Sunday, April 29, 2007

CIA boss warned Bush on UK intelligence

By Philip Sherwell in New York, Sunday Telegraph
Last Updated: 1:15am BST 29/04/2007

America's former spy chief has revealed how he warned the White House that Britain had "exaggerated" reports that Saddam Hussein tried to buy uranium ore in Niger - claims that President George W Bush later made central to his case for war.

George Tenet, who quit as CIA director in 2004, details in a new book how White House hawks were determined to use British intelligence that the Iraqi regime had sought "yellowcake" for a suspected atomic bomb programme.

The President's reliance on the allegation, which he cited in his key State of the Union speech in January 2003, emerged last week as the focus of newly launched investigations by the Democrat-controlled Congress into the pre-war use of intelligence.

Mr Tenet's long-awaited book, the first tell-all account from the President's inner circle in the tumultuous years of the September 11 attacks and the Iraq invasion, is being read avidly by Democrats keen to pursue the Bush administration's handling of those events.

The ex-CIA chief, who has been invited to testify before Congress this week, is scathing about the roles of Vice-President Dick Cheney and the National Security Adviser, Condoleezza Rice (now Secretary of State), before the invasion.

In another damning claim, he says he and a senior CIA colleague told Miss Rice in summer 2001 that a significant terrorist strike on the US was in the works, but that their warnings went unheeded until the September 11 attacks.

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