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Profile: Colin Powell

 
  

Positions that Colin Powell has held:

  • US Secretary of State during the administration of George W. Bush


 

Quotes

 
  

Quote, January 10, 2001

   “Saddam Hussein's forces are in a state where he cannot pose a threat to his neighbors at this point. We have been successful, through the sanctions regime, to really shut off most of the revenue that will be going to build his—rebuild his military.” [US Department of Defense, 1/10/01]

Associated Events

Quote, February 23, 2001

   “Though [the Iraqis] may be pursuing weapons of mass destruction of all kinds. It is not clear how successful they have been. We ought to declare this a success. We have kept him contained, kept him in his box.” [Time, 3/24/2003]

Associated Events

Quote, February 24, 2001

   “He (Saddam Hussein) has not developed any significant capability with respect to weapons of mass destruction. He is unable to project conventional power against his neighbors.” [US Department of State, 2/24/03, The Mirror, 9/22/03, Associated Press, 9/25/03, CBS, 9/23/2003]

Associated Events

Quote, May 15, 2001

   Saddam Hussein has not been able to “build his military back up or to develop weapons of mass destruction” for “the last 10 years.” The sanctions policy has successfully kept him “in a box.” [The Mirror, 9/22/03]

Associated Events

Quote, October 25, 2001

   “We cannot let Osama bin Laden pretend that he is doing it in the name of helping the Iraqi people or the Palestinian people. He doesn't care one whit about them. He has never given a dollar toward them. He has never spoken out for them.” [US Department of State, Slate MSNBC, 2/11/03]

Associated Events

Quote, January 19, 2002

   “What we have to make a judgment on now is whether or not Saddam Hussein is serious about disarming, and is he cooperating with the inspectors in that disarmament process. If he is not, if he is continuing to try to hide things, if we have to keep discovering rockets that were undeclared that were supposed to carry chemical warheads, if we continue to find that documents having to do with nuclear weapons have been hidden in the homes of scientists, then it doesn't make any difference how long the inspection goes on because they're not going to get to the truth because Saddam Hussein does not want them to get to the truth.” [International Herald Tribune, 1/20/03, New York Times, 1/19/03, US Department of State, 1/19/03]

Associated Events

Quote, February 12, 2002

   “With respect to Iraq, it's long been, for several years now, a policy of the United States' government that regime change would be in the best interest of the region, the best interest of the Iraqi people. And we're looking at a variety of options that would bring that about.” [CNN, 2/13/2002]

Associated Events

Quote, May 5, 2002

   “The United States reserves its option to do whatever it believes might be appropriate to see if there can be a regime change.... US policy is that regardless of what the inspectors do, the people of Iraq and the people of the region would be better off with a different regime in Baghdad.” [US Department of State, 5/5/02, BBC, 12/19/02]

Associated Events

Quote, September 8, 2002

   “We have facts, not speculation. Scott is certainly entitled to his opinion but I'm afraid that I would not place the security of my nation and the security of our friends in the region on that kind of an assertion by somebody who's not in the intelligence chain any longer.... If Scott is right. Then why are they keeping the inspectors out? If Scott is right, why don't they say, ‘Anytime, any place, anywhere, bring'em in, everybody come in—we are clean?’ The reason is they are not clean. And we have to find out what they have and what we're going to do about it. And that's why it's been the policy of this government to insist that Iraq be disarmed in accordance with the terms of the relevant UN resolutions.” [Newsmax 9/8/02]

Associated Events

Quote, October 1, 2002

   “Before we declare that everything is OK today, not one inspector has set foot in Iraq and not one thing has changed since 1998.” [Times, 10/02/02]

Associated Events

Quote, November 10, 2002

   “We will ask the UN to give authorization for all necessary means, and if the UN is not willing to do that, the United States with like-minded nations will go and disarm him forcefully.” [CNN, 11/10/02, US Department of State, 11/12/02, Guardian, 11/11/02]

Associated Events

Quote, January 18, 2003

   “[W]e have always made clear that the US will act without a second resolution if we are of the firm opinion that Iraq still has weapons of mass destruction or wants to produce new ones.” [Sun Herald, 1/19/03]

Associated Events

Quote, January 26, 2003

   “Why is Iraq still trying to procure uranium and the special equipment needed to transform it into material for nuclear weapons?” [Washington Post, 8/8/03]

Quote, January 27, 2003

   “Time is running out. We've made it very clear from the very beginning that we would not allow the process of inspections to string out forever.” [New York Times, 1/27/03b, United States Mission to the UN]

Associated Events

Quote, February 5, 2003

   “We ... have satellite photos that indicate that banned materials have recently been moved from a number of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction facilities, There can be no doubt that Saddam Hussein has biological weapons and the capability to rapidly produce more, many more.... We know that Saddam Hussein is determined to keep his weapons of mass destruction, is determined to make more.” [CNN, 2/5/03, US Department of State, 2/5/03]

Associated Events

Quote, February 14, 2003

   “[T]he security of the region, the hopes for the people of Iraq, themselves, and our security rest upon us meeting our responsibilities. And, if it comes to it, invoking the serious consequences called for 1441—in 1441. 1441 is about disarmament and compliance and not merely a process of inspections that goes on forever without ever resolving the basic problem.” [US Department of State, 2/14/02]

Associated Events

Quote, March 6, 2003

   “It would seem to me that the people of Iraq, now having been liberated, might glance around and see who helped in that liberation and participated in that liberation and who did not.” [Reuters, 3/6/03]

Associated Events

Undefined, March 26, 2003

   “But as soon as possible, we want to have working alongside the commander an interim Iraqi authority, people representing the people of Iraq. And, as that authority grows and gets greater credibility from the people of Iraq, we want to turn over more and more responsibilities to them.” [US Department of State, 3/26/2003]

Associated Events

Undefined, April 2, 2003

   “I can assure you that we all want to end this as soon as possible, so we can get on with the task of allowing the Iraqi people to form a new government.” [US Department of State, 4/2/2003]

Associated Events

Quote, After June 2003

   “I have not seen smoking gun, concrete evidence about the connection, but I think the possibility of such connections did exist and it was prudent to consider them at the time that we did.” [Associated Press, 1/8/04, Independent, 1/11/04]

Associated Events

Quote, (Spring 2004)

   “Everyone felt uncomfortable to see a man saying these lies. Everyone knew it was bullshit.” [Vanity Fair, 5/2004, pg 290]

Associated Events

Quote, March 12, 2004

   “Because we are Americans, we don't abuse people in our care.” [The Guardian, 3/13/2004]

Associated Events

Quote, March 15, 2004

   “I think that unlikely. I think we have discharged all of our obligations under the Geneva Convention to treat people in our custody, our detainees, in a very, very humanitarian way. Now, it is not a resort area in Guantanamo Bay. But at the same time we did not abuse the individuals who were down there, and we have had visits from the ICRC and other organizations, as well as our organizations, and it is not in the American tradition to treat people in that manner. ” [US Department of State, 3/15/2004]

Quote, May 4, 2004

   “The one thing you can be sure of is that justice will be done. We are a nation of justice. These sorts of actions are not tolerated, and these individuals will be brought into our military justice system and will be dealt with in a way the world can observe and watch.” [Coalition Provisional Authority, 5/4/2004]

Associated Events


 

Relations

 
  

No related entities for this entity.


 

Colin Powell actively participated in the following events:

 
  

November 9, 1989: Cold War Ends; US Asserts World Dominance      Complete 911 Timeline

      
Secretary of State Colin Powell.
The Berlin Wall begins to fall in East Germany, signifying the end of the Soviet Union as a superpower. Just six days later, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Colin Powell presents a new strategy document to President George H. W. Bush, proposing that the US shift its strategic focus from countering Soviet attempts at world dominance to ensuring US world dominance. George H. W. Bush accepts this plan in a public speech, with slight modifications, on August 2, 1990, the same day Iraq invades Kuwait. In early 1992 (see March 8, 1992), Powell, counter to his usual public dove persona, tells congresspersons that the US requires “sufficient power” to “deter any challenger from ever dreaming of challenging us on the world stage.” He says, “I want to be the bully on the block.” Powell's early ideas of global hegemony will be formalized by others in a 1992 policy document and finally realized as policy when George W. Bush becomes president in 2001. [Harper's, 10/02]
People and organizations involved: Colin Powell, George Herbert Walker Bush, Soviet Union
          

December 16, 2000      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       President-elect George W. Bush announces his nomination of Powell to the position of Secretary of State. Powell, in his remarks, suggests that the US might have to “confront” Saddam Hussein. Powell says: “Saddam Hussein is sitting on a failed regime that is not going to be around in a few years' time. The world is going to leave him behind and that regime behind as the world marches to new drummers, drummers of democracy and the free enterprise system. And I don't know what it will take to bring him to his senses. But we are in the strong position. He is in the weak position. And I think it is possible to re-energize those sanctions and to continue to contain him and then confront him, should that become necessary again.” [Journal of the Air Force Association, 2/2001]
People and organizations involved: Colin Powell, George W. Bush
          

End of 2001-early 2002      Torture in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere

       US Secretary of State Donald Rumsfeld authorizes the creation of a “special-access program,” or SAP, with “blanket advance approval to kill or capture and, if possible, interrogate ‘high value’ targets in the Bush administration's war on terror.” [The New Yorker, 5/15/2004; The Guardian, 9/13/2004] The operation, known as “Copper Green,” is approved by Condoleezza Rice and known to President Bush. [The New Yorker, 5/15/2004 Sources: Unnamed former US intelligence official] A SAP is an ultra secret project, the contents of which are known by very few officials. “We're not going to read more people than necessary into our heart of darkness,” a former senior intelligence official tells investigative reporter Seymour Hersh. [The Guardian, 9/13/2004; The New Yorker, 5/15/2004] The SAP is brought up occasionally within the National Security Council (NSC), chaired by the president and members of which are Rumsfeld, Cheney, and Powell. The former intelligence official tells Hersh, “There was a periodic briefing to the National Security Council giving updates on results, but not on the methods.” He also says he believes NSC members know about the process by which these results are acquired. Motive for the SAP comes from an initial freeze in the results obtained by US agents from their hunt for al-Qaeda. Friendly foreign intelligence services on the other hand, from countries in the Middle East and South-East Asia, which employ more aggressive tactics on prisoners, are giving up much better information by the end of 2001. By authorizing the SAP, Rumsfeld, according to Hersh, desires to adopt these tactics and thus increase intelligence results. “Rumsfeld's goal was to get a capability in place to take on a high-value target—a stand-up group to hit quickly,” the former intelligence official tells Hersh. The program's operatives were recruited from among Delta Force, Navy Seals, and CIA's paramilitary experts. They are given, according to Hersh, “blanket advance approval to kill or capture and, if possible, interrogate high-value targets.” They are permitted to carry out “instant interrogations—using force if necessary—at secret CIA detention centers scattered around the world.” Information obtained through the program is sent to the Pentagon in real-time. The former intelligence official tells Hersh: “The rules are ‘Grab whom you must. Do what you want.’ ” [The Guardian, 9/13/2004] The operation, according to Seymour Hersh, “encouraged physical coercion and sexual humiliation.” [The New Yorker, 5/15/2004]
People and organizations involved: Donald Rumsfeld, Condoleezza Rice, Richard B. Myers, George W. Bush, Richard ("Dick") Cheney, Colin Powell
          

(January 30, 2001): First National Security Council Meeting Focuses on Iraq and Israel, Not Terrorism      Complete 911 Timeline, Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       The Bush White House holds its first National Security Council meeting. The focus is on Iraq and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. [Bamford, 2004, pp 261 Sources: Paul O'Neill]
Israeli-Palestinian conflict - “We're going to correct the imbalances of the previous administration on the Mideast conflict,” Bush reportedly tells his national security team. “We're going to tilt it back toward Israel.” His view is that the Israeli government, currently headed by Ariel Sharon, should be left alone to deal as it sees fit with the Palestinians. “I'm not going to go by past reputations when it comes to Sharon. I'm going to take him at face value. We'll work on a relationship based on how things go.” Justifying his position, he recalls a recent trip he took to Israel with the Republican Jewish Coalition. “We flew over the Palestinian camps. Looked real bad down there. ... I don't see much we can do over there at this point.” Powell, surprised by Bush's intended policy towards the 50-year old Israeli-Palestinian conflict, objects. According to Secretary of Treasury Paul O'Neil, Powell “stresse[s] that a pullback by the United States would unleash Sharon and the Israeli army.” When Powell warns the president that the “consequences of that [policy] could be dire, especially for the Palestinians,” Bush shrugs. “Sometimes a show of strength by one side can really clarify things,” he suggests. [Bamford, 2004, pp 265-266]
Iraq - The meeting then moves on to the subject of Iraq. National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice begins noting “that Iraq might be the key to reshaping the entire region.” She turns the meeting over to CIA director George Tenet who summarizes current intelligence on Iraq. He mentions a factory that “might” be producing “either chemical or biological materials for weapons manufacture.” The evidence he provides is a picture of the factory with some truck activity, a water tower, and railroad tracks going into a building. He admits that there is “no confirming intelligence.” [Bamford, 2004, pp 267] US Secretary of Treasury Paul O'Neill, later recalls: “From the very beginning, there was a conviction, that Saddam Hussein was a bad person and that he needed to go ... From the very first instance, it was about Iraq. It was about what we can do to change this regime. Day one, these things were laid and sealed.” O'Neill will say officials never questioned the logic behind this policy. No one ever asked, “Why Saddam?” and “Why now?” Instead, the issue that needed to be resolved was how this could be accomplished. “It was all about finding a way to do it,” O'Neill will explain. “That was the tone of it. The president saying ‘Go find me a way to do this.’ ” [CBS News, 1/10/04; New York Times, 1/12/04; Guardian, 1/12/04; Vanity Fair, 5/04, pg 234 Sources: Paul O'Neill] Another official who attends the meeting will later say that the tone of the meeting implied a policy much more aggressive than that of the previous administration. “The president told his Pentagon officials to explore the military options, including use of ground forces,” the official will tell ABC News. “That went beyond the Clinton administration's halfhearted attempts to overthrow Hussein without force.” [ABC News, 1/13/04 Sources: Unnamed senior official of the Bush administration] The council does more than just discuss Iraq. It makes a decision to allow the Iraqi National Congress (INC), an Iraqi opposition group, to use $4 million to fund efforts inside Iraq to compile information relating to Baghdad's war crimes, military operations, and other internal developments. The money had been authorized by Congress in late 2004. The US has not directly funded Iraqi opposition activities inside Iraq itself since 1996. [Guardian, 2/3/2005] After Paul O'Neill first provides his account of this meeting in 2004, the White House will attempt to downplay its significance. “... The stated policy of my administration toward Saddam Hussein was very clear,” Bush will tell reporters during a visit to Mexico In January 2004. “Like the previous administration, we were for regime change. ... And in the initial stages of the administration, as you might remember, we were dealing with desert badger or fly-overs and fly-betweens and looks, and so we were fashioning policy along those lines.” [New York Times, 1/12/04]
People and organizations involved: George Tenet, Colin Powell, Richard B. Myers, Paul O'Neill, Iraqi National Congress, George W. Bush, Condoleezza Rice, Donald Rumsfeld
          

January 31, 2001: Bipartisan Commission Issues Final Report on Terrorism, but Conclusions Are Ignored      Complete 911 Timeline

      
Gary Hart (left) and Warren Rudman (right) testify before a Senate committee in 2002.
The final report of the US Commission on National Security/21st Century, co-chaired by former Senators Gary Hart (D) and Warren Rudman (R) is issued. The bipartisan report was put together in 1998 by then-President Bill Clinton and then-House Speaker Newt Gingrich. Hart and Rudman personally brief National Security Adviser Rice, Defense Secretary Rumsfeld, and Secretary of State Powell on their findings. The report has 50 recommendations on how to combat terrorism in the US, but all of them are ignored by the Bush administration. According to Senator Hart, Congress begins to take the commission's suggestions seriously in March and April, and legislation is introduced to implement some of the recommendations. Then, “Frankly, the White House shut it down... The president said ‘Please wait, We're going to turn this over to the vice president’ ... and so Congress moved on to other things, like tax cuts and the issue of the day.” The White House announces in May that it will have Vice President Cheney study the potential problem of domestic terrorism despite the fact that this commission had just studied the issue for 2 1/2 years. Interestingly, both this commission and the Bush administration were already assuming a new cabinet level National Homeland Security Agency would be enacted eventually, even as the public remained unaware of the term and the concept. [Salon, 9/12/01; Salon, 4/2/04] Hart is incredulous that neither he nor any of the other members of this commission are ever asked to testify before the 9/11 Commission. [Salon, 4/6/04]
People and organizations involved: Newt Gingrich, US Congress, Donald Rumsfeld, 9/11 Commission, Warren Rudman, Colin Powell, Richard ("Dick") Cheney, Bush administration, Gary Hart, Commission on National Security/21st Century, Condoleezza Rice
          

February 1, 2001: Rumsfeld Envisions Post-Saddam Iraq      Complete 911 Timeline, Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       The Bush White House holds its second National Security Council meeting. Like the first meeting (see (January 30, 2001)), the issue of regime change in Iraq is a central topic. [CBS News, 1/10/04; New York Times, 1/12/04] Officials discuss a memo titled “Plan for post-Saddam Iraq,” which talks about troop requirements, establishing war crimes tribunals, and divvying up Iraq's oil wealth. [Sources: Paul O'Neill] Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld argues that by removing Saddam Hussein, the Bush administration would “demonstrate what US policy is all about.” It would also help transform the Middle East, he claims. According to Paul O'Neill, Rumsfeld talks at the meeting “in general terms about post-Saddam Iraq, dealing with the Kurds in the north, the oil fields, the reconstruction of the country's economy, and the ‘freeing of the Iraqi people.’ ” [New York Times, 1/12/04 Sources: Paul O'Neill] Other people, in addition to O'Neill, Bush, and Rumsfeld, who are likely in attendance include Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of State Colin Powell, National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice, Director of Central Intelligence George Tenet and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Richard B. Myers. [Sources: National Security Presidential Directives—NSPD-1, 2/13/01]]
People and organizations involved: Paul O'Neill, Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice, Richard B. Myers, George Tenet, George W. Bush, Donald Rumsfeld
          

February 20, 2001      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       At a joint press conference with German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer, Colin Powell says that Iraq has been successfully contained. “What we and other allies have been doing in the region, have succeeded in containing Saddam Hussein and his ambitions. His forces are about one-third their original size. They don't really possess the capability to attack their neighbors the way they did ten years ago. ... Containment has been a successful policy.” [US Department of State, 2/20/2001]
People and organizations involved: Colin Powell, Joschka Fischer
          

February 23, 2001      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       During a press briefing held aboard a plane en route to Cairo, Egypt, Colin Powell says: “Though [the Iraqis] may be pursuing weapons of mass destruction of all kinds. It is not clear how successful they have been. We ought to declare [sanctions] a success. We have kept [Saddam Hussein] contained, kept him in his box.” [Minneapolis Star Tribune, 1/28/2004; Time, 3/24/2003; US Department of State, 2/23/2001]
People and organizations involved: Colin Powell
          

February 24, 2001      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       Secretary of State Colin Powell travels to Cairo and meets with his counterpart Amre Moussa. During a press conference, Powell says: “He [Saddam Hussein] has not developed any significant capability with respect to weapons of mass destruction. He is unable to project conventional power against his neighbors.” [The Mirror, 9/22/03; US Department of State, 2/24/03; Associated Press, 9/25/03] Some nineteen months later, when Powell is asked to explain why his assessment of Iraq had so drastically changed over such a short span of time, Powell says, “... I did not say he (Iraqi President Saddam Hussein) didn't have weapons of mass destruction.... He was a threat then. The extent of his holdings were yet to be determined. It was early in the administration and the fact of the matter is it was long before 9/11 (the date of the 2001 attacks on the United States).... A lot changed between February 2001 (and the invasion), but I don't find anything inconsistent between what I said then and what I've said all along.” [US Department of State, 9/25/03; Washington Post, 9/26/03; Associated Press, 9/25/03]
People and organizations involved: Colin Powell, Amre Moussa
          

May 2001: US Gives Taliban Millions      Complete 911 Timeline

       Secretary of State Powell announces that the US is granting $43 million in aid to the Taliban government, purportedly to assist hungry farmers who are starving since the destruction of their opium crop occurred in January on orders of the Taliban. [Los Angeles Times, 5/22/01] This follows $113 million given by the US in 2000 for humanitarian aid. [State Department Fact Sheet, 12/11/01] A Newsday editorial notes that the Taliban “are a decidedly odd choice for an outright gift ... Why are we sending these people money—so much that Washington is, in effect, the biggest donor of aid to the Taliban regime?” [Newsday, 5/29/01]
People and organizations involved: Taliban, Colin Powell
          

May 15, 2001      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       Powell says that Saddam Hussein has not been able to “build his military back up or to develop weapons of mass destruction” for “the last 10 years,” adding that the sanctions policy had successfully kept him “in a box.” [The Mirror, 9/22/03]
People and organizations involved: Colin Powell
          

July 3, 2001: Rare Discussion Takes Place Between National Security Advisers on Terrorism      Complete 911 Timeline

       This is one of only two dates that Bush's national security leadership discusses terrorism. (The other discussion occurs on September 4.) Apparently, the topic is only mentioned in passing and is not the focus of the meeting. This group, made up of the national security adviser, CIA director, defense secretary, secretary of state, Joint Chiefs of staff chairman and others, met around 100 times before 9/11 to discuss a variety of topics, but apparently rarely terrorism. The White House “aggressively defended the level of attention [to terrorism], given only scattered hints of al-Qaeda activity.” This lack of discussion stands in sharp contrast to the Clinton administration and public comments by the Bush administration. [Time, 8/4/02] Bush said in February 2001, “I will put a high priority on detecting and responding to terrorism on our soil.” A few weeks earlier, Tenet told Congress, “The threat from terrorism is real, it is immediate, and it is evolving.” [Associated Press, 6/28/02]
People and organizations involved: Richard B. Myers, Colin Powell, Donald Rumsfeld, Condoleezza Rice, George Tenet, US Congress, Bush administration, Clinton administration, al-Qaeda
          

September 4, 2001: Cabinet-Rank Advisers Discuss Terrorism, Approve Revised Version of Clarke's Eight Month-Old-Plan      Complete 911 Timeline

       President Bush's cabinet-rank advisers discuss terrorism for the second of only two times before 9/11. [Washington Post, 5/17/02] National Security Adviser Rice chairs the meeting; neither President Bush nor Vice President Cheney attends. Counterterrorism “tsar” Richard Clarke later says that in this meeting, he and CIA Director Tenet speak passionately about the al-Qaeda threat. No one disagrees that the threat is serious. Secretary of State Powell outlines a plan to put pressure on Pakistan to stop supporting al-Qaeda. Defense Secretary Rumsfeld appears to be more interested in Iraq. The only debate is over whether to fly the armed Predator drone over Afghanistan to attack al-Qaeda. [Clarke, 2004, pp 237-38] Clarke's earlier plans to “roll back” al-Qaeda have been discussed and honed in many meetings and are now presented as a formal National Security Presidential Directive. The directive is “apparently” approved, though the process of turning it into official policy is still not done. [9/11 Commission Report, 3/24/04 (D)] There is later disagreement over just how different the directive presented is from Clarke's earlier plans. For instance, some claim the directive aims not just to “roll back” al-Qaeda, but also to “eliminate” it altogether. [Time, 8/4/02] However, Clarke notes that even though he wanted to use the word “eliminate,” the approved directive merely aims to “significantly erode” al-Qaeda. The word “eliminate” is only added after 9/11. [Washington Post, 3/25/04 (B)] The Washington Post notes that the directive approved on this day “did not differ substantially from Clinton's policy.” [Washington Post, 3/27/04] Time magazine later comments, “The fight against terrorism was one of the casualties of the transition, as Washington spent eight months going over and over a document whose outline had long been clear.” [Time, 8/4/02] The primary change from Clarke's original draft is that the approved plan calls for more direct financial and logistical support to the Northern Alliance and other anti-Taliban groups. The plan also calls for drafting plans for possible US military involvement, “but those differences were largely theoretical; administration officials told the [9/11 Commission's] investigators that the plan's overall timeline was at least three years, and it did not include firm deadlines, military plans, or significant funding at the time of the September 11, 2001, attacks.” [Washington Post, 3/27/04; Reuters, 4/2/04]
People and organizations involved: Taliban, Central Intelligence Agency, Colin Powell, al-Qaeda, Colin Powell, Donald Rumsfeld, George Tenet, Condoleezza Rice, Richard ("Dick") Cheney, Northern Alliance, Richard A. Clarke, George W. Bush
          

(8:30 a.m.): Some US Leaders Are Scattered; Others in D.C.      Complete 911 Timeline

      
Secretary of State Colin Powell leaves his Lima, Peru hotel after hearing the news.
Just prior to learning about the 9/11 attacks, top US leaders are scattered across the country and overseas:
President Bush is in Sarasota, Florida. [Washington Post, 1/27/02]
Secretary of State Powell is in Lima, Peru. [Washington Post, 1/27/02]
General Henry Shelton, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, is flying across the Atlantic on the way to Europe. [Washington Post, 1/27/02]
Attorney General Ashcroft is flying to Milwaukee, Wisconsin. [Washington Post, 1/27/02]
Federal Emergency Management Agency Director Joe Allbaugh is at a conference in Montana. [ABC News, 9/14/02 (B)] Others are in Washington:
Vice President Cheney and National Security Adviser Rice are at their offices in the White House. [Washington Post, 1/27/02]
Defense Secretary Rumsfeld is at his office in the Pentagon, meeting with a delegation from Capitol Hill. [Washington Post, 1/27/02]
CIA Director Tenet is at breakfast with his old friend and mentor, former senator David Boren (D), at the St. Regis Hotel, three blocks from the White House. [Washington Post, 1/27/02]
FBI Director Mueller is in his office at FBI Headquarters on Pennsylvania Avenue. [Washington Post, 1/27/02]
Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta is at his office at the Department of Transportation. [Senate Commerce Committee, 9/20/01]
Counterterrorism “tsar” Richard Clarke is at a conference in the Ronald Reagan Building three blocks from the White House. [Clarke, 2004, pp 1]
People and organizations involved: John Ashcroft, Henry H. Shelton, Robert S. Mueller III, Condoleezza Rice, Richard ("Dick") Cheney, Joeseph M. Allbaugh, Richard A. Clarke, Norman Mineta, Donald Rumsfeld, David Boren, Colin Powell, George Tenet, George W. Bush
          

September 11-16, 2001: Pakistan Threatened; Promises to Support US      Complete 911 Timeline

       ISI Director Mahmood, extending his Washington visit because of the 9/11 attacks [Japan Economic Newswire, 9/17/01] , meets with US officials and negotiates Pakistan's cooperation with the US against al-Qaeda. It is rumored that later in the day of 9/11 and again the next day, Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage visits Mahmood and offers him the choice: “Help us and breathe in the 21st century along with the international community or be prepared to live in the Stone Age.” [LA Weekly, 11/9/01; Deutsche Presse-Agenteur, 9/12/01] Secretary of State Powell presents Mahmood seven demands as an ultimatum and Pakistan supposedly agrees to all seven. [Washington Post, 1/29/02] Mahmood also has meetings with Senator Joseph Biden (D), Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Secretary of State Powell, regarding Pakistan's position. [Miami Herald, 9/16/01; New York Times, 9/13/01; Reuters, 9/13/01; Associated Press, 9/13/01] On September 13, the airport in Islamabad, the capital of Pakistan, is shut down for the day. A government official later says the airport had been closed because of threats made against Pakistan's “strategic assets,” but does not elaborate. The next day, Pakistan declares “unstinting” support for the US, and the airport is reopened. It is later suggested that Israel and India threatened to attack Pakistan and take control of its nuclear weapons if Pakistan did not side with the US. [LA Weekly, 11/9/01] It is later reported that Mahmood's presence in Washington was a lucky blessing; one Western diplomat saying it “must have helped in a crisis situation when the US was clearly very, very angry.” [Financial Times, 9/18/01]
People and organizations involved: Colin Powell, Richard Armitage, Pakistan, Joseph Biden, al-Qaeda, Mahmood Ahmed
          

(7:00 p.m.): Powell Returns from Peru      Complete 911 Timeline

       Secretary of State Powell returns to Washington from Lima, Peru. He is finally able to speak to President Bush for the first time since the 9/11 attacks began when they both arrive at the White House at about the same time. Powell later says of his flight, “And the worst part of it, is that because of the communications problems that existed during that day, I couldn't talk to anybody in Washington.” [ABC News, 9/11/02] The Daily Telegraph later theorizes, “Why so long? In the weeks before September 11, Washington was full of rumors that Powell was out of favor and had been quietly relegated to the sidelines...” [Daily Telegraph, 12/16/01]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush, Colin Powell
          

September 12, 2001: Bush Meeting Raises Iraq Attack Possibility      Complete 911 Timeline, Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       White House counterterrorism advisor Richard Clarke meets with Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, President Bush, and Secretary of State Colin Powell. Rumsfeld suggests that the US should bomb Iraq in retaliation for the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. “Rumsfeld was saying we needed to bomb Iraq,” Clarke will later recall in his book, Against All Enemies. “... We all said, ‘But no, no. Al-Qaeda is in Afghanistan,’ and Rumsfeld said, ‘There aren't any good targets in Afghanistan and there are lots of good targets in Iraq.’ ” [Clarke, 2004; Associated Press, 3/20/04; Reuters, 3/19/04; Washington Post, 3/22/2004 Sources: Richard A. Clarke] Powell agrees with Clarke that the immediate focus should be al-Qaeda. However, Powell also says, “Public opinion has to be prepared before a move against Iraq is possible.” Clarke complains to him, “Having been attacked by al-Qaeda, for us now to go bombing Iraq in response would be like our invading Mexico after the Japanese attacked us at Pearl Harbor.” President Bush notes the goal should be replacing the Iraqi government, not just bombing it, but the military warns an invasion would need a large force and many months to assemble. [Clarke, 2004] Rumsfeld's view is said to be closely aligned with that of his deputy, Paul Wolfowitz, who believes Saddam, not Osama bin Laden or al-Qaeda, should be the principal target of the “war on terrorism.” [Woodward, 2002, pp 49] Commenting on his feelings after the meeting, Clarke will later write: “At first I was incredulous that we were talking about something other than getting al-Qaeda. I realized with almost a sharp physical pain that (Defense Secretary Donald) Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz were going to try to take advantage of this national tragedy to promote their agenda about Iraq.” [New York Times, 3/28/04; Associated Press, 3/22/04; Washington Post, 3/22/04] “They were talking about Iraq on 9/11. They were talking about it on 9/12.” [Associated Press, 3/20/04; Reuters, 3/19/04; Clarke, 2004. Sources: Richard A. Clarke]
People and organizations involved: Donald Rumsfeld, Colin Powell, Richard A. Clarke, George W. Bush, Paul Wolfowitz  Additional Info 
          

September 15, 2001      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       George W. Bush, CIA Director George Tenet, Dick Cheney, Colin Powell, Donald Rumsfeld, Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill, National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice, FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III, Paul Wolfowitz, and perhaps other officials as well, meet at Camp David to discuss war plans in Afghanistan. The meeting reportedly begins at 9:30 AM with a prayer. [Vanity Fair, 5/04, pp 232; Washington Post, 1/31/02] There is discussion on a paper submitted by the Defense Department depicting Iraq, the Taliban, and al-Qaeda as priority targets. Paul Wolfowitz pushes for regime change in Iraq, claiming that there is a 10 to 50 percent chance that Iraq was involved in the attacks. [Washington Post, 7/23/04; Vanity Fair, 5/04, pp 232; Woodward, 2002, pp 83] Wolfowitz will later recall in an interview with Vanity Fair: “On the surface of the debate it at least appeared to be about not whether but when. There seemed to be a kind of agreement that yes it should be, but the disagreement was whether it should be in the immediate response or whether you should concentrate simply on Afghanistan first. To the extent it was a debate about tactics and timing, the president clearly came down on the side of Afghanistan first. To the extent it was a debate about strategy and what the larger goal was, it is at least clear with 20/20 hindsight that the president came down on the side of the larger goal.” [Defense Department, /29/2005]
People and organizations involved: Paul O'Neill, Condoleezza Rice, Colin Powell, Donald Rumsfeld, Richard ("Dick") Cheney, Robert S. Mueller III, Paul Wolfowitz, George Tenet, George W. Bush  Additional Info 
          

September 20, 2001: Bush to Blair: After Afghanistan, ‘We Must Come Back to Iraq’       Complete 911 Timeline, Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       British Prime Minister Tony Blair meets with President George Bush at the White House. During dinner that night, also attended by Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice, and British ambassador Sir Christopher Meyer, Blair tells Bush that he wants to concentrate on ousting the Taliban in Afghanistan. Bush replies, “I agree with you Tony. We must deal with this first. But when we have dealt with Afghanistan, we must come back to Iraq.” Blair says nothing to disagree. [Observer, 4/4/04; BBC, 4/3/03; Independent, 4/4/04; Vanity Fair, 5/04, pp 238 Sources: Christopher Meyer]
People and organizations involved: Christopher Meyer, Condoleezza Rice, George W. Bush, Colin Powell, Tony Blair
          

October 4, 2001: Blair Presents Case for al-Qaeda 9/11 Involvement      Complete 911 Timeline

      
Tony Blair presenting evidence on October 4, 2001.
British Prime Minister Tony Blair publicly presents a paper containing evidence that al-Qaeda is responsible for the 9/11 attacks. [Los Angeles Times, 10/4/01; Los Angeles Times, 10/5/01] Secretary of State Powell and other US officials had promised on September 23 that the US would present a paper containing such evidence. [Los Angeles Times, 9/24/01] However, the US paper is never released. Apparently, the British paper is meant to serve as a substitute. [New Yorker, 5/27/02] In the speech, Blair claims, “One of bin Laden's closest lieutenants has said clearly that he helped with the planning of the September 11 attacks and admitted the involvement of the al-Qaeda organization” and that “there is other intelligence, we cannot disclose, of an even more direct nature indicating guilt” of al-Qaeda in the attacks. [Time, 10/5/01; CNN, 10/4/01] There has been no confirmation or details since of these claims. Even though most of the evidence in the British paper comes from the US, pre-attack warnings, such as the August 6, 2001 memo (see August 6, 2001) to Bush titled “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in US,” are not included. In fact, Blair's paper states, “incorrectly, that no such information had been available before the attacks: ‘After 11 September we learned that, not long before, bin Laden had indicated he was about to launch a major attack on America.’ ” [New Yorker, 5/27/02]
People and organizations involved: Colin Powell, Tony Blair, al-Qaeda, Osama bin Laden
          

