According to The Washington Post, when occupying troops found no evidence of a current nuclear program, the statement and how it came to be in the speech became a focus for critics in Washington and foreign capitals to press the case that the White House manipulated facts to take the United States to war. The Post reported, "Dozens of interviews with current and former intelligence officials and policymakers in the United States, Britain, France and Italy show that the Bush administration disregarded key information available at the time showing that the Iraq-Niger claim was highly questionable."  With the release of the 2002 NIE report, the Bush administration was criticized for including the statement in the State of the Union despite CIA and State Department reports questioning its veracity.
Are they talking about this 2002 NIE Report???
Key Judgments (from October 2002 NIE) - Iraq's Continuing Programs for WeaponsA foreign government service reported that as of early 2001, Niger planned to send several tons of "pure uranium" (probably yellowcake) to Iraq. As of early 2001, Niger and Iraq reportedly were still working out arrangements for this deal, which would be for up to 500 tons of yellowcake. We do not know the status of this arrangement.
And from the Butler Committee:
a. It is accepted by all parties that Iraqi officials visited Niger in 1999. b. The British government had intelligence from several different sources indicating that this visit was for the purpose of acquiring uranium. Since uranium constitutes almost three-quarters of Niger's exports, the intelligence was credible. c. The evidence was not conclusive that Iraq actually purchased, as opposed to having sought, uranium, and the British government did not claim this.
Also if you read page 87 of the document you'll see information from the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research stating the claims were highly dubious. At the time there was no consensus and they had been warned that the claims are not established as fact. So even less reason to use it in the State of the Union
Last edited by Gill; 08-25-09 at 01:49 PM.
The key judgments hold more weight than the rest of the document. The information from global security was not in the key judgment summary but later down in the document. Also the State Department's agency concluded that the claims were dubious further down in the document. Again as according to your original wikipedia link there was conflicting information and not enough proof to even include it in the SOTU