I just think that this deserves some discussion.
**Iraq Had Talks on Buying Uranium for Nukes -FT **
Sunday, June 27, 2004; 10:12 PM *
LONDON (Reuters) - Iraq was among several countries in negotiations to buy supplies of illicit uranium from Niger at least three years before the U.S.-led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein, the Financial Times reported Monday.
Intelligence officers learned between 1999 and 2001 that smugglers planned to sell illicitly mined uranium from the West African country to several states, including Iraq, the newspaper reported, citing senior European intelligence sources.
Intelligence backs claim Iraq tried to buy uranium
*By Mark Huband in Rome
Published: June 27 2004 21:56 | Last Updated: June 27 2004 21:56 *
Illicit sales of uranium from Niger were being negotiated with five states including Iraq…senior European intelligence officials have told the Financial Times
Intelligence officers learned between 1999 and 2001 that…smugglers planned to sell illicitly mined Nigerien uranium ore, or refined ore called yellow cake, to …Iraq.
…European intelligence officials have for the first time confirmed that information provided by human intelligence sources during an operation mounted in Europe and Africa produced sufficient evidence for them to believe that Niger was the centre of a clandestine international trade in uranium.
Officials said the fake documents…added little to the picture gathered from human intelligence and were only given weight by the Bush administration.
According to a senior counter-proliferation official, meetings between Niger officials and would-be buyers from the five countries were held in several European countries… Intelligence officers were convinced that the uranium would be smuggled from abandoned mines in Niger, thereby circumventing official export controls
The UK government used the details in its Iraq weapons dossier, which it used to justify war with Iraq after concluding that it corresponded with other information it possessed, including evidence gathered by GCHQ, the UK eavesdropping centre, of a visit to Niger by an Iraqi official.