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Powell Admits Iraq Evidence Was False

BBC | April 3 2004

US Secretary of State Colin Powell has admitted that evidence he submitted to the United Nations to justify war on Iraq may have been wrong.

In February last year he told the UN Security Council that a pair of mobile trailers spotted in Iraq were designed for making biological weapons.

On Friday he conceded that information did not now appear to be "solid".

The claim failed to persuade the Security Council to back the war, but helped sway US public opinion.

Mr Powell said he hoped the commission appointed to investigate pre-war intelligence on Iraq would examine whether the intelligence community was justified in backing the claim.

Doubts

Doubts have been widely cast on the theory of the trailers, not least by the former US chief weapons inspector in Iraq, David Kay, who originally argued they could make biological weapons.

He conceded in October that he could have been wrong. He has since resigned, saying he did not know whether Iraq ever had a mobile weapons programme.

No evidence of weapons of mass destruction has emerged in Iraq since the end of the war.

Mr Powell said the US intelligence officers "indicated to me" that the information about the trailers was reliable, and came from multiple sources.

"Now, if the sources fell apart we need to find out how we've gotten ourselves in that position," he said.

"I have discussions with the CIA about it," he said, without providing further details.
Intelligence questioned

His admission comes as the US's intelligence record is scrutinised over the attacks on 11 September, 2001.

Mr Powell last month appeared before a commission looking into the attacks, and denied that the Bush administration ignored the threat from al-Qaeda and Osama Bin Laden.

He was questioned following allegations from ex-White House counter-terrorism aide Richard Clarke that Mr Bush and his colleagues were so preoccupied with launching a war on Iraq, that they missed the growing threat from al-Qaeda.

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