This article is part of the Center for Media & Democracy's focus on the fallout of nuclear "spin."
In the push for the 2003 war with Iraq, Bush administration officials, including President George W. Bush himself in his State of the Union 2003 speech, cited evidence that Saddam Hussein had attempted to buy 500 tons of yellowcake uranium from the African nation of Niger.
However, Mohamed ElBaradei of the United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) looked at the evidence and stated that it was obviously forged and a year earlier the CIA found the evidence to be unreliable. 
- "Then the story fell apart. On March 7th, Mohamed ElBaradei, the director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, in Vienna, told the U.N. Security Council that the documents involving the Niger-Iraq uranium sale were fakes. 'The I.A.E.A. has concluded, with the concurrence of outside experts, that these documents . . . are in fact not authentic,' ElBaradei said."
- "One senior I.A.E.A. official went further. He told [Hersh], 'These documents are so bad that I cannot imagine that they came from a serious intelligence agency. It depresses me, given the low quality of the documents, that it was not stopped. At the level it reached, I would have expected more checking.'"
"Congressmen Henry A. Waxman, who approved Bush's war initiative, expessed concern that such a mishap could have occurred. 'It is hard to imagine how this situation could have developed,' he stated in a letter to the President. 'The two most obvious explanations — knowing deception or unfathomable incompetence — both have immediate and serious implications.' Waxman added, 'These facts raise troubling questions. It appears that at the same time you, Secretary Rumsfeld, and State Department officials were citing Iraq's efforts to obtain uranium from Africa as a crucial part of the case against Iraq, U.S. intelligence officials regarded this very same evidence as unreliable. If true, this is deeply disturbing: it would mean that your Administration asked the U.N. Security Council, the Congress, and the American people to rely on information that your own experts knew was not credible.'" 
- The Bush administration has failed to provide adequate explanation for this situation, and the national media has failed to pursue the matter.
On March 14, 2003, Senator John D. Rockefeller IV asked the FBI to investigate the origin of the documents. Rockefeller expressed concern that the forgeries "may be part of a larger deception campaign aimed at manipulating public opinion and foreign policy regarding Iraq."
"If ... you want one piece to bring you fully up to date on the Niger forgery flap, check out Neil Mackay's "Niger and Iraq: the war's biggest lie?" in the Glasgow Sunday Herald ("One senior western diplomat told the Sunday Herald: 'There were more than 20 anomalies in the Niger documents -- it is staggering any intelligence service could have believed they were genuine for a moment.'"). --TomDispatch.com, July 2003.
La Repubblica Expose
In late October 2005, left of center Italian Newspaper La Repubblica published a three-part series which alleged that the Italian Intelligence Service SISMI played a large role in obtaining the the forged Niger Documents and distributing them to Western Governments. Rocco Martino, formerly a dishonest policeman as well as a former SISMI double agent, is identified as the documents source, and he pitched them to SISMI, who in turn handed them over to the CIA station head in Rome. The documents were reportedly identified by the Italian embassy's intelligence personnel as probable forgeries and were refused. The La Repubblica expose then claims that SISMI Director Nicolò Pollari, at the behest of Italian Prime Minister, Silvio Berlusconi, did an end run around the CIA and delivered the documents by hand in Washington D.C. to White House National Security Council (NSC) staff.
If this expose is true, it has stark implications for many people in the Bush Administration as they vocally blamed the CIA for the false claims of Iraq's acquisition of Niger Uranium, and George J. Tenet accepted the blame. Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee Pat Roberts would also be cast in a dark hue, as either an accomplice or unknowing dupe, since he vehemently attacked the Agency at the same time.
- See: Walter Pincus and Dana Milbank, "Bush, Rice Blame CIA for Iraq Error: Tenet Accepts Responsibility for Clearing Statement on Nuclear Aims in Jan. Speech", Washington Post, July 12, 2003.
- Carlo Bonini and Giuseppe d'Avanzo, "Berlusconi Behind Fake Yellowcake Dossier", La Repubblica, October 23, 2005.
- Carlo Bonini and Giuseppe d'Avanzo, Yellowcake Dossier Not the Work of the CIA", La Repubblica, October 25, 2005.
- Carlo Bonini and Giuseppe d'Avanzo, "Nigergate: The Great Nuclear Centrifuge Scam", La Repubblica, October 26, 2005.
