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    18 May 2004
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    From Dr. Juan Cole,

    Powell Admission Begs Question

    By now most persons with a television and an interest in US affairs will have seen the bizarre scene in which Deputy Press Secretary Emily Miller, an aide to Colin Powell, attempted to pull him off camera and stop him from answering a question put by Tim Russert of Meet the Press. What is bizarre is that she actually tried to lie to Powell and convince him that Russert had finished the interview. If I were Powell, I'd try to find out for whom she is really working. When Powell told her to get out of the way and came back on camera, he made a startling admission.

    MR. RUSSERT: Thank you very much, sir.

    In February of 2003, you put your enormous personal reputation on the line before the United Nations and said that you had solid sources for the case against Saddam Hussein. It now appears that an agent called "Curve Ball" had misled the CIA by suggesting that Saddam had trucks and trains that were delivering biological chemical weapons.

    How concerned are you that some of the information you shared with the world is now inaccurate and discredited?

    SECRETARY POWELL: I'm very concerned. When I made that presentation in February 2003, it was based on the best information that the Central Intelligence Agency made available to me. We studied it carefully. We looked at the sourcing and the case of the mobile trucks and trains. There was multiple sourcing for that. Unfortunately, that multiple sourcing over time has turned out to be not accurate, and so I'm deeply disappointed.

    But I'm also comfortable that at the time that I made the presentation it reflected the collective judgment, the sound judgment, of the intelligence community, but it turned out that the sourcing was inaccurate and wrong and, in some cases, deliberately misleading. And for that I'm disappointed, and I regret it.

    Powell for the first time has gone beyond admitting that the intel on Iraq WMD was inaccurate to calling some of it deliberately misleading. If it was deliberately misleading, however, that implies that someone deliberately misled. That is, there are human actors with intentions. If a government official deliberately misled Powell on this matter, that is clearly a crime that should be prosecuted.

    So, will the other shoe now drop? Is Powell laying the groundwork for an impeachment of Douglas Feith or Paul Wolfowitz?

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