This is the end of the "WMD" weblog. I won't be posting any longer.
From the press conference with President Bush:
Q Mr. President, you often speak about the need for accountability in many areas. I wonder then, why is Dr. Condoleezza Rice not being held accountable for the statement that your own White House has acknowledged was a mistake in your State of the Union address regarding Iraq's attempts to purchase uranium? And also, do you take personal responsibility for that inaccuracy?
THE PRESIDENT: I take personal responsibility for everything I say, of course. Absolutely. I also take responsibility for making decisions on war and peace. And I analyzed a thorough body of intelligence -- good, solid, sound intelligence -- that led me to come to the conclusion that it was necessary to remove Saddam Hussein from power.
In this New York Times op ed piece, You Say Tomato, Paul Krugman discusses why Blair's in so much more hot water than Bush. He argues that Bush is much less adept at 'spin-control,' and it's hard to fault this argument. (He also discusses the effect of Kelly's death and the 'kid-gloves' treatment the US media have given Bush).
From Weapons expert had slashed wrist (BBC article) comes this report from the police:
A post-mortem has revealed that the cause of death was haemorrhaging from a wound to his left wrist. The injury is consistent with having been caused by a bladed object. We have recovered a knife and an open packet of Co-Proxymol tablets at the scene.
Bush, in a photo oppoortunity with Kofi Annen, said of Saddam Hussein: And we gave him a chance to allow the inspectors in, and he wouldn't let them in.. The Washington Post picked up the story, noting that:
The president's assertion that the war began because Iraq did not admit inspectors appeared to contradict the events leading up to war this spring: Hussein had, in fact, admitted the inspectors and Bush had opposed extending their work because he did not believe them effective.
THE PRESIDENT: Yes, Dana, one last question.
Q Mr. President, back on the question of Iraq, and that specific line that has been in question --
THE PRESIDENT: Can you cite the line? (Laughter.)
Q I could, if you gave me some time.
THE PRESIDENT: When I gave the speech, the line was relevant.
Q So even though there has been some question about the intelligence -- the intelligence community knowing beforehand that perhaps it wasn't, you still believe that when you gave it --
THE PRESIDENT: Well, the speech that I gave was cleared by the CIA. And, look, the thing that's important to realize is that we're constantly gathering data. Subsequent to the speech, the CIA had some doubts. But when I gave the -- when they talked about the speech and when they looked at the speech, it was cleared. Otherwise, I wouldn't have put it in the speech. I'm not interested in talking about intelligence unless it's cleared by the CIA. And as Director Tenet said, it was cleared by the CIA.
The larger point is, and the fundamental question is, did Saddam Hussein have a weapons program? And the answer is, absolutely. And we gave him a chance to allow the inspectors in, and he wouldn't let them in. And, therefore, after a reasonable request, we decided to remove him from power, along with other nations, so as to make sure he was not a threat to the United States and our friends and allies in the region. I firmly believe the decisions we made will make America more secure and the world more peaceful.
Now the '16 words' in the State of the Union address appear to have originated in the White House, not the CIA. From the Washington Post article U.S. Had Uranium Papers Earlier:
But on the eve of Bush's Jan. 28 State of the Union address, Robert Joseph, an assistant to the president in charge of nonproliferation at the National Security Council (NSC), proposed that the presidential address include the allegation that Iraq sought to purchase 500 pounds of uranium from Niger.
Alan Foley, a senior CIA official, disclosed this detail when he accompanied Tenet in a closed-door hearing before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence on Wednesday.
Foley, director of the intelligence, nonproliferation and arms control center, told committee members that the controversial 16-word sentence was suggested by Joseph in a telephone conversation just a day or two before the speech., according to congressional and administration sources who were present at the five-hour session.
The New York Times reports something like a White House rebuttal:
A senior administration official, after checking with members of the National Security Council, today disputed Mr. Foley's recollection, saying that none of the drafts of the State of the Union ever contained a specific reference to Niger. The official said of Mr. Foley's comments: "If that was the testimony, it is not an accurate accounting of events. There was never at any time a mention of place or amount in any draft of the State of the Union."
The only question Mr. Joseph recalls discussing with Mr. Foley was whether to rely on the language on the uranium used in the classified National Intelligence Estimate or the public British white paper.
"An accurate accounting of events would show that the only conversation that took place was whether to use a classified or unclassified reference," a senior administration official said.
Tom Brokaw interviews David Kay, the former U.N. weapons inspector David Kay leading the search for the WMDs. Some highlights:
Over a thousand people!
I don't really want to credit this story, but the latest tape purporting to be from Saddam Hussein calls WMD claims by the West 'baseless.'