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.