Whopper of the Week: Condi Rice.

Gossip, speculation, and scuttlebutt about politics.
July 25 2003 12:06 PM

Whopper of the Week: Condoleezza Rice

Her subtle distinction didn't exist.

"Bob Schieffer, CBS News: We now know, according to government officials, that [CIA director George] Tenet actually went to people and got the statement saying that [Saddam Hussein had recently sought large quantities of uranium from Africa] removed from a speech the president made in October. You're going to say it's different [from the State of the Union speech ], that [the wording in the October speech] was more specific.

"National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice:  Bob, it is different. It is different, and it's on a different basis.

"Schieffer:  But you changed it from being more specific because you didn't...

"Rice: It's—it's ...

"Schieffer: ... you couldn't ...

"Rice: It's different and it's on a different basis. And in fact the
Cincinnati speech was based on a single report and a single incident."


Exchange on CBS News' Face the Nation, July 13.

"George Tenet had a brief telephone conversation with me during the clearance process for the October 7 Cincinnati speech. This was the one—he asked that any reference to Iraq's attempt to purchase uranium from sources from Africa[italics Chatterbox's] to be deleted from the speech. The language he was referring to when he made that call was language that said the following—and I'll just quote it—'And the regime has been caught attempting to purchase substantial amounts of uranium oxide from sources in Africa. …'"

NSC deputy Steve Hadley at a White House press briefing, July 22.

Discussion. Rice was basically correct that a reference to "a single incident"—Saddam's purported attempt to purchase up to 500 metric tons of uranium oxide in Niger—was removed from the Cincinnati speech at Tenet's request. (It would have been more precise to say this was a reference to "a single number.") But Rice was wrong to say that this was the only change Tenet requested. Hadley, her deputy, revealed at the July 22 briefing that Tenet also objected to revised language in the speech referring more generally to Saddam's purported yellowcake safari. As Hadley's comment above makes clear, Tenet didn't want Bush to mention the yellowcake allegations at all.

Got a whopper? Send it to chatterbox@slate.com. To be considered, an entry must be an unambiguously false statement paired with an unambiguous refutation, and both must be derived from some appropriately reliable public source. Preference will be given to newspapers and other documents that Chatterbox can link to online.

Whopper Archive:

July 18, 2003: President Bush
July 10, 2003: Donald Rumsfeld
June 27, 2003: Remembering Strom
June 20, 2003: Billy Bulger
May 30, 2003: Ari Fleischer
May 23, 2003: Donald Rumsfeld
May 19, 2003: Un-Whopper: Ari Fleischer Tells Truth!
May 2, 2003: Peggy Cooper Cafritz
April 17, 2003: Eason Jordan
March 7, 2003: John Kerry
Feb. 28, 2003: Ari Fleischer
Feb. 14, 2003: Bill O'Reilly
Feb. 7, 2003: Saddam Hussein
Jan. 31, 2003: Karl Rove
Jan. 23, 2003: Bill Frist
Jan. 17, 2003: Naji Sabri
Jan. 10, 2003: Rod Paige

(Click here  to access the Whopper Archive for 2002 and here  to access the Whopper Archive for 2001.)

Timothy Noah is a former Slate staffer. His  book about income inequality is The Great Divergence.



The Ebola Story

How our minds build narratives out of disaster.

The Budget Disaster That Completely Sabotaged the WHO’s Response to Ebola

PowerPoint Is the Worst, and Now It’s the Latest Way to Hack Into Your Computer

The Shooting Tragedies That Forged Canada’s Gun Politics

A Highly Unscientific Ranking of Crazy-Old German Beers


Welcome to 13th Grade!

Some high schools are offering a fifth year. That’s a great idea.


The Actual World

“Mount Thoreau” and the naming of things in the wilderness.

Want Kids to Delay Sex? Let Planned Parenthood Teach Them Sex Ed.

Would You Trust Walmart to Provide Your Health Care? (You Should.)

  News & Politics
Oct. 22 2014 9:42 PM Landslide Landrieu Can the Louisiana Democrat use the powers of incumbency to save herself one more time?
Continuously Operating
Oct. 22 2014 2:38 PM Crack Open an Old One A highly unscientific evaluation of Germany’s oldest breweries.
Dear Prudence
Oct. 23 2014 6:00 AM Monster Kids from poorer neighborhoods keep coming to trick-or-treat in mine. Do I have to give them candy?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 23 2014 8:51 AM The Male-Dominated Culture of Business in Tech Is Not Great for Women
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Oct. 22 2014 5:27 PM The Slate Walking Dead Podcast A spoiler-filled discussion of Episodes 1 and 2.
Brow Beat
Oct. 23 2014 9:00 AM Exclusive Premiere: Key & Peele Imagines the Dark Side of the Make-A-Wish Program
Future Tense
Oct. 22 2014 5:33 PM One More Reason Not to Use PowerPoint: It’s The Gateway for a Serious Windows Vulnerability
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Oct. 23 2014 7:30 AM Our Solar System and Galaxy … Seen by an Astronaut
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.