Pajamas Media Advisory Board member Michael Leeden (strangely his profile still says he's an advisory board member for the defunct OSM) has made some telling admissions to Raw Story.
A controversial neoconservative who occasionally consulted for the Bush Defense Department has confirmed that he was a contributor to the Italian magazine Panorama, whose reporter first came across forged documents which purported that Iraq was seeking to obtain uranium from Niger.It's nice to look back on his Pajamas profile and ponder this quote again.
The bogus documents became the basis for the infamous sixteen words in President Bush's 2003 State of the Union Address, in which he detailed his case for war. Their origin has been one of the most persistent mysteries in how American intelligence on Iraq was so wrong.
In an email to RAW STORY, occasional Bush foreign affairs advisor Michael Ledeen confirmed that he was, "several years ago," a regular contributor to Panorama. Leeden would not provide more specificity.
While most Americans have yet to hear of Ledeen or Panorama, the confirmation of his work with the publication adds yet another dimension to the Niger forgeries scandal and possible U.S. government involvement in pre-war intelligence manipulation.
Ledeen denies that he was involved in the Niger forgeries. He says he has no knowledge of the documents or how they came to be provided to the U.S. government.
The documents were later debunked as forgeries, though not before their content had been referenced in the President's State of the Union Address. Questions remain over whether the Administration knew they were forgeries, since it took the International Atomic Energy Agency just a few hours to discredit them in March 2003, shortly after which the U.S. invaded Iraq.
John Pike, director of the military watchdog GlobalSecurity.org, recently told RAW STORY the path of the documents from Italy to the White House is troubling.
"The thing that was so embarrassing about the episode was not simply that the documents were forgeries, but that they were clumsy forgeries, as was so quickly determined by the IAEA," Pike said. "It is one thing to be taken in, but to be so easily taken in suggests either bewildering incompetence or intentional deception, or possibly both."
While Ledeen admits to writing for Panorama, he explained that the work had been in the past, saying, "That would be a couple of years ago."
But "a couple of years ago" would be right around the time when the forgeries were delivered to Burba or sent from the U.S. embassy in Rome via backchannels to the U.S. State Department, bypassing the CIA and other intelligence agencies.
The exciting thing about Pajamas is that the blogosphere will, for the first time, come pre-filtered.By whom, and for what reason is the question.