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Predictions
Pre-war planning
Prague Connection
Al Zarqawi allegation
Spying on the UN
Motives
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Internal opposition
Alleged WMDs
Alleged al-Qaeda ties
The decision to invade
Politicization of intelligence
Aluminum tubes allegation
Weapons inspections
Africa-uranium allegation
Office of Special Plans
Pre-9/11 plans for war

Quotes from senior US officials

Iraq ties to terrorist allegations
Nuclear weapons allegations
Imminent threat allegations
Chemical and biological weapons allegations
WMD allegations
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Complete timeline of the 2003 Invasion of Iraq

 
  

Project: Inquiry into the decision to invade Iraq

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Showing 451-550 of 558 events (use filters to narrow search):    previous 100    next 100

February 12, 2003

       A UN panel—consisting of missile experts from the United States, Britain, France, Ukraine, Germany and China—unanimously concludes that Iraq's Al Samoud 2 conventional missile program is in violation of UN resolutions because its range exceeds restrictions imposed in 1991 after the Gulf War. While admitting that the Al Samoud missiles exceed the 150 km limit in test runs—by a mere 33km—Iraqi officials insist that they would be incapable of traveling more than 150 km when laden with conventional explosives and guidance equipment. Iraq has more than 100 of these missiles [The Washington Post, 2/13/03; Guardian, 2/13/03b] Douglas Richardson, the editor of Jane's Missiles and Rockets, says that the “violation” is comparable to driving 36mph in a 30mph zone. [Guardian, 2/13/03b; UPI, 2/13/03; BBC, 3/3/02] Iraq is ordered to begin destroying the missiles by March 1 (see March 1, 2003), which it agrees to do on February 27 (see February 27, 2003). [ABC News, 2/28/03; New York Times, 3/1/03; BBC, 1/28/03]
          

February 14, 2003

       UNMOVIC Chief Weapons Inspector Hans Blix and IAEA Director-General Mohamed ElBaradei present an update to the UN Security Council on the progress of weapons inspections in Iraq. The content of their presentation includes no evidence to substantiate US and British claims that Iraq poses a serious threat to the US or Europe. After the report is presented, the majority of the UN Security Council members feel that the use of military force will not be needed to effectively disarm Iraq. [United Nations, 2/14/03; Financial Times, 2/14/03]
UNMOVIC report by Hans Blix -

After conducting some 400 inspections at over 300 Iraqi sites since December 2002, the inspection teams still have not found any evidence that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction or that Iraq has programs to develop such weapons. [Associated Press, 2/14/03; Financial Times, 2/14/03; Guardian, 2/14/03b; Interpress News Service, 2/15/03; AP, 2/14/03]

The inspectors are unaware of any reliable evidence that the Iraqis have had advanced knowledge of the timing and locations of weapons inspections. “In no case have we seen convincing evidence that the Iraqi side knew in advance that the inspectors were coming,” Blix says. [Guardian, 2/14/03b; Guardian, 2/15/03b; Reuters, 2/14/03b; Financial Times, 2/14/03; Associated Press, 2/14/03]

The Iraqi government agreed to reduce the number of “minders” present in interviews with Iraqi scientists. [Financial Times, 2/14/03]

The UNMOVIC weapons inspection teams have begun destroying Iraq's declared arsenal of mustard gas. [Financial Times, 2/14/03]

South Africa has made an agreement with Iraq to assist it in its disarmament efforts. [Financial Times, 2/14/03; Guardian, 2/14/03b]

Several proscribed weapons and other items remain unaccounted for, including more than 1,000 tons of chemical agents. Blix explains that if they do not exist, Iraq needs to provide him with credible evidence that they have been destroyed. “Another matter and one of great significance is that many proscribed weapons and items are not accounted for. One must not jump to the conclusion that they exist. However, that possibility is also not excluded. If they exist, they should be presented for destruction. If they do not exist, credible evidence to that effect should be presented.” [Financial Times, 2/14/03; Associated Press, 2/14/03; Guardian, 2/14/03b]

Based on the data contained in Iraq's declaration of arms, experts have concluded that two varieties of Iraq's Al Samoud II missile systems are capable of exceeding the 150km range limit that was imposed on Iraq in 1991 after the First Gulf War (see February 12, 2003). But contrary to what Powell recently stated in his February 5 presentation to the UN, test stands located at the Al Rafah facility have not been associated with the testing of missiles with the ranges Powell suggested (see 10:30 a.m. February 5, 2003). [Financial Times, 2/14/03; Associated Press, 2/14/03; Guardian, 2/15/03b]

More interviews with Iraqi scientists, especially ones involved in its former biological weapons programs, are needed. [Financial Times, 2/14/03]

Recent private interviews with Iraqi scientists have been helpful to weapons inspectors. [Financial Times, 2/14/03]

The amount of intelligence being supplied by foreign agencies have recently increased and the new information is helping inspectors. [Financial Times, 2/14/03]

Blix challenges the conclusions made by Powell in his February 5 presentation (see 10:30 a.m. February 5, 2003) to the UN with regard to US satellite pictures showing the movement of trucks and supplies at suspected weapons sites prior to inspections. He says, “The reported movement of munitions at the site could just as easily have been a routine activity as a movement of proscribed munitions in anticipation of an imminent inspection.” [Financial Times, 2/14/03; Guardian, 2/14/03b; Guardian, 2/15/03b; Reuters, 2/14/03b; Associated Press, 2/14/03]

Iraq produced a list of 83 people who it says participated in the destruction of large quantities of anthrax and VX precursors in 1991. [Financial Times, 2/14/03]

Inspections are increasing inspectors' knowledge of Iraqi arms. [Guardian, 2/14/03b]

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) report by Mohamed ElBaradei -

ElBaradei's team has found no evidence of an illegal nuclear weapons program. “We have to date found no evidence of ongoing prohibited nuclear or nuclear related activities in Iraq.” [IAEI, 2/14/03; Financial Times, 2/14/03]

Iraqi officials have provided IAEA inspectors with immediate access to all sites it has sought to examine. [IAEI, 2/14/03; Financial Times, 2/14/03]

The IAEA is still investigating why Iraq attempted to import aluminum tubes during the summer of 2002. The agency is awaiting an explanation from Iraq as to why the tubes—alleged by Iraq to have been destined for a conventional weapons artillery program—were fabricated according to such high quality specifications. [IAEI, 2/14/03; Financial Times, 2/14/03]

Referring to the documents that had been discovered in the home of Faleh Hassan (see January 16, 2003), Mohamed ElBaradei states: “While the documents have provided some additional details about Iraq's laser enrichment development efforts, they refer to activities or sites already known to the IAEA and appear to be the personal files of the scientist in whose home they were found. Nothing contained in the documents alters the conclusions previously drawn by the IAEA concerning the extent of Iraq's laser enrichment program” . [IAEI, 2/14/03; Guardian, 2/15/03b; BBC, 2/17/03]

Reaction - After the two reports, most UN Security Council members say they believe inspections are working and that the use of military force is unnecessary. Dominique de Villepin, the French foreign minister, says: “There is an alternative to war: disarming Iraq through inspections. [War] would be so fraught with risk for the people, the region and international stability that it should be envisaged only as a last resort. ... We must give priority to disarmament by peaceful means.” His comments are followed by a huge applause. “French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin's impassioned speech seeking more time for inspections elicited rare applause from diplomats in the chamber,” reports the Associated Press. By contrast, the more hawkish remarks of US Secretary of State Colin Powell—who was said to have appeared “annoyed” during parts of Blix's report— “did not receive any applause.” Powell, in his response to the report, had stated: “We cannot wait for one of these terrible weapons to turn up in our cities.... More inspections—I am sorry—are not the answer.... The threat of force must remain.” After the reports, Germany, Syria, Chile, Mexico, Russia, France and Pakistan, favor continuing the inspections while Spain and Bulgaria back the US and British position. [Interpress News Service, 2/15/03; US Department of State, 2/14/03; Associated Press, 2/14/03; Fox News, 2/15/03]

People and organizations involved: Colin Powell, Mohamed ElBaradei, Hans Blix, Dominique de Villepin  Additional Info 
          

February 14, 2003

       The CIA sends a memo to top Bush administration officials informing them that Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi, an al-Qaeda operative being held in custody by the CIA, has recanted his claim that Iraq provided training in poisons and gases to members of al-Qaeda (see September 2002). [The New York Times, 7/31/2004] The claim has already been used in speeches by both President George Bush (see October 7, 2002) and Secretary of State Colin Powell (see 10:30 a.m. February 5, 2003).
People and organizations involved: Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi, George W. Bush, Colin Powell
          

February 16, 2003

       Asked for concrete evidence that Hussein has links to al-Qaeda, National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice points to the presence of terrorist operatives allegedly being hosted in Iraq. “Well, we are, of course, continually learning more about these links between Iraq and al-Qaeda, and there is evidence that Secretary Powell did not have the time to talk about. But the core of the story is there in what Secretary Powell talked about. This poisons network with at least two dozen of its operatives operating in Baghdad, a man who is spreading poisons now throughout Europe and into Russia, a man who got medical care in Baghdad despite the fact that the Iraqis were asked to turn him over, training in biological and chemical weapons.” [Fox News, 2/16/2003; Iraq on the Record database, 3/16/2004]
People and organizations involved: Condoleezza Rice
          

February 16, 2003

       The New York Times publishes an op-ed authored by Gordon Adams, the White House's senior defense budget official from 1993 to 1997 and professor of international affairs at George Washington University, and Steve Kosiak, director of budget studies at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments. They provide several estimates on the cost of invading and occupying Iraq. A worst-case scenario, they conclude could cost as much as $682 billion over five years. [New York Times, 2/16/03]
Estimated Military Deployment, Combat and Redeployment Costs - It would cost the US $17 billion for an invasion that involves 150,000 troops for one month. This figure could be as high as $79 billion, however, if the fighting continues for six months and requires as many as 350,000 troops. [New York Times, 2/16/03b]

