It seems Karl Rove warned the White House team in the summer of 2003 that Bush’s chances for re-election in 2004 could be in severe danger. Damage control spun into overdrive. The truth could not be revealed to the American public. The President had to be protected at all costs.
Oh by the way, sorry Valerie Plame. You were collateral damage. They could not allow your husband’s charges to stand concerning the bogus Iraqi attempt to purchase yellow cake from Niger. Letting that stand could have resulted in their real fear becoming public knowledge. That Bush had been personally warned, prior to his 2003 SOTU address, that Iraq’s purchase of aluminum tubes for use in centrifuges was suspect at best.
As the 2004 election loomed, the White House was determined to keep the wraps on a potentially damaging memo about Iraq.
Karl Rove, President Bush’s chief political adviser, cautioned other White House aides in the summer of 2003 that Bush’s 2004 re-election prospects would be severely damaged if it was publicly disclosed that he had been personally warned that a key rationale for going to war had been challenged within the administration. Rove expressed his concerns shortly after an informal review of classified government records by then-Deputy National Security Adviser Stephen J. Hadley determined that Bush had been specifically advised that claims he later made in his 2003 State of the Union address — that Iraq was procuring high-strength aluminum tubes to build a nuclear weapon — might not be true, according to government records and interviews.
Hadley was particularly concerned that the public might learn of a classified one-page summary of a National Intelligence Estimate, specifically written for Bush in October 2002. The summary said that although “most agencies judge” that the aluminum tubes were “related to a uranium enrichment effort,” the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research and the Energy Department’s intelligence branch “believe that the tubes more likely are intended for conventional weapons.”
Three months after receiving that assessment, the president stated without qualification in his January 28, 2003, State of the Union address: “The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa. Our intelligence sources tell us that he has attempted to purchase high-strength aluminum tubes suitable for nuclear weapons production.”
Read the rest of the Murray Waas National Journal article here.