June 8, 2003
Aus der heutigen NYT
Powell and Rice Defend U.S. Iraq Intelligence
Filed at 2:27 p.m. ET
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Senior Bush administration officials on Sunday rejected accusations they exaggerated threats posed by Iraq's weapons, calling the charges ``outrageous'' and the results of ``revisionist history.''
Appearing on morning news programs, Secretary of State Colin Powell and national security adviser Condoleezza Rice said there was broad consensus in the intelligence community that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, and they believe that intelligence was sound.
``We have no doubt whatsoever that over the last several years, they have retained such weapons or retained the capability to start up production of such weapons,'' Powell said on CNN's Late Edition.
``We also know they are masters of deceit and masters of hiding these things, and so a little patience is required,'' he said. Powell called it ``really somewhat outrageous on the part of some critics to say that this was all bogus.''
Concerns have been rising worldwide that the banned arsenal the administration described had not been found in the weeks after the war that ousted former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.
Critics questioning whether the White House used flawed or manipulated intelligence as grounds for war point to a Defense Intelligence Agency report from September of 2002, disclosed last week, that said the agency did not have enough ``reliable information'' on Iraq's alleged chemical weapons.
Powell and Rice said that quote was taken out of context, giving a misleading impression of the report.
A line ``talked about not having the evidence of current facilities and current stockpiling. The very next sentence
says that it had information that (chemical) weapons had been dispersed to units,'' Powell said on Fox News Sunday.
The Washington Post's Saturday editions cited the report's declassified summary page that said ``although we lack any direct information, Iraq probably possesses chemical agent in chemical munitions'' and ``probably possesses bulk chemical stockpiles, primarily containing precursors, but that also could consist of some mustard agent and VX,'' a nerve agent.
Rice, on ABC's This Week, said the national intelligence estimate in October -- which the DIA signed -- said Iraq
likely had as much as 100 to 500 metric tons of chemical agents.
Several times Rice said critics were using ``revisionist history'' to question whether Iraq had banned weapons.
But Sen. Carl Levin of Michigan, top Armed Services Committee Democrat, told NBC's Meet the Press there was ``too much evidence that intelligence was shaded, that called something which was possible, such as the
presence of weapons of mass destruction, or even probable, was turned into certainty over and over and over again by the administration.''
Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Pat Roberts, a Kansas Republican, on CNN's Late Edition countered that he had seen no evidence of bad intelligence and called Democrats' calls for congressional probes of the matter ``sort of a feeding frenzy with a tad bit of politics mixed in.''
Powell, on CNN, also defended the pace of work to stabilize Iraq, saying the top U.S. civilian administrator there,
L. Paul Bremer, has decided to ``put together a more broad-based council of advisers and ministers to help him
begin to get the institutions of the government running'' instead of moving to form an interim government.
Powell said Bremer was ``absolutely correct in moving a little more slowly ... to make sure that all the various groups in Iraq are represented, and that we focus on institution building and put responsible leaders into institution.''