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Friday, July 16, 2004

Powells "Ad - Lie" Presentation

You probably saw Secretary of State Colin Powell deliver his presentation about Iraqi WMD to the United Nations Security Council. At the least, you must have read about the evidence he made public that day, February 5, 2003.

For many Americans, Powell's presentation provided the proof they needed to support the war.

Well, it turns out that
State Department intelligence analysts weren't too happy about the data. Greg Miller, a reporter with the LA Times, has been carefully reading the Senate Intelligence Committee Report and found some interesting facts about this:
Days before Secretary of State Colin L. Powell was to present the case for war with Iraq to the United Nations, State Department analysts found dozens of factual problems in drafts of his speech, according to new documents contained in the Senate report on intelligence failures released last week.

Two memos included with the Senate report listed objections that State Department experts lodged as they reviewed successive drafts of the Powell speech. Although many of the claims considered inflated or unsupported were removed through painstaking debate by Powell and intelligence officials, the speech he ultimately presented contained material that was in dispute among State Department experts.

Now, it's increasingly apparent that the U.S. went to war using very faulty evidence -- and that at least some intelligence analysts knew it:

Offering the first detailed look at claims that were stripped from the case for war advanced by Powell, a Jan. 31, 2003, memo cataloged 38 claims to which State Department analysts objected. In response, 28 were either removed from the draft or altered, according to the Senate report, which was released Friday and included scathing criticism of the CIA and other U.S. intelligence services.

The analysts, describing many of the claims as "weak" and assigning grades to arguments on a 5-star scale, warned Powell against making an array of allegations they deemed implausible. They also warned against including Iraqi communications intercepts they deemed ambiguous and against speculating that terrorists might "come through Baghdad and pick-up biological weapons" as if they were stocked on store shelves.

The documents underscore the extent to which administration and intelligence officials were culling a vast collection of thinly sourced claims as they sought to assemble the case for war.

As alleged last summer, it appears that the Vice President's office played a pretty significant role in the political maneuvering:
the Republican-controlled committee did not seek access to a 40-plus-page document that was prepared by Vice President Dick Cheney's office and submitted to State Department speechwriters detailing the case the administration wanted Powell to make.

The story describes "heated arguments" within the State Department, but the skeptics obviously didn't win enough of them.

In their critique, State Department analysts repeatedly warned that Powell was being put in the position of drawing the most sinister conclusions from satellite images, communications intercepts and human intelligence reports that had alternative, less-incriminating explanations.

The article goes into more detail and it isn't pretty.

Perhaps this explains why the war has become more-and-more unpopular.

Bottom line: Powell's advance work for the war seems to have been built on lies.

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