News Release

Questions for Colin Powell


Yesterday, as Colin Powell left his interview on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” Sam Husseini of the Institute for Public Accuracy asked him about claims he made regarding Iraqi weapons of mass destruction in his speech at the UN Security Council before the invasion of Iraq.

Powell was asked by IPA about his speech’s citing of the defector Hussein Kamal, Saddam Hussein’s late son-in-law, in support of U.S. claims about Iraqi WMDs. When asked if he knew at the time he gave his UN speech on Feb. 5, 2003, that Hussein Kamal had stated that Iraq had destroyed its WMDs, Powell replied: “Of course not!” However, in the mid-1990s, Kamal told UN inspectors as well as CNN that Iraq no longer had WMDs.

In addition, Powell was questioned Sunday about his reported distortion of quotes from Iraqi intercepts at the UN session. Bob Woodward in his book “Plan of Attack” writes that Powell “had decided to add his personal interpretation of the intercepts to rehearsed script, taking them substantially further and casting them in the most negative light.”

But Powell did not address this allegation in his response on Sunday. Instead he replied: “Everything that was in that presentation that I gave was approved and edited by the intelligence community, the director of central intelligence and the deputy director of central intelligence and all of their principal assistants.” Video and transcript are available at Washington Stakeout.

A policy analyst who has written extensively on claims about Iraqi WMDs is available for comment:

Schwarz’s latest piece is titled “Powell Again Blames CIA For Fabrications And Lies-By-Omission In U.N. Speech” and provides a detailed critique of Powell’s comments Sunday as well as suggested follow-up questions.

For further background, see the media watch group FAIR’s media advisory “Star Witness on Iraq Said Weapons Were Destroyed,” from Feb. 27, 2003, three weeks before the invasion of Iraq. The FAIR advisory stated: “On Feb. 24 [2003] Newsweek broke what may be the biggest story of the Iraq crisis. In a revelation that ‘raises questions about whether the WMD stockpiles attributed to Iraq still exist,’ the magazine’s issue dated March 3 reported that the Iraqi weapons chief who defected from the regime in 1995 told UN inspectors that Iraq had destroyed its entire stockpile of chemical and biological weapons and banned missiles, as Iraq claims.”
More Information

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167