By Ray Fleming IT begins to look as if Britain and the United States were taking in each other's intelligence washing in the run up to the Iraq war. There has been a general assumption that a lot of the intelligence information deployed by Downing Street must have come from United States sources given that country's vastly greater resources for gathering it. However, it emerged yesterday that one of the false claims made by the White House last March had its origins in Britain. In his State of the Union speech in March President Bush said that “The British government has learnt that Saddam Hussein has purchased uranium from Africa”. It was an important claim to make because it added veracity to the idea that Iraq was a “clear and present” danger to the United States. Yesterday the White House reluctantly admitted that “We couldn't prove the claim and it might in fact be wrong”. It was, in fact, wrong, and the White House has known this for some time. President Bush sent Joseph C Williams, a former ambassador, to Niger in West Africa to investigate the alleged purchases of uranium; he reported back that the intelligence was probably fraudulent and should not be relied upon. None the less, President Bush did rely on it and misled the US Congress and the American people - rather as Mr Blair used the “dodgy dossier” in his speech in Parliament in March. Last week, in frustration, Mr Williams brought this incident into the open in The New York Times. The evidence accumulates that neither Mr Bush nor Mr Blair can be trusted.