The Italian Letter: How the Bush Administration Used a Fake Letter to Build the Case for War in Iraq

Front Cover
Rodale Books, Apr 3, 2007 - Political Science - 288 pages

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.

Eiser, a Washington Post editor, and Royce, a legendary investigative reporter in Washington, have produced a work that takes readers from Italy, to Niger, to Iraq, and into the Washington offices of the National Security Agency, the Central Intelligence Agency, the Defense Intelligence Agency, and inside the White House itself, to show that the document was a forgery. They suggest that this was not a case of finding out too late that certain intelligence information was faulty, but rather that the Bush administration used information it knew to be false to convince the Congress and the American public that Saddam Hussein was seeking materials to make a nuclear bomb. While news accounts and several books have exposed bits and pieces of this effort, this is the first book to offer a comprehensive, detailed account, relying on sources within the American Intelligence Community along with documents and human sources from all over the world, many of them exposed for the first time.

Key players in a true-life drama that continues to unfold including Scooter Libby, Joseph Wilson, Dick Cheney, George Tenet, and even George W. Bush, occupy this stage with such lesser known figures as Italian journalist Elisabetta Burba and an intelligence freelancer named Rocca Martino.

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Filled with headline-making revelations, this explosive account by two award-winning investigative reporters tracks the behind-the-scenes story of the forged intelligence document that the Bush ... Read full review


Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 6
Chapter 7
Vienna Spy Central
Mr and Mrs Wilson
Chapter 12
Chapter 13
Chapter 14
Majority Report
Chapter 17
Chapter 18

About the author (2007)

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.

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