Estimated Costs of a 5-year Military Occupation - They estimate that the lowest a 5-year occupation would cost would be $26 billion. This figure assumes that 50,000 troops would be needed the first year, 25,000 troops the second year, and 12,500 troops for the remaining 3 years. In a worst-case scenario, the US would have to keep 150,000 troops in Iraq for the first year, scaling it down over the next four years to 70,000 troops at a total cost of $105 billion. [New York Times, 2/16/03b]

Humanitarian Assistance - If the US provides humanitarian assistance for only the first year, the estimated cost would be between $1 and $3 billion. However, this figure could be as high as $10 billion, if assistance is needed for up to four years. [New York Times, 2/16/03b]

Recovery/Reconstruction - They estimated that reconstruction would cost between $10 and $105 billion. [New York Times, 2/16/03b]

Debt/Claims/Reparations - Iraq might have to pay as much as $361 billion in debts, claims and reparations to Kuwait. [New York Times, 2/16/03b]

Aid to Allies - They estimate that the US will spend between $6 and $10 billion in aid to allies as a result of the decision to invade Iraq. [New York Times, 2/16/03b]

People and organizations involved: Gordon Adams, Steve Kosiak
          

February 18, 2003

       Ari Fleischer says during his daily press briefing: “Iraq, unlike Afghanistan, is a rather wealthy country. Iraq has tremendous resources that belong to the Iraqi people. And so there are a variety of means that Iraq has to be able to shoulder much of the burden for their own reconstruction [sic].” [White House, 2/18/03; Financial Times, 1/16/04]
People and organizations involved: Ari Fleischer
          

February 20, 2003

       Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov says that the US and Britain are pressuring inspectors “to discontinue their operations in Iraq ... or to pressure them into coming up with assessments that would justify the use of force.” [Associated Press, 2/20/03]
People and organizations involved: Igor Ivanov
          

February 20, 2003

       British Foreign Minister Robin Cook is personally given an intelligence briefing by John Scarlett, head of the British joint intelligence committee. Cook later says in his diary that Scarlett's summary was “shorn of the political slant with which No 10 encumbers any intelligence assessment.” After the meeting with Scarlett, Cook concludes that “Saddam probably does not have weapons of mass destruction in the sense of weapons that could be used against large-scale civilian targets.” [Sunday Times, 10/5/03; Guardian, 10/6/03 Sources: Robin Cook's diary]
People and organizations involved: John Scarlett, Robin Cook
          

February 21, 2003

       Chief UN weapons inspector Hans Blix informs Iraq in a letter delivered to UN ambassador Mohammed Al-Douri that it must begin destroying its Al Samoud 2 missiles and all “associated equipment” by March 1. [Cox News Service, 2/24/03; CNN, 2/24/03; Associated Press, 2/22/03]
People and organizations involved: Hans Blix, Mohammed Al-Douri
          

February 22 or 23, 2003

       President Bush telephones Mexican President Vicente Fox to discuss Mexico's stance on Iraq. Shortly after the phone call, the Mexican government issues a 2-page policy directive backing Bush's policy on Iraq. It states that its position is that Iraq must disarm immediately and makes no mention of the weapons inspections. “Nothing is more urgent, no time can be lost in achieving this objective,” it says. The last point of the directive notes the importance of Mexico's relationship with the United States and the need to have a policy based on Mexico's national interests. “We know that this issue is of critical importance to the United States and to the Bush administration,” the directive also says. [Associated Press, 2/26/03]
People and organizations involved: Vicente Fox, George W. Bush
          

February 22, 2003

       The chief weapons inspector for the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Mohamed ElBaradei, says that Iraq has “cooperated increasingly well ... in recent days.” He adds that, in his opinion, there is no reason to “give up hope.” He explains that Iraqi officials have provided the inspectors with unrestricted access to all sites as well as Saddam's palaces. “There is a UN clock,” he says, “which is ticking, and a Franco-German one. And above all there are the American clocks—they work differently. So long as we can report progress, I see no reason why we should break off inspections.” [Associated Press, 2/22/03]
People and organizations involved: Mohamed ElBaradei
          

February 24, 2003

       An unnamed senior UN diplomat tells The Washington Post that he had been told by US officials: “You are not going to decide whether there is war in Iraq or not. That decision is ours, and we have already made it. It is already final. The only question now is whether the council will go along with it or not.” [The Washington Post, 2/25/03 Sources: Unnamed (non-US) senior U.N diplomat]
          

February 24, 2003

       The United States, Britain and Spain submit a draft to the UN Security Council for a second resolution declaring Iraq in “further material breach” of previous UN resolutions. The draft claims that the declaration Iraq submitted to the UN Security Council on December 7, 2002 (see December 7, 2002) contained “false statements and omissions” and that Iraq “has failed to comply with, and cooperate fully in the implementation of” UN Resolution 1441. Meanwhile France, Russia and Germany field an alternative plan aimed at achieving peaceful disarmament with more rigorous inspections over a period of five months. China expresses support for the alternative plan despite efforts by Powell to convince its government to support the more aggressive proposal. [Fox News, 2/24/03 Sources: US/UK/Spain Draft Resolution, February 24, 2003] At this point, it seems that only Bulgaria will support the American-British-Spanish resolution. Eleven of the fifteen council members have indicated that they favor allowing the inspectors to continue their work. Fox News suggests that the US may be able to convince some countries—like Angola, Guinea and Cameroon—to support the resolution since “there is the possibility that supporting the resolution may reap financial benefits from the United States.” [Fox News, 2/24/03]
          

February 27, 2003

       Iraq agrees to destroy all the equipment associated with its Al Samoud missile program, including warheads, SA-2 missile engines, machinery to produce missile motors, fuel, launchers, testing equipment, components as well as all software and documentation. The UN had earlier concluded that the missile program was in violation of UN resolutions because the range of the missiles exceeds the 150km limit imposed in 1991 after the Gulf War (see February 12, 2003). Responding to news of Iraq's decision, White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer dismisses any suggestion that it is an example of Iraqi cooperation. Instead he describes it as “deception.” He says, “This is the deception the president predicted. We do expect that they will destroy at least some of their missiles.” He also says that Iraq's actions is “propaganda, wrapped in a lie, inside a falsehood.” And Donald Rumsfeld offers a similar interpretation of Iraq's actions. He says: “I don't see a change in the pattern at all. You know, this is exactly what's been going to for years.... They refuse to cooperate, don't cooperate, drag it out, wait until someone finally nails them with one little piece of the whole puzzle and refuse to do anything about it and then finally when they see the pressure building, they say well, maybe we'll do some of that.” Bush similarly states: “The discussion about these rockets is part of [Saddam's] campaign of deception. See, he'll say, ‘I'm not going to destroy the rockets,’ and then he'll have a change of mind this weekend and destroy the rockets and say, ‘I've disarmed.’ ” And Powell says: “I think it's just more indication of the reality that we have been trying to convey to the world, that Saddam Hussein is trying to string it out, trying to divert attention, trying to pretend he is cooperating when he is not cooperating, try[ing] to use process as an excuse for not cooperating and not complying with the will of the international community.” [ABC News, 2/28/03; New York Times, 3/1/03; BBC, 1/28/03; Fox News, 2/28/03]
People and organizations involved: Donald Rumsfeld, Richard Perle, Colin Powell, Demetrius Perricos
          

February 28, 2003

       Chief UN weapons inspector Hans Blix's 12th quarterly report is circulated among UN Security Council members. The report will be presented orally to the Council on March 7 (see March 7, 2003). The report does not provide any evidence to support the US and British claim that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction or that is has any programs to develop such weapons. Blix does however say the Iraqis could do more to assist his team's work. [Telegraph, 2/28/03; Associated Press, 2/28/03; Guardian, 3/1/03]
People and organizations involved: Hans Blix
          

Late February 2003

       The British Defense Intelligence Staff Agency (DIS) completes a classified study which concludes that Saddam Hussein and Bin Laden's earlier attempts to collaborate had “foundered” due to ideological differences. The report says: “While there have been contacts between al-Qaeda and the regime in the past, it is assessed that any fledgling relationship foundered due to mistrust and incompatible ideology.” Osama bin Laden's objectives, notes the report, are “in ideological conflict with present day Iraq.” The top secret report is sent to Prime Minister Tony Blair and other senior members of his government. [Independent, 2/6/02; BBC, 2/5/03 Sources: Unnamed British Intelligence Staff document]
People and organizations involved: Saddam Hussein, Tony Blair, Osama bin Laden  Additional Info 
          

Late February 2003

       By this time, Iraq's argument that the tubes were meant for conventional rockets, not for a centrifuge, is considered by UN experts to be “air tight.” [CBS News, 2/20/03; Mirror, 2/22/03 Sources: Unnamed US intelligence, US administration, and/or UN inspectors]
          

Late February 2003

       Tony McPeak, a retired four-star general who headed the US Air Force during Desert Storm, criticizes the Bush administration's failure to stabilize Afghanistan and build a multilateral coalition to disarm Iraq. He says Bush should start over. “The world would breathe a sigh of relief, and we'd go back and do it right,” the former general says. “I mean, the world would fall in love with this guy. It's not that hard to fix.” [Associated Press, 2/25/03]
People and organizations involved: Tony McPeak
          

Late February 2003

       John Brady Kiesling, a career diplomat of 20 years, resigns from his post as a political counselor at the United States Embassy in Athens, citing his opposition to the administration's Iraq policy. In his faxed letter to Colin Powell—a copy of which is obtained by the New York Times—Kiesling writes, “Our fervent pursuit of war with Iraq is driving us to squander the international legitimacy that has been America's most potent weapon of both offense and defense since the days of Woodrow Wilson.” Asked by the New York Times, how others in the State Department feel about Bush's plans to invade Iraq, he explains: “No one of my colleagues is comfortable with our policy. Everyone is moving ahead with it as good and loyal. The State Department is loaded with people who want to play the team game—we have a very strong premium on loyalty.” After Kiesling's resignation, two more US diplomats will resign, John Brown, PhD. (see March 10, 2003), and Mary Wright (see March 19, 2003). [New York Times, 2/27/03 Sources: John Brady Kiesling's letter of resignation to Colin Powell]
People and organizations involved: John Brady Kiesling
          

