A Half-Answer Creates More Questions

Back when the White House first said the African Uranium line should not have been in the SOTU, the NYT’s telling of the tale included this:

How Mr. Bush’s statement made it into last January’s State of the Union address is still unclear. No one involved in drafting the speech will say who put the phrase in, or whether it was drawn from the classified intelligence estimate.

At the time (7/8/03), I said, “I also think that the vagaries and unanswered questions in the admission–not saying how the mistake was made or who made it–means that the issue probably won’t die in the press as quickly as the administration hopes. And rightly so.” As it turned out, I was right.

Now the AP reports that “White House Releases Documents on Iraq Flap“, and it again looks like they are creating more questions than they are answering:

The Bush administration released the material — a sanitized version of the top-secret National Intelligence Estimate prepared for the president — as it sought to shield Bush from rising criticism that he misled the public in making his case for war with Iraq in his Jan. 28 speech.

Administration aides suggested that the eight pages of excerpts, out of 90 in the document, demonstrate that the notion that Saddam was trying to reconstitute a nuclear weapons program permeated the U.S. intelligence community — and was not just based on a suspect British intelligence report that relied in part on forged documents.

8 out of 90 pages? I can’t wait for the stories and leaks about what’s in the other 82 pages. I’m picturing redacting along the lines of “…there are reports of Iraq trying to buy uranium from Africa, but these reports are at best unsubstantiated and likely to be completely false.”