Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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November 19, 2004
By: Kevin Drum

GROUNDHOG DAY WATCH....Colin Powell on Wednesday:

The United States has intelligence that Iran is working to adapt missiles to deliver a nuclear weapon, further evidence that the Islamic republic is determined to acquire a nuclear bomb, Secretary of State Colin L. Powell said Wednesday.

...."I have seen some information that would suggest that they have been actively working on delivery systems....You don't have a weapon until you put it in something that can deliver a weapon," Powell told reporters traveling with him to Chile for an Asia-Pacific economic summit.

The CIA on Thursday:

Secretary of State Colin L. Powell shared information with reporters Wednesday about Iran's nuclear program that was classified and based on an unvetted, single source who provided information that two U.S. officials said yesterday was highly significant if true but has not yet been verified.

....The official said the CIA remains unsure about the authenticity of the documents and how the informant came into their possession. A second official would say only that there are questions about the source of the information.

Even for the Bush administration, this is hard to believe. In a repeat of his infamous performance before the UN in 2003, Colin Powell deliberately decided to release damning information about our enemy-du-jour even though he knew the CIA was still in the process of deciding whether it was any good.

Glub, glub, glub....

UPDATE: And here's what the LA Times has to say:

[A] source described the intelligence mentioned by Powell as "weak." "They were surprised he went public on something that was weak and, because it was weak, was not supposed to be used," the source said.

...."I was surprised the administration put him out there or he put himself out there on this," said David Kay, the former head of the U.S. weapons search team in Iraq. "I thought if there was anyone in the administration that had been sufficiently burned by such sources, it would be Powell."

That's just great. It's hard to believe our credibility can get any worse on stuff like this, but obviously we're trying.

Kevin Drum 1:07 AM Permalink | Trackbacks

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