Democrats pressed for deeper investigation of prewar U.S. intelligence efforts Tuesday after the White House admitted President Bush had erred in his State of the Union speech when he said Saddam Hussein had tried to buy uranium in Africa.
"This is a very important admission," said Senate Democratic Leader Tom Daschle of South Dakota. "It's a recognition that we were provided faulty information."
Michael Anton, a spokesman for the White House's National Security Council, said in a statement, "We now know that documents alleging a transaction between Iraq and Niger had been forged."
Anton also said the documents were not the sole basis for Bush's contention in his speech that "the British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa."
The spokesman said that when Bush made the speech in January, there was other intelligence indicating that Iraq had tried to acquire uranium from several countries in Africa. This other information, however, was not detailed or specific enough to prove such a contention, he said.
On June 8, national security adviser Condoleezza Rice, too, had said on NBC's Meet the Press that Bush was wrong when he said the British government had learned that Iraq had sought uranium from Africa to build weapons.