The person responsible for analyzing the Iraqi weapons threat for Colin Powell says the Secretary of State misinformed Americans during his speech at the U.N. last winter.
Greg Thielmann tells Correspondent Scott Pelley that at the time of Powell’s speech, Iraq didn’t pose an imminent threat to anyone – not even its own neighbors. “…I think my conclusion [about Powell’s speech] now is that it’s probably one of the low points in his long distinguished service to the nation,” says Thielmann.
Greg Thielmann, Powell’s former chief of intelligence, says that key evidence in the speech was misrepresented and the public was deceived. (Photo: CBS)
Pelley’s report will be broadcast on 60 Minutes II, Wednesday, Oct. 15 at 8 p.m. ET/PT.
Thielmann also tells Pelley that he believes the decision to go to war was made first and then the intelligence was interpreted to fit that conclusion. “…The main problem was that the senior administration officials have what I call faith-based intelligence,” says Thielmann.
“They knew what they wanted the intelligence to show. They were really blind and deaf to any kind of countervailing information the intelligence community would produce. I would assign some blame to the intelligence community and most of the blame to the senior administration officials.”
Steve Allinson and a dozen other U.N. inspectors in Iraq also watched Powell’s speech. “Various people would laugh at various times [during Powell’s speech] because the information he was presenting was just, you know, didn't mean anything -- had no meaning,” says Allinson.
Pelley asks, “When the Secretary finished the speech, you and the other inspectors turned to each other and said what?” Allinson responds, “’They have nothing.’”
Allinson gives Pelley several examples of why he believes Iraq didn’t have weapons of mass destruction. One time, he was sent to find decontamination vehicles that turned out to be fire trucks. Another time, a satellite spotted what they thought were trucks used for biological weapons.
“We were told we were going to the site to look for refrigerated trucks specifically linked to biological agents,” Allinson tells Pelley. “…We found seven or eight [trucks], I think, in total, and they had cobwebs in them. Some samples were taken and nothing was found.”
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