4,446. 1/28/2003

“In January [28] 2003, President Bush said in his State of the Union speech that the British government had learned that Iraq ‘had recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa.’ Two months later, U.S. and allied troops invaded Iraq. Paul Pillar, who retired last year after 30 years at the CIA, said that the White House attributed the charge to the British because the CIA wouldn’t vouch for it. ‘U.S. analysts said it was just too squishy to use publicly,’ said Pillar, who was national intelligence officer for the Near East and South Asia. But administration officials, he said, viewed the unconfirmed charge as ‘juicy’ and easy to understand. ‘The public says,*Saddam is buying uranium?* That has simplicity and appeal.’ ”

 – Bob Drogin and Tom Hamburger, “Niger Uranium Rumors Wouldn’t Die,” The Los Angeles Times, Feb. 17, 2006

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