ROME -- Italy's spymaster identified an Italian occasional spy named Rocco Martino on Thursday as the disseminator of forged documents that described efforts by Iraq to buy hundreds of tons of uranium ore from Niger for a nuclear weapons program, three Italian lawmakers said Thursday.
The spymaster, Gen. Nicolo Pollari, director of the Italian military intelligence agency, disclosed that Martino was the source of the forged documents in closed-door testimony to a parliamentary committee that oversees secret services, the lawmakers said.
Sen. Massimo Brutti, a member of the committee, told reporters that Pollari had identified Martino as a former intelligence agency informer who had been "kicked out of the agency." He did not say Martino had been the forger.
The revelation came on a day when the Federal Bureau of Investigation confirmed that it had shut down its two-year investigation into the origin of the forged documents from Italy.
The information about Iraq's desire to acquire the uranium ore, known as yellowcake, was used by the Bush administration to help justify the invasion of Iraq. But the information was later revealed to have been based on forgeries.
The documents were the basis for sending a former American diplomat, Joseph Wilson, on a fact-finding mission to Niger that eventually exploded into a CIA leak inquiry that led to the indictment and resignation last week of Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby.