Skip to comments.IRAQ: Powell Defends Information He Used to Justify Iraq War
Posted on 05/30/2003 11:45:58 PM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach
May 31, 2003
Powell Defends Information He Used to Justify Iraq WarBy JAMES DAO and THOM SHANKER
ASHINGTON, May 30 Secretary of State Colin L. Powell today fiercely defended the intelligence used by the Bush administration to justify war against Iraq, saying he spent several late nights poring over the Central Intelligence Agency's reports because he knew the credibility of the country and the president were at stake.
The C.I.A.'s prewar assessments have been sharply questioned by some intelligence officials and lawmakers in recent days, as American forces have uncovered only limited evidence of unconventional weapons programs and Iraqi ties to terrorists.
After complaints from intelligence officials that they felt Defense Department pressure to support the administration on Iraq, the C.I.A. has started a review to determine whether its prewar assessments of Saddam Hussein's weapons programs were accurate.
Another top official, George Tenet, the director of central intelligence, insisted today that his agency's work had not been compromised by politics.
"I'm enormously proud of the work of our analysts," he said in a statement. "The integrity of our process has been maintained throughout, and any suggestion to the contrary is simply wrong."
The House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence has also asked the agency to report on its Iraq intelligence, and may hold closed-door hearings on the issue, House officials said.
Mr. Powell used those assessments along with satellite photographs and intercepted conversations between Iraqi military officers in a dramatic presentation to the United Nations on Feb. 5, when he argued that Iraq's weapons programs and links to Al Qaeda made it an imminent threat to the world.
Asked today if he thought those assessments had been politicized to bolster the administration's call to arms, Mr. Powell said no, calling it "solid information" based on multiple sources presented to him by unbiased analysts.
"I went out to the C.I.A., and I spent four days and four nights going over everything that they had," Mr. Powell told reporters traveling on Air Force One to Poland. For three consecutive nights, the chore kept him at the agency until midnight, he said. "I knew that it was the credibility of the United States that was going to be on the line on the fifth of February. The credibility of the president of the United States and my credibility."
At the time, Mr. Powell was widely viewed as the most cautious member of President Bush's national security team on Iraq, and his urgent presentation to the United Nations in February was intended to provide an extra layer of credibility to the administration's case for war.
Mr. Powell argued today that the accuracy of the prewar assessments was proven by the discovery of two Iraqi trailers that the C.I.A. and Pentagon have concluded were designed to produce deadly germs. Mr. Powell presented drawings of suspected mobile biological labs to the United Nations in February.
"You should have seen the smile on my face when one day the intelligence community came in and gave me a photo, and said, `Look,' " Mr. Powell said today. "And it was almost identical to the cartoon that I had put up in New York on the Fifth of February."
But doubts about the accuracy of the prewar intelligence have spread in Congress. In a letter sent last week to George J. Tenet, the director of central intelligence, the House Intelligence Committee said it intended "to re-evaluate" American intelligence on Iraq's weapons programs and links to terrorists.
"The committee wants to ensure that the intelligence analysis relayed to our policymakers from the intelligence community was accurate, unbiased and timely," said the letter, signed by the committee's Republican chairman, Representative Porter J. Goss of Florida, and ranking Democrat, Representative Jane Harman of California.
A senior military commander on the ground in Iraq also told reporters today that he was surprised that Iraq never fired chemical or biological weapons as American forces drove for Baghdad, and was equally surprised that none of these weapons had yet been found.
"It was a surprise to me then, it remains a surprise to me now, that we have not uncovered weapons, as you say, in some of the forward dispersal sites," said Lt. Gen. James Conway, commander of the First Marine Expeditionary Force. "Again, believe me, it's not for lack of trying."
Speaking to Pentagon reporters in a video teleconference from Iraq, General Conway said, "What the regime was intending to do in terms of its use of the weapons, we thought we understood."
He added, "We were simply wrong."
|Straw, Powell had serious doubts over their Iraqi weapons claims ^
The "Big Guy" is pissed!
Media watching is soon to become an "event".