February 28, 2003

       US special envoy to Latin America Otto Reich meets with Chilean President Ricardo Lagos of Santiago to discuss Chile's position on the US-British-Spanish UN draft resolution declaring Iraq in further material breach of past UN resolutions. Prior to the meeting, Chile had been openly against the passing of another resolution. But after Reich's visit, the president says that force should be used against Iraq if it does not comply with the UN, but “by a broad coalition of countries.” [The Washington Post, 3/1/03]
People and organizations involved: Ricardo Lagos, Otto Juan Reich
          

Before March 2003

       The US trains between seven and eight hundred Iraqi exiles at the Taszar military base in Hungary. At the base, dubbed “Camp Freedom,” the exiles, or “Free Iraqi Forces” (FIF), are taught both survival skills and support functions. Most of those trained are believed to be supporters of INC president Ahmed Chalabi. [BBC, 4/1/03; AP, 4/1/03; Reuters, 4/7/03; Knight Ridder, 7/12/03]
People and organizations involved: Ahmed Chalabi
          

March 2003

       According to Robin Cook, Tony Blair says, “Left to himself, Bush would have gone to war in January. No, not January, but back in September.” [Independent, 10/6/03 Sources: Robin Cook's diary]
People and organizations involved: Robin Cook
          

March 2003

       Diplomats from 6 UN Security Council member-states secretly meet one night to write an alternative resolution to the US-British-Spanish draft (see February 24, 2003). The compromise resolution would give UN weapons inspectors additional time to complete their work. But the next morning, a US diplomat contacts the Mexicans and tells them not to proceed with the alternative draft. Former Mexican Ambassador to the UN Aguilar Zinser will tell the Associated Press almost a year later: “Only the people in that room knew what that document said. Early the next morning, I received a call from a US diplomat saying the United States found that text totally unacceptable.” [The Observer, 2/15/04; Associated Press, 2/12/04 Sources: Adolfo Aguilar Zinser] “'When they [the US] found out, they said, ‘You should know that we don't like the idea and we don't like you to promote it.’ ” Zinser will also tell The Observer. [The Observer, 2/15/04] Aguilar Zinser believes that US knowledge of the secret initiative meant that the meeting had been under surveillance. “It was very obvious to the countries involved in the discussion on Iraq that we were being observed and that our communications were probably being tapped,” Aguilar Zinser will later explain to the Associated Press. “The information was being gathered to benefit the United States.” [The Observer, 2/15/04; Associated Press, 2/12/04 Sources: Adolfo Aguilar Zinser] Chile will make similar claims, saying that its UN mission telephones were under surveillance. [Associated Press, 2/12/04]
People and organizations involved: Adolfo Aguilar Zinser
          

March 1, 2003

       Iraq begins destroying equipment associated with its Al Samoud Weapons program which the UN had determined was in violation of UN resolutions since the range of the missiles exceeds the 150km limit imposed in 1991 after the Gulf War (see February 12, 2003). [BBC, 3/12/03; CNN, 3/9/03]
          

March 2, 2003

       The Observer breaks the Koza memo (see January 31, 2003) story. Neither the US State Department nor the White House denies the authenticity of the leaked memo. White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer tells reporters, “As a matter of long-standing policy, the administration never comments on anything involving any people involved in intelligence.” And Patrick Weadon, speaking for the NSA, says, “At this point, we're not issuing a statement.” [The Sydney Morning Herald, 3/4/03; Washington Post, 3/4/03; Baltimore Sun, 3/4/03] The intended victims of the operation are deeply angered by the memo. President Ricardo Lagos demands an immediate explanation from the US and Chile's ambassador to Britain Mariano Fern�ndez explains to The Observer, “We cannot understand why the United States was spying on Chile. We were very surprised. Relations have been good with America since the time of George Bush Senior.” [The Observer, 3/9/03] Martin Bright, one of the reporters who helped break the story, later tells the Australian Broadcasting Corporation that the exposed operation has “caused an enormous diplomatic rift between the Chileans and the Americans and the UK.” He says he believes that the leaked memo is partially responsible for Chile's increasingly defiant stance at the UN. The UN quickly begins a top-level investigation of the spy operation. [Australian Broadcasting Corporation, 3/6/03; The Observer, 3/9/03] The Observer notes that the leaked memo could make it more difficult for the US to obtain UN authorization to wage war on Iraq. [The Observer, 3/2/03] The US media networks largely ignore the story. Though NBC, CNN, and Fox News Channel all arrange for interviews with Martin Bright soon after the story is broken, all three quickly cancel. In an interview with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Bright explains, “It happened with NBC, Fox TV and CNN, who appeared very excited about the story to the extent of sending cars to my house to get me into the studio, and at the last minute, were told by their American desks to drop the story.” [Salon, 3/3/03; Australian Broadcasting Corporation, 3/6/03]
People and organizations involved: Ricardo Lagos, Ari Fleischer, Patrick Weadon, Britain Mariano Fern£ndez
          

March 4, 2003

       Powell tells Russia's ORT television station, “We would prefer not to have a war. Nobody wants war.” [US Department of State, 3/4/03]
          

March 5, 2003

       Robin Cook meets with Tony Blair and has the “most revealing” discussion about Saddam's alleged weapons arsenal. During the exchange Blair essentially acknowledges that Saddam does not have weapons of mass destruction that could be used against his enemies like the US or Britain. [Times, 10/5/03] Cook says to Blair: “It's clear from the private briefing I have had that Saddam has no weapons of mass destruction in a sense of weapons that could strike at strategic cities. But he probably does have several thousand battlefield chemical munitions. Do you never worry that he might use them against British troops?” Blair responds, “Yes, but all the effort he has had to put into concealment makes it difficult for him to assemble them quickly for use.” [Times, 10/5/03 Sources: Robin Cook's diary]
People and organizations involved: John Scarlett, Robin Cook, Tony Blair
          

March 6, 2003

       During a televised national press conference, President Bush states that the US will call for a vote in the UN Security Council, regardless of the anticipated vote. A reporter asks, “[T]he Security Council faces a vote next week on a resolution implicitly authorizing an attack on Iraq. Will you call for a vote on that resolution, even if you aren't sure you have the vote?” Bush responds: “No matter what the whip count is, we're calling for the vote. We want to see people stand up and say what their opinion is about Saddam Hussein and the utility of the United Nations Security Council. And so, you bet. It's time for people to show their cards, to let the world know where they stand when it comes to Saddam.” But 11 days later, Bush will announce that the US will not call for a vote, saying, “The United Nations Security Council has not lived up to its responsibilities, so we will rise to ours.” The decision is made not to seek a second resolution when it becomes apparent that it would not pass. [White House, 3/6/03; CNN, 3/6/03]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush
          

March 7, 2003

       UNMOVIC chief arms inspector Hans Blix provides a quarterly report to the UN Security Council on the progress of inspections in Iraq, as required by UN Security Resolution 1284 (1999). It is the twelfth such report since UNMOVIC's inception. Blix's report to the Council does not contain any evidence to support US and British claims that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction or the programs to develop such weapons. IAEA director-general Mohamed ElBaradei also reports to the Council and says there are no signs that Iraq has reconstituted its nuclear weapons program. [UNMOVIC, 3/7/03; CNN, 3/7/03]
UNMOVIC report by Hans Blix -

There is no evidence that Iraq has mobile biological weapons factories, as was recently alleged by Colin Powell in his February 5 presentation (see 10:30 a.m. February 5, 2003) to the UN. “Several inspections have taken place ... in relation to mobile production facilities,” Blix says. “No evidence of proscribed activities has so far been found.” He further explained that his inspectors had examined numerous mobile facilities and large containers with seed processing equipment. [UNMOVIC, 3/7/03; Agence France Presse, 3/7/03; CNN, 3/7/03; Blix, 3/7/03]

The Iraqi government has increased its cooperation with inspectors since the end of January. It is attempting to quantify the biological and chemical weapons that it says were destroyed in 1991. [UNMOVIC, 3/7/03; CNN, 3/7/03; Los Angeles Times, 3/7/03; Associated Press, 3/7/03]

Iraq's destruction of several Al Samoud II missiles represents a real step towards disarmament. “The destruction undertaken constitutes a substantial measure of disarmament,” he says. “We are not watching the destruction of toothpicks. Lethal weapons are being destroyed.” [UNMOVIC, 3/7/03; Los Angeles Times, 3/7/03; Associated Press, 3/7/03; New York Times, 3/8/03]

Blix says that the UN inspectors needed a few more months to finish their work. “Even with a proactive Iraqi attitude induced by continued outside pressure, it will still take some time to verify sites and items, analyze documents, interview relevant persons and draw conclusions,” he says, concluding, “It will not take years, nor weeks, but months.” [UNMOVIC, 3/7/03; Los Angeles Times, 3/7/03; Associated Press, 3/7/03]

Iraqi scientists have recently accepted inspectors' requests to be interviewed without “minders.” “Since we started requesting interviews, 38 individuals were asked for private interviews, of which 10 accepted under our terms, seven during the past week,” Blix explains. [CNN, 3/7/03; UNMOVIC, 3/7/03]

Some Iraqi scientists have agreed to interviews without “minders” —but more cooperation is needed. He says, “While the Iraqi side seems to have encouraged interviewees not to request the presence of Iraqi officials or the taping of the interviews, conditions ensuring the absence of undue influences are difficult to attain inside Iraq.” [UNMOVIC, 3/7/03]
Iraq needs to turn over more documents. “Iraq, with a highly developed administrative system, should be able to provide more documentary evidence about its proscribed weapons. Only a few new such documents have come to light so far and been handed over since we began.” [UNMOVIC, 3/7/03] There is no evidence of underground weapons facilities. Blix says: “There have been reports, denied by Iraq, that proscribed activities are conducted underground. Iraq should provide information on underground structures suitable for the production or storage of weapons of mass destruction. During inspections of declared or undeclared facilities, inspectors examined building structures for any possible underground facilities. In addition, ground-penetrating radar was used in several locations. No underground facilities for chemical or biological production or storage were found.” [UNMOVIC, 3/7/03]
IAEA report by Mohamed ElBaradei -