October 13, 2001      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       Czech foreign minister Jan Kavan briefs Secretary of State Colin Powell in Washington about the alleged trip 9/11 plotter Mohammed Atta took to the Czech Republic in April 2001 (see April 8, 2001). Kavan tells Powell that the BIS, the Czech intelligence service, has reason to believe that Mohamed Atta may have met near Prague with Iraqi Counsel Al-Ani. [New York Times, 10/20/01 Sources: Jan Kavan]
People and organizations involved: Jan Kavan, Ahmed Khalil Ibrahim Samir al-Ani, Mohamed Atta, Colin Powell
          

October 25, 2001      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       Powell, speaking before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, dismisses bin Laden's claims that al-Qaeda's fight is in solidarity with Iraqis and Palestinians. Powell argues: “We cannot let Osama bin Laden pretend that he is doing it in the name of helping the Iraqi people or the Palestinian people. He doesn't care one whit about them. He has never given a dollar toward them. He has never spoken out for them.” [Slate MSNBC, 2/11/03; US Department of State]
People and organizations involved: Colin Powell
          

November 9, 2001      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       Czech Prime Minister Milos Zeman tells Colin Powell and CNN that during the alleged April 2001 meeting in Prague between 9/11 plotter Mohammed Atta and Iraqi diplomat Ahmed Khalil Ibrahim Samir al-Ani, the two men discussed plans to bomb the Radio Free Europe building in Prague, which also housed Radio Free Iraq. The claim is reportedly based on footage from surveillance cameras at the Radio Free Europe building which had shown al-Ani surveying the building in April 2001 (see 1999). The Prime Minister will later back away from the claim, explaining it was just a hypothesis raised by Czech intelligence. [Washington Post 5/1/02; Newsweek, 4/28/01; Associated Press, 12/16/01; CNN, 11/09/01]
People and organizations involved: Ahmed Khalil Ibrahim Samir al-Ani, Colin Powell, Milos Zeman, Mohamed Atta
          

November 13, 2001      Torture in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere

       President Bush issues a 3-page executive order authorizing the creation of military commissions to try non-citizens alleged to be involved in international terrorism. The president will decide which defendants will be tried by military commissions. Defense Secretary Rumsfeld will appoint each panel and set its rules and procedures, including the level of proof needed for a conviction. A two-thirds vote is needed to convict a defendant and impose a sentence, including life imprisonment or death. Only the president or the secretary of defense has the authority to overturn a decision. There is no provision for an appeal to US civil courts, foreign courts, or international tribunals. Nor does the order specify how many judges are to preside on a tribunal or what qualifications they must have. [New York Times, 10/24/2004; US Department of Defense, 11/13/2001; Washington Post, 11/14/2001, pp A01] The order also adopts a rule of evidence stemming from the 1942 Supreme Court case of United States v. Quirin that says evidence shall be admitted “as would ... have probative value to a reasonable person.” This rule, according to Judge Evan J. Wallach, “was repeatedly used [in World War II and in the post-war tribunals] to admit evidence of a quality or obtained in a manner which would make it inadmissible under the rules of evidence in both courts of the United States or courts martial conducted by the armed forces of the United States.” [9/29/2004] Evidence derived from torture, for example, could theoretically be admitted. It should be noted that the order is unprecedented among presidential directives in that it takes away some individuals' most basic rights, while claiming to have the power of law, with the US Congress not having been so much as consulted. During the next few years, lawyers will battle over the exact proceedings of the trials before military commissions, with many of the military lawyers arguing for more rights for the defendants and with Haynes, and the Justice and White House lawyers, Gonzales, Addington, and Flanigan, taking a more restrictive line. [New York Times, 10/24/2004] Both Rice and Powell were left outside of the circle during the drafting of this directive (see November 6, 2001) (see November 9, 2001). Rice is reportedly angry about not be informed. [New York Times, 10/24/2004]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush, David S. Addington, Timothy E. Flanigan, Alberto R. Gonzales, Condoleezza Rice, Colin Powell, Donald Rumsfeld, William J. Haynes  Additional Info 
          

December 3-5, 2001      Torture in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere

       As soon as he hears the news, Lindh's father immediately hires James Brosnahan, a well-respected lawyer, on behalf of his son. On December 3, Brosnahan faxes a letter to Powell, Ashcroft, Rumsfeld, and CIA Director George Tenet. He introduces himself as Lindh's lawyer, expressing his wish to see him, and stating: “Because he is wounded and, based upon press reports, went for three days without food, I would ask that any further interrogation be stopped, especially if there is any intent to use it in any subsequent legal proceedings.” When Brosnahan receives no reply, he writes again, “I would ask that no further interrogation of my client occur until I have the opportunity to speak with him. As an American citizen, he has the right to counsel and, under all applicable legal authorities, I ask for the right to speak with my client as soon as possible.” On December 5, still having received no reply, he urges that “we have a conversation today.” Again, no reply comes. [World Socialist Web Site, 3/27/2002; New Yorker, 3/3/2003; Los Angeles Times, 3/23/2002]
People and organizations involved: John Ashcroft, George Tenet, James Brosnahan, Colin Powell, Donald Rumsfeld
          

December 8, 2001: US Oil Companies to Invest $200 Billion in Kazakhstan      Complete 911 Timeline

       During a visit to Kazakhstan in Central Asia, Secretary of State Powell states that US oil companies are likely to invest $200 billion in Kazakhstan alone in the next five to ten years. [New York Times, 12/15/01]
People and organizations involved: Colin Powell
          

January 25, 2002      Torture in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere

       White House lawyer Alberto Gonzales completes a draft memorandum to the president advising George Bush not to reconsider his decision (see January 18, 2002) declaring Taliban and al-Qaeda fighters ineligible for prisoner of war status as Colin Powell has apparently recommended. [Newsweek, 5/24/2004 Sources: Draft memo to the President from Alberto Gonzales, January 25, 2004] Gonzales writes to Bush that Powell “has asked that you conclude that GPW [Third Geneva Convention] does apply to both al-Qaeda and the Taliban. I understand, however, that he would agree that al-Qaeda and the Taliban fighters could be determined not to be prisoners of war (POWs) but only on a case-by-case basis following individual hearings before a military board.” Powell believes that US troops will be put at risk if the US renounces the Geneva Conventions in relation to the Taliban. Rumsfeld and his chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Richard B. Meyers allegedly agree with Powell's argument. [New York Times, 10/24/2004] But Gonzales says that he agrees with the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel, which has determined that the president had the authority to make this declaration on the premise that “the war against terrorism is a new kind of war” and “not the traditional clash between nations adhering to the laws of war that formed the backdrop for GPW [Geneva Convention on the treatment of prisoners of war].” Gonzales thus states, “In my judgment, this new paradigm renders obsolete Geneva's strict limitations on questioning of enemy prisoners and renders quaint some of its provisions.” [Newsweek, 5/24/2004] Gonzales also says that by declaring the war in Afghanistan exempt from the Geneva Conventions, the president would “[s]ubstantially [reduce] the threat of domestic criminal prosecution under the War Crimes Act [of 1996] (see August 21, 1996).” The president and other officials in the administration would then be protected from any future “prosecutors and independent counsels who may in the future decide to pursue unwarranted charges....” [New York Times, 5/21/2004; Newsweek, 5/24/2004] When Powell reads the memo (see January 26, 2002), he reportedly “hit[s] the roof” and immediately arranges for a meeting with the president. [Newsweek, 5/24/2004]
People and organizations involved: Alberto R. Gonzales, Colin Powell, George W. Bush
          

January 26, 2002      Torture in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere

       US Secretary of State Colin Powell responds to Alberto Gonzales' January 25 draft memo to the president (see January 25, 2002). He argues that it does not provide the president with a balanced view on the issue of whether or not to apply the Geneva Conventions to the conflict in Afghanistan. Powell lists several problems that could potentially result from exempting the conflict from the Conventions as Gonzales recommends. For example, he notes that it would “reverse over a century of US policy and practice in supporting the Geneva conventions and undermine the protections of the law of war for our troops, both in this specific conflict and in general.” The decision will furthermore have “a high cost in terms of negative international reaction.” It will “undermine public support among critical allies, making military cooperation more difficult to sustain,” and other states would “likely have legal problems with extradition or other forms of cooperation in law enforcement, including in bringing terrorists to justice.” But perhaps most ominously, Powell charges that the proposed decision “may provoke some individual foreign prosecutors to investigate and prosecute our officials and troops” and “make us more vulnerable to domestic and legal challenge.” The end of the memo consists of several rebuttals to points that Gonzales made in his memo. [Newsweek, 5/24/2004; New York Times, 5/21/2004 Sources: Memo to Condoleezza Rice from Colin Powell, January 26, 2004]
People and organizations involved: Colin Powell, Alberto R. Gonzales
          

February 12, 2002      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       Secretary of State Colin Powell tells the Senate Budget Committee: “With respect to Iraq, it's long been, for several years now, a policy of the United States' government that regime change would be in the best interest of the region, the best interest of the Iraqi people. And we're looking at a variety of options that would bring that about.” [CNN, 2/13/02]
People and organizations involved: Colin Powell
          

March 1, 2002      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       The State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR) publishes an intelligence assessment, titled “Niger: Sale of Uranium to Iraq Is Unlikely,” that disputes recent Italian intelligence reports (see October 15, 2001) (see February 5, 2002) suggesting that Iraq attempted to purchase uranium from Niger. The assessment reiterates INR's view that France controls the uranium industry and “would take action to block a sale of the kind alleged in a CIA report of questionable credibility from a foreign government service.” It adds that though “some officials may have conspired for individual gain to arrange a uranium sale,” Nigerien President Mamadou Tandja's government would have been unlikely to risk relations with the US and other key aid donors. “A whole lot of things told us that the report was bogus,” Greg Thielmann, a high-ranking INR official, later explains to Time Magazine. “This wasn't highly contested. There weren't strong advocates on the other side. It was done, shot down.” The assessment, drafted in response to interest from the vice president's office (see (February 12, 2002)), is sent to the White House situation room and Secretary of State Colin Powell. [Time Magazine, 7/21/03 Sources: Greg Thielmann, Report On The US Intelligence Community's Prewar Intelligence Assessments On Iraq]
People and organizations involved: Bureau of Intelligence and Research, Colin Powell
          

March 3, 2002: Powell Denies ISI Links to Daniel Pearl Murder      Complete 911 Timeline

       Secretary of State Powell rules out any links between “elements of the ISI” and the murderers of reporter Daniel Pearl. [Dawn, 3/3/02] The Guardian later calls Powell's comment “shocking,” given the overwhelming evidence that the main suspect, Saeed Sheikh, worked for the ISI. [Guardian, 4/5/02] Defense Secretary Rumsfeld called Saeed a possible “asset” for the ISI only a week earlier. [Times of London, 2/25/02] The Washington Post says, “The [ISI] is a house of horrors waiting to break open. Saeed has tales to tell.” [Washington Post, 3/28/02] The Guardian says Saeed “is widely believed in Pakistan to be an experienced ISI ‘asset.’ ” [Guardian, 4/5/02]
People and organizations involved: Pakistan Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence, Saeed Sheikh, Daniel Pearl, Colin Powell, Donald Rumsfeld
          

April 25, 2002: Saudi Prince Said to Meet Suspected Hijacker Associate While Visiting Bush      Complete 911 Timeline

       Osama Basnan, an alleged associate of 9/11 hijackers Nawaf Alhazmi and Khalid Almihdhar, reports his passport stolen to Houston police. [Newsweek, 11/24/02] This confirms that Basnan is in Houston on the same day that Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah, Prince Saud al-Faisal, and Saudi US Ambassador Prince Bandar meet with President Bush, Vice President Cheney, Secretary of State Powell, and National Security Adviser Rice at Bush's ranch in nearby Crawford, Texas. [US-Saudi Arabian Business Council, 4/25/02] Abdullah's entourage passes through Houston that week en route to Bush's ranch. While in Texas, it is believed that Basnan “met with a high Saudi prince who has responsibilities for intelligence matters and is known to bring suitcases full of cash into the United States.” [Guardian, 11/25/02; Newsweek, 11/24/02] The still-classified section of the 9/11 Congressional Inquiry is said to discuss the possibility of Basnan meeting this figure at this time. [Associated Press, 8/2/03]
People and organizations involved: Nawaf Alhazmi, Khalid Almihdhar, Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al-Saud, Colin Powell, Bandar bin Sultan, Osama Basnan, Saud al-Faisal, Condoleezza Rice, Richard ("Dick") Cheney, George W. Bush
          

May 5, 2002      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       Appearing on ABC's “This Week,” Colin Powell says, “The United States reserves its option to do whatever it believes might be appropriate to see if there can be a regime change.... US policy is that regardless of what the inspectors do, the people of Iraq and the people of the region would be better off with a different regime in Baghdad.” [BBC, 12/19/02; US Department of State, 5/5/02]
People and organizations involved: Colin Powell
          

June 2002      US confrontation with Iran

       In Paris, Defense Department officials (including either Harold Rhode or Larry Franklin) meet with Iranian officials and Manucher Ghorbanifar, an Iranian arms trader who had been a central figure in the Iran-Contra affair. The meeting reportedly resulted from “an unplanned, unscheduled encounter,” that took place without White House approval. An earlier meeting involving several of the same figures had taken place seven months earlier (See December 2001). [Washington Post, 8/9/03; New York Times, 12/7/2003] When Secretary of State Colin Powell learns of the meeting, he complains directly to Condoleezza Rice and the office of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. [Newsday, 8/9/03; Washington Post, 8/9/03]
People and organizations involved: Harold Rhode, Larry Franklin, Michael Ledeen, Manucher Ghorbanifar, Colin Powell
          

Mid-January 2002      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       Referring to the weapons inspectors upcoming January 27 report (see January 27, 2003), Colin Powell says in an interview with Saturday's Sueddeutsche Zeitung, “We believe that at the end of the month it will be convincingly proven that Iraq is not cooperating.” [BBC, 1/18/03]
People and organizations involved: Colin Powell
          

(8:00 p.m.) August 5, 2002      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       After dinner at the White House, Colin Powell speaks privately with George Bush and convinces him that international backing would be crucial for an invasion of Iraq and the inevitable occupation that would follow. Powell cites polls which indicate that a majority of Americans favor seeking a UN resolution. Bush reluctantly agrees. [Vanity Fair, 5/04, pg 284]
People and organizations involved: Colin Powell, George W. Bush
          

August 13, 2002      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger joins Secretary of State Colin L. Powell and his advisors for a meeting. Describing the meeting, the New York Times reports three days later that they “have decided that they should focus international discussion on how Iraq would be governed after Mr. Hussein—not only in an effort to assure a democracy but as a way to outflank administration hawks and slow the rush to war, which many in the department oppose.” [New York Times, 8/15/02]
People and organizations involved: Colin Powell, Henry A. Kissinger
          

August 26, 2002      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       In a speech to the Nashville convention of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Vice President Richard Cheney says Saddam Hussein will “seek domination of the entire Middle East, take control of a great portion of the world's energy supplies, directly threaten America's friends throughout the region and subject the United States or any other nation to nuclear blackmail.” He also states unequivocally that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction. “Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction,” he says. “There is no doubt that he is amassing them to use against our friends, against our allies and against us ... What he wants is time, and more time to husband his resources to invest in his ongoing chemical and biological weapons program, and to gain possession of nuclear weapons.” Therefore he argues, the answer is not weapons inspections. “Against that background, a person would be right to question any suggestion that we should just get inspectors back into Iraq, and then our worries will be over. Saddam has perfected the game of shoot and retreat, and is very skilled in the art of denial and deception. A return of inspectors would provide no assurance whatsoever of his compliance with UN resolutions.” [New York Times, 8/26/02] Cheney's speech marks the first major statement from the White House regarding the Bush administration's Iraq policy following a flood of criticisms from former officials. Significantly, the speech was not cleared by the CIA or the State Department. [Newsweek, 9/9/02 Sources: Unnamed sources interviewed by Newsweek] Furthermore, Cheney's comments dismissing the need for the return of inspectors, were not cleared by President Bush. [Newsweek, 9/9/02 Sources: Andrew Card] Three days after the speech, a State Department source tells CNN that Powell's view clashes with that which was presented in Cheney's speech, explaining that the secretary of state is opposed to any military action in which the US would “go it alone ... as if it doesn't give a damn” what other nations think. The source also says that Powell and “others in the State Department were ‘blindsided’ by Cheney's ‘time is running out’ speech ... and were just as surprised as everyone else,” CNN reports. [CNN, 8/30/02 Sources: Unnamed source interviewed by CNN]
People and organizations involved: Colin Powell, Richard ("Dick") Cheney  Additional Info 
          

