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A counterespionage official said Wednesday that the inquiry into the documents, which were intended to show that Iraq was seeking uranium for a nuclear weapons program, had yielded some intriguing but unproved theories. One is the possibility that associates of Ahmad Chalabi, the former Iraqi exile who was a leading champion of the American campaign to topple Saddam Hussein, had a hand in the forgery. A second hypothesis, described by some officials as more likely, is that the documents were forged at Niger's embassy in Rome, in a moneymaking scheme. The official said the matter was being investigated as a counterintelligence case, not a criminal one.
The United States government did not receive the papers until October 2002, eight months after the Central Intelligence Agency sent Joseph C. Wilson IV, a retired ambassador, to Niger on the fact-finding mission, according to a review completed last year by the Senate intelligence committee. The C.I.A. decided in March 2003 that the papers were forgeries.
But a little-noticed passage in another government report said the C.I.A. had determined that foreign intelligence passed to the agency in the months before Mr. Wilson's trip also contained information that was "based on the forged documents and was thus itself unreliable."
That early foreign reporting, never endorsed by American intelligence analysts, prompted questions from the office of Vice President Dick Cheney, which in turn led to Mr. Wilson's trip, a chain of events spelled out in the reviews of prewar intelligence issued this year and last year.
The continuing inquiry into the source of the forged documents has been conducted separately from the investigation by the special prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald into the leak case, which has to do with whether Bush administration officials committed crimes related to disclosing the identity of Mr. Wilson's wife, an undercover C.I.A. officer.
The spymaster, Gen. Nicolò Pollari, director of the Italian military intelligence agency known as Sismi, disclosed that Mr. Martino was the source of the forged documents in closed-door testimony to a parliamentary committee that oversees secret services, the lawmakers said.
Senator Massimo Brutti, a member of the committee, told reporters that General Pollari had identified Mr. Martino as a former intelligence informer who had been "kicked out of the agency." He did not say Mr. Martino was the forger.
The information about Iraq's desire to acquire the ore, known as yellowcake, was used by the Bush administration to help justify the invasion of Iraq, notably by President Bush in his State of the Union address in January 2003. But the information was later revealed to have been based on forgeries.
Senator Brutti also told reporters that Italian intelligence had warned Washington in early 2003 that the Niger-Iraq documents were false.
"At about the same time as the State of the Union address, they said that the dossier doesn't correspond to the truth," Senator Brutti said. He said he did not know whether the warning was given before or after President Bush's address.
Senator Luigi Malabarba, who also attended Thursday's hearing, said in a telephone interview that General Pollari had told the committee that Mr. Martino was "offering the documents not on behalf of Sismi but on behalf of the French" and that Mr. Martino had told prosecutors in Rome that he was in the service of French intelligence.
According to a senior Italian lawmaker, Pollari also told the group that Martino had told a prosecutor in Rome that he was working for the French intelligence service, not Sismi (Italian intelligence).
His admission to investigating magistrates in Rome on Friday apparently confirms suggestions that - by commissioning "Giacomo" to procure and circulate documents - France was responsible for some of the information later used by Britain and the United States to promote the case for war with Iraq.
Italian diplomats have claimed that, by disseminating bogus documents stating that Iraq was trying to buy low-grade "yellowcake" uranium from Niger, France was trying to "set up" Britain and America in the hope that when the mistake was revealed it would undermine the case for war, which it wanted to prevent.
US intel on Iraq-Qaeda ties 'intentionally misleading'
US military intelligence warned the Bush administration as early as February 2002 that its key source on Al-Qaeda's relationship with Iraq had provided "intentionally misleading" data, according to a declassified report.
Nevertheless, eight months later, President George W. Bush went public with charges that the Iraqi government of Saddam Hussein had trained members of Osama bin Laden's terror network in manufacturing deadly poisons and gases.
These same accusations had found their way into then-secretary of state Colin Powell's February 2003 speech before the UN Security Council, in which he outlined the US rationale for military action against Iraq.
The report provides a critical analysis of information provided by Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi, an Islamic radical and bin Laden associate, who served as senior military trainer at a key Al-Qaeda camp in Afghanistan before it was destroyed by US forces in late 2001.
In captivity, al-Libi initially told his DIA debriefers that Al-Qaeda operatives had received training from Iraq in manufacturing poisons and deadly chemical agents.
But the DIA, according to its assessment, did not find the information credible.
US military intelligence officers concluded that al-Libi lacked "specific details on the Iraqis involved, the... materials associated with the assistance and the location where training occurred," the report said.
"It is possible," the document went on to say, "he does not know any further details; it is more likely this individual is intentionally misleading the debriefers."
The DIA suggested al-Libi, who had been under interrogation for several weeks, "may be describing scenarios to the debriefers that he knows will retain their interest."
Originally posted by Souljah
You are Diverting Attention from the Topic of the thread and pointing it from US to France, as if they would PROFIT Enourmously with the Invasion of Iraq.
Originally posted by Souljah
France does not hold the Oil Reservs of Iraq. They are not Rebuilding Iraq. They are not selling weapons to newly formed Iraqi Army. They are not MAKING MONEY out of Iraq.
Originally posted by Souljah
Note that in the Article it says that France was Responsible for SOME of the Informaton and that they were "TRYING" to set up US and UK.
By late 2003, the trail of the documents had been partially uncovered. They were obtained by a "security consultant" (and former agent of the precursor agency to SISMI, the SID), Rocco Martino, from Italian military intelligence (SISMI). An article in The Times (London) quoted Martino as having received the documents from a woman on the staff of the Niger embassy, after a meeting was arranged by a serving SISMI agent. ("Tracked down," by Nicholas Rufford and Nick Fielding, Sunday Times (London), Aug. 1, 2004.) Martino later recanted and said he had been misquoted, and that SISMI had not facilitated the meeting where he obtained the documents. It was later revealed that Martino had been invited to serve as the conduit for the documents by Col. Antonio Nucera of SISMI, the head of the counterintelligence and WMD proliferations sections of SISMI's Rome operations center
Originally posted by NuTroll
he was paid in france, but i think he was working for SISME/ italian intelligence (which would explain the shooting in northern iraq of that reporter).