"weapons of mass destruction" (WMD).
Former Secretary of State Colin Powell said about the importance of Weapons of Mass Destruction "Without the weapons of mass destruction present, as conveyed to us by the intelligence community in the most powerful way, I don't think there would have been a war. It was the reason we took it to the public, it was the reason we took it to the American people, to the Congress, who supported it on that basis, and it's the presentation I made to the United Nations. Without those weapons of mass destruction then Iraq did not present to the world the kind of threat that it did if it had weapons of mass destruction." (1 )
Speaking on Iraq "weapons of mass destruction" President Bush said on September 7, 2002 "I would remind you that when the inspectors first went into Iraq and were denied, finally denied access, a report came out of the Atomic-the IAEA-that they were six months away from developing a weapon. I don't know what more evidence we need".(2 ).
The IAEA did issue a report in 1998, around the time weapons inspectors were denied access to Iraq for the final time, but the report made no such assertion. It declared: "Based on all credible information to date, the IAEA has found no indication of Iraq having achieved its program goal of producing nuclear weapons or of Iraq having retained a physical capability for the production of weapon- useable nuclear material or having clandestinely obtained such material." The report said Iraq had been six to 24 months away from nuclear capability before the 1991 Gulf War (3 ).
On August 26, 2002 Vice President Cheney said "Many of us are convinced that Saddam will acquire nuclear weapons fairly soon. . . . There is no doubt he is amassing [WMD] to use against our friends, against our allies, and against us"(4 ).
On September of 2002 Condoleezza Rice said "There will always be some uncertainty about how quickly [Saddam] can acquire nuclear weapons. But we don't want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud."(5 ).
In his State of the Union address on January 28, 2003 President Bush said "The British Government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa.",(6 ).
The Uranium from Africa claim may have come from a dubious British intelligence report, Several letter were given to the USA embassy by Italian Journalist Elisabetta Burba on October 11 2002. when asked why she didn't publish the information she said "The story seemed fake to me. ... I realized that this could be a worldwide scoop, but that's exactly why I was very worried. If it turned out to be a hoax, and I published it, it would have ended my career.". the letters were circulated by American intelligence but with the warning they were of "dubious authenticity."( 7 ).