September 2002      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Douglas J. Feith and Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, adamant hawks, rename the Northern Gulf Affairs Office on the Pentagon's fourth floor (in the seventh corridor of D Ring) the “Office of Special Plans” (OSP) and increase its four-person staff to sixteen. [Mother Jones, 1/04; Tom Paine [.com], 8/27/03; Inter Press Service, 8/7/03; American Conservative, 12/1/03; New Yorker, 5/5/03; Los Angeles Times, 11/24/02; Knight Ridder Newspapers, 8/16/02 Sources: Unnamed administration official, Karen Kwiatkowski, Greg Thielmann] William Luti, a former navy officer and ex-aide to Vice President Cheney, is put in charge of the day-to-day operations. [Guardian, 7/17/03; Mother Jones, 1/04] The Office of Special Plans is staffed with a tight group of like-minded neoconservative ideologues, who are known advocates of regime change in Iraq. Notably, the staffers have little background in intelligence or Iraqi history and culture. [American Conservative, 12/1/03; Inter Press Service, 8/7/03; Salon, 7/16/03; Mother Jones, 1/04 Sources: A Pentagon adviser, Karen Kwiatkowski, Greg Thielmann] Some of the people associated with this office were earlier involved with the Counter Terrorism Evaluation Group, also known as the “Wurmser-Maloof” project (see Shortly after September 11, 2001). They hire “scores of temporary ‘consultants’ ... including like-minded lawyers, congressional staffers, and policy wonks from the numerous rightwing think-tanks in the US capital.” Neoconservative ideologues, like Richard Perle and Newt Gingrich, are afforded direct input into the Office of Special Plans. [Guardian, 7/17/03; Mother Jones, 1/04] The office works alongside the Near East and South Asia (NESA) bureau, also under the authority of Douglas Feith [Inter Press Service, 8/7/03; Mother Jones, 1/04 Sources: Karen Kwiatkowski] The official business of Special Plans is to help plan for post-Saddam Iraq. The office's staff members presumably “develop defense policies aimed at building an international coalition, prepare the secretary of defense and his top deputies for interagency meetings, coordinate troop-deployment orders, craft policies for dealing with prisoners of war and illegal combatants, postwar assistance and reconstruction policy planning, postwar governance, Iraqi oil infrastructure policy, postwar Iraqi property disputes, war crimes and atrocities, war-plan review and, in their spare time, prepare congressional testimony for their principals.” [Insight, 12/2/03] But according to numerous well-placed sources, the office becomes a source for many of the administration's prewar allegations against Iraq. It is accused of exaggerating, politicizing, and misrepresenting intelligence, which is “stovepiped” to top administration officials who use the intelligence in their policy decisions on Iraq. [Telegraph, 7/11/04; Mother Jones, 1/04; CNN, 7/11/04; Tom Paine [.com], 8/27/03; Knight Ridder Newspapers, 8/16/02; Los Angeles Times, 11/24/02; American Conservative, 12/1/03; New Yorker, 5/5/03; Inter Press Service, 8/7/03 Sources: Karen Kwiatkowski, Greg Thielmann, Unnamed administration official] There are very few news reports in the American mainstream media that report on the office. In fact, the office is reportedly Top Secret. [Bamford, 2004, pp 308] “We were instructed at a staff meeting that this office was not to be discussed or explained,” OSP staffer Karen Kwiatkowski will later say, “and if people in the Joint Staff, among others, asked, we were to offer no comment.” [American Conservative, 12/1/03] Colin Powell is said to have felt that Cheney and the neoconservatives in this “Gestapo” office had established what was essentially a separate government. [Woodward, 2004 cited in Washington Post 1/18/04 Sources: Top officials interviewed by Washington Post editor Bob Woodward] Among the claims critics find most troubling about the office are:
The office relies heavily on accounts from Iraqi exiles and defectors associated with Ahmed Chalabi's Iraqi National Congress (INC), long considered suspect by other US intelligence agencies. [Salon, 7/16/03; Guardian, 7/17/03; Inter Press Service, 8/7/03; New Yorker, 5/5/03; Mother Jones, 1/04; Independent, 9/30/03 Sources: Unnamed administration official, Greg Thielmann] One defector in particular, code-named “Curveball,” provides as much as 98 percent of the intelligence on Iraq's alleged arsenal of biological weapons. [CNN, 7/11/04] Much of the information provided by the INC's sources consists of “misleading and often faked intelligence reports,” which often flow to Special Plans and NESA directly, “sometimes through Defense Intelligence Agency debriefings of Iraqi defectors via the Defense Human Intelligence Service and sometimes through the INC's own US-funded Intelligence Collection Program, which was overseen by the Pentagon.” [Mother Jones, 1/04] According to Karen Kwiatkowski, the movement of intelligence from the INC to the Office of Special Plans is facilitated by Colonel Bruner, a former military aide to Gingrich. [Salon, 3/10/04; Mother Jones, 1/04; Newsweek, 12/15/03 Sources: Memo, Karen Kwiatkowski] Bruner “was Chalabi's handler,” Kwiatkowski will tell Mother Jones. “He would arrange meetings with Chalabi and Chalabi's folks.” [Mother Jones, 1/04 Sources: Karen Kwiatkowski]
The Office of Special Plans purposefully ignores intelligence that undermines the case for war while exaggerating any leads that support it. “It wasn't intelligence,—it was propaganda,” Karen Kwiatkowski, who worked at the NESA desk, will later explain. “They'd take a little bit of intelligence, cherry-pick it, make it sound much more exciting, usually by taking it out of context, often by juxtaposition of two pieces of information that don't belong together.” [New Yorker, 5/5/03; New York Times, 10/24/02; Inter Press Service, 8/7/03; Guardian, 7/17/03; Salon, 7/16/03; Mother Jones, 1/04; Independent, 9/30/03 Sources: Ellen Tauscher, Greg Thielmann, Unnamed former intelligence official]
The OSP bypasses established oversight procedures by sending its intelligence assessments directly to the White House and National Security Council without having them first vetted by a review process involving other US intelligence agencies. [Guardian, 7/17/03; Salon, 7/16/03; Mother Jones, 1/04; New Yorker, 5/5/03 Sources: Unnamed senior officer who left the Pentagon during the planning of the Iraq war, David Obey, Greg Thielmann] The people at Special Plans are so successful at bypassing conventional procedures, in part, because their neoconservative colleagues hold key positions in several other agencies and offices. Their contacts in other agencies include: John Bolton, Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International; Bolton's advisor, David Wurmser, a former research fellow on the Middle East at the American Enterprise Institute, who was just recently working in a secret Pentagon planning unit at Douglas Feith's office (see Shortly after September 11, 2001); Elizabeth Cheney, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near East Affairs; Stephen Hadley, the deputy national security adviser; Elliott Abrams, The National Security Council's top Middle East aide; and Richard Perle, Newt Gingrich, James Woolsey and Kenneth Adelman of the Defense Policy Board. The office provides very little information about its work to other US intelligence offices. [Salon, 7/16/03; Inter Press Service, 8/7/03; Guardian, 7/17/03 Sources: Karen Kwiatkowski, Unnamed An unnamed senior officer who left the Pentagon during the planning of the Iraq war, Greg Thielmann, David Obey]
Lastly, the people involved in Special Plans openly exhibit strong pro-Israel and anti-Arab bias. The problem, note critics, is that the analysis of intelligence is supposed to be apolitical and untainted by ideological viewpoints. [American Conservative, 12/1/03 Sources: Karen Kwiatkowski] According to a CIA intelligence official and four members of the Senate's Intelligence Committee, Special Plans is the group responsible for the claim Bush will make in his 2003 State of the Union address that Iraq had attempted to procure uranium from an African country (see January 28, 2003). [Information Clearing House, 7/16/03; The Nation, 6/19/03] After the existence of the Office of Special Plans is revealed to the public, the Pentagon will deny that it served as a direct conduit to the White House for misleading intelligence, instead claiming that its activities had been limited to postwar plans for Iraq. [New Yorker, 5/5/03] And a December 2003 opinion piece published in Insight magazine will call the allegations surrounding the Office of Special Plans the work of conspiracy theorists. [Insight, 12/2/03]
People and organizations involved: Colonel Bruner, James Woolsey, Newt Gingrich, Kenneth Adelman, Colin Powell, Richard Perle, Elliott Abrams, Stephen Hadley, Karen Kwiatkowski, Douglas Feith, Paul Wolfowitz, Abram Shulsky, David Wurmser, Elizabeth Cheney  Additional Info 
          

9:00 a.m. September 8, 2002      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       Secretary of State Colin Powell appears on “Fox News Sunday,” and asserts that Iraq has chemical and biological weapons stocks and that Saddam Hussein is intent on building a nuclear weapon. He cites a recent article in the New York Times by Judith Miller and Michael Gordon (see (1:00am) September 8, 2002) as evidence of Hussein's nuclear ambitions. “There's no doubt that he has chemical weapon stocks. We destroyed some after the Gulf War with the inspection regime, but there's no doubt in our mind that he still has chemical weapon stocks and he has the capacity to produce more chemical weapons. With respect to biological weapons, we are confident that he has some stocks of those weapons, and he's probably continuing to try to develop more. And biological weapons are very dangerous because they can be produced just about in any kind of pharmaceutical facility. With respect to nuclear weapons, we are quite confident that he continues to try to pursue the technology that would allow him to develop a nuclear weapon. Whether he could do it in one, five, six or seven, eight years is something that people can debate about, but what nobody can debate about is the fact that he still has the incentive, he still intends to develop those kinds of weapons. And as we saw in reporting just this morning, he is still trying to acquire, for example, some of the specialized aluminum tubing one needs to develop centrifuges that would give you an enrichment capability. So there's no question that he has these weapons, but even more importantly, he is striving to do even more, to get even more.” Tony Snow, the program's host, asks Secretary of State Colin Powell to respond to comments by former UN Chief Weapons Inspector Scott Ritter in a speech he recently made to Iraq's parliament, in which the former weapons inspector stated: “The rhetoric of fear that is disseminated by my government and others has not to date been backed up by hard facts that substantiate any allegations that Iraq is today in possession of weapons of mass destruction or has links to terror groups responsible for attacking the United States. Void of such facts, all we have is speculation.” Powell responds: “We have facts, not speculation. Scott is certainly entitled to his opinion but I'm afraid that I would not place the security of my nation and the security of our friends in the region on that kind of an assertion by somebody who's not in the intelligence chain any longer... If Scott is right, then why are they keeping the inspectors out? If Scott is right, why don't they say, ‘Anytime, any place, anywhere, bring'em in, everybody come in—we are clean?’ The reason is they are not clean. And we have to find out what they have and what we're going to do about it. And that's why it's been the policy of this government to insist that Iraq be disarmed in accordance with the terms of the relevant UN resolutions.” [Associated Press, 9/8/2002; Newsmax, 9/8/2002; Fox News, 9/8/2002]
People and organizations involved: White House Iraq Group, Colin Powell
          

September 16, 2002      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       Iraqi Foreign Minister Naji Sabri meets with UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and Arab League Secretary-General Amir Moussa and gives them a letter expressing Baghdad's willingness to readmit the UN weapons inspectors without conditions. The offer is made after Saddam Hussein convened an emergency meeting in Baghdad with his cabinet and the Revolutionary Command Council (RCC). [Associated Press, 9/16/02a; Independent, 9/17/02; New York Times, 9/17/02 Sources: Iraq's September 16, 2002 letter accepting the unconditional return of weapons inspectors] Iraq's letter is effectively an agreement to December 1999 UN Security Council Resolution 1284. [New York Times, 9/18/02] Kofi Annan tells reporters after the meeting, “I can confirm to you that I have received a letter from the Iraqi authorities conveying its decision to allow the return of the inspectors without conditions to continue their work and has also agreed that they are ready to start immediate discussions on the practical arrangements for the return of the inspectors to resume their work.” Annan credits the Arab League, which he says “played a key role” in influencing Saddam Hussein's decision to accept the inspectors, and suggests that Bush's speech also played a critical part in influencing Baghdad's decision. [UN, 9/16/02] UNMOVIC Chief Weapons Inspector Hans Blix also meets with Iraqi officials and it is reportedly agreed that weapons inspectors will return to Iraq on October 19. UNMOVIC spokesman Ewen Buchanan tells the BBC, “We are ready to discuss practical measures, such as helicopters, hotels, the installation of monitoring equipment and so on, which need to be put in place.” [BBC, 9/17/02] The Bush administration immediately rejects the offer, calling it “a tactical step by Iraq in hopes of avoiding strong UN Security Council action,” in a statement released by the deputy press secretary. [White House, 9/16/2002; Associated Press, 9/16/02] And Dan Bartlett, the White House communications director, tells reporters: “We've made it very clear that we are not in the business of negotiating with Saddam Hussein. We are working with the UN Security Council to determine the most effective way to reach our goal.” He then claims Iraq's offer is a tactic to give “false hope to the international community that [President Saddam] means business this time,” adding, “Unfortunately, his more than decade of experience shows you can put very little into his words or deeds.” Two days later Bush will tell reporters that Saddam's offer is “his latest ploy, his latest attempt not to be held accountable for defying the United Nations,” adding: “He's not going to fool anybody. We've seen him before. . . . We'll remind the world that, by defying resolutions, he's become more and more of a threat to world peace. [The world] must rise up and deal with this threat, and that's what we expect the Security Council to do.” [Agence France Presse, 9/19/02; Independent, 9/17/02] Later that night, Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice reportedly hold a conference call with Kofi Annan and accuse him of taking matters into his own hands. [Vanity Fair, 5/2004, pg 285] Britain supports the US position and calls for a UN resolution backed with the threat of force. [BBC, 9/17/03] Other nations react differently to the offer. For example, Russia's Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov, says: “It's important that, through our joint efforts, we have managed to put aside the threat of a war scenario around Iraq and return the process to a political channel ... It is essential in the coming days to resolve the issue of the inspectors' return. For this, no new [Security Council] resolutions are needed.” [BBC, 9/17/03; Independent, 9/17/02]
People and organizations involved: Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice, Hans Blix, Saddam Hussein, Amir Moussa, Scott McClellan, Kofi Annan, Naji Sabri, Dan Bartlett  Additional Info 
          

September 20, 2002      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       The Bush administration makes it clear that it will prevent the UN inspectors from going to Iraq under the terms of the current UN resolution. Powell tells the House International Relations Committee, “If somebody tried to move the team in now [before a UN resolution authorizing the use of force is passed], we would find ways to thwart that.” [BBC, 9/20/02; Telegraph, 9/21/02; CNN, 9/29/02]
People and organizations involved: Colin Powell
          

September 26, 2002      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       Powell tells the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, “The world had to recognize that the potential connection between terrorists and weapons of mass destruction moved terrorism to a new level of threat. In fact, that nexus became the overriding security concern of our nation. It still is and it will continue to be our overriding concern for some years to come.” [US Department of State, 9/26/02] But Paul Anderson, spokesman for Sen. Bob Graham, D-Fla., chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, tells reporters that Graham, who has access to highly classified reports, has seen no evidence that Iraq has ties to al-Qaeda. [USA Today, 9/26/02 Sources: Paul Anderson]
People and organizations involved: Colin Powell, Bob Graham, Paul Anderson
          

