Whopper of the Week: Donald Rumsfeld.

Gossip, speculation, and scuttlebutt about politics.
July 10 2003 6:49 PM

Whopper of the Week: Donald Rumsfeld

Oh, that IAEA finding …

"Q: Secretary Rumsfeld, when did you know that the reports about [Iraq seeking] uranium coming out of Africa were bogus?

"A:Oh, within recent days, since the information started becoming available."

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, answering a question posed by Sen. Mark Pryor, D.-Ark., at a hearing of the Senate Armed Services committee, July 10.

"The [International Atomic Energy Agency] has made progress in its investigation into reports that Iraq sought to buy uranium from Niger in recent years. … The IAEA was … able to review correspondence coming from various bodies of the Government of Niger, and to compare the form, format, contents and signatures of that correspondence with those of the alleged procurement-related documentation.

"Based on thorough analysis, the IAEA has concluded, with the concurrence of outside experts, that these documents—which formed the basis for the reports of recent uranium transactions between Iraq and Niger—are in fact not authentic. We have therefore concluded that these specific allegations are unfounded."

Dr. Mohamed ElBaradei, director of the International Atomic Energy Agency, in a March 7 statement to the United Nations Security Council. ElBaradei's statement was reported March 8 on the front page of the Washington Post, Rumsfeld's hometown newspaper, and was also widely reported in other TV and print outlets around the world.

(Thanks to Joshua Micah Marshall's Talking Points Memo.)

Discussion. The only thing that's happened "within recent days" is that the White House finally conceded what had long been known to anyone paying the slightest attention—i.e., that President Bush shouldn't have stated the Niger connection as fact in this year's State of the Union address. This admission was prompted by a July 6 New York Times op-ed by Joseph C. Wilson 4th, a former career foreign-service officer, who—nearly a year before Bush's speech—was sent by the CIA (at Vice President Dick Cheney's behest) to check out the Niger-Iraq allegation. In the Times piece, Wilson wrote that he had found, and reported, that the story had no apparent factual basis—and that the embassy had repeatedly stated the same conclusion in cables to Washington.

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:
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



Driving in Circles

The autonomous Google car may never actually happen.

Where Ebola Lives Between Outbreaks

Gunman Killed Inside Canadian Parliament; Soldier Shot at National Monument Dies

Sleater-Kinney Was Once America’s Best Rock Band

Can it be again?

Paul Farmer: Up to 90 Percent of Ebola Patients Should Survive

Is he right?


“I’m Not a Scientist” Is No Excuse

Politicians brag about their ignorance while making ignorant decisions.


The Right to Run

If you can vote, you should be able to run for public office—any office.

In Praise of 13th Grade: Why a Fifth Year of High School Is a Great Idea 

Renée Zellweger’s New Face Is Too Real

  News & Politics
The World
Oct. 22 2014 2:05 PM Paul Farmer Says Up to Ninety Percent of Those Infected Should Survive Ebola. Is He Right?
Continuously Operating
Oct. 22 2014 2:38 PM Crack Open an Old One A highly unscientific evaluation of Germany’s oldest breweries.
Gentleman Scholar
Oct. 22 2014 5:54 PM May I Offer to Sharpen My Friends’ Knives? Or would that be rude?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 22 2014 4:27 PM Three Ways Your Text Messages Change After You Get Married
  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. 22 2014 4:10 PM Skinny Mark Wahlberg Goes for an Oscar: The First Trailer for The Gambler
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
Wild Things
Oct. 22 2014 2:42 PM Orcas, Via Drone, for the First Time Ever
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.