What Bush knew, when he knew it

A Rove-led coverup of Bush's role in the aluminum tube scandal is revealed.

Michael Scherer
March 31, 2006 2:28AM (UTC)

Back in the summer of 2003, advisors to President Bush bent over backward to tell America that the boss knew nothing about intelligence disagreements over Saddam Hussein's (nonexistent) nuclear program. "The president of the United States is not a fact-checker," announced White House communications director Dan Bartlett.

That was the official line anyway. Today, the National Journal reports that Bush was "personally warned that a key rationale for going to war had been challenged within the administration."


The warning apparently came in the form of a one-page summary of the National Intelligence Estimate that Bush received in October 2002. It told the president about a dispute within the U.S. government about whether Iraq was using aluminum tubes for conventional or nuclear purposes. Nonetheless, Bush would mention the tubes as nuclear devices, without qualification, in his State of the Union address three months later.

Presidential advisor Karl Rove, according to the article, made it a priority to keep this fact secret until after the 2004 election.

Rove pulled it off.

Michael Scherer

Michael Scherer is Salon's Washington correspondent. Read his other articles here.

MORE FROM Michael Scherer

Related Topics ------------------------------------------

War Room

Fearless journalism
in your inbox every day

Sign up for our free newsletter

• • •