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November 20, 2005

No Wonder The Washington Press Corps Has So Much Respect For Colin Powell

Back in September Colin Powell was interviewed by Barbara Walters. She asked him about his U.N. presentation on Iraq, and he agreed it would always be "a blot" on his reputation. But then he added this:

POWELL: George Tenet did not sit there for five days with me, misleading me... He believed what he was giving to me was accurate. The intelligence system did not work well. There was some people in the intelligence community who knew at that time that some of these sources were not good and shouldn't be relied upon, and they didn't speak up. That devastated me.

WALTERS: Want to name names?

POWELL: I don't have the names. These are not senior people but these are people who were aware that some of these sources should not be considered reliable. And they were aware that we were putting this information in the believing.

So here's what Powell invited us to think:

1. He feels he'll always have this terrible blot on his reputation because of some low-level functionaries
2. He's never gone to the trouble of finding out who these functionaries are... despite the fact that their positions are provided in the Senate Intelligence Committee Phase I report as the Chief and Deputy Chief of the CIA's Iraqi Task Force.

It's hard to believe that's true, so let's ask someone else what Powell knew. This source is quoted in today's Los Angeles Times story on the bogus WMD intelligence, and is named Colin Powell:

Powell said he was never warned, during three days of intense briefings at CIA headquarters before his U.N. speech, that he was using material that both the DIA and CIA had determined was false. "As you can imagine, I was not pleased," Powell said. "What really made me not pleased was they had put out a burn notice on this guy, and people who were even present at my briefings knew it."

So...Powell knows these "people" were present at his briefings, and he's truly steamed up about it, but—if his previous statement to Walters remains operative—he still doesn't know who they were.

You bet.

I think the real question with Colin Powell is not why he has a blot on his reputation, but why he has any reputation left on his blot.

Posted at November 20, 2005 08:11 PM | TrackBack

Hang on a minute - isn't there some footage out there somewhere of Powell rehearsing that pitch, where he gets exasperated, throws his script on the desk, and declares the material "bullshit"? I'm sure I hear something like that...

Posted by: Dunc at November 22, 2005 07:29 AM

reputation left on blot? oh, good, one, that.

Posted by: Jesus B. Ochoa at November 22, 2005 11:18 AM