not the victim.

The fight against terrorism is right and just, but we have done a horrible job packaging what should be an easy sell. It is like any other product sale. Even if more expensive the same product in better packaging will out sell the competition.

tommy said...

For the most part, at least to the countries I travel to, the war on terrorism is seen as something that doesn't affect them, that they don't have any real threat of being attacked. As long as they continue to feel that they can avoid being attacked by sitting on the sideline of this we aren't going to get any support.

The Soviet Union was different, Western Europe felt threatened and NATO was a direct result of that. In most of the world, right and just is something reserved for a discussion in philosophy, it doesn't have much practical application to the real world.

The proof is in the actions, when Europe has been attacked by the terrorists, has the response been to fight, or to try and find some way to appease them so they can return to whatever it was they were doing. So far, appeasement has been the much more frequently chosen option.

During the cold war, there was something very unifying about the presence of the Berlin Wall that kept everyone focused, we don't have that now.

Sorry for the disjointed response.

Dingo said...

disjointed is ok... besides, it sounds like we pretty much see it the same way. Resitsance to our policy will remain as long as it is sen as a unilateral and not global threat. As long as EU and other nations feel that the treat to their citizens will stop if they stop supporting us, than this is going to be a long, lonely battle.