There is no evidence that the aluminum tubes imported by Iraq in July 2001 were meant for a nuclear weapons program. ElBaradei says: “Extensive field investigation and document analysis have failed to uncover any evidence that Iraq intended to use these 81mm tubes for any project other than the reverse engineering of rockets. ... Moreover, even had Iraq pursued such a plan, it would have encountered practical difficulties in manufacturing centrifuges out of the aluminum tubes in question.” [IAEA, 3/7/03; Los Angeles Times, 3/7/03; The Washington Post, 3/8/03; Associated Press, 3/7/03; CNN, 3/7/03; New York Times, 3/8/03; Reuters, 3/7/03]

There is no evidence that Iraq tried to obtain uranium from Niger. Documents provided to the International Atomic Energy Agency by the US were determined to be forgeries. The documents were a collection of letters between an Iraqi diplomat and senior Niger officials discussing Iraq's interest in procuring a large amount of uranium oxide (see Early October 2002). “Based on thorough analysis, the IAEA has concluded, with the concurrence of outside experts, that documents which formed the basis for the reports of recent uranium transactions between Iraq and Niger are in fact not authentic,” ElBaradei explains. “We have therefore concluded that these specific allegations are unfounded.” (see June 12, 2003) [IAEA, 3/7/03; Los Angeles Times, 3/7/03; The Washington Post, 3/8/03; Associated Press, 3/7/03; CNN, 3/7/03; New York Times, 3/8/03; Reuters, 3/7/03; Globe and Mail, 3/8/03; Guardian, 3/8/03; Associated Press, 3/8/03]

The IAEA has yet to come across evidence of a nuclear weapons program. “After three months of intrusive inspections, we have to date found no evidence or plausible indication of the revival of a nuclear weapons program in Iraq,” ElBaradei states. “[T]here is no indication of resumed nuclear activities in those buildings that were identified through the use of satellite imagery as being reconstructed or newly erected since 1998, nor any indication of nuclear-related prohibited activities at any inspected sites.” [IAEA, 3/7/03; Los Angeles Times, 3/7/03; Associated Press, 3/7/03; Globe and Mail, 3/8/03; Associated Press, 3/8/03; The Washington Post, 3/8/03]

In a direct response to allegations made by Colin Powell on February 5 (see 10:30 a.m. February 5, 2003) related to the attempted procurement of magnets that could be used in a gas centrifuge, ElBaradei, says: “The IAEA has verified that previously acquired magnets have been used for missile guidance systems, industrial machinery, electricity meters and field telephones. Through visits to research and production sites, reviews of engineering drawings and analyses of sample magnets, IAEA experts familiar with the use of such magnets in centrifuge enrichment have verified that none of the magnets that Iraq has declared could be used directly for a centrifuge magnetic bearing.” [IAEA, 3/7/03]

Iraq's industrial capacity “has deteriorated” at the inspected sites because of lack of maintenance and funds. [IAEA, 3/7/03]

Reaction - Both sides claim that the reports give further support to each of their respective stances on the issue of Iraqi disarmament. French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin tells the Council that the reports “testify to the progress” of the inspections. He states that France will not support another resolution because “we cannot accept any ultimatum, any automatic use of force.” Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov says that the reports demonstrate that inspections have been “fruitful.” The Bush administration does not alter its position, despite statements by the two inspectors that Iraq is cooperating with inspections and complying with demands to disarm. Colin Powell, responding to the inspectors' reports, reiterates the administration's position that the inspections are not working and that Saddam is not cooperating. “We must not walk away,” Powell says. “We must not find ourselves here this coming November with the pressure removed and with Iraq once again marching down the merry path to weapons of mass destruction, threatening the region, threatening the world.” He claims that Iraq's behavior is a “a catalog still of noncooperation” and repeats the administration's allegation that the “Iraq regime continues to possess and conceal some of the most lethal weapons ever devised.” Back at the White House, Ari Fleischer tells reporters, “As the president has said, if the United Nations will not disarm Saddam Hussein, it will be another international organization, a coalition of the willing that will be made up of numerous nations that will disarm Saddam Hussein.” [CNN, 3/6/03; CNN, 3/7/02; US Department of State, 3/7/03]

People and organizations involved: Dominique de Villepin, Colin Powell, Ari Fleischer, Igor Ivanov, Mohamed ElBaradei, Hans Blix  Additional Info 
          

March 7, 2003-July 7, 2003

       After the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) reports that the Niger documents (see Late 2001) are not authentic (see March 7, 2003), the US and British governments stand behind their claim that Iraq had sought uranium from an African country. The two countries maintain that they have additional evidence—from multiple sources—but do not elaborate. Pressed by journalists and inspectors to reveal their evidence, the two governments refuse. The IAEA tells Reuters that when it asked the US and Britain whether or not they have additional evidence that Iraq had tried to procure uranium, the answer was “no.” [Reuters, 3/26/03] Additionally, an informed UN official tells The Washington Post that the US and Britain were repeatedly asked for more information. Neither government, the official explains, “ever indicated that they had any information on any other country.” [The Washington Post, 3/22/03] An unnamed Western diplomat tells the Independent: “Despite requests, the British Government has provided no such evidence. Senior officials at the agency think it is involved in an information black-out.” [Independent, 7/17/03 Sources: Unnamed Western diplomat] The British will hold to their story even after top US officials admit (see July 11, 2003) that Bush should not have included the claim in his State of the Union speech.(see January 28, 2003) [Independent, 7/20/03; New York Times, 7/8/03]
People and organizations involved: Jacques Bautes  Additional Info 
          

March 7, 2003

       UN diplomats debate the text of an amendment to the American-British-Spanish draft resolution that will give Iraq a March 17 deadline to disarm. The amendment, submitted by the British, demands that Iraq demonstrate “full, unconditional, immediate and active cooperation in accordance with its disarmament obligations.” Notably, the resolution does not provide any specific means for the UN to measure Iraqi compliance, thus requiring that any judgment concerning Iraq's level of cooperation be arbitrary. [CNN, 3/7/02; Guardian, 3/8/03] A diplomat tells CNN, that he has “a better chance of getting a date with Julia Roberts than Iraq has of complying in 10 days.” [CNN, 3/7/02] There is significant opposition to the text of this draft and a diplomat tells CNN that the resolution will likely be defeated by a landslide. France, Russia, and China believe that the inspections should be given more time. France's Foreign minister says he will veto the resolution. “We cannot accept an ultimatum as long as the inspectors are reporting cooperation,” he says, adding: “That would mean war. By imposing a deadline of a few days, would we be reduced to seeking a pretext for war? France will not allow a resolution to pass that authorizes the automatic use of force.” [CNN, 3/7/02; Guardian, 3/8/03]
People and organizations involved: Dominique de Villepin
          

March 9, 2003

       National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice goes on to speculate on CBS Face the Nation that Hussein may eventually decide to “enlist” al-Qaeda to attack the United States. “Now the al-Qaida is an organization that's quite disbursed and—and quite widespread in its effects, but it clearly has had links to the Iraqis, not to mention Iraqi links to all kinds of other terrorists. And what we do not want is the day when Saddam Hussein decides that he's had enough of dealing with sanctions, enough of dealing with, quote, unquote, ‘containment,’ enough of dealing with America, and it's time to end it on his terms, by transferring one of these weapons, just a little vial of something, to a terrorist for blackmail or for worse.” [CBS, 3/9/2003; Iraq on the Record database, 3/16/2004]
People and organizations involved: Condoleezza Rice
          

March 10, 2003

       John Brown, PhD.—a career US diplomat of 22 years, who has served in London, Prague, Krakow, Kiev, Belgrade and Moscow—submits his letter of resignation to Secretary of State Colin Powell. “I am joining my colleague John Brady Kiesling in submitting my resignation from the Foreign Service—effective immediately—because I cannot in good conscience support President Bush's war plans against Iraq,” he says, noting, “Throughout the globe, the United States is becoming associated with the unjustified use of force. ... The President's disregard for views in other nations, borne out by his neglect of public diplomacy, is giving birth to an anti-American century.” His resignation follows that of Kiesling two weeks earlier (see Late February 2003) and precedes that of Mary Wright a week later (see March 19, 2003). [Sources: John Brown's letter of resignation to Colin Powell]
People and organizations involved: John Brown
          

March 16, 2003

       During an appearance on NBC's “Meet The Press” , Vice President Dick Cheney says: “He's had years to get good at it and we believe [Saddam Hussein] ... has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons. I think Mr. ElBaradei [the director of the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)] frankly is wrong.” [Sunday Herald, 7/13/03]
People and organizations involved: Dick Cheney
          

March 17, 2003

       In his March 17, 2003 speech to the nation, shortly before the US officially begins its invasion of Iraq, President George W. Bush says: “Intelligence gathered by this and other governments leaves no doubt that the Iraq regime continues to possess and conceal some of the most lethal weapons ever devised.” [US President, 3/17/03]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush
          

March 17, 2003

       British Attorney General Lord Goldsmith issues a statement that the use of force against Iraq would be legal, citing three UN resolutions. But a month earlier, Goldsmith warned British Prime Minister Tony Blair that an invasion could be illegal without a second UN resolution. [Associated Press, 2/28/04; BBC, 2/29/04; Sunday Herald, 2/29/04; Independent, 2/29/04] It is later revealed that his change in opinion was a result of pressure from top British officials after senior British military officers had warned Downing Street that they would not participate in the war unless they were certain that neither they nor their men could eventually be tried for war crimes. [The Observer, 2/29/04]
People and organizations involved: Lord Peter Goldsmith
          

Before March 19, 2003

       Numerous US and British, current and former, intelligence, military, and other government officials who have inside knowledge refute claims made by the Bush administration that Saddam Hussein's regime has or is currently developing nuclear weapons.
 Additional Info 
          