But anyone who believes that Iraq didn't have these weapons and thia war was some kind of sinister plot by Bush & Blair, I have a bridge over a desert I want to sell you
|Public was misled, claim ex-CIA men ^
|Wolfowitz says Saudi troop withdrawal was 'huge' reason for war with Iraq ^
|US Intel 'Simply Wrong' on Chemical Attack-General ^
|Sending a Serious Message to Syria ^
|Iraq weapons questions dog allies - U.S. downplays issues; Blair faces criticism ^
|The Case For War Is Blown Apart ^
|2 trailers deemed biological arms labs ^
|CIA convinced truck-trailers held bioweapons labs ^
|Blair Warns Iran, Syria Not to Back 'Terrorists' ^
|Survey shows Iraqi people support US Presence ^
|Bush case on defense plan cites N. Korea ^
|Ledeen: The Moment of Truth? U.S. policy could determine Irans destiny. ^
|Turkey's Military Chief Warns Pro-Islamic Government Of Possible Coup ^
|Bremer: Coalition Has 'Established Control' ^
One of my two best friends (they're twins) works for the United States State Department. He was assigned to Kuwait for the past five months and was there during the war. He e-mailed me in early May that he his boss (also in the State Department) told him that coalition forces found and captured Iraqi WMDs even before the fall of Baghdad on April 9, 2003. He said that the coalition would release this information and present the evidence at a proper time. When this time would be, his boss did not have any knowledge.
Also, my friend is a Bush-hater. College did that to him, so he's not a Bush-bot, but a Democrat supporter. Heck, he works for the United States State Department.
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That's very interesting. I should have known -- considering my friend called Bush a coke addict -- that he would even share this information with me. If this is true, I wonder why the coalition is holding back this information.
Other links of interest:
Back in September, Our spy satellites detected convoys of trucks moving into Syria with suspected WMD's and they have evidence that dozens of trucks had their payloads buried in Syria, just over the border from Iraq. There was mention of this in the news back then but as usual these kind of FACTS never seem to register on the radar screens of the leftist lemmings in the press.
The reality is that if they're found this late, after all of the media questioning about their existance, there will be accusations of them being planted.
Maybe the powers-that-be should look at the sources of their information. Just to make sure none of it came from parties that had an axe to grind against the Iraqui government.
Iraq had the weapons, some were dumped into the Tigris (and who knows where else), some are hidden away in the desert somewhere, some were doubtless moved across the Iranian and Syrian borders. But they had them, they threatened to use them, and they planned to use them. Otherwise, they wouldn't have gone to the trouble of providing chem suits and atropine injectors.
The problem with that is, if they no longer existed, it negated the reason given to be there in the first place. And, the next thing, liberating the Iraquis...well, I doubt letting a Shiite majority vote for their government was on the screen.
This incursion and the one in Afghanistan will be up to history to judge. But, it'll be hard. You can't evaluate what didn't happen. I suspect that disrupting the flow of things in these Mideast hotbeds stopped at least some terrorist acts.
Meanwhile, something has to be done to stabilize the region. I'm glad GWB is now bringing up the Palestinian issue and insisting the Israelis come along for the ride.
So you are buying into the Leftists argument that finding the WMD was the only reason to be there?
I'm stating that the Weapons of Mass Destruction are the persuasive argument that Colin Powell used to support going into Iraq.
All in due time, my friends, all in due time. They'll let the leftist shouting get shrill enough and loud enough, then the WMD's will start to appear. We may even go into Syria and the Bekaa valley to get some more of them and do a little house cleaning at the same time.
Hezbollah and Hamas have been asking for a party for a long time and we might just give 'em one. Wouldn't hurt the "Road Map" plans either.
my penny's worth of thoughts.
By the time they DO notice, the landscape over there will be quite different.
"Those people who are sitting there saying 'Oh it is all going to be proved to be a great big fib got out by the security services, there will be no weapons of mass destruction', just wait and have a little patience," he said.
"I certainly do know some of the stuff that has already been accumulated...which is not yet public but what we are going to do is assemble that evidence and present it properly."
This is an exceprt from a Drudge article quoting Tony Blair. Proof positive that evidence will be forthcoming, much to the chagrin of the whining RATs and those who buy their lies.
Won't be long before the "I Told You So's" can commence. The RATs fall for it every time. Pinging Sen. KKK Byrd
Posted on 02/15/2003 4:51 PM PST by Pokey78
Tony Blair tells critics of war that leaving Saddam in power has a 'blood cost'
I continue to want to solve the issue of Iraq and weapons of mass destruction through the UN. Dr Blix reported to the UN yesterday and there will be more time given to inspections. But let no one forget two things. To anyone familiar with Saddam's tactics of deception and evasion, there is a weary sense of déjà vu. As ever, at the last minute, concessions are made. And, as ever, it is the long finger that is directing them. The concessions are suspect; unfortunately, the weapons are real.
The time needed is not the time it takes the inspectors to discover the weapons. They are not a detective agency. We played that game for years in the 1990s. The time is the time necessary to make a judgment: is Saddam prepared to co-operate fully or not? If he is, the inspectors can take as much time as they want. If he is not, if this is a repeat of the 1990s - and I believe it is - then let us be under no doubt what is at stake.
By going down the UN route, we gave the UN an extraordinary opportunity and a heavy responsibility. The opportunity is to show that we can meet the menace to our world today together, collectively and as a united international commu nity. What a mighty achievement that would be. The responsibility, however, is indeed to deal with it.