November 8, 2002      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       The UN Security Council unanimously votes 15-0 in favor of UN Resolution 1441, which stipulates that Iraq is required to readmit UN weapons inspectors under tougher terms than required by previous UN resolutions. The resolution does not give the US authority to use force against Iraq. The resolution makes it very clear that only the UN Security Council has the right to take punitive action against Iraq in the event of noncompliance. [United Nations, 11/8/02; Zunes, 11/14/02 Sources: UN Resolution 1441] After the resolution is passed, top Bush administration officials make public statements threatening to use military force against Iraq if Saddam's regime does not comply with the resolution. George Bush, Colin Powell, John Negroponte, Andrew Card, and Ari Fleischer make statements asserting that the resolution does not prevent the US from using force.
A provision that would have authorized UN member states to use “all necessary means” to disarm Iraq is relocated to the preamble of the resolution where it presumably has no practical significance. [New York Times, 11/6/02]
A provision requiring that security guards accompany the inspectors is removed. [New York Times, 11/6/02]
The resolution requires Iraq to provide the UN with the names of all its weapons experts. [Times, 11/9/02; New York Times, 11/6/02 Sources: UN Resolution 1441]
The resolution states that weapons inspectors will be authorized to remove Iraqi scientists, as well as their families, from Iraq in order to interview them. An official later tells The Washington Post that the power to interview Iraqi scientists was “the most significant authority contained in the resolution” and “the one thing that is most likely to produce overt Iraqi opposition.” [The Washington Post, 12/12/02; Guardian, 11/7/02; Times, 11/9/02; New York Times, 11/6/02 Sources: UN Resolution 1441]
The resolution overturns provisions of the previous Resolution 1154 that required UN inspectors to notify Baghdad before inspecting Saddam Hussein's presidential sites. Resolution 1154 had also required that inspections of those sensitive sites occur in the presence of diplomats. The new resolution demands that Iraq allow the inspectors “immediate, unimpeded, unconditional and unrestricted access” to any sites chosen by the inspectors. [Times, 11/9/02; New York Times, 11/6/02; Guardian, 11/7/02; CNN, 11/8/02] Unnamed diplomats and US officials tell USA Today that the US may attempt to claim that Iraq is engaged in a pattern of defiance and deceit if it hinders the inspectors in any way. [USA Today 12/19/02 Sources: Unnamed diplomats and US officials]
The resolution include a provision calling for “no-fly” and “no-drive” zones in the areas surrounding suspected weapons sites to prevent the Iraqis from removing evidence prior to or during inspections. [Times, 11/9/02; New York Times, 11/6/02; Guardian, 11/7/02 Sources: UN Resolution 1441]
The final resolution includes statements stipulating that an Iraqi failure to comply with the terms of the resolution, including “false statements or omissions” in the weapons declaration it is required to submit, will “constitute a further material breach” of its obligations. Additional wording included in the same provision explains that any breach of the resolution will “be reported to the Council for assessment.” Also, towards the end of the resolution, it states that the chief weapons inspector should “report immediately to the Council any interference” by Iraq so that the Council can “convene immediately to consider the situation and the need for full compliance with all the relevant council resolutions in order to restore international peace and security.” [New York Times, 11/6/02; Times, 11/9/02; CNN, 11/8/02 Sources: UN Resolution 1441]
Paragraph 8 of UN Security Council Resolution 1441 states that Iraq “shall not take or threaten hostile acts directed against any representative or personnel of the United Nations or the IAEA or of any Member State taking action to uphold any Council resolution.” The US contends that this applies to the US- and British- patrolling of the “no-fly” zones that the two countries imposed shortly after the Gulf War. The “patrolling,” which has never been officially sanctioned by the UN and which is not recognized by Iraq, often includes aerial attacks on Iraqi sovereign territory. Iraq consistently fires on the attacking jets in self-defense. Other UN Security Council members explicitly oppose this interpretation of the resolution before its passage. [Associated Press, 11/15/02; Associated Press, 11/12/02; Associated Press, 11/16/02; United Press International; Reuters, 11/15/02; Washington Post, 11/16/02 Sources: UN Resolution 1441]
The resolution gives Iraq seven days to announce whether or not it will comply with the resolution, and 30 days (December 8) to declare its chemical, biological, and nuclear-related capabilities—even those that are unrelated to weapons programs. 10 days after Iraq's acceptance of the terms, inspectors will send an advanced team to Baghdad, but will have a total of 45 days to begin the actual work. The inspection team will be required to provide the UN Security Council with a report 60 days (January 27) after the commencement of its work. [Guardian, 11/7/02; Associated Press, 11/8/02; Associated Press, 11/16/02 Sources: UN Resolution 1441] Diplomats and US officials speaking off the record tell USA Today that the declaration due on December 8 represents a hidden trigger, explaining that any omissions will be considered a material breach and sufficient justification for war. [USA Today 12/19/02 Sources: Unnamed diplomats and US officials]
Syria requested that the resolution include a provision stating that Iraq's compliance with the terms would result in the lifting of sanctions. This provision was not included. [CNN, 11/8/02]
Syria requested that the resolution declare the entire Middle East a “nuclear-free and weapons of mass destruction-free zone.” This provision was not included. [CNN, 11/8/02]
France did not want the resolution to include any wording that might authorize the use of force. Instead it argued that the resolution should include only terms for tougher inspections. In the event of Iraqi noncompliance with the terms, France argued, a separate resolution should be agreed upon to decide what further action would be necessary. France lost its argument, and the new resolution includes a warning to Iraq “that it will face serious consequences” in the event of its failure to comply with the terms of the resolution. [Guardian, 11/7/02]
People and organizations involved: Ari Fleischer, Andrew Card, John Negroponte, Colin Powell, George W. Bush  Additional Info 
          

November 14, 2002      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       Colin Powell hints that the US might view Iraqi attempts to shoot down coalition aircraft in the so-called “no-fly” zone as a breach of UN Resolution 1441 (see November 8, 2002). “If they [Iraqis] were to take hostile acts against the United States or United Kingdom aircraft patrolling in the northern and (southern) no-fly zone, then I think we would have to look at that with great seriousness if they continue to do that,” he says after a meeting with Canadian Foreign Minister Bill Graham in Ottawa. [Associated Press, 11/14/02; The Washington Post, 11/17/02]
People and organizations involved: Colin Powell
          

November 21-22,2002      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       A NATO summit is convened in Prague to welcome the Eastern European states of Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia, who will become members of the alliance in 2004. These seven countries, along with Albania, Croatia and Macedonia, release a statement, which says, “NATO allies stand united in their commitment to take effective action to assist and support the efforts of the UN to ensure full and immediate compliance by Iraq, without conditions or restrictions, with UN [Resolution] 1441.” The statement also says, “[W]e are prepared to contribute to an international coalition to enforce its provisions and the disarmament of Iraq.” Bruce Jackson, a former US Defense Department official who heads a Committee for the Liberation of Iraq, helps draft the statement. France also releases a statement, which is a bit less confrontational. A French official explains to the London Telegraph that the Eastern states' statement was “his [Bush's] own interpretation [of UN Resolution 1441] and we do not share it. On December 8, we will take note of what Iraq says it has ... and we will see if its behavior is consistent with its statement.” Germany remains opposed to the use of military force. German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer tells reporters, “We are against military action. We don't support military action. We want the possibility not to become the reality.” [Agence France Press, 11/20/02; Telegraph, 11/22/2002; New York Times, 11/22/2002] On the night of November 21, in an interview with Dan Rather of CBS news, Powell also makes the US position clear. He says, “If the [December 8] declaration is patently false and everybody can see it. If he does not let the inspectors do their job, then the president is fully ready to take the necessary step, which is military force.” [US Department of State, 11/21/02] Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld is also in town for the summit. Before he leaves Prague to meet with Slovak Prime Minister Mikulas Dzurinda in Slovakia, he says he will not believe Iraq if its declaration claims Iraq has no weapons of mass destruction. [Associated Press, 11/22/02]
People and organizations involved: Bruce Jackson, Colin Powell, Joschka Fischer
          

December 8, 2002      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       US Secretary of State Colin Powell successfully pressures the UN Security Council's president, Colombian ambassador to the United Nations Alfonso Valdivieso, to override the Council's December 6 decision (see December 6, 2002) that no country be permitted access to an unabridged copy of Iraq's declaration. “The United States had initially accepted the argument Friday but then changed its mind over the weekend, holding consultations between capitals,” reports the Associated Press. “Eventually US officials instructed Colombian Ambassador Alfonso Valdivieso, the current Security Council president, to hand over the complete copy of the declaration, which to the astonishment of many in the UN halls, he did.” [Associated Press, 12/9/02b; New York Times, 12/10/02; New York Times 12/21/02] The Council president normally makes decisions only when there is a consensus of all 15 members. Notably, the US had promised Colombia a substantial increase in military aid less than a week beforehand. [New York Times, 12/10/02] Under the new “decision,” only those countries with “the expertise to assess the risk of proliferation and other sensitive information” will be permitted to access the documents. The only countries that are considered qualified according to this criteria are the five permanent members. The other 10 council members, including Syria, will only be allowed to view the declaration after translation, analysis and censorship of “sensitive material.” Syria and Norway are infuriated by the move. [Associated Press, 12/9/02b; Associated Press, 12/9/02; New York Times, 12/10/02; Washington Times, 12/12/02] The photocopying of the documents will be done exclusively by the US. UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan will later acknowledge that the job should have been delegated to a less partial party. [Washington Times, 12/12/02; Times of London, 12/10/02]
People and organizations involved: Alfonso Valdivieso, Colin Powell, Kofi Annan  Additional Info 
          

December 19, 2002      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       Secretary of State Colin Powell and US ambassador to the UN John Negroponte say that the Bush administration considers Iraq to be in “material breach” of UN Resolution 1441, citing deliberate omissions and falsehoods in Iraq's 12,000 page December 7 declaration (see December 7, 2002). Powell calls the declaration “a catalogue of recycled information and flagrant omissions,” adding that it “totally fails to meet the resolution's requirements.” He says the omissions “constitute another material breach.” [Washington Post, 12/19/02; Associated Press, 12/19/02; Ireland Online, 12/19/02; Associated Press, 12/19/02b] But the administration's conclusion is made before the Arabic sections of the declaration have even been translated. Blix says that there are 500 or 600 pages that still need to be translated and that it is too early to provide a complete assessment. He adds that the Bush administration's statements about a “material breach” are baseless allegations. [The Strait Times, 12/20/02; CNN, 12/19/02]
People and organizations involved: John Negroponte, Hans Blix, Colin Powell  Additional Info 
          

January 9, 2003      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       UNMOVIC inspectors say they have yet to uncover evidence indicating that Iraq has resumed its production of weapons of mass destruction. After providing the UN Security Council with a summary of the inspectors' findings, Hans Blix tells reporters in New York, “We have now been there for some two months and been covering the country in ever wider sweeps and we haven't found any smoking guns.” [Guardian, 1/10/03] But Ari Fleischer, the White House press secretary, insists that the absence of evidence is of little concern, asserting, “The problem with guns that are hidden is you can't see their smoke. We know for a fact that there are weapons there.” And John Negroponte, the US ambassador to the UN, accuses Iraq of “legalistic” cooperation, claiming that it needs to act proactively. He also says, “There is still no evidence that Iraq has fundamentally changed its approach from one of deceit to a genuine attempt to be forthcoming.” [Guardian, 1/10/03] Colin Powell also seems undaunted by Blix's remarks. “The lack of a smoking gun does not mean that there's not one there,” he says, “If the international community sees that Saddam Hussein is not cooperating in a way that would not allow you to determine the truth of the matter, then he is in violation of the UN resolution [1441]...You don't really have to have a smoking gun.” [News24, 1/10/03] Sir Jeremy Greenstock, the British ambassador to the UN, echoes views from Washington, asserting that the “passive cooperation of Iraq has been good in terms of access and other procedural issues,” and adds, “But proactive cooperation has not been forthcoming—the kind of cooperation needed to clear up the remaining questions in the inspectors' minds.” [Guardian, 1/10/03]
People and organizations involved: Ari Fleischer, Hans Blix, John Negroponte, Colin Powell, Jeremy Greenstock
          

January 13, 2003      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       US President George Bush and Secretary of State Colin Powell meet alone in the Oval Office for twelve minutes. According to Woodward's book, Plan of Attack, Bush says, “The inspections are not getting us there.... I really think I'm going to have to do this,” adding that he is firm in his decision. Powell responds, “You're sure? ... You understand the consequences.... You know that you're going to be owning this place?” Bush indicates that he understands the implications and asks, “Are you with me on this? ... I think I have to do this. I want you with me.” Powell responds: “I'll do the best I can. ... Yes, sir, I will support you. I'm with you, Mr. President.” Woodward will also say in his book that Bush had never—ever—asked his Secretary of State for his advice on the matter of Iraq. “In all the discussions, meetings, chats and back-and-forth, in Powell's grueling duels with Rumsfeld and Defense, the president had never once asked Powell, Would you do this? What's your overall advice? The bottom line?” Woodward will write. [Woodward, 2004 cited in New York Times, 4/17/04; Woodward, 2004 cited in Washington Post 4/18/04 Sources: Top officials interviewed by Washington Post editor Bob Woodward]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush, Colin Powell
          

January 19, 2003      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       Top Bush administration officials appear to suggest that war can be avoided if Saddam Hussein steps down. Donald Rumsfeld, speaking on ABC's “This Week” says, “I ... personally would recommend that some provision be made so that the senior leadership in that country and their families could be provided haven in some other country, and I think that that would be a fair trade to avoid a war.” He also says that if Saddam goes into exile he might be granted immunity from prosecution for war crimes. Similarly, Colin Powell says on CNN, “I think the Iraqi people would be a lot better off, and this whole situation would be resolved, if Saddam Hussein ... his sons and the top leadership of the regime would leave.” [New York Times, 1/20/03; New York Times, 1/20/03b; ABC, 1/19/03; CNN, 1/20/03; CNN, 1/19/03; Agence France Presse, 1/19/03] It is not clear, however, if Rumsfeld and Powell's comments are sincere, or if they are just trying to appear as though they are providing Saddam Hussein with an alternative to military confrontation. Their comments are seemingly contradicted by National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice who says on NBC's “Meet the Press” , “I ... think that it is unlikely that this man is going to come down in any other way than to be forced.” [International Herald Tribune, 1/20/03; New York Times, 1/20/03; http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,75993,00.html; New York Times, 1/20/03b]
People and organizations involved: Condoleezza Rice, Donald Rumsfeld, Colin Powell
          

January 26, 2003      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       Secretary of State Colin Powell, in a speech before the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, asks: “Why is Iraq still trying to procure uranium and the special equipment needed to transform it into material for nuclear weapons?” [Washington Post, 8/8/03, pp A10]
People and organizations involved: Colin Powell
          

January 28, 2003      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       Powell tells reporters after the UN inspectors' January 27 interim report: “The inspectors have also told us that they have evidence that Iraq has moved or hidden items at sites just prior to inspection visits. That's what the inspectors say, not what Americans say, not what American intelligence says; but we certainly corroborate all of that. But this is information from the inspectors.” [US Secretary of State 1/28/03] But Hans Blix, the chief UNMOVIC weapons inspector, tells the New York Times a few days later that UN weapons inspectors had experienced no such incidents. [New York Times 1/31/2003]
People and organizations involved: Colin Powell
          

January 29, 2003      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       US Secretary of State Colin Powell gives his chief of staff, Larry Wilkerson, a 48-page report from the White House on Iraq's alleged arsenal of banned weapons. The report is meant to serve as the basis for Powell's upcoming speech to the UN (see 10:30 a.m. February 5, 2003). Powell, skeptical of the report's data, instructs Wilkerson to have it looked over by the CIA. According to a senior official interviewed by James Bamford, the dossier was written primarily by John Hannah. I. Lewis Libby, Hannah's boss, may have also contributed to the report, according to Bamford's source. [Bamford, 2004, pp 368; Vanity Fair, 5/2004] The analysts at CIA will quickly determine that the documents are based on unreliable sources (see January 30, 2003-January 31, 2003).
People and organizations involved: Colin Powell, Lewis ("Scooter") Libby, Larry Wilkerson, John Hannah
          

January 30, 2003-January 31, 2003      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       Colin Powell's chief of staff, Larry Wilkerson, meets with other State staffers and CIA analysts at the agency's Langley headquarters in a conference room down the hall from George Tenet's office to review two White House reports on Iraq's alleged illegal activities. The two dossiers are meant to serve as the basis for Powell's upcoming speech at the UN (see 10:30 a.m. February 5, 2003). One of the reports—a 48-page dossier that had been provided to Powell's office a few days earlier (see January 29, 2003) —deals with Iraq's supposed arsenal of weapons of mass destruction while the other, slightly more recent report totaling some 45 pages, addresses the issue of Iraq's history of human rights violations and its alleged ties to militant groups listed by the state department as terrorist organizations. [Vanity Fair, 5/2004, pg 230] Shortly after the CIA analysts begin their review of the documents, the decision is made to scrap them and start from scratch. “They suspect much of it originated with the Iraqi National Congress (INC) and its chief, Ahmed Chalabi,” Vanity Fair magazine will later report. Powell's staff is also “convinced that much of it had been funneled directly to Cheney by a tiny separate intelligence unit set up by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.” [Vanity Fair, 5/2004, pg 230] A senior source later tells US News and World Report that the documents had included “unsubstantiated assertions.” According to several administration officials, Powell's team “tried to follow ... [the] 45-page White House script,” but “there were too many problems—some assertions, for instance, were not supported by solid or adequate sourcing—Indeed, some of the damning information simply could not be proved.” [US News and World Report, 6/9/03 Sources: Unnamed senior source] Similarly, one senior official will later recall: “We went through that for about six-hours—item by item, page by page and about halfway through the day I realized this is idiocy, we cannot possibly do this, because it was all bullsh_t—it was unsourced, a lot of it was just out of the newpapers, it was—and I look back in retrospect—it was a [Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Douglas] Feith product, it was a Scooter Libby product, it was a Vice President's office product. It was a product of collusion between that group. And it had no way of standing up, anywhere, I mean it was nuts.” [Bamford, 2004, pp 368-9] One item in the White House's original draft alleged that Iraq had obtained software from an Australian company that would provide Iraqis with sensitive information about US topography. The hawks' argument was that Iraqis, using that knowledge, could one day attack the US with biological or chemical weapons deployed from unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). But when Powell's intelligence team investigated the issue, it became “clear that the information was not ironclad.” (see October 1, 2002) [US News and World Report, 6/9/03 Sources: Unnamed senior source] Summing it up, one official will later explain, “We were so appalled at what had arrived from the White House.” [Vanity Fair, 5/2004, pg 230.]
People and organizations involved: Larry Wilkerson, Ahmed Chalabi, Colin Powell
          