Before March 19, 2003

       Numerous US and British, current and former, intelligence, military, and other government officials who have inside knowledge say that there is no evidence that Saddam Hussein's regime has chemical or biological weapons or that he is currently developing them.
 Additional Info 
          

After March 19, 2003

       Numerous US and British, current and former, intelligence, military, and other government officials who have inside knowledge continue to refute claims made by the Bush administration that Saddam Hussein's regime had or was developing nuclear weapons.
 Additional Info 
          

March 19, 2003

       Mary Wright, the second highest-ranking diplomat at the US embassy in Ulan Bator, Mongolia, resigns from her post after serving 15 years at the State Department. In her letter of resignation she derides the administration for snubbing America's allies. “In our press military action now, we have created deep chasms in the international community and in important international organizations. Our policies have alienated many of our allies and created ill will in much of the world.... I feel obligated morally and professionally to set out my very deep and firm concerns on these policies and to resign from government service as I cannot defend or implement them.” She also warns that the Bush administration has set a precedent that will ultimately make Americans less safe. “I believe the administration's policies are making the world a more dangerous, not a safer place.... This preemptive attack policy will ... provide justification for individuals and groups to ‘preemptively attack’ America and American citizens,” she says. Her resignation follows that of John Brady Kiesling (see Late February 2003) and John Brown (see March 10, 2003). [BBC, 3/27/03; Reuters 3/21/03 Sources: Mary Wright's letter of resignation to Colin Powell]
People and organizations involved: Mary Wright
          

Before March 19, 2003

       According to a senior intelligence official interviewed by ABC News, “The CIA conducted more than 20 briefings on the Hill and elsewhere in the run-up to the war and in none of those did we offer up the yellowcake allegations.” [ABC News, 6/16/03 Sources: Senior US intelligence official]
          

March 21, 2003

       White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer says during his daily press briefing, “Well, there is no question that we have evidence and information that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction, biological and chemical particularly. This was the reason that the President felt so strongly that we needed to take military action to disarm Saddam Hussein, since he would not do it himself.” [White House, 3/21/03]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush, Ari Fleischer
          

March 22, 2003

       Gen. Franks says during a news conference in Qatar: “There is no doubt that the regime of Saddam Hussein possesses weapons of mass destruction. As this operation continues, those weapons will be identified, found, along with the people who have produced them and who guard them.” [Washington Post, 3/22/03]
People and organizations involved: Thomas Franks
          

March 24, 2003

       Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld says on CBS's “Face the Nation” : “We have seen intelligence over many months that they have chemical and biological weapons, and that they have dispersed them and that they're weaponized and that, in one case at least, the command and control arrangements have been established.” [Village Voice, 6/18/03]
People and organizations involved: Donald Rumsfeld
          

March 27, 2003

       Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld says during a Senate hearing, “When it comes to reconstruction, before we turn to the American taxpayer, we will turn first to the resources of the Iraqi government and the international community.” [Financial Times, 1/16/04]
People and organizations involved: Donald Rumsfeld
          

March 27, 2003

       Paul Wolfowitz, deputy defense secretary, tells the House of Representatives Appropriations Committee that Iraq's oil wealth will help fund post-war reconstruction. “There's a lot of money to pay for this that doesn't have to be US taxpayer money, and it starts with the assets of the Iraqi people,” he says. “On a rough recollection, the oil revenues of that country could bring between $50 billion and $100 billion over the course of the next two or three years.” [St. Petersburg Times, 4/2/03; Financial Times, 1/16/04]
People and organizations involved: Paul Wolfowitz
          

March 27, 2003

       Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage tells the House Committee on Appropriations during a hearing on a supplemental war regulation: “This is not Afghanistan ... When we approach the question of Iraq, we realize here is a country which has a resource. And it's obvious, it's oil. And it can bring in and does bring in a certain amount of revenue each year ... $10, $15, even $18 billion ... this is not a broke country.” [Congressional Office of Jan Schakowsky, n.d.]
People and organizations involved: Richard Armitage
          

March 30, 2003

       Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld tells George Stephanopolous of ABC News: “We know where they [the chemical and biological weapons] are. They're in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad and east, west, south and north somewhat.” [Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 7/17/03]
People and organizations involved: Donald Rumsfeld
          

April 19, 2003

       US authorities in Iraq seize a trailer at a checkpoint in the northern city of Mosul. The government will later claim that this trailer, as well as another one that is discovered on May 9 (see May 9, 2003), is a mobile biological weapons lab. [ABC News, 5/21/03; Houston Chronicle, 5/9/2003]
          

After May 2003

       US current and former intelligence and other governmental officials who have inside knowledge continue to refute claims made by the Bush administration that Saddam Hussein's regime had or was seeking ties with global Islamic terrorist groups. [Boston Globe, 8/3/03; Associated Press, 7/12/03; UPI, 7/25/03; Associated Press, 6/26/03; UPI, 7/23/03]
People and organizations involved: Vince Cannistraro, Greg Thielmann, Mel Goodman  Additional Info 
          

May 1, 2003

       The group Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity writes an open letter to President George W. Bush, warning him that the intelligence being used to make policy decisions was being manipulated. The group writes: “While there have been occasions in the past when intelligence has been deliberately warped for political purposes, never before has such warping been used in such a systematic way to mislead our elected representatives into voting to authorize launching a war. You may not realize the extent of the current ferment within the intelligence community and particularly the CIA. In intelligence, there is one unpardonable sin—cooking intelligence to the recipe of high policy. There is ample indication that this has been done in Iraq.” They call the skewing of intelligence “a policy and intelligence fiasco of monumental proportions.” [Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity, 5/1/03; Reuters, 5/30/03; Times, 5/31/03]
People and organizations involved: Colin Powell, Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity
          

May 2003

       Beginning on May 1, American nuclear physicist David Albright attempts to contact US defense officials to inform them that Mahdi Obeidi—the Iraqi nuclear scientist who once headed Iraq's gas centrifuge program for uranium enrichment—has valuable information that he wants to share with the United States. But according to Albright, his inquiries are initially “rebuffed.” Finally, on May 7, he finds someone at the CIA who is interested. A little more than three weeks later, US authorities will investigate this lead (see June 2, 2003). [Newsweek, 8/8/03; CNN, 6/26/03; Washington Post, 10/18/03 Sources: David Albright]
People and organizations involved: Mahdi Obeidi, David Albright
          

May 4, 2003

       The Sunday Herald reports: “Senior officials in the Bush administration have admitted that they would be ‘amazed’ if weapons of mass destruction (WMD) were found in Iraq.... [One] senior US official added that America never expected to find a huge arsenal, arguing that the administration was more concerned about the ability of Saddam's scientists—which he labeled the ‘nuclear mujahadeen’ —to develop WMDs when the crisis passed.” [Sunday Herald, 5/4/03; The Observer, 5/4/03 Sources: Unnamed senior administration officials]
          

May 6, 2003

       New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof, citing unnamed sources, breaks the story of former US diplomat Joseph Wilson's February 2002 trip to Niger (see Late February 2002). The major source for the story is later revealed to be Wilson himself. [New York Times, 5/6/2003; Vanity Fair, 5/2004, pg 282]
People and organizations involved: Nicholas Kristof, Joseph C. Wilson
          

May 9, 2003

       The US Army's 101st Airborne Division finds a second trailer at al-Kindi, a former missile research facility in Iraq. The government will later claim that this trailer, as well as another one discovered on April 19 (see April 19, 2003), is a mobile biological weapons lab. [ABC News, 5/21/03; Houston Chronicle, 5/9/2003; Department of Defense, 5/13/2003]
          

May 28, 2003

       In a press briefing prior to the President's trip to Europe and the Middle East, National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice suggests the US military has discovered laboratories capable of developing weapons of mass destruction supporting Powell's claim (see 10:30 a.m. February 5, 2003).“We have found, in Iraq, biological weapons laboratories that look precisely like what Secretary Powell described in his February 5 report to the United Nations.” [White House, 5/28/2003; US Department of State, 5/28/2003; Iraq on the Record database, 3/16/2004]
People and organizations involved: Condoleezza Rice
          

May 28, 2003

       The CIA and Defense Intelligence Agency [DIA] issue a 6-page white paper titled, “Iraqi Mobile Biological Warfare Agent Production Plants,” concluding that the two trailers discovered in northern Iraq were designed to produce biological weapons. It calls the discovery, “the strongest evidence to date that Iraq was hiding a biological warfare program.” The assessment is based on a comparison of the trailers to descriptions that had been provided by Iraqi sources prior to the invasion. The report also claims that there are no other plausible explanations for the trailers' purpose, [New York Times, 6/26/03; New York Times, 6/7/03] though the report does mention that Iraqis working at the al-Kindi research facility in Mosul, as well as a company that manufactured components for the trailers, say the trailers were built to make hydrogen for artillery weather balloons. [Los Angeles Times, 6/21/03] The document is not without its dissenters. Some DIA analysts reportedly disagree with the paper's finding. [New York Times, 6/26/03; New York Times, 8/9/03] It is later learned that the report was completed before the investigation had run its full course. A week after the report's release, laboratories in the Middle East and the United States were still analyzing more than 100 samples that had been taken from the trailers. A senior analyst tells the New York Times that the white paper “was a rushed job and looks political.” [New York Times, 6/7/03] It is also discovered the two agencies did not consult with other intelligence offices. Normally such reports are not finalized until there is a consensus among the government's numerous intelligence agencies. “The exclusion of the State Department's intelligence bureau and other agencies seemed unusual, several government officials said, because of the high-profile subject,” the New York Times will later report. Moreover, the State Department's intelligence agency was not even informed that the report was being prepared. [New York Times, 6/26/03]
          

2:28 p.m. May 29, 2003

       In an interview with Polish TV station TVP, hours before leaving on a seven-day trip to Europe and the Middle East, Bush says: “We found the weapons of mass destruction. We found biological laboratories. You remember when Colin Powell stood up in front of the world, and he said, Iraq has got laboratories, mobile labs to build biological weapons. They're illegal. They're against the United Nations resolutions, and we've so far discovered two. And we'll find more weapons as time goes on. But for those who say we haven't found the banned manufacturing devices or banned weapons, they're wrong, we found them.” [White House, 5/29/2003; The Washington Post, 5/31/2003]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush
          

