Aluminum Tube Defense Goes 0 for 2

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The New York Times leads today with news that U.S. intelligence officials, once confident in their claims that North Korea was secretly pursuing the technologies for a plutonium-based nuclear bomb, are retreating somewhat from those claims as they reexamine the intelligence.

As U.S. News Senior Writer Thomas Omestad reported in this week's magazine, diplomat Christopher Hill, the chief U.S. negotiator with North Korea, stated that the country had acquired aluminum tubes "entirely consistent" with those needed for a uranium-enrichment program. Sound familiar? It should: This is very similar to the claim that then-Secretary of State Colin Powell made before the United Nations in 2003--except that the perpetrator was Iraq. Later, it came out that those tubes were most likely intended for rockets.

Just last week, the Institute for Science and International Study's David Albright penned a report casting doubt on those claims, writing, "a large centrifuge plant likely does not exist; perhaps it never did."

Etc.: Can Iran and North Korea be Stopped? on