Murray Waas' excellent reporting, showing that Cheney knew full well that the smear campaign against Joe Wilson was intended to promote a lie, should remind us what happened over 13 days in March 2003:
March 3, 2003: International Atomic Energy Agency ("IAEA") tells U.S. Mission in Vienna that Niger-Iraq uranium documents are forgeries.
Senate committee report on Iraq's pre-war intelligence, p. 70
March 7, 2003: IAEA reveals that the documents are "inauthentic" to the U.N.
[T]hese documents - which formed the basis for the reports of recent uranium transactions between Iraq and Niger - are in fact not authentic. Director General of IAEA, Dr. Mohamed ElBaradei, to the U.N. Security Council
"The forgers had made relatively crude errors that eventually gave them away -- including names and titles that did not match up with the individuals who held office at the time the letters were purportedly written, the officials said." The Washington Post March 8, 2003
There is no indication that Iraq has attempted to import uranium since 1990.
After three months of intrusive inspections, we have to date found no evidence or plausible indication of the revival of a nuclear weapons programme in Iraq. Dr. ElBaradei to the U.N. Security Council
March 11, 2003: CIA concedes the documents are "inauthentic".
"[W]e do not dispute the IAEA Director general's conclusion...that documents on Iraq's agreement to buy uranium from Niger are not authentic." Stated both in a CIA[REDACTED]assessment sent for limited distrribution and a current intelligence piece sent to Defense Secretary Rumsfeld, Senate committee report, p. 71
March 16, 2003: Dick Cheney says the CIA disputes the IAEA.
Tim Russert: And even though the International Atomic Energy Agency said he does not have nuclear program, we disagree?
Dick Cheney: I disagree, yes. And you'll find the CIA, for example, and other key parts of our intelligence community disagree. ... [W]e know he has been absolutely devoted to trying to acquire nuclear weapons. And we believe he has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons. I think Mr. ElBaradei frankly is wrong. Meet the Press, March 16, 2003
Was Cheney referring to a disagreement over the aluminum tubes, versus the purported uranium sale? Cheney is a very slippery guy. The Senate Intelligence Committee report on pre-war Iraq intelligence recounts nothing on aluminum tubes after December 2002; though it does give 20 conclusions asserting that the CIA was wrong every step of the way. But nothing, from any of the intelligence agencies, ever claimed that Iraq had reconstituted nuclear weapons, only the possibility of a nuclear weapons development program.
When will a journalist or public figure, outside the blogosphere, ever have enough balls to say flat out that Dick Cheney is a liar?