- arms control
- Bush administration lies that led to war
- Bush's 16 words
- Commission on the Intelligence Capabilities of the United States Regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction
- Commission on the Intelligence Capabilities of the United States Regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction: Final Report
- cooked intelligence
- Intelligence Community
- Joseph C. Wilson IV
- Karl Rove: Outing Valerie Plame
- Rathergate: Sumner M. Redstone, George W. Bush & CBS
- Senate Select Committee on Intelligence
- The Cheney-Rumsfeld Cabal Deception
- Treasongate: Beyond Karl Rove
- Valerie Plame
- weapons of mass deception
- weapons of mass destruction investigation
- "Yellowcake Forgery" in the Wikipedia.
- "Yellowcake forgery" (with redirect to "Niger uranium" in the dKosopedia.
- Paul Kerr, "Iraq-Niger Uranium Chronology" (Late 2001-March 2003), Arms Control Association, undated.
- TPM Niger Uranium Timeline, Talking Points Memo, Updated November 6, 2005.
- Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Report on the U.S. Intelligence Community's Prewar Intelligence Assessments on Iraq, July 7, 2004 (521-page pdf).
- Return to an Address of the Honourable the House of Commons dated 14th July 2004 for the Review of Intelligence on Weapons of Mass Destruction. Report of a Committee of Privy Counsellors. Chairman: The Rt Hon The Lord Butler of Brockwell KG GCB CVO July 14, 2004.
- "The Commission on the Intelligence Capabilities of the United States Regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction," Report to the President of the United States, March 31, 2005.
Articles & Commentary
- Jack Shafer, "Follow That Story: The Nuclear Whodunit," Slate:
- Part 1: "Who bamboozled the United States?", March 14, 2003.
- Part 2: "Who forged the documents that bamboozled the U.S.?", March 17, 2003.
- Part 3: "CIA analysts do a CYA, telling the press, Don't blame the phony nuke docs on us!", March 23, 2003.
- Part 4: "Who forged the uranium documents that bamboozled the U.S.? A chronology," July 14, 2003.
- Seymour M. Hersh, "Who Lied to Whom? Why did the Administration endorse a forgery about Iraq's nuclear program?", The New Yorker Online, Posted March 24, 2003.
- Walter Pincus, "CIA Says It Cabled Key Data to White House. But Officials Say Document Lacked Conclusion on Iraqi Uranium Deal," Washington Post, June 13, 2003.
- "CIA says it didn't hide its doubts on Niger uranium buy," Associated Press (USA Today), June 19, 2003.
- Joseph C. Wilson IV, "What I Didn't Find in Africa," New York Times, July 6, 2003.
- David Rennie, "CIA man denies Niger-Iraq uranium link," Telegraph (UK), July 7, 2003.
- Tony Karon, "Bush and Iraq: Follow the Yellow Cake Road," Time, July 9, 2003: "The question is no longer whether the President uttered a falsehood in his indictment of Iraq; it's at what point the Administration learned the claim of uranium purchases from Niger was false."
- Walter Pincus and Mike Allen, "CIA Got Uranium Reference Cut in Oct. Why Bush Cited It In Jan. Is Unclear," Washington Post, July 13, 2003; posted on Common Dreams website.
- "The Niger connection," The Observer/UK, July 13, 2003.
- "Italy denies originating Iraq-Niger uranium claims," Agence France Presse (ClariNet), July 13, 2003.
- Robert Novak, "Mission to Niger," Townhall.com, July 14, 2003.
- "Niger upset by uranium slur," BBC, July 14, 2003.
- Dana Priest and Dana Milbank, "President Defends Allegation On Iraq. Bush Says CIA's Doubts Followed Jan. 28 Address," Washington Post, July 15, 2003.
- Carlo Bonini and Giuseppe D’Avanzo, "Here you have the bogus dossier on Saddam’s uranium," La Repubblica (War in Context), July 16, 2003.
- "Blair Stands by Niger Uranium Claim," Associated Press (Fox News), July 16, 2003.
- "Bush Uranium Lie Is Tip of the Iceberg," FAIR, July 18, 2003.
- Mark Follman, "Spooked by the White House," Salon, July 18, 2003: "A CIA veteran says a growing faction of the U.S. intelligence community is furious over the way the administration corrupted the system -- and that the nation's security is at grave risk." Subscription or preview required.
- "Italian journalist claims she supplied Iraq-Niger uranium documents to US," Agence France Presse (ClariNews), July 19, 2003.
- Bill Gertz, "FBI probing forged papers on Niger uranium," Washington Times, July 19, 2003.
- Howard Dean, "President Bush Must Set the Niger-Uranium Story Straight," Common Dreams, July 21, 2003.
