Radio host Rush Limbaugh falsely declared that President George W. Bush, in a State of the Union address, "disowned" fraudulent intelligence concerning alleged Iraqi efforts to obtain uranium from Africa. In fact, Bush did just the opposite: He touted the flawed intelligence as evidence of the Iraqi threat..
Limbaugh's false assertion came in response to a caller to the June 18 broadcast of The Rush Limbaugh Show:
CALLER: Well, he [Bush] has misinformed the American public.
LIMBAUGH: On what? What did he misinform us about?
CALLER: I'm just talking about the false claim of uranium from Niger, that one that was very specific and stated --
LIMBAUGH: That was a British government claim, and Bush disowned it in a State of the Union speech.
Bush said in his 2003 State of the Union address:
"Our nation and the world must learn the lessons of the Korean Peninsula and not allow an even greater threat to rise up in Iraq. ... The International Atomic Energy Agency confirmed in the 1990s that Saddam Hussein had an advanced nuclear weapons development program, had a design for a nuclear weapon and was working on five different methods of enriching uranium for a bomb. The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa."
On June 12, 2003, The Washington Post quoted a White House spokesperson admitting that the documents that formed the basis for Bush's assertion were, in fact, forged. Director of Central Intelligence George J. Tenet admitted in a July 11, 2003, press statement that the president's claim was false and that -- given serious doubts the CIA and State Department had about the veracity of the African uranium intelligence at the time -- "[t]hese 16 words should never have been included in the text written for the president." (The New Yorker investigative reporter Seymour M. Hersh traced the history of the Niger forgery in a March 3, 2003, article.)