The aluminum tubes that the administration utilized as a primary piece of evidence of Iraq's supposed nuclear program were actually discredited by the Energy Department two years ago, and Condoleeza Rice's staff was aware of it (registration required):
But almost a year before, Ms. Rice's staff had been told that the government's foremost nuclear experts seriously doubted that the tubes were for nuclear weapons, according to four officials at the Central Intelligence Agency and two senior administration officials, all of whom spoke on condition of anonymity. The experts, at the Energy Department, believed the tubes were likely intended for small artillery rockets.
Despite having a handle on this information, Rice still used the bleak threat of smoking guns in the form of mushroom clouds in 2002, the favored administration scare tactic/sound bite (scare bite?) from that time. Today on ABC's "This Week" Rice continued to defend the administration's stance on the aluminum tubes and Hussein's supposed nuclear aspirations. How did she respond to the report of internal uncertainty over the tubes? Well, she made use of the administration's last resort: complete and utter ignorance:
On Sunday, Rice acknowledged she was aware of a debate within the U.S. intelligence community about whether the tubes were intended for nuclear weapons. "I knew that there was a dispute. I actually didn't really know the nature of the dispute."
So, the National Security Adviser was aware of a dispute pertaining to the primary reason the administration was rushing to war, yet she did not get on the phone to at least figure out the specifics? Amazing.