Larry Elder

Question: How did "Leakgate" start?

 Answer: In President George W. Bush's January 2003 State of the Union speech, he said: "The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa." Former ambassador Joe Wilson, who worked under the George H.W. Bush and Clinton administrations, claimed that -- in those 16 words -- the President deliberately misled the nation with what he called a false accusation. Wilson began telling the press that the Bush administration intentionally deceived the nation by falsely asserting that Saddam Hussein tried to acquire processed uranium from Africa.

 Question: Why does Wilson claim the President lied?

 Answer: Ambassador Wilson himself went to Niger, Africa in February 2002 to investigate the alleged connection between Niger, uranium and Saddam Hussein.

 Question: What did Wilson find?

 Answer: Here's where things get interesting. Several months after the President's speech, Wilson wrote in a New York Times column called "What I Didn't Find in Africa" that he returned from his trip "highly doubtful" about whether any such connection between Saddam Hussein, Africa and uranium existed, and that intelligence had been "twisted to exaggerate the Iraqi threat."

 Question: If Wilson could not find such a connection, why did the President include those words in his speech?

 Answer: Wilson now claims no such connection existed. But Robin Butler, head of the British investigation of prewar intelligence, concludes, "It is accepted by all parties that Iraqi officials visited Niger in 1999. The British government had intelligence from several different sources indicating that this visit was for the purpose of acquiring uranium. … We conclude also that the statement in President Bush's State of the Union Address … was well-founded." Furthermore, the bipartisan U.S. Senate Committee on Intelligence, before which Wilson testified, concluded that when Bush spoke those 16 words in his State of the Union speech, his statement was based on credible intelligence -- both then and now. The Senate Committee found that Wilson, upon his return from his Niger trip, gave an oral report to the CIA, which provided "some confirmation" that Iraq had sought uranium in Niger.

 Question: So Wilson lies when he now claims he found no such connection?


Larry Elder

Larry Elder is a best-selling author and radio talk-show host. To find out more about Larry Elder, or become an "Elderado," visit www.LarryElder.com.