The forged documents that the administration used to bolster the claim that Iraq was seeking uranium from Niger originated from Italian intelligence sources. Specifically, it was being peddled by Nicolo Pollari, chief of Italy’s military intelligence service. It was recently revealed by an Italian newspaper that on September 9 2002, National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley had a secret meeting with Pollari.
People are now asking what they talked about. Hadley says he has “no recollection” of Iraq’s nuclear ambitions being discussed or of any documents being passed. It sure sounds like a denial, but it doesn’t mean much. Hadley was asked about it during a press conference today and he claims he has almost no recollection of anything that happened during the meeting with Polari:
QUESTION: Can you say what you did discuss with Mr. Pollari?
HADLEY: I told you, I have very little recollection of the meeting. And it was in the order of a courtesy call, getting to know a person who was going to be a colleague going forward. And you can tell that from the relative briefness of the meeting.
Just an innocent, “getting-to-know-you,” meeting with the guy who had been relentlessly pushing forged documents about Iraq’s nuclear ambitions for months.
We’ve posted the all relevant excerpts from today’s press briefing with Hadley here.