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Bush goofed up on Iraq: US officials

July 08, 2003 23:25 IST

The United States administration has admitted that President George W Bush goofed up on one of the main reasons he gave for the Iraq war -- Saddam Hussein's efforts to buy uranium for his alleged weapons of mass destruction programme.

A senior US administration official on Sunday had virtually accused Bush of lying about Saddam's efforts to buy uranium from Niger.

The Central Investigation Agency envoy Joseph Wilson said that the US administration manipulated his findings on Iraq's alleged efforts to buy uranium to strengthen the rationale for war.

The White House admission that Bush should not have made the allegation in his State of Union address came soon after publication of the British Parliamentary Commission report, which raised serious questions about the reliability of British intelligence that was cited by Bush to convince American people that Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction were a threat to US security.

"Knowing all that we know now, the reference to Iraq's attempt to acquire uranium from Africa (included in President Bush's State of the Union message and repeated by Secretary of State Colin Powell in the UN Security Council) should not have been included in the State of the Union speech," a senior Bush administration official said, according to a Washington Post report.

Bush in his address in January had said, "The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa."

White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said, "The president's statement was based on the predicate of the yellowcake uranium from Niger. So given the fact that the report on the yellow cake did not turn out to be accurate, that is reflective of the president's broader statement."

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