More on Niger-gate
Laura Rozen has been on this story for a couple of years now, and her remarks are important. Scroll down.
The new information is that Nicolo Pollari, head of Italian military intelligence (SISMI), met with deputy director of the national security council, Stephen Hadley. SISMI circles, with their American acolytes on the right, are suspected of having a hand in the creation and distribution of the forgeries alleging Iraqi purchases of Niger yellowcake uranium. Such a meeting is unusual, since foreign officials usually meet their own peers. So Pollari should have been meeting with the head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, not with a high national security council staffer. If Hadley gathered intelligence from Pollari, I suspect it may even have been illicit. (See below*).
This meeting could be important, because as I remember the story, Hadley authorized the claims in Bush’s State of the Union address about Iraqi purchases of African uranium. Bush kept wanting to put the claim in, and the CIA kept making him take it back out, as the Washington Post reported in 2003. When the CIA wouldn’t sign off on the Niger uranium claims, someone in Rice’s national security council staff (I remember it as Hadley) suggested that it be sourced instead to “British intelligence.” But I suspect “British intelligence” is actually a euphemism for “Italian military intelligence.” Anyway, Tenet was forced to go along with the change as long as the CIA did not have to certify it was correct. He later apologized even for that much of a lapse. But of course Hadley should have been made to resign.
If Pollari passed the Niger forgeries over to Hadley, that was a form of intelligence gathering on Hadley’s part and should have been reported to the Senate Intelligence committee according to the 1947 National Security Act:
‘ REPORTING OF INTELLIGENCE ACTIVITIES OTHER THAN COVERT ACTIONS
SEC. 502. [50 U.S.C. 413a] To the extent consistent with due regard for the protection from unauthorized disclosure of classified information relating to sensitive intelligence sources and methods or other exceptionally sensitive matters, the Director of Central Intelligence and the heads of all departments, agencies, and other entities of the United States Government involved in intelligence activities shall –
(1) keep the congressional intelligence committees fully and currently informed of all intelligence activities, other than a covert action (as defined in section 503(e)), which are the responsibility of, are engaged in by, or are carried out for or on behalf of, any department, agency, or entity of the United States Government, including any significant anticipated intelligence activity and any significant intelligence failure; and
(2) furnish the congressional intelligence committees any information or material concerning intelligence activities, other than covert actions, which is within their custody or control, and which is requested by either of the congressional intelligence committees in order to carry out its authorized responsibilities. ‘
Not to mention that if Hadley believed those forgeries to be true, he is a fool. Elbaradei of the International Atomic Energy Commission was able to show they were false in an afternoon with some google searches.