Washington, July 17 (Reuters): A Democratic senator charged today that CIA director George Tenet had told members of Congress that a White House official had insisted on including a disputed allegation about Saddam Hussein’s push for a nuclear weapon in a presidential speech.
The allegation by Illinois Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin was quickly denounced by White House spokesman Scott McClellan, who called it “nonsense” in the latest cross-fire between the Republican White House and Democrats on Capitol Hill over the issue.
Durbin told ABC’s Good Morning America programme that Tenet had told the Senate Intelligence Committee in a closed-door session yesterday that a White House official had pushed for including a line about Iraq’s attempt to get uranium from Africa in President George W. Bush’s state of the union speech last January.
“He certainly told us who the person was who was insistent on putting this language in which the CIA knew to be incredible, this language about the uranium shipment from Africa. And there there was this negotiation between the White House and the CIA about just how far you could go and be close to the truth,” Durbin said.