May 30, 2003

       In an interview with a Polish television station, President Bush refers to the two trailers that had been found in northern Iraq in April as evidence that the US had “found the weapons of mass destruction.” [New York Times, 6/26/03; New York Times, 6/27/03; Sheperd Express, 7/10/03]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush
          

After June 2003

       Several Bush administration officials back off earlier claims of an alliance between Saddam Hussein's regime and al-Qaeda. [Associated Press, 1/8/04; Independent, 1/11/04; Associated Press, 9/16/03; US Department of Defense, 8/1/03]
People and organizations involved: Donald Rumsfeld, Colin Powell, Paul Wolfowitz  Additional Info 
          

Early June 2003

       A senior British source tells the Independent of London that British intelligence has kept records of its communications with Tony Blair's staff, demonstrating that they were under pressure to produce reports that supported Blair's claims that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. “A smoking gun may well exist over WMDs, but it may not be to the Government's liking,” one senior British official will say to the Independent a few months after the invasion. “Minuted details will show exactly what went on. Because of the frequency and, at times, unusual nature of the demands from Downing Street, people have made sure records were kept. There is a certain amount of self-preservation in this, of course” [Independent, 6/8/03 Sources: Unnamed senior British official]
          

June 1, 2003

       In St. Petersburg, Russia, Bush says, responding to a US reporter's question, “Yes, we found a biological laboratory in Iraq which the UN prohibited.” [Rosbalt News Agency, 1/6/03]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush
          

June 2003

       The Pentagon Office of Special Plans sends two Defense officials, Harold Rhode and Larry Franklin, to Paris where they secretly meet with Manucher Ghorbanifar, an Iranian arms trader who had been a central figure in the Iran-Contra affair. Michael Ledeen of the American Enterprise Institute is said to have arranged the meeting, which is not authorized by the White House. [Newsday, 8/9/03; Washington Post, 8/9/03 Sources: A senior official interviewed by Newsday] It appears that the purpose of the meeting is to undermine a pending deal that the White House is negotiating with the Iranian government. Iran is considering turning over five al-Qaeda operatives in exchange for Washington dropping its support for Mujahadeen Khalq, an Iraq-based rebel Iranian group listed as a terrorist organization by the State Department. The Office of Special Plans is reportedly interested in using this group to help destabilize Iran's government. [Newsday, 8/9/03; Inter Press Service, 8/7/03] When Secretary of State Colin Powell gets wind of its activities, he complains directly to the office of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, saying that Feith's missions are against US policy. [Newsday, 8/9/03; Washington Post, 8/9/03]
People and organizations involved: Michael Ledeen, Manucher Ghorbanifar, Larry Franklin, Harold Rhode
          

June 2, 2003

       Mahdi Obeidi, the Iraqi nuclear scientist who once headed Iraq's gas centrifuge program for uranium enrichment, leads US investigators to the rose garden behind his house where they dig up “200 blueprints of gas centrifuge components, 180 documents describing their use and samples of a few sensitive parts.” These items had been buried under orders from Qusay Hussein in 1991. (see February 5, 2004). [Newsweek, 8/8/03; CNN, 6/26/03; Washington Post, 10/18/03 Sources: David Albright]
People and organizations involved: Mahdi Obeidi, Qusay Hussein
          

June 2, 2003

       The State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research authors a classified memo addressed to Colin Powell, informing him that current intelligence did not support the conclusion of the joint CIA-DIA May 28 white paper (see May 28, 2003) which concluded that the two trailers found in Iraq were mobile biological weapon factories. The memo also says that the CIA and DIA were wrong in asserting that there were no other plausible uses for the trailer, suggesting that the two pieces of equipment may have been designed for refueling Iraqi missiles. [New York Times, 6/26/03; CBS News, 6/27/03; Fox News, 6/26/03 Sources: Unnamed US government officials]
People and organizations involved: Colin Powell
          

Between June 3, 2003 and June 17, 2003

       Mahdi Obeidi is taken into custody by US Special Forces. He is released on June 17, 2003. During his detention, Obeidi is interviewed by US authorities seeking to learn more about Saddam's efforts to develop nuclear weapons. But instead of meeting with a US nuclear physicist as Obeidi expects, he is interviewed by CIA agent Joe T., the main proponent of the theory that the 81mm aluminum tubes Iraq attempted to import in July 2001 (see July 2001) had been meant for a centrifuge program. Joe's area of expertise, however, is not nuclear physics. His background relates to export controls (see Early 1980s) (see late 1990s). When asked about Saddam's efforts to develop nuclear weapons, Obeidi does not tell Joe T. what he wants to hear. Instead, he tells him that Saddam abandoned the program in 1991 as the Iraqi government had claimed in its December 7 declaration to the UN. He adds that if the program had been restarted, he would have known about it. He also says that the tube shipment confiscated by the CIA in July 2001 was completely unrelated to nuclear weapons. Those tubes—with a diameter of 81mm—could not have been used in the gas centrifuge designed by Obeidi, which specified tubes with a 145mm diameter. “The physics of a centrifuge would not permit a simple substitution of aluminum tubes for the maraging steel and carbon fiber designs used by Obeidi,” The Washington Post will later report. Obeidi and his family will later move to a CIA safe house in Kuwait. [Washington Post, 10/18/03; Newsweek, 8/8/03 Sources: David Albright] At the end of the summer, he will receive permission to move to an East Coast suburb on the basis of Public Law 110 , which allows “those who help the United States by providing valuable intelligence information” to resettle in the US. [CIA, 11/02/03 Sources: David Kay]
People and organizations involved: Mahdi Obeidi, Joe T.
          

June 3, 2003

       On CNBC's Capital Report, National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice asserts having information from “multiple sources” which confirm the existence of weapons-producing units “exactly like” the discovered trailers. “We know that these trailers look exactly like what was described to us by multiple sources as the capabilities for building or for making biological agents. We know that we have from multiple sources who told us that then and sources who have confirmed it now. Now the Iraqis were not stupid about this. They were able to conceal a lot. They've been able to scrub things down. But I think when the whole picture comes out, we will see that this was an active program.” [Iraq on the Record database, 3/16/2004]
People and organizations involved: Condoleezza Rice
          

June 3, 2003

       Speaking on CNBC's Capital Report, National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice claims to know the purpose for the mobile trailers discovered after the Iraq invasion. “But let's remember what we've already found. Secretary Powell on February 5 (see 10:30 a.m. February 5, 2003) talked about a mobile, biological weapons capability. That has now been found and this is a weapons laboratory trailers capable of making a lot of agent that—dry agent, dry biological agent that can kill a lot of people. So we are finding these pieces that were described.” [Iraq on the Record database, 3/16/2004]
People and organizations involved: Condoleezza Rice
          

June 8, 2003

       National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice repeats claims from her White House briefing ten days earlier (see May 28, 2003) that trailers discovered in Iraq support Secretary of State Colin Powell's allegations set out in February before the United Nations “Already, we've discovered, uh, uh, trailers, uh, that look remarkably similar to what Colin Powell described in his February 5th speech,” biological weapons production facilities. [United States Marine Corps, 6/9/2003; US Defense Department, 6/9/2003; Iraq on the Record database, 3/16/2004]
People and organizations involved: Condoleezza Rice
          

June 8, 2003

       National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice appears on the major US networks and continues her assurances that the US military found proof Iraq possessed banned weapons “We are confident that we—I believe that we will find them. I think that we have already found important clues like the biological weapons laboratories that look surprisingly like what Colin Powell described in his speech (see 10:30 a.m. February 5, 2003).” [US Defense Department, 6/9/2003; Iraq on the Record database, 3/16/2004]
People and organizations involved: Condoleezza Rice
          

June 8, 2003

       Asked why a claim previously deleted from a presidential speech at the urging of CIA director, George Tenet, was reinserted for Bush's State of the Union Address, National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice claims to have “other sources” which support her contention that Hussein was determined to obtain “yellow cake” from somewhere in Africa. “At the time that the State of the Union address was prepared, there were also other sources that said that they were, the Iraqis were seeking yellow cake, uranium oxide from Africa.” [ABC News, 6/8/2003, cited in Carnegie Endowment for Peace, 1/8/2003; Iraq on the Record database, 3/16/2004]
People and organizations involved: Condoleezza Rice
          

June 9, 2003-July 6, 2003

       Former ambassador Joseph Wilson is infuriated by Condoleezza Rice's June 9 claim (see June 9, 2003) that top officials were unaware of doubts over the Niger uranium claim. He contacts friends in the government and asks them to pass on the message that if Rice does not correct the record, he will (see 2:28 p.m. May 29, 2003). [Vanity Fair, 5/2004, pg 282]
People and organizations involved: Condoleezza Rice, Joseph C. Wilson
          

June 9, 2003

       Responding to the public fury that followed the revelation (see May 6, 2003) of former diplomat Joseph Wilson's 2002 trip to Niger (see Late February 2002), Condoleezza Rice says during an appearance on “Meet the Press,” “Maybe someone knew down in the bowels of the agency, but no one in our circles knew that there were doubts and suspicions that this might be a forgery.” [Washington Post, 6/13/03; Knight Ridder, 6/13/03; ABC News, 6/12/03]
People and organizations involved: Joseph C. Wilson, Condoleezza Rice  Additional Info 
          

June 12, 2003

       Sean McCormack, spokesman for the National Security Council, admits the Niger documents (see Late 2001) had been forged but insists the US had other evidence to support its allegations that Iraq had attempted to purchase uranium from Niger. “We have acknowledged that some documents detailing a transaction between Iraq and Niger were forged and we no longer give them credence,” he says. “They were, however, only once piece of evidence in a larger body of evidence suggesting Iraq attempted to purchase uranium from Africa. The issue of Iraq's pursuit of uranium in Africa is supported by multiple sources of intelligence. The other sources of evidence did and do support the president's statement.” [Washington Post, 6/13/03; Associated Press, 6/13/03]
          