February 1, 2003-February 4, 2003      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       On February 1, Secretary of State Colin Powell begins rehearsing for his February 5 presentation to the UN Security Council (see 10:30 a.m. February 5, 2003) in which he will argue that Iraq represents a serious and imminent threat to the US. Powell is assisted by members of his staff, including his chief of staff, Larry Wilkerson, and Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage. [US News and World Report, 6/9/2003; Bamford, 2004, pp 368-9; Gentlemen's Quarterly (GQ), 4/29/2004] Several members of the White House Iraq Group drop in during the pre-speech sessions, including Condoleezza Rice, Stephen Hadley, and Lewis Libby. George Tenet and his deputy director, John McLaughlin, are also present at times. [Bamford, 2004, pp 369; Vanity Fair, 5/2004, pg 230] Cheney's staff continues to pressure Powell to include several unsubstantiated and dubious allegations. The allegations that are most contested are the ones dealing with Iraq's alleged ties to terrorism. For example, the group insists that Powell “link Iraq directly to the 9/11 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington” and include the widely discredited allegation (see October 21, 2002) that Mohammed Atta had met in Prague with an Iraqi intelligence officer (see April 8, 2001). [Vanity Fair, 5/2004, pg 230.; US News and World Report, 6/9/2003] But Powell and his staff reject a good portion of the hawks' material. At one point, Powell reportedly says, “I'm not reading this. This is bullsh_t.” [US News and World Report, 6/9/03; Vanity Fair, 5/2004, pg 230] An official later recalls: “On a number of occasions, ... [Powell] simply said, ‘I'm not using that, I'm not using that, that is not good enough. That's not something that I can support.’ And on each occasion he was fought by the vice president's office in the person of Scooter Libby, by the National Security Advisor [Condoleezza Rice] herself, by her deputy [Steve Hadley], and sometimes by the intelligence people—George [Tenet] and [Deputy CIA Director] John [McLaughlin].” [Bamford, 2004, pp 370] “[W]e fought tooth and nail with other members of the administration to scrub it and get the crap out,” Larry Wilkerson, Powell's Chief of Staff later tells GQ. [Gentlemen's Quarterly (GQ), 4/29/2004] In some instances, material rejected by Powell occasionally reappear in subsequent versions of the speech. “One of the most outrageous ones was the Mohammed Atta meeting in Prague. Steve Hadley on one occasion [put] it back in. We cut it and somehow it got back in. And the secretary said, ‘I thought I cut this?’ And Steve Hadley looked around and said, ‘My fault, Mr. Secretary, I'll put it back in.’ ‘Well, cut it, permanently!’ yelled Powell. It was all cartoon. The specious connection between al-Qaeda and Saddam Hussein, much of which I subsequently found came probably from the INC and from their sources, defectors and so forth, [regarding the] training in Iraq for terrorists. ... No question in my mind that some of the sources that we were using were probably Israeli intelligence. That was one thing that was rarely revealed to us—if it was a foreign source.” [Bamford, 2004, pp 370-1]
People and organizations involved: Stephen Hadley, Larry Wilkerson, Condoleezza Rice, George Tenet, John E. McLaughlin, Richard Armitage, White House Iraq Group, Lewis ("Scooter") Libby, Colin Powell
          

February 3, 2003      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       Colin Powell says that his upcoming presentation to the UN will include “no smoking gun.” Rather it will be “a straightforward and compelling demonstration that Saddam is concealing evidence of weapons of mass destruction, while preserving the weapons,” he says. [Daily Telegraph, 2/4/03]
People and organizations involved: Colin Powell
          

10:30 a.m. February 5, 2003      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       US Secretary of State Colin Powell presents the Bush administration's case against Saddam to the UN Security Council, in advance of an expected vote on a second resolution that the US and Britain hope will provide the justification to use military force against Iraq. [The White House, 2/6/03] At the insistence of Powell, CIA Director George Tenet is seated directly behind him to the right. “It was theater, a device to signal to the world that Powell was relying on the CIA to make his case that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction,” Vanity Fair magazine will later explain. [Vanity Fair, 5/2004, pg 232; Bamford, 2004, pp 371-2] In his speech before the Council, Powell makes the case that Iraq is in further material breach of past UN resolutions, specifically the most recent one, UN Resolution 1441. Sources cited in Powell's presentation include defectors, informants, communication intercepts, procurement records, photographs, and detainees. [The White House, 2/6/03] Most of the allegations made by Powell are later demonstrated to be false. “The defectors and other sources went unidentified,” the Associated Press will later report. “The audiotapes were uncorroborated, as were the photo interpretations. No other supporting documents were presented. Little was independently verifiable.” [Associated Press, 8/9/03]
Iraq's December 7 declaration was inaccurate - Powell contends that Iraq's December 7 declaration was not complete. According to UN Resolution 1441 the document was supposed to be a “currently accurate, full and complete declaration of all aspects” of its programs to develop weapons of mass destruction. But Saddam has not done this, says Powell, who explains that Iraq has yet to provide sufficient evidence that it destroyed its previously declared stock of 8,500 liters of anthrax, as it claimed in the declaration. Furthermore, notes the secretary of state, UNSCOM inspectors had previously estimated that Iraq possessed the raw materials to produce as much as 25,000 liters of the virus. [Washington Post, 2/6/03d; The White House, 2/6/03; New York Times, 2/5/03]
Iraq has ties to al Qaeda - Powell repeats earlier claims that Saddam Hussein's government has ties to al-Qaeda. Powell focuses on the cases of the militant Islamic group Ansar-al-Islam and Abu Musab Zarqawi, a Jordanian-born Palestinian, who had received medical treatment in Baghdad during the summer of 2002 (see Late 2001-May 2002). [The White House, 2/6/03] However, just days before Powell's speech, US and British intelligence officials—speaking on condition of anonymity—told the press that the administration's allegations of Iraqi-al-Qaeda ties were based on information provided by Kurdish groups, who, as enemies of Ansar-al-Islam, should not be considered reliable. Furthermore, these sources unequivocally stated that intelligence analysts on both sides of the Atlantic remained unconvinced of the purported links between Iraq and al-Qaeda (see February 3-4, 2003). [Daily Telegraph, 2/4/03; Independent, 2/3/03] Powell also claims that Iraq provided “chemical or biological weapons training for two al-Qaeda associates beginning in December 2000.” The claim is based on a September 2002 CIA document which had warned that its sources were of “varying reliability” and that the claim was not substantiated (see September 2002). The report's main source, Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi, an al-Qaeda operative who offered the information to CIA interrogators while in custody, later recounts the claim (see February 14, 2004). [CNN, 9/26/02; Newsweek, 7/5/04; The New York Times, 7/31/04 Sources: Unnamed administration official] Larry Wilkerson, Powell's chief of staff, will later say that neither he nor Powell ever received “any dissent with respect to those lines � indeed the entire section that now we know came from [al-Libi].” [Newsweek, 11/10/2005] Senior US officials will admit to the New York Times and Washington Post after the presentation that the administration was not claiming that Saddam Hussein is “exercising operational control” of al-Qaeda. [Washington Post, 2/7/03; New York Times, 2/6/03b Sources: Unnamed senior US officials, Unnamed senior US State Department officials]
Iraq has missiles capable of flying up to 1,200 kilometers - Describing a photo of the al-Rafah weapons site, Powell says: “As part of this effort, another little piece of evidence, Iraq has built an engine test stand that is larger than anything it has ever had. Notice the dramatic difference in size between the test stand on the left, the old one, and the new one on the right. Note the large exhaust vent. This is where the flame from the engine comes out. The exhaust vent on the right test stand is five times longer than the one on the left. The one of the left is used for short-range missiles. The one on the right is clearly intended for long-range missiles that can fly 1,200 kilometers. This photograph was taken in April of 2002. Since then, the test stand has been finished and a roof has been put over it so it will be harder for satellites to see what's going on underneath the test stand.” [New York Times, 2/5/03; The White House, 2/6/03] But according to the Associated Press, “... UN missile experts have reported inspecting al-Rafah at least five times since inspections resumed Nov. 27, have studied the specifications of the new test stand, regularly monitor tests at the installation, and thus far have reported no concerns.” [Associated Press, 2/7/03] Similarly, Reuters quotes Ali Jassem, an Iraqi official, who explains that the large stand referred to in Powell's speech is not yet in operation and that its larger size is due to the fact that it will be testing engines horizontally. [Reuters, 2/7/03; Guardian, 2/15/03] Several days later, Blix will report to the UN that “so far, the test stand has not been associated with a proscribed activity.” [Guardian, 2/15/03b]
Iraqis attempted to hide evidence from inspectors - Powell shows the UN Security Council satellite shots depicting what he claims are chemical weapons bunkers and convoys of Iraqi cargo trucks preparing to transport ballistic missile components from a weapons site just two days before the arrival of inspectors. “We saw this kind of housecleaning at close to 30 sites,” Powell explains. “We must ask ourselves: Why would Iraq suddenly move equipment of this nature before inspections if they were anxious to demonstrate what they had or did not have?” [Washington Post, 2/6/03; The White House, 2/6/03] But the photos are interpreted differently by others. An unnamed UN official and German UN Inspector Peter Franck say the trucks in the photos are actually fire engines. [Mercury News, 3/18/03; Agence France Presse, 6/6/03] Another series of photos—taken during the spring and summer of 2002—show that Iraqis have removed a layer of topsoil from the al-Musayyib chemical complex. This piece of evidence, combined with information provided by an unnamed source, leads Powell to draw the following conclusion: “The Iraqis literally removed the crust of the earth from large portions of this site in order to conceal chemical weapons evidence that would be there from years of chemical weapons activity.” [The White House, 2/6/03; Washington Post, 2/6/03h] Showing another series of pictures—one taken on November 10 (before inspections) and one taken on December 22—Powell says that a guard station and decontamination truck were removed prior to the arrival of inspectors. Powell does not explain how he knows that the truck in the photograph was a decontamination truck. [Washington Post, 2/6/03h; The White House, 2/6/03; Washington Post, 2/6/03]
Communication intercepts demonstrate Iraqi attempts to conceal information from inspectors - Powell plays recordings of three conversations intercepted by US Intelligence—one on November 26, another on January 30, and a third, a “few weeks” before. The conversations suggest that the Iraqis were attempting to hide evidence from inspectors. [New York Times, 2/5/03; Sydney Morning Herald, 2/7/03; Times, 2/6/03; The White House, 2/6/03] Senior administration officials concede to The Washington Post that it was not known “what military items were discussed in the intercepts.” [Washington Post, 2/13/03] Some critics argue that the intercepts were presented out of context and open to interpretation. [Sydney Morning Herald, 2/9/03; Sydney Morning Herald, 2/7/03] Others note that the conversations were translated from Arabic by US translators and were not analyzed or verified by an independent specialist. [Newsday, 2/6/03]
Biological weapons factories - Colin Powell says that US intelligence has “firsthand descriptions” that Iraq has 18 mobile biological weapons factories mounted on trucks and railroad cars. Information about the mobile weapons labs are based on the testimonies of four sources—a defected Iraqi chemical engineer who claims to have supervised one of these facilities, an Iraqi civil engineer (see December 20, 2001), a source in “a position to know,” and a defected Iraqi major (see February 11, 2002). Powell says that the mobile units are capable of producing enough dry biological agent in a single month to kill several thousand people. He shows computer-generated diagrams and pictures based on the sources' descriptions of the facilities. Colin Powell says that according to the chemical engineer, during the late 1990s, Iraq's biological weapons scientists would often begin the production of pathogens on Thursday nights and complete the process on Fridays in order to evade UNSCOM inspectors whom Iraq believed would not conduct inspections on the Muslim holy day. [Washington Post 2/5/03d; Reuters, 2/8/02; The White House, 2/6/03; New York Times, 2/5/03] Responding to the allegation, Iraqi officials will concede that they do in fact have mobile labs, but insist that they are not used for the development of weapons. According to the Iraqis, the mobile labs are used for food analysis for disease outbreaks, mobile field hospitals, a military field bakery, food and medicine refrigeration trucks, a mobile military morgue and mobile ice making trucks. [Guardian, 2/5/03; ABC News, 5/21/03] Iraq's explanation is consistent with earlier assessments of the UN weapons inspectors. Before Powell's presentation, Hans Blix had dismissed suggestions that the Iraqis were using mobile biological weapons labs, reporting that inspections of two alleged mobile labs had turned up nothing. “Two food-testing trucks have been inspected and nothing has been found,” Blix said. And Ewen Buchanan, spokesman for the UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission, said, “The outline and characteristics of these trucks that we inspected were all consistent with the declared purposes.” [The Guardian, 2/5/03; ABC News, 5/21/03] Powell's case is further damaged when it is later learned that one of the sources Powell cited, the Iraqi major, had been earlier judged unreliable by intelligence agents at the Defense Intelligence Agency (see February 11, 2002). In May 2002, the analysts had issued a “fabricator notice” on the informant, noting that he had been “coached by Iraqi National Congress” (see May 2002). But the main source for the claim had been an Iraqi defector known as “Curveball,” who turned out to be the brother of a top aide to Ahmed Chalabi. The source claimed to be a chemical engineer who had helped design and build the mobile labs. His information was passed to Washington through Germany's intelligence service, the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND), which had been introduced to the source by the Iraqi National Congress (INC). In passing along the information, the BND noted that there were “various problems with the source.” And only one member of the US intelligence community had actually met with the person—an unnamed Pentagon analyst who determined the man was an alcoholic and of dubious reliability. Yet both the DIA and the CIA validated the information. [Newsweek, 4/19/04; Newsweek, 7/19/04; Knight Ridder, 3/28/04; Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity, 08/22/03; Knight Ridder, 4/4/04 Sources: Unnamed Pentagon analyst, Unnamed current and former US intelligence officials, Unnamed senior US officials, Unnamed senior German security official] In addition to the inspectors' assessments and the dubious nature of the sources Powell cited, there are numerous other problems with the mobile factories claim. Raymond Zilinskas, a microbiologist and former UN weapons inspector, argues that significant amounts of pathogens such as anthrax, could not be produced in the short span of time suggested in Powell's speech. “You normally would require 36 to 48 hours just to do the fermentation .... The short processing time seems suspicious to me.” He also says: “The only reason you would have mobile labs is to avoid inspectors, because everything about them is difficult. We know it is possible to build them—the United States developed mobile production plants, including one designed for an airplane—but it's a big hassle. That's why this strikes me as a bit far-fetched.” [Washington Post, 2/5/03d] After the Powell's speech, Blix will say in his March 7 report to the UN that his inspectors found no evidence of mobile weapons labs (see March 7, 2003). [Blix, 3/7/03; CNN, 3/7/03; Agence France Presse, 3/7/03; UNMOVIC, 3/7/03]
Iraq is developing unmanned drones capable of deliverying weapons of mass destruction - Powell asserts that Iraq has flight-tested an unmanned drone capable of flying up to 310 miles and is working on a liquid-fueled ballistic missile with a range of 745 miles. He plays a video of an Iraqi F-1 Mirage jet dispersing “simulated anthrax.” [New York Times, 2/5/03; Washington Post, 2/5/03f; The White House, 2/6/03] But the Associated Press will later report that the video was made prior to the 1991 Gulf War. Apparently, three of the four spray tanks shown in the film had been destroyed during the 1991 military intervention. [Associated Press, 8/9/03]
Imported Aluminum tubes were meant for centrifuge - Powell argues that the aluminum tubes which Iraq had attempted to import in July 2001 (see July 2001) were meant to be used in a nuclear weapons program and not for artillery rockets as experts from the US Energy Department, the INR, and the IAEA have been arguing (see February 3, 2003) (see January 11, 2003) (see (Mid-July 2001)-August 17, 2001) (see January 27, 2003). To support the administration's case, he cites unusually precise specifications and high tolerances for heat and stress. “It strikes me as quite odd that these tubes are manufactured to a tolerance that far exceeds US requirements for comparable rockets,” he says. “Maybe Iraqis just manufacture their conventional weapons to a higher standard than we do, but I don't think so.” Powell also suggests that because the tubes were “anodized,” it was unlikely that they had been designed for conventional use. [The White House, 2/6/03; Washington Post, 2/5/03; Washington Post, 3/8/03] Powell does not mention that numerous US nuclear scientists have dismissed this claim (see (Mid-July 2001)-August 17, 2001) (see September 23, 2002) (see December 2002). [Institute for Science and International Security, 10/9/03] Powell also fails to say that Iraq has rockets identical to the Italian Medusa 81 mm rockets, which are of the same dimensions and made of the same alloy as the 3,000 tubes that were intercepted in July 2001 (see After January 22, 2003). [Washington Post, 8/10/03] This had been reported just two weeks earlier by the Washington Post. [Washington Post, 1/24/03] Moreover, just two days before, Powell was explicitly warned by the US State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research not to cite the aluminum tubes as evidence that Iraq is pursuing nuclear weapons (see February 3, 2003). [Financial Times, 7/29/03]
Iraq attempted to acquire magnets for use in a gas centrifuge program - Powell says: “We ... have intelligence from multiple sources that Iraq is attempting to acquire magnets and high-speed balancing machines. Both items can be used in a gas centrifuge program to enrich uranium. In 1999 and 2000, Iraqi officials negotiated with firms in Romania, India, Russia and Slovenia for the purchase of a magnet production plant. Iraq wanted the plant to produce magnets weighing 20 to 30 grams. That's the same weight as the magnets used in Iraq's gas centrifuge program before the Gulf War.” [The White House, 2/6/03; New York Times, 2/5/03; New York Times, 2/6/03b] Investigation by the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency [IAEA] will demonstrate that the magnets have a dual use. IAEA Director Mohamed ElBaradei said a little more than a week before, on January 27, in his report to the Security Council: “Iraq presented detailed information on a project to construct a facility to produce magnets for the Iraqi missile program, as well as for industrial applications, and that Iraq had prepared a solicitation of offers, but that the project had been delayed due to ‘financial credit arrangements.’ Preliminary investigations indicate that the specifications contained in the offer solicitation are consistent with those required for the declared intended uses. However, the IAEA will continue to investigate the matter ....” (see January 27, 2003) [Sources: Letter dated January, 27 2003 from the Secretary-General addressed to the President of the Security Council] On March 7, ElBaradei will provide an additional update: “The IAEA has verified that previously acquired magnets have been used for missile guidance systems, industrial machinery, electricity meters and field telephones. Through visits to research and production sites, reviews of engineering drawings and analyses of sample magnets, IAEA experts familiar with the use of such magnets in centrifuge enrichment have verified that none of the magnets that Iraq has declared could be used directly for a centrifuge magnetic bearing.” (see March 7, 2003) [CNN, 3/7/03]
Iraq attempted to purchase machines to balance centrifuge rotors - Powell states: “Intercepted communications from mid-2000 through last summer show that Iraq front companies sought to buy machines that can be used to balance gas centrifuge rotors. One of these companies also had been involved in a failed effort in 2001 to smuggle aluminum tubes into Iraq.” [New York Times, 2/6/03b; New York Times, 2/5/03; The White House, 2/6/03]
Powell cites the documents removed from the home of Iraqi scientist Faleh Hassan - Powell cites the documents that had been found on January 16, 2003 by inspectors with the help of US intelligence at the Baghdad home of Faleh Hassan, a nuclear scientist. Powell asserts that the papers are a “dramatic confirmation” that Saddam Hussein is concealing evidence and not cooperating with the inspections. The 3,000 documents contained information relating to the laser enrichment of uranium (see January 16, 2003). [The White House, 2/6/03; Hassan, 1/19/03; Daily Telegraph, 1/18/03; Associated Press, 1/18/03] A little more than a week later, in the inspectors' February 14 update to the UN Security Council (see February 14, 2003), ElBaradei will say, “While the documents have provided some additional details about Iraq's laser enrichment development efforts, they refer to activities or sites already known to the IAEA and appear to be the personal files of the scientist in whose home they were found. Nothing contained in the documents alters the conclusions previously drawn by the IAEA concerning the extent of Iraq's laser enrichment program.” [Associated Press, 8/9/03; BBC, 2/17/03; Guardian, 2/15/03b]
Iraq is hiding missiles in the desert - Powell says that according to unidentified sources, the Iraqis have hidden rocket launchers and warheads containing biological weapons in the western desert. He further contends that these caches of weapons are hidden in palm groves and moved to different locations on a weekly basis. [The White House, 2/6/03] It will later be suggested that this claim was “lifted whole from an Iraqi general's written account of hiding missiles in the 1991 war.” [Associated Press, 8/9/03]
Iraq a few dozen scud missiles - Powell also says that according to unnamed “intelligence sources,” Iraq has a few dozen Scud-type missiles. [Associated Press, 8/9/03]
Iraq has weapons of mass destruction - Secretary of State Colin Powell states unequivocally: “We ... have satellite photos that indicate that banned materials have recently been moved from a number of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction facilities. There can be no doubt that Saddam Hussein has biological weapons and the capability to rapidly produce more, many more.” Elsewhere in his speech he says: “We know that Saddam Hussein is determined to keep his weapons of mass destruction, is determined to make more.” [US Department of State, 2/5/03; CNN, 2/5/03]
Reaction - The speech does little to change minds on the Security Council. France, Russia, and China remain opposed to the idea of a new resolution that would pave the way for the US to invade Iraq. These countries say that Powell's speech demonstrates that inspections are working and must be allowed to continue. “Immediately after Powell spoke, the foreign ministers of France, Russia and China—all of which hold veto power—rejected the need for imminent military action and instead said the solution was more inspections,” reports The Washington Post. But governments who have been supportive of the United States' aggressive stance remain firmly behind Washington. [Washington Post, 2/7/03; Washington Post, 2/6/03] The press' response to Powell's evidence is also mixed. The Times of London, a relatively conservative daily newspaper, describes Powell's presentation as a “few smudgy satellite photographs, a teaspoon of talcum powder, some Lego-style drawings of sinister trucks and trains, a picture of an American U2 spy plane, several mugshots of Arabic men and a script that required a suspension of mistrust by the world's doves.” [Times, 2/6/03] The Washington Post opinion pages, however, are filled with praises for the speech. [New York Review of Books, 2/26/04] The editorial proclaims that after the presentation, it is “hard to imagine how anyone could doubt that Iraq possesses weapons of mass destruction.” [Washington Post, 2/6/04]
People and organizations involved: Mohamed ElBaradei, Raymond Zilinskas, Faleh Hassan, Hans Blix, Iraqi National Congress, Colin Powell, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, Saddam Hussein  Additional Info 
          

