Follow That Story: The Nuclear Whodunit (Part 2)

Three days ago, this column asked: Who forged the documents the United States and Britain submitted to U.N. inspectors as proof that Iraq had purchased tons of uranium.presumably for nuclear weapons.from Niger? And what were the forger’s motives?

The “Press Box” directive to his press corps colleagues to smoke out the forgers and their designs was prompted by a March 13 Washington Post article, “FBI Probes Fake Evidence of Iraqi Nuclear Plans.” The story, which was underplayed on Page A-17, indicated that the U.S. government knew who had forged the Niger documents but wasn’t telling. The Post also reported that the United States and Britain received the documents from a third country’s intelligence agency, adding, “The FBI is looking into the forgery of a key piece of evidence linking Iraq to a nuclear weapons program, including the possibility that a foreign government is using a deception campaign to foster support for military action against Iraq.” [Emphasis added.] The third country in the handoff was not Israel, CNN reported on March 14.