June 19, 2003

       Andrew Wilkie, an analyst for the Australian Office of National Assessments, says in a testimony before British Parliament that the British and Australian governments had backed US allegations despite reports from their respective intelligence agencies that Iraq was not a serious threat. In fact, Wilkie goes so far as to say that the two governments deliberately distorted and doctored evidence to support Washington's claims, which he describes as “ridiculous,” “preposterous” and “fundamentally flawed.” According to him, there was an “over-reliance” on “garbage grade human intelligence” by individuals he says were “desperate to encourage intervention.” [Mirror, 6/20/03]
People and organizations involved: Andrew Wilkie
          

Late June 2003

       US and British intelligence experts conclude that the two trailers found in northern Iraq—which the Bush administration continues to insist are mobile biological weapon factories—are part of an Artillery Meteorological System sold to Iraq in 1987 by the British company AMS, then known as Marconi Command & Control. The mobile system is designed to chemically produce hydrogen for artillery weather balloons. The trailers “are not mobile germ warfare laboratories,” a British scientist and biological weapons expert tells The Observer of London. “You could not use them for making biological weapons. They do not even look like them. They are exactly what the Iraqis said they were—facilities for the production of hydrogen gas to fill balloons.” [Observer, 6/8/03; Observer, 6/15/03] Similarly, an unnamed intelligence source tells the Los Angeles Times that “he is convinced that the seized trailers were indeed designed to produce hydrogen gas to fill weather balloons that were routinely used by Iraqi field artillery batteries.” [Los Angeles Times, 6/21/03] Interestingly, it is revealed that the US military itself possesses 19 trailers (AN/TMQ-42 Hydrogen Generators) designed to produce hydrogen for artillery weather balloons. [Los Angeles Times, 6/21/03] There are several reasons why experts do not believe the trailers were involved in the production of biological weapons. Firstly, no trace of pathogens are detected in the trailers' suspected fermentation tanks. [Observer, 6/8/03] Secondly, the trailers had canvas sides which would not have made sense if they were meant to be used as biological weapon labs. “The canvas tarps covering the sides of the trucks appeared designed to be pulled away to let excess heat and gas escape during the production of hydrogen. The trailers had canvas sides,” explains one source to the Los Angeles Times. “The tarps would allow in far too much road dust and other contamination if the equipment inside were meant to produce biowarfare agents.” [Observer, 6/8/03; Observer, 6/8/03 Sources: Unnamed veteran intelligence official] Thirdly, there was a “shortage of pumps required to create vacuum conditions required for working with germ cultures and other processes usually associated with making biological weapons.” [Observer, 6/8/03] Fourthly, the trailers had no “autoclave for steam sterilization, normally a prerequisite for any kind of biological production.” Without a means to sterilize “between production runs would threaten to let in germ contaminants, resulting in failed weapons.” [Observer, 6/8/03; Los Angeles Times, 6/21/03; New York Times, 6/7/03 Sources: Unnamed veteran intelligence official, William C. Patrick III] Lastly, there was no “easy way for technicians to remove germ fluids from the processing tank.” [Observer, 6/8/03; New York Times, 6/7/03; Los Angeles Times, 6/21/03]
          

July 2003

       The Pentagon announces that the Office of Special Plans will revert to its previous name, the “Northern Gulf Affairs Office,” explaining that this name more accurately reflects the activities and mission of that office. [Tom Paine [.com], 8/27/03]
          

Early July 2003

       Count Hans von Sponeck, the UN's former co-coordinator in Iraq and former UN under-secretary general, during a trip to Iraq, visits two factories near Baghdad which US surveillance equipment has identified as possible biological and chemical weapons production sites. The first plant he visits is the Al-Dora plant, which at one time had produced vaccines for foot-and-mouth disease, but which was destroyed by the UNSCOM weapons inspectors. Hans von Sponeck, who is not an expert in biological or chemical weapons, says of the Al-Dora plant: “'There is nothing. It is in the same destroyed status. It is a totally locked up institution where there is not one sign of a resumed activity.” Von Sponeck also visits the Al-Fallouja factory, where he witnesses the production of “pesticides, insecticides and material for hygienic purpose in households, on very minor scale,” reports CNN. “Most of the buildings are destroyed,” he tells the news network. [CNN Europe, 7/13/02]
People and organizations involved: Hans von Sponeck
          

July 2003

       An anonymous Bush administration official tells the Associated Press, “The relationships that were plotted [between al-Qaeda and Iraq] were episodic, not continuous.” [Associated Press, 7/12/03 Sources: Unnamed Bush administration official]
          

July 6, 2003

       Former ambassador Joseph Wilson writes an op-ed piece in the New York Times describing in detail his 2002 visit to Niger (see June 9, 2003). He makes it very clear that he believes his findings had been “circulated to the appropriate officials within ... [the] government.”. [New York Times, 7/6/2003]
People and organizations involved: Joseph C. Wilson
          

July 7, 2003

       The White House releases the following statement in reference to a claim made in Bush's State of the Union address that Iraq had attempted to procure uranium from Africa: “There is other reporting to suggest that Iraq tried to obtain uranium from Africa. However, the information is not detailed or specific enough for us to be certain that attempts were in fact made.” [New York Times, 7/7/03]
People and organizations involved: Bush administration
          

July 11, 2003

       Despite receiving two separate memos from intelligence agencies that warn of the story's inaccuracy, National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice persists in asserting there is underlying truth to the Niger document even though it has proven to be a forgery “And there were other attempts to, to get yellow cake from Africa.” [White House, 7/11/2003; Iraq on the Record database, 3/16/2004]
People and organizations involved: Condoleezza Rice
          

July 11, 2003

       Referring to Bush's 2003 State of the Union address, CIA director George Tenet says in a written statement, “These 16 words should never have been included in the text written for the president.” But Tenet denies that the White House is responsible for the mistake, putting the blame squarely on his own agency. And comments by Condoleezza Rice also blame the CIA, “If the CIA: the director of central intelligence, had said, ‘Take this out of the speech,’ it could have been gone, without question. If there were doubts about the underlying intelligence, those doubts were not communicated to the president, to the vice president or to me.” Another senior White House official, defending the president and his advisors, tells ABC news: “We were very careful with what the president said. We vetted the information at the highest levels.” But an intelligence official, interviewed by the news network, dismisses the claim. [The Washington Post, 7/12/2003; New York Times, 7/12/03; CNN, July 11, 2003 Sources: Unnamed intelligence official] Following Tenet's statement, a barrage of news reports citing unnamed CIA officials reveal that the White House had in fact been explicitly warned not to include the African-uranium claim. These reports indicate that at the time Bush delivered his State of the Union address, it had been widely understood in US intelligence circles that the Africa-uranium claim had little evidence supporting it. [The Washington Post, 7/20/03; Associated Press, 6/12/03; Knight Ridder Newspapers, 6/12/03; Boston Globe, 3/16/03; New York Times, 3/23/03; Newsday, 7/12/03; Associated Press, 6/12/03; Knight Ridder, 6/13/03; Knight Ridder, 6/16/03] For example, CBS News reports, “CIA officials warned members of the President's National Security Council staff the intelligence was not good enough to make the flat statement Iraq tried to buy uranium from Africa.” And a Washington Post article cites an unnamed intelligence source who says, “We consulted about the paper [September 2002 British dossier] and recommended against using that material.” [CBS News, 7/10/03; CNN, 7/10/03; The Washington Post, 7/11/03 Sources: Unnamed intelligence official] White House officials respond that the dossier issued by the British government contained the unequivocal assertion: “Iraq has ... sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa” and that the officials had argued that as long as the statement was attributed to the British Intelligence, it would be technically true. Similarly, ABC News reports: “A CIA official has an idea about how the Niger information got into the president's speech. He said he is not sure the sentence was ever cleared by the agency, but said he heard speechwriters wanted it included, so they attributed it to the British.” The same version of events is told to the New York Times by a senior administration official, who claims, “The decision to mention uranium came from White House speechwriters, not from senior White House officials” . [New York Times, 7/19/03; New York Times, 7/14/03; http://www.commondreams.org/headlines03/0710-12.htm; ABC News, 6/12/03 Sources: Unnamed administration official, Unnamed CIA official] But according to a CIA intelligence official and four members of the Senate Intelligence Committee who are investigating the issue, the decision to include the Africa-uranium claim was influenced by the people associated with the Pentagon's Office of Special Plans (see September 2002). [Information Clearing House, 7/16/03 Sources: four members of the Senate's intelligence committee, Unnamed CIA official]
People and organizations involved: Condoleezza Rice, George Tenet, George W. Bush, Dick Cheney  Additional Info 
          

July 11, 2003

       National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice claims neither she nor the president had read the footnotes from a National Intelligence Estimate report from the previous October which clearly states serious doubt that Hussein was pursuing a nuclear program “The only thing that was there in the NIE was a kind of a standard INR footnote, which is kind of 59 pages away from the bulk of the NIE. That's the only thing that's there. And you have footnotes all the time in CIA - I mean, in NIEs. So if there was a concern about the underlying intelligence there, the President was unaware of that concern and as was I.” [White House, 7/11/2003; Iraq on the Record database, 3/16/2004]
People and organizations involved: Condoleezza Rice
          

July 15, 2003

       An unnamed Western diplomat close to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) tells Reuters that the agency believes that Britain's Africa-uranium claim is based on the same alleged transaction referred to in the forged Niger documents (see Late 2001). “I understand that it concerned the same group of documents and the same transaction,” the source says. [Reuters, 7/14/03; Associated Press, 6/13/03; Agence France Presse, 7/15/03 Sources: Unnamed Western diplomat close to the IAEA]
          

July 24, 2003

       The National Commission on Terrorist Attacks releases the declassified portion of an 800-page report on findings stemming from its investigation of the September 11 attacks. According to Sen. Max Cleland, the White House delayed the publishing of the report for fear that it might undermine its case for invading Iraq as it shows that US intelligence agencies have no evidence tying Iraq to the 9-11 attacks or to al-Qaeda. [UPI, 7/23/03]
People and organizations involved: Max Cleland, National Commision on Terrorist Attacks  Additional Info 
          