- John Diamond, "Conflicting reports leave uranium case open," USA Today, July 21, 2003.
- Mike Nartker, "Iraq II: Democrats Demand to Know Why Niger and African Uranium Claims Were Made Public," NTI Global Security Newswire, July 24, 2003.
- "Cheney Claims Again Iraq Tried To Acquire Uranium From Niger," Democracy Now!, September 16, 2003.
- Mark Huband, "Evidence of Niger uranium trade 'years before war'," Financial Times, June 27, 2004.
- James Risen, "How Niger Uranium Story Defied Wide Skepticism," New York Times (Free Republic), July 14, 2004.
- Matthew Yglesias, "The UK on Niger," yglesias, July 14, 2004.
- "New Fight Over Iraq Nuke Claim," CBS News/Associated Press, July 19, 2004.
- Mark Huband, "French Probe Led to 'Fake Niger Uranium Papers'," Financial Times (GlobalSecurity), August 2, 2004.
- Juan Cole, "Rocco Martino: 'I am the Source of the False Niger/Iraq Uranium Story'," Informed Comment, August 2, 2004.
- Eric Margolis, "The lies that led to war," Canoe Network, August 8, 2004.
- Joshua Micah Marshall, "FBI could talk to source of forged Niger papers. I did," The Hill, September 23, 2004: "One of the obvious places to start such an investigation would be with Elisabetta Burba, the Italian journalist who got copies of the documents and later turned them over to the American Embassy in Rome."
- Steven C. Clemons, "John Bolton Pushed Niger-Uranium Fiasco at State -- Then Tried to Hide his Tracks and Staff Lied to Congress," The Washington Note, March 14, 2005.
- Meldread, "Follow the Yellowcake Road," Democratic Underground, July 4, 2005. Timeline of events starting in February 2002.
- Ian Masters, "Who Forged the Niger Documents?" AlterNet, April 7, 2005.
- Ivo Daalder, "Niger and Uranium -- The Evidence," TPM Cafe, July 15, 2005.
- "Uranium from Africa and the Senate (SSCI) Report," The Left Coaster: Introduction and Part 1, July 24, 2005; Part 2, Part 3a, and Part 3, July 25, 2005.
- Raymond McGovern, "Iraq-Niger: Cheney and the Forgery," After Downing Street, July 25, 2005.
- Justin Raimondo, "Niger Uranium Forgery Mystery Solved? The Fitzgerald/Plame investigation goes in a new direction," Antiwar.com, July 19, 2005.
- Larry Johnson, "Mambo Italiano and Plame Gate," TPM Cafe, October 10, 2005.
- Robert Collier, "Seeds of Leak Scandal Sown in Italian Intelligence Agency," San Francisco Chronicle (Common Dreams), October 30, 2005.
- "Italy warned uranium dossier on Iraq was fake," Associated Press (USA Today), November 3, 2005.
- Tom Regan, "Italy denies faking Niger documents. Italian secret service names 'occasional spy' as source of forged documents," Christian Science Monitor, November 4, 2005.
- John Hooper, "Italy 'warned Saddam intelligence was bogus'," Guardian Unlimited (UK), November 4, 2005.
- Jonathan S. Landay, "Italy provided U.S. with faulty uranium intelligence, officials insist," Knight Ridder Newspapers, November 4, 2005.
- Elaine Sciolino and Elisabetta Povoledo, "Source of Forged Niger-Iraq Uranium Documents Identified," New York Times, November 4, 2005.
- "FBI: Money played main part in forged papers on Niger uranium," Associated Press (Billings Gazette), November 5, 2005.
- "Treasongate: The Niger Forgeries v. the CIA Intel Reports - Preliminary Conclusion: An Italian Job," The Left Coaster, November 7, 2005.
- "Intel Probe: The Yellowcake Mystery," Newsweek, November 14, 2005 (issue).
- Philip Giraldi, "Forging the Case for War. Who was behind the Niger uranium documents?" The American Conservative, November 21, 2005 (issue).
- Larisa Alexandrovna, "Senate Intelligence Committee stalling pre-war intelligence report," The Raw Story, December 2, 2005.
- Peter Wallsten, Tom Hamburger and Josh Meyer, "FBI Is Taking Another Look at Forged Prewar Intelligence," Los Angeles Times, December 3, 2005.
- Justin Raimondo, "'Urban Myth' – or Treason? The Niger uranium forgery cover-up unravels," AntiWar.com, December 5, 2005.
