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Transcripts from the Prime Ministers of Australia

Transcript 20791

Uranium Issue : CIA Director's Statement

Photo of Howard, John

Howard, John

Period of Service: 11/03/1996 to 03/12/2007

More information about Howard, John on The National Archive website.

Release Date: 12/07/2003

Release Type: Media Release

Transcript ID: 20791

The statement made today by the director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Mr George Tenet, makes the important point, that in its key document on Iraq's WMD programmes, a National Intelligence Estimate (NIE), the US intelligence community cited six reasons for the assessment that Iraq was reconstituting its nuclear weapons programme. The African uranium issue was not one of those six reasons.

The statement also mentions the absence of the uranium issue from an earlier CIA paper because, inter alia, "...it was not fundamental to the judgement that Iraq was reconstituting its nuclear weapons programme…"

These comments in the CIA director';s statement have put the African uranium issue into proper perspective. They support my claim that this issue has been blown out of all proportion.

It should also be noted again, that the reference made by me in my speech to parliament on the 4th February last to the African uranium issue quoted a judgement of the British Joint Intelligence Committee. The relevant British intelligence agencies continued to stand by that judgement. They rely on intelligence, which Australian agencies have not seen, separate from the documents declared by the International Atomic Energy Agency to have been forgeries.

Transcript 20791