July 26, 2003

       Challenged to explain why the president was allowed to refer to a bogus document purporting to show Hussein's attempt to purchase uranium from Niger, National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice tries shifting the responsibility to CIA director, George Tenet “My only point is that, in retrospect, knowing that some of the documents underneath may have been—were, indeed, forgeries, and knowing that apparently there were concerns swirling around about this, had we known that at the time, we would not have put it in. ...And had there been even a peep that the agency did not want that sentence in or that George Tenet did not want that sentence in, that the director of Central Intelligence did not want it in, it would have been gone.” [White House, 7/30/2003; Washington Post, 7/26/2003; Iraq on the Record database, 3/16/2004]
People and organizations involved: Condoleezza Rice
          

July 26, 2003

       When confronted with evidence that should have warned that the Niger document was a probable forgery, National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice suggests her assistant, Steve Hadley, who earlier received both memos from the CIA (see October 5, 2002) (see October 6, 2002), had left her and the president “out of the loop.” “The intelligence community did not know at that time or at levels that got to us that this, that there was serious questions about this report.” [The Washington Post, 7/26/2003; World Net Daily, 7/29/2003; ABC This Week, 6/8/2003; Iraq on the Record database, 3/16/2004]
People and organizations involved: Condoleezza Rice
          

July 30, 2003

       National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice offers the discovery of aluminum tubes as proof of Hussein's intentions to develop nuclear weapons on PBS' NewsHour with Jim Lehrer “[H]e had ...an active procurement network to procure items, many of which, by the way, were on the prohibited list of the nuclear suppliers group. There's a reason that they were on the prohibited list of the nuclear supplies group: Magnets, balancing machines, yes, aluminum tubes, about which the consensus view was that they were suitable for use in centrifuges to spin material for nuclear weapons.” [Iraq Watch, 7/30/2003; White House, 7/30/2003; PBS NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, 7/30/2003; Iraq on the Record database, 3/16/2004]
People and organizations involved: Condoleezza Rice
          

July 30, 2003

       During a press conference, Bush is asked if the White House is planning to provide the public with “definitive evidence that Saddam was working with al-Qaeda terrorists” or if the alleged al-Qaeda links had been “exaggerated to justify war.” Bush responds that the US needs more time to analyze documents uncovered in Iraq. Bush explains: “Yes, I think, first of all, remember I just said we've been there for 90 days since the cessation of major military operations. Now, I know in our world where news comes and goes and there's this kind of instant-instant news and you must have done this, you must do that yesterday, that there's a level of frustration by some in the media. I'm not suggesting you're frustrated. You don't look frustrated to me at all. But it's going to take time for us to gather the evidence and analyze the mounds of evidence, literally, the miles of documents that we have uncovered.” [US Department of State, 7/30/2003; US Newswire, 7/30/03]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush
          

July 30, 2003

       National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice asserts that the intelligence community is convinced Saddam Hussein had been trying to reconstitute a nuclear weapon's program. “Going into the war against Iraq, we had very strong intelligence. I've been in this business for 20 years. And some of the strongest intelligence cases that I've seen, key judgments by our intelligence community that Saddam Hussein could have a nuclear weapons by the end of the decade, if left unchecked ... that he was trying to reconstitute his nuclear program.” [White House, 7/30/2003; Talon News, 8/1/2003; Iraq on the Record database, 3/16/2004]
People and organizations involved: Condoleezza Rice
          

July 31, 2003

       Defending the Bush administration's decision to invade Iraq, National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice tells ZDF television that there was “very strong intelligence” that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction “Going into the war against Iraq, we had very strong intelligence. I've been in this business for 20 years. And some of the strongest intelligence cases that I've seen, key judgments by our intelligence community that Saddam Hussein ... had biological and chemical weapons ....” [White House, 7/31/2003; Acronym Institute, 7/31/2003; Iraq on the Record database, 3/16/2004]
People and organizations involved: Condoleezza Rice
          

August 1, 2003

       Paul Wolfowitz says in an interview with Nancy Collins of the Laura Ingraham Show: “I'm not sure even now that I would say Iraq had something to do with it [9/11]. I think what the realization to me is—the fundamental point was that terrorism had reached the scale completely different from what we had thought of it up until then. And that it would only get worse when these people got access to weapons of mass destruction which would be only a matter of time.” [US Department of Defense, 8/1/03]
People and organizations involved: Paul Wolfowitz
          

August 18, 2003

       Brady Kiesling, a former political counselor at the US embassy in Athens who resigned from his post in protest of the invasion of Iraq (see Late February 2003), writes in an open letter published in the Greek daily, To Vima, that President George W. Bush is a “very weak” man and that his decision to invade Iraq had been made under pressure from Donald Rumsfeld, who used the war to increase his own power. “Easy to convince, (Bush) blindly believed in Rumsfeld's assurances that the occupation of Iraq would pay for itself,” the former diplomat writes. [AFP, 8/17/003 Sources: John Brady Kiesling]
People and organizations involved: John Brady Kiesling
          

August 22, 2003

       Andrew Wilkie, an analyst for the Australian Office of National Assessments, tells an Australian parliamentary inquiry investigating pre-war claims about Iraq, that the Australian government manipulated intelligence in an effort to build support for the March 2003 US-led invasion. He explains that the government misrepresented intelligence by concealing from the public ambiguities that were present in its intelligence assessments. [Wilkie, 8/22/03; The Age, 8/23/03; Independent, 8/23/03]
People and organizations involved: Andrew Wilkie  Additional Info 
          

September 7, 2003

       Condoleezza Rice tells Tony Snow there is “absolutely” a connection between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda “[W]e know that there was training of al-Qaeda in chemical and perhaps biological warfare. We know that the Zarqawi was network out of there, this poisons network that was trying to spread poisons throughout.... And there was an Ansar al-Islam, which appears also to try to be operating in Iraq. So yes, the al-Qaeda link was there.” [Fox News, 9/7/2003; Global Views, 9/26/2003; Iraq on the Record database, 3/16/2004]
People and organizations involved: Condoleezza Rice
          

September 25, 2003

       Top Republican legislators Porter J. Goss and Jane Harman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence send a letter to CIA Director George J. Tenet, criticizing his agency for providing poor intelligence on Iraq during the months leading up to the invasion of Iraq. They were prompted to write the letter after spending “four months combing through 19 volumes of classified material” and discovering how poorly the evidence supported the White House's assertions about Iraq. Administration officials downplay the charges. In the letter, they say the CIA provided intelligence based on “circumstantial,” “fragmentary,” and ambiguous evidence. “Thus far, it appears that these judgments were based on too many uncertainties,” they note in their letter. [Washington Post, 9/28/03; Reuters, 9/29/03] They also accuse the CIA of using intelligence that was outdated, including assessments dating back to 1998 when the UN was forced to leave Iraq ahead of US bombing. Evidence that was recent often consisted of “piecemeal” intelligence. “Intelligence assessments that Iraq continued to pursue chemical and biological weapons ... were long-standing judgments,” which “remained constant and static over the past ten years,” they complain in the letter. [Reuters, 9/29/03; Washington Post, 9/28/03] Another criticism they have is that the intelligence agency sometimes drew conclusions based on faulty logic. “The absence of proof that chemical and biological weapons and their related development programs had been destroyed was considered proof that they continued to exist,” they say. [Washington Post, 9/28/03; Reuters, 9/29/03] Lastly, they complain that the CIA uncritically accepted claims from dubious sources. In the agency's assessments, it failed to clarify which reports “were from sources that were credible and which were from sources that would otherwise be dismissed in the absence of any other corroborating intelligence.” [Washington Post, 9/28/03] Significantly, the authors assert, “We have not found any information in the assessments that are still classified that was any more definitive.” [Washington Post, 9/27/03] The White House dismisses the two Republicans' criticisms.
People and organizations involved: Porter J. Goss, Jane Harman, George Tenet  Additional Info 
          

September 28, 2003

       Appearing on Meet the Press, National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice presumes to link Hussein to Osama bin Laden. “Saddam Hussein—no one has said that there is evidence that Saddam Hussein directed or controlled 9/11, but let's be very clear, he had ties to al-Qaeda, he had al-Qaeda operatives who had operated out of Baghdad.” [NBC, 9/28/2003; Iraq on the Record database, 3/16/2004]
People and organizations involved: Condoleezza Rice
          

October 2003

       Robin Cook publishes portions of a diary he had kept when he was Blair's foreign minister. The published memoirs reveal—among other things—that Tony Blair had intentionally misled the British population. [Sunday Times, 10/5/03; Guardian, 10/6/03 Sources: Robin Cook's diary] The diary reveals how before the war intelligence provided to Cook by John Scarlett indicated that Saddam Hussein probably did not have weapons of mass destruction that could be used to attack the US or Britain. [Sunday Times, 10/5/03; Guardian, 10/6/03 Sources: Robin Cook's diary] Cook's entries also show that before the war, Blair did not believe that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction that could be used to attack the US or Britain. [Sunday Times, 10/5/03; Guardian, 10/6/03 Sources: Robin Cook's diary] Additionally, the diary shows that Tony Blair ignored the “large number of ministers who spoke up against the war.” He says that the officials in the foreign ministry were consistently opposed to the invasion of Iraq. [Sunday Times, 10/5/03 Sources: Robin Cook's diary]
People and organizations involved: Tony Blair, John Scarlett  Additional Info 
          

November 1, 2003

       The International Herald Tribune publishes an op-ed piece written by Youssef M. Ibrahim, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. In it, Ibrahim warns: “Al-Qaeda, according to the CIA and the Pentagon, is reconstituting itself. In fact every Middle East and Muslim affairs expert is saying that Al-Qaeda's ranks will be fattened by new recruits right now and will have more of them when the United States attacks Iraq.” [International Herald Tribune, 11/1/03]
People and organizations involved: Youssef M. Ibrahim
          
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