Remember: the UN inspectors would not be within 1,000 miles of Baghdad without the threat of force. Saddam would not be making a single concession without the knowledge that forces were gathering against him. I hope, even now, Iraq can be disarmed peacefully, with or without Saddam. But if we show weakness now, if we allow the plea for more time to become just an excuse for prevarication until the moment for action passes, it will not only be Saddam who is repeating history. The menace will grow, the authority of the UN will be lost and the conflict when it comes will be more bloody.
11 September did not just kill thousands of innocent people. It was meant to bring down the Western economy. It did not do so, but we live with the effects of it even today. It was meant to divide Muslim and Christian, Arab and Western nations, and to provoke us to hate each other. It didn't succeed, but that is what it was trying to do.
States developing weapons of mass destruction, proliferating them, importing or exporting the scientific expertise, the ballistic missile technology, the companies and individuals helping them don't operate within any international treaties. They don't conform to any rules.
And with terrorist groups already using chemical and biological agents with money to spend, do we really believe that if al-Qaeda could get a dirty bomb they wouldn't use it? Think of the consequences. Think of a nation using a nuclear device, no matter how small, no matter how distant the land. That is why Saddam and weapons of mass destruction are important.
At every stage, we should seek to avoid war. But if the threat cannot be removed peacefully, please let us not fall for the delusion that it can be safely ignored.
Al-Qaeda attacked the US, not the other way round. Were the people of Bali in the forefront of the anti-terror campaign? Did Indonesia 'make itself a target'? The terrorists won't be nice to us if we're nice to them. When Saddam drew us into the Gulf war, he was not provoked. He invaded Kuwait.
No one seriously believes Saddam is yet co-operating fully. In all honesty, most people don't really believe he ever will. So what holds people back? What brings thousands of people out in protests across the world? And let's not pretend that in March or April or May or June people will feel different. It's not really an issue of timing or 200 inspectors versus 100. It is a right and entirely understandable hatred of war. It is moral purpose, and I respect that.
But the moral case against war has a moral answer: it is the moral case for removing Saddam. It is not the reason we act. That must be according to the UN mandate on weapons of mass destruction. But it is the reason, frankly, why if we do have to act, we should do so with a clear conscience.
Yes, there are consequences of war. If we remove Saddam by force, people will die, and some will be innocent. And we must live with the consequences of our actions, even the unintended ones.
But there are also consequences of 'stop the war'. There will be no march for the victims of Saddam, no protests about the thousands of children that die needlessly every year under his rule, no righteous anger over the torture chambers which if he is left in power, will remain in being.
I rejoice that we live in a country where peaceful protest is a natural part of our democratic process. But I ask the marchers to understand this.
I do not seek unpopularity as a badge of honour. But sometimes it is the price of leadership and the cost of conviction.
If there are 500,000 on the [Stop the War] march, that is still less than the number of people whose deaths Saddam has been responsible for. If there are one million, that is still less than the number of people who died in the wars he started.
So if the result of peace is Saddam staying in power, not disarmed, then I tell you there are consequences paid in blood for that decision too. But these victims will never be seen, never feature on our TV screens or inspire millions to take to the streets. But they will exist none the less.
I want us to be a Government which has the intelligence, the vision and the foresight to see that there is nothing inconsistent in saying that we will increase our aid to development and give hope to Africa, yet be prepared if necessary to fight to defend the values we believe in.
This is the testing time, the difficult, the tough time, but if we come through it the prize is not just a Government able to carry on; it is far more important than that: it is a signal that we will have changed politics for good.
This is an edited extract of the Prime Minister's speech to delegates at the Labour Party's spring conference in Glasgow yesterday.
Anybody who Saddam didn't have these weapons has been listening to Michael Moore and Sean Penn too long
Um, last time I checked, the people who were claiming there are no WMDs are the media. Bush et al has been carefully wording his statements, and has said several times that there are weapons and that he can prove it. There could well be strategic reasons not to lay them out for a photo op just yet. Certainly, we'll soon find out. The drumbeat to put his cards on the table is reaching a crescendo. However, and I've said this before, it's my opinion that much of it has already been revealed, not that the media cares to cover it.
Perhaps they prefer the justification used to initiate the Kosovo operation under the esteemed Clinton administration. Holding back information is NO LIE (mobile labs anyone?).
Whether or not WMD was the primary motive for regime change is a ridiculous argument posited by those opposed to the Administration. Ask the tongueless Iraqis, the raped mothers, the residents of the numerous mass graves, the graduates of the torture chambers, the exploded, shot, hanged, shredded and acid bathed corpses if they feel the LIES of the Bush Administration should be trumpeted across the pages of FReeRepublic.