February 6, 2003      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       With Secretary of State Colin Powell at his side, President Bush speaks about Iraq in the Roosevelt Room, repeating many of the allegations that were made in Powell's speech to the UN the day before (see 10:30 a.m. February 5, 2003). [White House, 2/6/2003]
“The regime has never accounted for a vast arsenal of deadly biological and chemical weapons. .... The Iraqi regime has actively and secretly attempted to obtain equipment needed to produce chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons. Firsthand witnesses have informed us that Iraq has at least seven mobile factories for the production of biological agents, equipment mounted on trucks and rails to evade discovery. Using these factories, Iraq could produce within just months hundreds of pounds of biological poisons. ... Iraq has never accounted for thousands of bombs and shells capable of delivering chemical weapons. The regime is actively pursuing components for prohibited ballistic missiles. And we have sources that tell us that Saddam Hussein recently authorized Iraqi field commanders to use chemical weapons—the very weapons the dictator tells the world he does not have.” [White House, 2/6/2003]
“The Iraqi regime has acquired and tested the means to deliver weapons of mass destruction. All the world has now seen the footage of an Iraqi Mirage aircraft with a fuel tank modified to spray biological agents over wide areas. Iraq has developed spray devices that could be used on unmanned aerial vehicles with ranges far beyond what is permitted by the Security Council. A UAV launched from a vessel off the American coast could reach hundreds of miles inland.” [White House, 2/6/2003]
“One of the greatest dangers we face is that weapons of mass destruction might be passed to terrorists, who would not hesitate to use those weapons. Saddam Hussein has longstanding, direct and continuing ties to terrorist networks. Senior members of Iraqi intelligence and al Qaeda have met at least eight times since the early 1990s. Iraq has sent bomb-making and document forgery experts to work with al Qaeda. Iraq has also provided al Qaeda with chemical and biological weapons training.” [Newsweek, 11/10/2005; White House, 2/6/2003]
“We also know that Iraq is harboring a terrorist network, headed by a senior al Qaeda terrorist planner. The network runs a poison and explosive training center in northeast Iraq, and many of its leaders are known to be in Baghdad. The head of this network traveled to Baghdad for medical treatment and stayed for months. Nearly two dozen associates joined him there and have been operating in Baghdad for more than eight months.” [White House, 2/6/2003]
“[W]e can give the Iraqi people their chance to live in freedom and choose their own government. ... Saddam Hussein has made Iraq into a prison, a poison factory, and a torture chamber for patriots and dissidents.” [White House, 2/6/2003]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush, Colin Powell
          

February 11, 2003      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       The Arab satellite TV channel Al Jazeera broadcasts a tape of a voice alleged to be that of Osama Bin Laden. The 16-minute long tape is in Arabic and calls on the Iraqi people to resist US aggression. It also encourages suicide attacks. [Washington Post, 11/12/03; CNN, 2/11/03; AP, 2/11/03; AP, 2/11/03b; Reuters, 2/11/03; New York Times, 2/12/03; Associated Press, 2/12/03; BBC, 2/12/03] Bush administration officials attempt to capitalize on the tape's discovery claiming that it represents solid evidence of ties between Osama Bin Laden and Saddam Hussein. US Secretary of State Colin Powell refers to the purported link as a “partnership.” And Powell's spokesperson, Richard Boucher says that the recording proves “that bin Laden and Saddam Hussein seem to find common ground.” [Washington Post, 11/12/03; Reuters, 2/11/03; New York Times, 2/12/03] But a senior editor for Al-Jazeera says the tape offers no evidence of ties between al-Qaeda and Saddam Hussein. “When you hear it, it doesn't prove any relation between bin Laden or Al Qaeda group and the Iraqi regime,” he argues. [ABC News, 2/12/03] Several news reports also challenge Powell and Boucher's interpretation. For example, CNN reveals that the voice had criticized Saddam's regime, declaring that “the socialists and the rulers [had] lost their legitimacy a long time ago, and the socialists are infidels regardless of where they are, whether in Baghdad or in Aden.” [CNN, 2/11/03; New York Times, 11/12/03b] Similarly, a report published by Reuters notes that the voice “did not express support for Iraqi President Saddam Hussein—it said Muslims should support the Iraqi people rather than the country's government.” [Reuters, 2/11/03] And in a story posted—but later pulled—by MSNBC, it is actually reported that the voice “called on Iraqis to rise up and oust Iraq President Saddam Hussein.” [MSNBC, 2/11/03] MSNBC later says it pulled the story because the statement was presumably based on an unconfirmed translation. An editor for anti-war.com challenged these claims. [Anti-war.com, 2/11/03]
People and organizations involved: Saddam Hussein, Richard A. Boucher, Colin Powell, Osama bin Laden
          

February 14, 2003      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       UNMOVIC Chief Weapons Inspector Hans Blix and IAEA Director-General Mohamed ElBaradei present an update to the UN Security Council on the progress of weapons inspections in Iraq. The content of their presentation includes no evidence to substantiate US and British claims that Iraq poses a serious threat to the US or Europe. After the report is presented, the majority of the UN Security Council members feel that the use of military force will not be needed to effectively disarm Iraq. [United Nations, 2/14/03; Financial Times, 2/14/03]
UNMOVIC report by Hans Blix -
After conducting some 400 inspections at over 300 Iraqi sites since December 2002, the inspection teams still have not found any evidence that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction or that Iraq has programs to develop such weapons. [Associated Press, 2/14/03; Financial Times, 2/14/03; AP, 2/14/03; Interpress News Service, 2/15/03; Guardian, 2/14/03b]
The inspectors are unaware of any reliable evidence that the Iraqis have had advanced knowledge of the timing and locations of weapons inspections. “In no case have we seen convincing evidence that the Iraqi side knew in advance that the inspectors were coming,” Blix says. [Associated Press, 2/14/03; Guardian, 2/14/03b; Financial Times, 2/14/03; Reuters, 2/14/03b; Guardian, 2/15/03b]
The Iraqi government agreed to reduce the number of “minders” present in interviews with Iraqi scientists. [Financial Times, 2/14/03]
The UNMOVIC weapons inspection teams have begun destroying Iraq's declared arsenal of mustard gas. [Financial Times, 2/14/03]
South Africa has made an agreement with Iraq to assist it in its disarmament efforts. [Guardian, 2/14/03b; Financial Times, 2/14/03]
Several proscribed weapons and other items remain unaccounted for, including more than 1,000 tons of chemical agents. Blix explains that if they do not exist, Iraq needs to provide him with credible evidence that they have been destroyed. “Another matter and one of great significance is that many proscribed weapons and items are not accounted for. One must not jump to the conclusion that they exist. However, that possibility is also not excluded. If they exist, they should be presented for destruction. If they do not exist, credible evidence to that effect should be presented.” [Financial Times, 2/14/03; Associated Press, 2/14/03; Guardian, 2/14/03b]
Based on the data contained in Iraq's declaration of arms, experts have concluded that two varieties of Iraq's Al Samoud II missile systems are capable of exceeding the 150km range limit that was imposed on Iraq in 1991 after the First Gulf War (see February 12, 2003). But contrary to what Powell recently stated in his February 5 presentation to the UN, test stands located at the Al Rafah facility have not been associated with the testing of missiles with the ranges Powell suggested (see 10:30 a.m. February 5, 2003). [Financial Times, 2/14/03; Guardian, 2/15/03b; Associated Press, 2/14/03]
More interviews with Iraqi scientists, especially ones involved in its former biological weapons programs, are needed. [Financial Times, 2/14/03]
Recent private interviews with Iraqi scientists have been helpful to weapons inspectors. [Financial Times, 2/14/03]
The amount of intelligence being supplied by foreign agencies have recently increased and the new information is helping inspectors. [Financial Times, 2/14/03]
Blix challenges the conclusions made by Powell in his February 5 presentation (see 10:30 a.m. February 5, 2003) to the UN with regard to US satellite pictures showing the movement of trucks and supplies at suspected weapons sites prior to inspections. He says, “The reported movement of munitions at the site could just as easily have been a routine activity as a movement of proscribed munitions in anticipation of an imminent inspection.” [Reuters, 2/14/03b; Guardian, 2/15/03b; Guardian, 2/14/03b; Associated Press, 2/14/03; Financial Times, 2/14/03]
Iraq produced a list of 83 people who it says participated in the destruction of large quantities of anthrax and VX precursors in 1991. [Financial Times, 2/14/03]
Inspections are increasing inspectors' knowledge of Iraqi arms. [Guardian, 2/14/03b]
International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) report by Mohamed ElBaradei -
ElBaradei's team has found no evidence of an illegal nuclear weapons program. “We have to date found no evidence of ongoing prohibited nuclear or nuclear related activities in Iraq.” [Financial Times, 2/14/03; IAEI, 2/14/03]
Iraqi officials have provided IAEA inspectors with immediate access to all sites it has sought to examine. [IAEI, 2/14/03; Financial Times, 2/14/03]
The IAEA is still investigating why Iraq attempted to import aluminum tubes during the summer of 2002. The agency is awaiting an explanation from Iraq as to why the tubes—alleged by Iraq to have been destined for a conventional weapons artillery program—were fabricated according to such high quality specifications. [Financial Times, 2/14/03; IAEI, 2/14/03]
Referring to the documents that had been discovered in the home of Faleh Hassan (see January 16, 2003), Mohamed ElBaradei states: “While the documents have provided some additional details about Iraq's laser enrichment development efforts, they refer to activities or sites already known to the IAEA and appear to be the personal files of the scientist in whose home they were found. Nothing contained in the documents alters the conclusions previously drawn by the IAEA concerning the extent of Iraq's laser enrichment program” . [BBC, 2/17/03; Guardian, 2/15/03b; IAEI, 2/14/03]
Reaction - After the two reports, most UN Security Council members say they believe inspections are working and that the use of military force is unnecessary. Dominique de Villepin, the French foreign minister, says: “There is an alternative to war: disarming Iraq through inspections. [War] would be so fraught with risk for the people, the region and international stability that it should be envisaged only as a last resort. ... We must give priority to disarmament by peaceful means.” His comments are followed by a huge applause. “French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin's impassioned speech seeking more time for inspections elicited rare applause from diplomats in the chamber,” reports the Associated Press. By contrast, the more hawkish remarks of US Secretary of State Colin Powell—who was said to have appeared “annoyed” during parts of Blix's report— “did not receive any applause.” Powell, in his response to the report, had stated: “We cannot wait for one of these terrible weapons to turn up in our cities.... More inspections—I am sorry—are not the answer.... The threat of force must remain.” After the reports, Germany, Syria, Chile, Mexico, Russia, France and Pakistan, favor continuing the inspections while Spain and Bulgaria back the US and British position. [Interpress News Service, 2/15/03; US Department of State, 2/14/03; Associated Press, 2/14/03; Fox News, 2/15/03]
People and organizations involved: Hans Blix, Mohamed ElBaradei, Colin Powell, Dominique de Villepin  Additional Info 
          

February 27, 2003      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       Iraq agrees to destroy all the equipment associated with its Al Samoud missile program, including warheads, SA-2 missile engines, machinery to produce missile motors, fuel, launchers, testing equipment, components as well as all software and documentation. The UN had earlier concluded that the missile program was in violation of UN resolutions because the range of the missiles exceeds the 150km limit imposed in 1991 after the Gulf War (see February 12, 2003). Responding to news of Iraq's decision, White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer dismisses any suggestion that it is an example of Iraqi cooperation. Instead he describes it as “deception.” He says, “This is the deception the president predicted. We do expect that they will destroy at least some of their missiles.” He also says that Iraq's actions is “propaganda, wrapped in a lie, inside a falsehood.” And Donald Rumsfeld offers a similar interpretation of Iraq's actions. He says: “I don't see a change in the pattern at all. You know, this is exactly what's been going to for years.... They refuse to cooperate, don't cooperate, drag it out, wait until someone finally nails them with one little piece of the whole puzzle and refuse to do anything about it and then finally when they see the pressure building, they say well, maybe we'll do some of that.” Bush similarly states: “The discussion about these rockets is part of [Saddam's] campaign of deception. See, he'll say, ‘I'm not going to destroy the rockets,’ and then he'll have a change of mind this weekend and destroy the rockets and say, ‘I've disarmed.’ ” And Powell says: “I think it's just more indication of the reality that we have been trying to convey to the world, that Saddam Hussein is trying to string it out, trying to divert attention, trying to pretend he is cooperating when he is not cooperating, try[ing] to use process as an excuse for not cooperating and not complying with the will of the international community.” [Fox News, 2/28/03; BBC, 1/28/03; New York Times, 3/1/03; ABC News, 2/28/03]
People and organizations involved: Colin Powell, Demetrius Perricos, Donald Rumsfeld, Richard Perle
          

