News Release

WMD: The Dog Ate My Homework


Thielmann served as director of the Office of Strategic, Proliferation, and Military Affairs in the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research until September 2002. He said today: “I believe the Bush administration did not provide an accurate picture to the American people of the military threat posed by Iraq…. Going down the list of administration deficiencies, or distortions, one has to talk about, first and foremost, the nuclear threat being hyped. In particular I believe something was seriously amiss about President George W. Bush’s reference in his State of the Union speech to a report that Iraq was trying to procure uranium from Africa. My office had concluded previously that this was ‘bad information.’ This assessment was delivered to Secretary of State Colin Powell in March 2002.”
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McGovern worked as a CIA analyst for 27 years. He said today: “There is just too much evidence that Ambassador Joseph Wilson was sent to Niger at the behest of Vice President Cheney’s office, and that Wilson’s findings were duly reported not only to that office but to others as well. Equally important, it was Cheney who launched (in a major speech on August 26, 2002) the concerted campaign to persuade Congress and the American people that Saddam Hussein was about to get his hands on nuclear weapons…”
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Wilkie was a senior intelligence analyst for Australia’s intelligence agency, the Office of National Assessments (ONA), when he resigned in protest on March 11, 2003. On July 15 at 11 a.m. he will participate in a news briefing hosted by Rep. Dennis J. Kucinich (D-OH). Wilkie said today: “In my former core role as the Senior ONA Transnational Issues Analyst, I was involved routinely in matters relating to Iraq. This provided me with virtually unrestricted access to the intelligence database on that country… What I am saying, quite simply, is that the British, American and Australian governments grossly exaggerated the threat posed by Iraq’s WMD program in order to justify the war…. The claim that the [British] Dossier and other statements reflect accurately the view of the UK Joint Intelligence Committee [JIC] just doesn’t ring true to me. I saw countless JIC assessments whilst at ONA… never did I see such a string of unqualified and strong judgments as was contained in the [British] September Dossier…. As for the claim that Iraq was seeking to procure uranium from Niger, my understanding of this matter is that the CIA knew as far back as early 2002 that the uranium purchase story was false…. I have a very clear recollection ONA knew there was doubt about the Niger story in 2002…. Colin Powell made claims to the U.N. Security Council purporting that a link exists between al-Qaeda and Iraq. As far as I’m aware there was no hard evidence and there is still no hard evidence that there is any active cooperation between Iraq and al-Qaeda.”
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Ellsberg, who leaked the Pentagon Papers, authored the recent book Secrets: A Memoir of Vietnam and the Pentagon Papers. He said today: “My biggest regret is that I waited to leak the Pentagon Papers when we needed the truth yesterday. The most important lesson from my experience is this: Don’t sit on documents, don’t wait to come out with the truth. Don’t wait while the bombing and the killing continue.”
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Norman Solomon, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167