Bush under fire from Senators over uranium claim

QUESTIONS over the legitimacy of going to war are also being raised across the Atlantic, with US President George W Bush heavily criticised for making false claims about Iraq seeking to buy uranium from an African state.

Two members of the Senate Intelligence Committee, which is investigating how the uranium claim came to be included in a State of the Union address by Bush, said their investigations were imperative for the United State’s international credibility.

“Ultimately, the public needs to be reassured that, in fact, the intelligence the president was given and was used, and how he framed the debate and the decision to go into Iraq, was intelligence that they can have confidence in,” Senator Chuck Hagel said on CNN’s “Late Edition.”

A crucial question will be to determine how Bush’s State of the Union address on January 28 came to include a reference to what US intelligence had determined was an incorrect British report that Iraq was shopping for uranium in Africa.

“The point is to find out if we were being misled, if somebody inserted that in despite earlier objections by CIA Director George Tenet,” said Senator Jay Rockefeller, the intelligence committee’s vice chairman.

On “Fox News Sunday,” Rockefeller said Bush could make the controversy go away by coming clean on whether the justification for war was exaggerated.

He said because of Bush’s policy of maintaining the right of preemptive attacks against potentially dangerous governments “intelligence is the basis now of war-fighting.”

“It’s very important to intelligence to say that facts really do matter, they count, they have to be accurate,” he said

Rockefeller told CNN he requested FBI involvement in the case after the International Atomic Energy Agency debunked the British report. He and Senate Intelligence Committee chairman Pat Roberts requested CIA and State Department investigations. The House Intelligence Committee is conducting its own probe.

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