"ROME, Nov. 3 - Italy's spymaster identified an Italian occasional spy named Rocco Martino on Thursday as the disseminator of forged documents that described efforts by Iraq to buy uranium ore from Niger for a nuclear weapons program, three lawmakers said Thursday.
The information about Iraq's desire to acquire the ore, known as yellowcake, was used by the Bush administration to help justify the invasion of Iraq, notably by President Bush in his State of the Union address in January 2003. But the information was later revealed to have been based on forgeries.
The documents were the basis for sending a former diplomat, Joseph C. Wilson IV, on a fact-finding mission to Niger that eventually exploded into an inquiry that led to the indictment and resignation last week of Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, I. Lewis Libby.
There had long been doubts within the United States intelligence community about the authenticity of the yellowcake documents, and references to it had been deleted from other presentations given at the time.
Senator Brutti told reporters on Thursday that indeed Sismi had provided information about Iraq's desire to acquire uranium from Niger as early as the 1990's, but that it had never said the information was credible.
Thursday's hearing followed a three-part series in La Repubblica, which said General Pollari had knowingly provided the United States and Britain with forged documents. The newspaper, a staunch opponent of Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, also reported that General Pollari had acted at the behest of Mr. Berlusconi, who was said to be eager to help President Bush in the search for weapons in Iraq. "
There were also reports that Martino was actually working for French intelligence, but why would the French want to send the U.S. evidence supporting the case for invading Iraq when they were supposedly, and very publicly, opposed to the war? The Italians seem to be trying to cover their collective asses.
If I were a conspiracy theorist, I'd be looking for evidence of said conspiracy among the leadership of, what, at least four different western nations? Naaahhh! Too weird and crazy! But then again, things are real spooky here.