More than a decade after the U.S. invasion of Iraq, this investigative report on the Bush administration's march toward war is more relevant than ever. Timely and revealing, The Italian Letter provides explosive, historic insights for a greater understanding of the Iraq War and how the United States got there. This exclusive edition is updated to reflect the most recent developments.
The so-called Italian letter is a package of allegedly forged documents that seem to be based on articles stolen from the Nigerian embassy in Rome in 2001. The document was nonetheless adopted by the Bush administration as a basis for going to war with Iraq, even though the letter has been widely dismissed by a variety of key players in the U.S. Intelligence Community years before President Bush cited it in his 2003 State of the Union speech.
There are few true stories with as much drama, intrigue, and mystery as that of the Italian Letter. Known all along by many in the U.S. intelligence community to have been a forgery, the Bush administration adopted the Italian Letter as a basis for going to war, making it the justification behind the rally for war
With unparalleled reporting skills and harrowing analysis, the authors, Eisner, a veteran editor with the Washington Post and Newsday, and Royce, a legendary, Pulitzer-prize winning investigative reporter in Washington--have produced a groundbreaking, riveting work.
The Italian Letter takes readers from Italy, to Niger, to Iraq and into the Washington offices of the National Security Agency, The Central Intelligence Agency, Defense Intelligence Agency and inside the White House itself, demonstrating that this was not a case of finding out too late that certain intelligence information was faulty. Rather, with calculation and single-minded purpose, the Bush administration used information it knew was questionable to convince Congress and the American public that Saddam Hussein was seeking materials to make a nuclear bomb.
The book, wrote Lawrence Wilkerson, former chief of staff to Colin Powell, conveys "the duplicity, subterfuge, propaganda, and outright lies that helped sell many Americans on the need to invade Iraq. Read the book and weep for our democracy."
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PETER EISNER is deputy foreign editor at the Washington Post. The Post's coverage of the 2004 Asian tsunami, which he coordinated, won an award from the American Society of Newspaper Editors. He is also author of The Freedom Line, a winner of the 2004 Christopher Award. He lives in Bethesda, Maryland.
KNUT ROYCE was a major contributor to three Pulitzer Prize-winning stories in three different decades before joining the Center for Public Integrity as a senior fellow. He has won numerous journalism awards and was named by the Washingtonian as one of the two best investigative print reporters in the nation's capital. He lives in Fairfax, Virginia.
By Laurie Garrett, Council on Foreign Affairs
Pulitzer and Polk Prize winner, journalist and best-selling author.
"The Italian Letter is my choice for a brilliantly researched, jaw-dropping book that ought to be on every politician's reading list this week.....
"Eisner and Royce have written a cautionary tale of lies, deception, conceits of power and manipulationof government and public opinion....
"Make sure there aren't any Italian Letters.
From THE NEW YORKERIn October, 2002, in a basement bistro in Rome, an intelligence peddler named Rocco Martino handed a reporter a folder of documents. One of them, a letter describing the sale by Niger of five hundred tons of uranium to Iraq, made its way into President Bush's 2003 State of the Union speech before being exposed, by weapons inspectors, in a quick Internet search, as a fraud. Eisner and Royce get past the morass of speculation surrounding the documents to provide an important look at the shabby materials from which the Administration built its case for war.
Lawrence Wilkerson, chief of staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell, 2002-2005"The book conveys...the duplicity, subterfuge, propaganda, and outright lies that helped sell many Americans on the need to invade Iraq. Read the book and weep for our democracy."
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