updated 11/4/2005 12:19:54 PM ET 2005-11-04T17:19:54

Ah, Italy. The wine. The food. The forged documents claiming that Iraq was trying to buy yellowcake from Niger.

This is one of those stories that's getting very little play in the mainstream media but is all over the blogs. Italy may very well be the source for the dodgy intelligence on WMD's in Iraq. 

Last week, the left-leaning Italian paper "La Reppublica" ran an article alleging that the Italian government knowingly provided forged documents to the United States claiming that Iraq was trying to buy yellowcake.

Then, on Monday, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi met with President Bush at the White House.  Afterwards, a reporter asked Berlusconi about the story. He responded by saying that Bush himself said no WMD intelligence came from Italy.

That raised eyebrows, and the bloggers started digging.

The blog "Think Progress" has a transcript of yesterday's White House gaggle. A reporter asked McClellan if the statement was true. McClellan answered by saying that no documents or intelligence were exchanged in a white house meeting.

Fine, but not the complete answer.

Josh Marshall over at Talking Points Memo reports that on September 9 of 2002, National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley met with the Italian security chief. Yesterday at a briefing, Hadley was asked about this meeting. He said it was a courtesy call and nothing more.

Also yesterday, mainstream news sources were getting into the act. Reuters reported that in October of 2002, just one month after that meeting between Hadley and the Italian, a journalist gave copies of the forged Niger documents to the U.S. Embassy in Rome.

If the report in Reuters is true, the documents came from Italy.

The question is whether Italian officials were involved, and if they knew at the time that the intelligence was bogus.

Today on the show, the arraignment of Scooter Libby and a close look at how our nation should handle terror suspects. Is torture ever an acceptable option? Also, just how will abortion rights play a role in the confirmation hearings of Sam Alito? Join us.

Links:
Nur al-Cubicle
Think Progress
Talking Points Memo
Reuters

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