Joe Wilson called into question Bush’s assertion in the 2003 State of the Union that Iraq was seeking nuclear material in Niger. Astoundingly, the right still argues that the administration’s smear campaign against Wilson was justified because Bush’s claim may have been correct. Here’s the latest from the Weekly Standard’s Stephen Hayes:
First, it is far from clear that Bush’s claim has been invalidated by postwar inspections…And the British review of prewar intelligence (known as the Butler report) concluded that the claim was–and remains–solid.
Actually, the Butler report didn’t conclude that. It’s review of prewar intelligence included the claim was unfounded. Here’s the relevant bit (pg. 124):
“Based on through analysis, the IAEA has concluded, with the concurrence of outside experts, that these documents, which formed the basis for the reports of recent uranium transactions between Iraq and Niger, are in fact not authentic. We have therefore concluded that these specific allegations are unfounded.“
Of course, what would you expect from the guy who is still pushing the theory that Saddam Hussein had a collaborative relationship with al-Qaeda. (Note: Copies of Hayes book on the subject are now available for 96 cents)