January 11, 2005


Despite false claim, his star rises: Former Bush aide eyed for State job (Bryan Bender, 1/11/2005, Boiston Globe)

The man who insisted that President Bush make the claim that Saddam Hussein was seeking uranium for nuclear weapons in Africa is poised to assume a top State Department job that would make him the lead US arms negotiator with Iran and North Korea, according to administration officials.

Robert G. Joseph, a special assistant for national security to President Bush until a few months ago, is on the short list to become undersecretary of state for arms control and international security, the nation's senior diplomat in charge of negotiating arms control treaties, said the officials, who spoke on the condition they not be named.

Secretary of State-designate Condoleezza Rice, who was Joseph's boss at the National Security Council, has been a strong supporter of Joseph, the officials said. Joseph did not respond to messages yesterday.

White House and intelligence officials have identified him as the official who included the uranium claim in the president's 2003 State of the Union address, despite strong CIA objections. Joseph has said he believed the CIA's disagreement was over the sourcing of the assertion, not whether the claim was accurate, the White House said about six months after the speech. But the apparent willingness of the administration to consider promoting someone who was involved in one of its biggest embarrassments drew immediate fire from critics.

Like the insistence that Alberto Gonzales was responsible for torture, this criticism misapprehends how the Bush White House works--they aren't rogue employees; they're staffers doing the President's bidding.

Posted by Orrin Judd at January 11, 2005 9:50 AM

The Globe's published a headline to this story that stated that he was responsible for a "false" statement being included in Bush's speech. This is incorrect. The famous 16 words stated that British Intelligence had reported that Iraq was trying to obtain uranium in Africa, which was literally true.

Posted by: George at January 11, 2005 10:44 AM

Not only literally true, but substantively true, too. Iraq tried at least twice to buy yellowcake from Niger, with one of the approaches having been reported back to the administration by Joseph Wilson.

Posted by: David Cohen at January 11, 2005 11:52 AM

Not one mention of Joe Wilson's tattered credibility anywhere... the Globe has decided to erase that little bit of history.

Posted by: HH at January 11, 2005 1:56 PM