March 7, 2003      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       UNMOVIC chief arms inspector Hans Blix provides a quarterly report to the UN Security Council on the progress of inspections in Iraq, as required by UN Security Resolution 1284 (1999). It is the twelfth such report since UNMOVIC's inception. Blix's report to the Council does not contain any evidence to support US and British claims that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction or the programs to develop such weapons. IAEA director-general Mohamed ElBaradei also reports to the Council and says there are no signs that Iraq has reconstituted its nuclear weapons program. [UNMOVIC, 3/7/03; CNN, 3/7/03]
UNMOVIC report by Hans Blix -
There is no evidence that Iraq has mobile biological weapons factories, as was recently alleged by Colin Powell in his February 5 presentation (see 10:30 a.m. February 5, 2003) to the UN. “Several inspections have taken place ... in relation to mobile production facilities,” Blix says. “No evidence of proscribed activities has so far been found.” He further explained that his inspectors had examined numerous mobile facilities and large containers with seed processing equipment. [UNMOVIC, 3/7/03; Agence France Presse, 3/7/03; Blix, 3/7/03; CNN, 3/7/03]
The Iraqi government has increased its cooperation with inspectors since the end of January. It is attempting to quantify the biological and chemical weapons that it says were destroyed in 1991. [UNMOVIC, 3/7/03; CNN, 3/7/03; Los Angeles Times, 3/7/03; Associated Press, 3/7/03]
Iraq's destruction of several Al Samoud II missiles represents a real step towards disarmament. “The destruction undertaken constitutes a substantial measure of disarmament,” he says. “We are not watching the destruction of toothpicks. Lethal weapons are being destroyed.” [New York Times, 3/8/03; Associated Press, 3/7/03; Los Angeles Times, 3/7/03; UNMOVIC, 3/7/03]
Blix says that the UN inspectors needed a few more months to finish their work. “Even with a proactive Iraqi attitude induced by continued outside pressure, it will still take some time to verify sites and items, analyze documents, interview relevant persons and draw conclusions,” he says, concluding, “It will not take years, nor weeks, but months.” [Los Angeles Times, 3/7/03; UNMOVIC, 3/7/03; Associated Press, 3/7/03]
Iraqi scientists have recently accepted inspectors' requests to be interviewed without “minders.” “Since we started requesting interviews, 38 individuals were asked for private interviews, of which 10 accepted under our terms, seven during the past week,” Blix explains. [UNMOVIC, 3/7/03; CNN, 3/7/03]
Some Iraqi scientists have agreed to interviews without “minders” —but more cooperation is needed. He says, “While the Iraqi side seems to have encouraged interviewees not to request the presence of Iraqi officials or the taping of the interviews, conditions ensuring the absence of undue influences are difficult to attain inside Iraq.” [UNMOVIC, 3/7/03] Iraq needs to turn over more documents. “Iraq, with a highly developed administrative system, should be able to provide more documentary evidence about its proscribed weapons. Only a few new such documents have come to light so far and been handed over since we began.” [UNMOVIC, 3/7/03] There is no evidence of underground weapons facilities. Blix says: “There have been reports, denied by Iraq, that proscribed activities are conducted underground. Iraq should provide information on underground structures suitable for the production or storage of weapons of mass destruction. During inspections of declared or undeclared facilities, inspectors examined building structures for any possible underground facilities. In addition, ground-penetrating radar was used in several locations. No underground facilities for chemical or biological production or storage were found.” [UNMOVIC, 3/7/03]
IAEA report by Mohamed ElBaradei -
There is no evidence that the aluminum tubes imported by Iraq in July 2001 were meant for a nuclear weapons program. ElBaradei says: “Extensive field investigation and document analysis have failed to uncover any evidence that Iraq intended to use these 81mm tubes for any project other than the reverse engineering of rockets. ... Moreover, even had Iraq pursued such a plan, it would have encountered practical difficulties in manufacturing centrifuges out of the aluminum tubes in question.” [Reuters, 3/7/03; New York Times, 3/8/03; CNN, 3/7/03; Associated Press, 3/7/03; The Washington Post, 3/8/03; Los Angeles Times, 3/7/03; IAEA, 3/7/03]
There is no evidence that Iraq tried to obtain uranium from Niger. Documents provided to the International Atomic Energy Agency by the US were determined to be forgeries. The documents were a collection of letters between an Iraqi diplomat and senior Niger officials discussing Iraq's interest in procuring a large amount of uranium oxide (see Early October 2002). “Based on thorough analysis, the IAEA has concluded, with the concurrence of outside experts, that documents which formed the basis for the reports of recent uranium transactions between Iraq and Niger are in fact not authentic,” ElBaradei explains. “We have therefore concluded that these specific allegations are unfounded.” (see June 12, 2003) [IAEA, 3/7/03; The Washington Post, 3/8/03; Los Angeles Times, 3/7/03; Associated Press, 3/7/03; CNN, 3/7/03; Reuters, 3/7/03; New York Times, 3/8/03; Globe and Mail, 3/8/03; Guardian, 3/8/03; Associated Press, 3/8/03]
The IAEA has yet to come across evidence of a nuclear weapons program. “After three months of intrusive inspections, we have to date found no evidence or plausible indication of the revival of a nuclear weapons program in Iraq,” ElBaradei states. “[T]here is no indication of resumed nuclear activities in those buildings that were identified through the use of satellite imagery as being reconstructed or newly erected since 1998, nor any indication of nuclear-related prohibited activities at any inspected sites.” [The Washington Post, 3/8/03; Associated Press, 3/8/03; Globe and Mail, 3/8/03; Associated Press, 3/7/03; Los Angeles Times, 3/7/03; IAEA, 3/7/03]
In a direct response to allegations made by Colin Powell on February 5 (see 10:30 a.m. February 5, 2003) related to the attempted procurement of magnets that could be used in a gas centrifuge, ElBaradei, says: “The IAEA has verified that previously acquired magnets have been used for missile guidance systems, industrial machinery, electricity meters and field telephones. Through visits to research and production sites, reviews of engineering drawings and analyses of sample magnets, IAEA experts familiar with the use of such magnets in centrifuge enrichment have verified that none of the magnets that Iraq has declared could be used directly for a centrifuge magnetic bearing.” [IAEA, 3/7/03]
Iraq's industrial capacity “has deteriorated” at the inspected sites because of lack of maintenance and funds. [IAEA, 3/7/03]
Reaction - Both sides claim that the reports give further support to each of their respective stances on the issue of Iraqi disarmament. French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin tells the Council that the reports “testify to the progress” of the inspections. He states that France will not support another resolution because “we cannot accept any ultimatum, any automatic use of force.” Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov says that the reports demonstrate that inspections have been “fruitful.” The Bush administration does not alter its position, despite statements by the two inspectors that Iraq is cooperating with inspections and complying with demands to disarm. Colin Powell, responding to the inspectors' reports, reiterates the administration's position that the inspections are not working and that Saddam is not cooperating. “We must not walk away,” Powell says. “We must not find ourselves here this coming November with the pressure removed and with Iraq once again marching down the merry path to weapons of mass destruction, threatening the region, threatening the world.” He claims that Iraq's behavior is a “a catalog still of noncooperation” and repeats the administration's allegation that the “Iraq regime continues to possess and conceal some of the most lethal weapons ever devised.” Back at the White House, Ari Fleischer tells reporters, “As the president has said, if the United Nations will not disarm Saddam Hussein, it will be another international organization, a coalition of the willing that will be made up of numerous nations that will disarm Saddam Hussein.” [CNN, 3/6/03; US Department of State, 3/7/03; CNN, 3/7/02]
People and organizations involved: Hans Blix, Mohamed ElBaradei, Ari Fleischer, Dominique de Villepin, Igor Ivanov, Colin Powell  Additional Info 
          

March 26, 2003      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       US Secretary of State Colin Powell tells India's Doordarshan TV: “But as soon as possible, we want to have working alongside the commander an interim Iraqi authority, people representing the people of Iraq. And, as that authority grows and gets greater credibility from the people of Iraq, we want to turn over more and more responsibilities to them.” [US Department of State, 3/26/03]
People and organizations involved: Colin Powell
          

April 2, 2003      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       During a joint conference with Serbian Prime Minister Zoran Zivkovic, US Secretary of State Colin Powell says, “I can assure you that we all want to end this as soon as possible, so we can get on with the task of allowing the Iraqi people to form a new government.” [US Department of State, 4/2/03]
People and organizations involved: Zoran Zivkovic, Colin Powell
          

(May 2003-May 2004)      Torture in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere

       At “various times throughout this period,” Colin Powell, National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, and Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld relay the Red Cross' concerns about the Coalition's treatment of prisoners directly to President George Bush. [Baltimore Sun, 5/12/2004 Sources: Unnamed aid to Colin Powell]
People and organizations involved: Donald Rumsfeld, Condoleezza Rice, Colin Powell, George W. Bush
          

After June 2003      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       Several Bush administration officials back off earlier claims of an alliance between Saddam Hussein's regime and al-Qaeda. [Associated Press, 1/8/04; Independent, 1/11/04; US Department of Defense, 8/1/03; Associated Press, 9/16/03]
People and organizations involved: Colin Powell, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz  Additional Info 
          

June 2, 2003      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       The State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research authors a classified memo addressed to Colin Powell, informing him that current intelligence did not support the conclusion of the joint CIA-DIA May 28 white paper (see May 28, 2003) which concluded that the two trailers found in Iraq were mobile biological weapon factories. The memo also says that the CIA and DIA were wrong in asserting that there were no other plausible uses for the trailer, suggesting that the two pieces of equipment may have been designed for refueling Iraqi missiles. [New York Times, 6/26/03; CBS News, 6/27/03; Fox News, 6/26/03 Sources: Unnamed US government officials]
People and organizations involved: Colin Powell
          

August 15, 2003      US confrontation with Iran

       On order of US Secretary of State Colin Powell, the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control freezes the financial assets of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), which a State Department official says functions “as a part of the MEK [Mujahedeen-e Khalq].” Powell's order also calls for the closure of the organization's two offices in Washington. NCRI has hitherto enjoyed the support of several US legislators. [Voice of America, 8/15/2003; Associated Press, 8/15/2003] Powell's order amends Executive Order 13224 on terrorist financing [US State Department, 8/15/2003] , issued on September 23, 2001, which blocked the assets of organizations and individuals that US authorities believe are linked to terrorism. [US State Department, 12/20/2002]
People and organizations involved: Mujahedeen-e Khalq, Colin Powell
          

November 6, 2003      Torture in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere

       The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) complains in writing to Coalition Forces about the treatment of prisoners being held at Abu Ghraib prison (see October 2003). [New York Times, 5/19/2004; New York Times, 5/11/2004; Associated Press, 5/16/2004 Sources: Article 15-6 Investigation of the 800th Military Police Brigade] The ICRC's complaints are then discussed at high levels inside the Bush administration. “We knew that the ICRC had concerns, and in accordance with the matter in which the ICRC does its work, it presented those concerns directly to the command in Baghdad,” Powell will later recall on “Fox News Sunday.” “And I know that some corrective action was taken with respect to those concerns,” he adds. [Associated Press, 5/16/2004]
People and organizations involved: Colin Powell
          

January 8, 2004      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       In response to a question at a news conference, Colin Powell says, “I have not seen a smoking gun, concrete evidence about the connection, but I think the possibility of such connections did exist and it was prudent to consider them at the time that we did.” [Independent, 1/11/04; Associated Press, 1/8/04]
People and organizations involved: Colin Powell
          

January 15, 2004      Torture in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere

       Jakob Kellenberger, president of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), meets with Secretary of State Colin Powell and says that the ICRC has “serious concerns about detainees in Iraq,” though according to a senior State Department official, he does not detail them. During his visit, Kellenberger also meets with Condoleezza Rice and, reportedly, with Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, though it is unclear what precisely is discussed. White House Spokesman Sean McCormack will later say that “Iraq was not mentioned” during the meeting with Rice. Rather the main topic of discussion was Guantanamo, he says. [The Observer, 5/9/2004; Baltimore Sun, 5/12/2004]
People and organizations involved: Condoleezza Rice, Colin Powell, Paul Wolfowitz, Jakob Kellenberger, Sean McCormack
          

February 11, 2004      Haiti Coup

       US Representative Barbara Lee (D-CA) writes in a letter to US Secretary of State Colin Powell: “Our failure to support the democratic process and help restore order looks like a covert effort to overthrow a government. There is a violent coup d'etat in the making, and it appears that the United States is aiding and abetting the attempt to violently topple the Aristide Government. With all due respect, this looks like ‘regime change.’ How can we call for democracy in Iraq and not say very clearly that we support democratic elections as the only option in Haiti?” [Alternet, 3/1/2004; Lee, 2/11/2004 Sources: February 11, 2004 Letter from US Rep. Barbara Lee to Colin Powell]
People and organizations involved: Barbara Lee, Colin Powell
          

February 13, 2004      Haiti Coup

       US Representative Barbara Lee (D-CA) writes a letter to US Secretary of State Colin Powell accusing the State of intentionally subverting democracy in Haiti. “It has been clear to me for some time that the state department has been trying to undermine President Aristide... I am convinced that this effort to force President Aristide out of office by any means is a power-grab by the same forces that staged a coup d'etat and forced him out of office in 1991. The opposition that claims to be peaceful is not peaceful and they are responsible for the violence in Gonaives and other parts of Haiti. Should these actions by Andre Apaid and his Committee of 184, thugs and violent protestors receive support or encouragement from the United States, thereby increasing the risk of a coup d'etat, there may well be a bloodbath on the streets of Haiti.” [Lee, 2/11/2004; Alternet, 3/1/2004 Sources: February 14, 2004 Letter from US Rep. Barbara Lee to Colin Powell]
People and organizations involved: Barbara Lee, Colin Powell
          

February 18, 2004      Haiti Coup

       US Secretary of State Colin Powell states the US has “no enthusiasm” for sending troops to protect Haiti's government from the approaching rebel forces. [BBC, 2/18/04]
People and organizations involved: Colin Powell
          

February 28, 2004      Haiti Coup

       US Secretary of State Colin Powell calls former US Congressman Ron Dellums, who is working for Aristide as a Washington lobbyist, and warns him that the United States will not protect Aristide from the rebels. [Associated Press 3/2/2004]
People and organizations involved: Ron Dellums, Colin Powell
          

March 12, 2004      Torture in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere

       In a statement, British former Guantanamo prisoner Tarek Dergoul “condemns the US and UK governments for allowing these gross breaches of human rights and demands the release of all the other detainees.” His treatment included “botched medical treatment, interrogation at gunpoint, beatings and inhumane conditions.” The statement adds: “Tarek finds it very difficult to talk about these things and his family believe his mental health has been severely affected by the trauma he has suffered.” When confronted with the allegations of Dergoul and Jamal Udeen, a Pentagon spokeswoman describes these as “simply lies.” The same day, Secretary of State Colin Powell says in a television interview that he believes the US treats the detainees at Guantanamo “in a very, very humanitarian way.” And he adds, “Because we are Americans, we don't abuse people in our care.” [The Guardian, 3/13/2004]
People and organizations involved: Jamal Udeen, Tarek Dergoul, Colin Powell
          

March 25-26, 2004      Haiti Coup

       CARICOM members meet in Basseterre, St. Kitts and Nevis and call for a UN investigation into the February 29 ouster (see February 28, 2004-March 1, 2004) of Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide's. “In the light of contradictory reports still in circulation concerning the departure of President Aristide from office, heads of government (of CARICOM) believed that it is in the compelling interest of the international community that the preceding events and all the circumstances surrounding the transfer of power from a constitutionally elected head of state, be fully investigated,” the statement reads. [Inter Press Service, 4/13/2004; CARICOM, 3/26/2004] US Secretary of State Colin Powell will dismiss CARICOM's call for a probe on April 5. “I don't think any purpose would be served by an inquiry. We were on the verge of a bloodbath and President Aristide found himself in great danger.” [Washington Times, 4/6/2004; Agence-France Presse, 4/5/2004; Inter Press Service, 4/13/2004; US Department of State, 4/5/2004] And according to diplomatic sources interviewed by Inter Press Service, the US and France intimidate CARICOM into delaying its official request for a UN inquiry. Both countries warn that they will veto any resolution calling for a probe. [Inter Press Service, 4/13/2004 Sources: Unnamed sources]
People and organizations involved: Caribbean Community and Common Market (CARICOM), Jean-Bertrand Aristide, Colin Powell
          

May 4, 2004      Torture in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere

       Secretary of State Colin Powell explains the US's position regarding the abuse at Abu Ghraib before the United Nations. “The one thing you can be sure of is that justice will be done,” he says. “We are a nation of justice. These sorts of actions are not tolerated, and these individuals will be brought into our military justice system and will be dealt with in a way the world can observe and watch.” He also says, “It is just a few number of troops,” compared to “hundreds of thousands of young men and women” in the US Armed Forces. [Coalition Provisional Authority, 5/4/2004]
People and organizations involved: Colin Powell
          

May 11, 2004      Torture in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere

       US Secretary of State Colin Powell says, “We kept the president informed of the concerns that were raised by the ICRC and other international organizations as part of my regular briefings of the president, and advised him that we had to follow these issues, and when we got notes sent to us or reports sent to us ... we had to respond to them, and the president certainly made it clear that that's what he expected us to do.” (see (May 2003-May 2004)) [Baltimore Sun, 5/12/2004]
People and organizations involved: Colin Powell, George W. Bush
          

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