M A I N   N E W S

Powell for probe into intelligence failure on Iraq

Washington, April 3
In a dramatic development, US Secretary of State Colin Powell has called for a probe into the intelligence he was given for use in a presentation to the UN Security Council to justify the invasion of Iraq, including claims that Iraq possessed mobile biological weapon laboratories.

The State Department has not yet released the text of Powell’s statements. However, the Secretary of State told reporters he had urged the White House commission probing the intelligence failures in the run-up to the war to “look into these matters to see whether or not the intelligence agency had a basis for the confidence that they placed in the intelligence at that time.”

Powell said while he believed whatever claims he had made regarding Iraqi weapons of mass destruction were based on “the best intelligence and information we had, but now it appears that it was not that solid.”

“At the time I was preparing that presentation it was presented to me as being solid,” he told reporters during a briefing on his plane about the meetings he had at the NATO headquarters in Brussels yesterday.

“I’m not the intelligence community... it was presented to me in the preparation of that as the best intelligence and information that we had. I made sure, as I said in my presentation, these were multi-sourced,” he said.

Describing the mobile laboratories claim as “the most dramatic” element of his February 5, 2003 appearance at the UN, he said he had spoken to CIA officials about how suspect information ended up in his speech.

“I made sure that information was multi-sourced. Now, if the sources fell apart, then we need to find out how we got ourselves in that position. I’ve had discussions with the CIA about it,” he said.

CIA Director George Tenet sat with Powell when the latter made a presentation before the Security Council. However, one claim after another has been proved baseless since then.

Powell had said that Saddam Hussein had obtained uranium from Niger for atomic bombs, a claim admitted by the Administration later to have been baseless.

His claim that Saddam had “mobile labs” to make biological weapons was also dismissed later. — PTI


Bodyguard, kin of Saddam’s No 2 arrested

Tikrit, April 3
US troops today detained a bodyguard and nine relatives of Ezzat Ibrahim al-Duri, who was top aide to ousted Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and is still on the run, a family member said.

Rashid Suhail, a distant relative of Duri, told AFP that the US forces raided homes in Albu Hayazea, 8 km east of the former Dictator’s hometown of Tikrit at 1:30 am (1100 IST).

Suhail and eight other relatives of Duri, as well as the fugitive’s former personal bodyguard, Sabah Nuri Jassem Abdallah, were detained. — AFP, ANS

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