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House oversight chairman wants Rice to answer Niger uranium lies

March 12, 2007

Washington, D.C. - The new chairman of a House investigative committee is demanding answers to questions he put to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice nearly four years ago about President Bush's assertion that Iraq once sought uranium from Africa.

The new chairman of a House investigative committee is demanding answers to questions he put to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice nearly four years ago about President Bush's assertion that Iraq once sought uranium from Africa.

In a letter released Monday, Rep. Henry Waxman said Rice responded to only five of 16 letters about the issue when he was the committee's ranking Democrat -- only those that had been co-signed by congressional Republicans.

"I am now renewing my request as the chairman of the chief oversight committee in the U.S. House of Representatives," he wrote.

The uranium claim, which Bush made in his 2003 State of the Union address, was a key element in the administration's case for the invasion of Iraq. Rice was President Bush's national security adviser at the time.

"As a result of your failure to respond, the committee still does not know what you knew about the fabricated Niger claim and when you knew it," Waxman, D-Calif., wrote to Rice on Monday.

"We also do not know how the fabricated claim made it into the president's State of the Union address."

"We continue to learn in a piecemeal fashion about other explicit warnings received by the White House about this bogus claim."

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