Italy’s spymaster confirmed Thursday that the disseminator of the forged Niger yellowcake documents was the long-suspected on-and-off Italian spy Rocco Martino, The New York Times reported. It’s nice to have one point settled in this complex story of how and why the forgeries — which were used by the Bush administration to justify the Iraq war — came into being.
But many questions remain. A recent three-part series in the Italian newspaper La Repubblica implicated the Italian government in the hoax, saying that Italy’s spymaster knowingly provided the forged documents to the United States. He was prodded, the anti-Berlusconi paper reported, by the prime minister, who was eager to supply the United States with intelligence on Iraq. But the FBI reportedly cleared the Italian government of any involvement in July.
And Italian lawmaker Massimo Brutti made a statement Thursday that Italian intelligence warned the United States in early 2003 that the documents were false — before President Bush gave his State of the Union address that included the faulty Iraq-uranium claim. But Brutti has since backed away from that statement, saying he was confused.
It seems as if every aspect of this story raises questions. Liberal blogger Josh Marshall has been asking many of them on his site Talking Points Memo. But it looks as if definitive answers will be hard to come by.
Posted by Melissa Cooley
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