Sunday, October 10, 2004

How the White House Embraced Disputed Arms Intelligence or "Theoretically you can rebuild your Yugo into a Cadillac"

How the White House Embraced Disputed Arms Intelligence or "Theoretically you can rebuild your Yugo into a Cadillac"

Given the already known weak reporting of the NY Times (see the May 24, 2004 posting below) it is curious they are publishing this article. This long article details the back and forth between different factions in the government over the Uranium Tube question. Those tubes were at the heart of the claim that Iraq had continued its nuclear development program, and thereby deserved the invasion that has since happened. According to the article the use off the aluminum tubes for uranium enrichment was proposed by a sole CIA analyst, while the rest of the intelligence establishment argued against that position. For example the tubes are very narrow and long and much thicker than tubes generally used in centrifuges. Instead the size and shape and materials exactly match tubes used for years in Iraqi rockets. Further, they are anodized aluminum, and the anodization coating would interact with the uranium gas interfering with the centrifuge process. Finally, the Iraqi's had previously run a uranium enrichment program, and had used tubes of a very different and much more suitable design, so why would they take a step backwards to use completely innapropriate tubes? Obviously these are not centrifuge tubes, but are rocket parts, and the Administration knew this very well. But, the article goes on to say, the story which reached President Bush's ear was only that the tubes could be used for centrifuges, so one wonders who was pulling the wool over the Presidents eyes and why? Interestingly the article details how it was the NY Times, on Sep 8, 2002, which broke the Aluminum Tubes story, especially interesting considering the May 24, 2004 posting below about the NY Times reporter Judith Miller working hand in hand with Ahmed Chalabi and the Neocons to promote the propoganda required to launch the war in Iraq. "The closer he gets to a nuclear capability, the more credible is his threat to use chemical and biological weapons," a senior administration official was quoted as saying. "Nuclear weapons are his hole card." The article [referring to the Sep 8, 2002 story] gave no hint of a debate over the tubes.