Senator Roberts’ Statement on the Niger Documents
WASHINGTON, DC - U.S. Senator Pat Roberts, Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence today issued the following statement:
“Senator Rockefeller and I are committed to continue our close examination of all of the issues surrounding the Niger documents.
“So far, I am very disturbed by what appears to be extremely sloppy handling of the issue from the outset by the CIA.
“What now concerns me most, however, is what appears to be a campaign of press leaks by the CIA in an effort to discredit the President.
“Unnamed ‘intelligence officials’ are now claiming that they told the White House that attempts by Iraq to acquire uranium from countries in Africa were unfounded. I understand, however, that as late as mid-January, 2003, approximately ten days before the State of the Union speech, the CIA was still asserting that Iraq was seeking to acquire uranium from Africa and that those attempts were further evidence of Saddam’s efforts to reconstitute his nuclear program.
“I have seen no documentation that indicates that the CIA had reversed itself after January 17th and prior to the State of the Union. If the CIA had changed its position, it was incumbent on the Director of Central Intelligence to correct the record and bring it to the immediate attention of the President. It appears that he did not.
“This is not the type of responsibility that can be delegated to mid-level officials. The Director of Central Intelligence is the President’s principal advisor on intelligence matters. He should have told the President and it appears that he failed to do so.”