- Craig Unger, "The War They Wanted, The Lies They Needed," Vanity Fair, June 6, 2006: "The Bush administration invaded Iraq claiming Saddam Hussein had tried to buy yellowcake uranium in Niger. As much of Washington knew, and the world soon learned, the charge was false. Worse, it appears to have been the cornerstone of a highly successful 'black propaganda' campaign with links to the White House."
- Murray Waas, "Cheney Authorized Libby to Leak Classified Information," National Journal, February 9, 2006.
- "Exclusive Interview: Murray Waas on How Cheney 'Authorized' Libby to Leak Classified Information," Democracy Now!, February 10, 2006.
- Murray Waas, "What Bush Was Told About Iraq" National Journal, March 2, 2006. "Vice President Dick Cheney's former chief of staff, I. Lewis (Scooter) Libby, testified to a federal grand jury that he had been "authorized" by Cheney and other White House "superiors" in the summer of 2003 to disclose classified information to journalists to defend the Bush administration's use of prewar intelligence in making the case to go to war with Iraq, according to attorneys familiar with the matter, and to court records."
- Murray Waas, "Insulating Bush," National Journal, March 30, 2006.
- Dan Froomkin, "A Compelling Story," White House Watch Blog/Washington Post, March 31, 2006.
- Jane Hamsher, "Murray Waas to Join Daily Kos Panel," Firedoglake Blog, May 17, 2006.
- Murray Waas, "What Ashcroft Was Told," National Journal, June 8, 2006.
- Murray Waas, "Bush Directed Cheney to Counter War Critic", National Journal, July 3, 2006.
- Ken Silverstein, "Six Senators to Negroponte: Produce a National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq Now," Harper's Magazine, July 26, 2006.
- Ken Silverstein, "Followup: Senate Passes National Intelligence Estimate Amendment," Harper's Magazine, August 4, 2006.
- Murray Waas, "Insulating Bush," National Journal, March 30, 2006: "Karl Rove, President Bush's chief political adviser, cautioned other White House aides in the summer of 2003 that Bush's 2004 re-election prospects would be severely damaged if it was publicly disclosed that he had been personally warned that a key rationale for going to war had been challenged within the administration. Rove expressed his concerns shortly after an informal review of classified government records by then-Deputy National Security Adviser Stephen J. Hadley determined that Bush had been specifically advised that claims he later made in his 2003 State of the Union address -- that Iraq was procuring high-strength aluminum tubes to build a nuclear weapon -- might not be true, according to government records and interviews."
- Karen DeYoung, "Spy Agencies Say Iraq War Hurting U.S. Terror Fight," Washington Post, September 24, 2006.
- "Intelligence Report Finds War Increasing Terrorist Threat," PBS Online NewsHour, September 25, 2006.
- "Bush to Declassify National Intelligence Estimate," NewsMax, September 26, 2006.
- Michael Isikoff and Mark Hosenball, "Selective Intelligence. The National Intelligence Estimate doesn’t say what Bush says it does. How will he handle upcoming secret reports on Iran and Iraq?" Newsweek (MSNBC), October 18, 2006.
- Peter Eisner, "How Bogus Letter Became a Case for War. Intelligence Failures Surrounded Inquiry on Iraq-Niger Uranium Claim," Washington Post, April 3, 2007.
- Margie Burns, "Washington Post Almost Catches Up With Niger Uranium Story. Three Years Late, Long After the Flawed Senate Intelligence Committee Report, WaPo Finally Fills in a Very Few Blanks on Bush's Infamous '16 Words' Which Led to War," The Brad Blog, April 4, 2007.
- Gordon Prather, "Conspiracy, Collusion, War," Antiwar.com, April 14, 2007.
- Dan Eggen and Paul Kane, "Hill Subpoenas Approved for Rice, Other Bush Officials. As Democrats Seek Administration Testimony on Various Issues, Ex-Justice Aide Receives Limited Immunity," Washington Post, April 26, 2007.
- Gordon Prather, "Enabling Bush's Wars of Aggression," Antiwar.com, April 28, 2007.
- Ray McGovern, "Sorry They've Been So Mean To You, George," BuzzFlash, April 30, 2007.
- David Edwards, "Ex-CIA analyst: Forged 'yellowcake' memo 'leads right back to' Cheney," The Raw Story, April 30, 2007.
- New American Patriot, "Ex-CIA Heavy: 'I've Got the Goods on Cheney'," A Liberal Dose Blogspot, May 1, 2007.
- Jonah Goldberg, "Between Tenet's lines," Salt Lake Tribune, May 2, 2007.