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July 9, 2004 3:00 AM

Former ambassador did not `debunk' Iraq-Niger deal, says Senate

The Senates report into intelligence failures about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq disputes a key war critics assertion that he had debunked suspicions that Iraq attempted to buy uranium from the African country of Niger. The report contends that former ambassador Joseph Wilson, who traveled to Niger in early 2002 at the CIAs request to inquire about the uranium allegation, did not change any analysts assessment of the Iraq-Niger uranium deal. The committee concluded that the CIAs October 2002 National Intelligence Estimate overstated what the intelligence community knew about Iraqs efforts to obtain uranium. But it also said Wilsons information, instead of steering the CIA away, lent more credibility to the original Central Intelligence Agency reports on the uranium deal.

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