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Ambassador Joe Wilson talked to James Naughtie

on the Today Programme November 24 2005 - extracts (warmwell transcript)

24th November 2005 ~ Plame Scandal On the Today Programme today "The husband of the CIA agent whose identity was revealed by the White House, says that Tony Blair was double crossed by those in the Bush administration who wanted to go to war with Iraq regardless of the situation on weapons of mass destruction." Listen Again

And the interview with Mr Wilson himself: Listen Again

Extracts from the BBC recording

(warmwell transcript)

".......There was never any substance to the allegation that Iraq had attempted to buy quantities of uranium from Niger and yet, even after it had been discounted, both to the Senate and to the White House, the President used it in the State of the Union Address, and indeed the president and his senior staff made the case for war principally on the threat that Saddam might soon have nuclear weapons which posed an unacceptable threat to the United States…

....it is very clear from the Senate's Select Committee's report that four months before the State of the Union address, the Senate itself was briefed on this matter and the Deputy Director of Central Intelligence, speaking on behalf of the entire American intelligence community, told the Senate that we believe that the British "stretched the case". Within four days, the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, Mr Tenet, had communicated three times to the White House saying in effect

..... I believe that the president in this administration had come to a decision that he wanted to go to war with Iraq, it had seen the Use of Force Authorisation Bill which required that it demonstrate to itself that the threat was serious and that the only way that they were going to be able to get both Congressional support and American public support was by hyping the nuclear case.

And in fact, after they began to hype it, after they began talking about

you saw support in Congress for military action and you saw support in American polling surge in support of the President's…(not audible)"

"…. The shock for me is not that mistakes happen - because they do. The shock was that once it became apparent that the documents were forgeries, as Dr Baradei had said, the US government did nothing to correct the record; they allowed that lie to sit out there unti, the day after I wrote my opinion piece in the New York Times, for an additional four months, they allowed that lie to sit out there.

"….I watched the way that the British put their case and it was a disarmament case as best I could see. Mr Blair came to the United States when Mr Bush was talking about regime change and when he left, Mr Bush started talking about disarmament as the objective. When Mr Bush went to the United Nations I thought that had a lot to do with the influence of the British. I think Mr Blair really thought that he was getting involved in a disarmament campaign- which was all to the good - I fully supported that. I think at the end of the day he was double-crossed by the regime change crowd in Washington and by that time… he will have to explain exactly how that happened but certainly, as an outsider, it looks like he was double crossed and had no choice but to go along with it.