ROME — Italy's spy chief denied Thursday that Italian intelligence had a hand in distributing a dossier that claimed Iraq's then-president, Saddam Hussein, tried to buy uranium in Niger, lawmakers here said.
Enzo Bianco, chairman of an oversight committee on secret services, said that the intelligence chief, Nicolo Pollari, and Gianni Letta, an aide to Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, briefed lawmakers after a newspaper reported that Italy had passed the dossier to Britain and the U.S., knowing it was a fake.
Bianco said the officials denied that SISMI, Italy's secret service, "ever had a role in the dossier that was supposed to have demonstrated that Iraq was in an advanced phase of possession of enriched uranium."
The U.S. and Britain used the claim that Hussein was seeking uranium in Africa to bolster their case for the war. The intelligence supporting the claim was later deemed unreliable.