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Friday, July 29, 2005

AP connects Bolton to the Niger claim 

This AP story - Rice Proposes State Department Shuffle - is very strange.
The first six paragraphs describe a announcement from Condi Rice to reorganize some unnamed State department offices into a Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation.
Then it veers off into a completely different track -- it lists things which Rice DID NOT mention during her announcement, and then it makes a surprising statement about John Bolton.
Not that I don't appreciate writer Anne Gearan's points -- she is titled as AP Diplomatic Writer, and apparently she knows her background.
But its very strange, none the less. After describing Rice's announcement about the office reorganization, the story continues:
Rice's brief address Friday said nothing about Saddam, al-Qaida or the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq. The insurgency in Iraq is a mix of Sunni Arab opponents of the overthrow of Saddam and foreign supporters of al-Qaida and other terror groups bent on ousting the United States. Rice was once of the chief architects of the Iraq war as President Bush's first-term national security adviser, and she was one of the most vocal advocates of the administration's claim that Saddam possessed weapons of mass destruction that could be used against the United States or Iraq's neighbors. 'The problem here is that there will always be some uncertainty about how quickly he can acquire nuclear weapons,' Rice said in a September 2002 interview with CNN. 'But we don't want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud.' The State Department's existing Bureau of Arms Control and International Security was one of the arms of the U.S. government keeping track of Saddam's capabilities, and was a participant in the dealings surrounding the administration's false claim that Saddam tried to acquire uranium - a component of nuclear weapons - from the African nation of Niger. Until recently, that office was headed by John R. Bolton, now Bush's embattled nominee to be United Nations ambassador. The administration also contended Saddam had ties to al-Qaida terrorists, and hinted that he might provide them with WMD. That claim was rejected by the independent Sept. 11 Commission's report last summer.

And did you note this sentence (emphasis mine) : "The State Department's existing Bureau of Arms Control and International Security was . . . a participant in the dealings surrounding the administration's false claim that Saddam tried to acquire uranium . . . from the African nation of Niger. Until recently, that office was headed by John R. Bolton . . ."
Now, I haven't read every single thing about Plamegate or Rovegate or whatever it is now called, but I had not heard anything before that stated so firmly that Bolton was connected to the Niger claim.
Is this actually new news, buried in the 10th paragraph of an 11-paragraph story?
(Thanks to this Kos diary for the link.)

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