The La Repubblica Revelations

Ken AshfordIraq, PlamegateLeave a Comment

Crooked Timber has the latest.  Key summary:

As best as I can piece this together, the timeline that La Repubblica is arguing for goes as follows. Italian intelligence collected [genuine] information that Hussein was trying to obtain raw uranium at the end of the 1980’s, before the First Gulf War. This information was stored by the branch of Italian intelligence dealing with weapon proliferation issues. When the invasion of Iraq was imminent, this information was brought out from the archives, and bundled together with fake documents in order to make the latter look more legitimate. This dossier was then circulated to UK and US intelligence. The latter didn’t bite at first, causing the director of Italian intelligence to use back channels to Hadley and to Wolfowitz via Ledeen. UK intelligence did bite, either then or later. UK intelligence later claimed that it had a source of intelligence independent from the faked documents saying that Iraq was trying to obtain uranium. However, according to La Repubblica the ‘independent’ source was also from Italian intelligence, and related to efforts by Hussein’s regime to obtain uranium in the 1980’s. Hence, it was for all intents and purposes irrelevant to the question of whether Hussein was trying to obtain uranium in post-sanctions Iraq.

Usual caveats apply — we don’t know how true this is, or what La Repub’s sources are. 

And it begs a very important question:  Why would someone in the Italian intelligence agency want to mislead US and UK intelligence with false information regarding Saddam and Niger?  Were they being "helpful" or "hurtful" to Bush’s interests?  In fact, in whose interest were they acting?