Published: January 9, 2003

photo preview / download Tom Brokaw talks exclusively tonight with Secretary of State Colin Powell about the U.N. weapons inspections. If used, please courtesy “NBC NIGHTLY NEWS.”

TOM BROKAW: We now know that the United States is providing additional intelligence to the inspectors. Are you going to be able to provide the intelligence that could produce the smoking gun between now and January 27th?


We are doing everything we can to give Dr. Blix– head of UNMOVIC and Dr. al Baradei the head of the International Atomic Agency– Energy Agency, all of the information that we can to allow them to do their work well. Whether or not it– produces quote a smoking gun or not by the 27th of January– I can’t answer. But the fact of the matter is that because he says so far there’s no smoking gun does not mean there is not one there.

TOM BROKAW: But practically speaking, Mr. Secretary, remembering your old military hat, don’t you have to have irreparable evidence, what people in the country are calling a photo of a smoking gun, of some kind, before you can go to war against Saddam Hussein, and expect international cooperation?

COLIN POWELL: No. If the international community sees that Saddam Hussein is not cooperating in a way that would allow you to determine the– the– the truth of the matter, then he is in violation of the U.N. Resolution 1441.///So, you don’t really have to have a smoking gun.

TOM BROKAW: You told The Washington Post that January 27th is not an absolute deadline. Does that mean that if Hans Blix goes to the U.N. on January 27th and says, “Look, it’s not a perfect process, but there is still room for us to do additional work there,” that it will go on for what– another 30 days or so?

COLIN POWELL:The 27th of January is a date that these two gentlemen, Dr. Blix and Dr. Alvaredi have been asked to report to the Council. That’s all it is. It’s a date that they are reporting to the council.///

So, it is an important day. But it is really a day for them to report, not a D-day.

TOM BROKAW: If the idea is to keep Saddam Hussein in a box, why not extend the inspections? He’s got people pouring all over his country. Lots–Western press in there. He’s not able to do anything. Why not extend it out two, three, four, five months?


Well, I’m not saying that isn’t going to happen. I don’t know what will happen. We will see what Dr. Blix and– Dr. El Baradei report.

TOM BROKAW:In August of last year, Vice President Cheney said that Saddam Hussein was amassing weapons of mass destruction. He thought that the U.N. weapons inspection process would be futile. After the Iraqis filed their initial declaration on December 8th of this year, you said there was a material breach. Don’t those meet all the criteria the President has set out to go to war against Iraq?


Vice President Cheney– Donald Rumsfeld and myself and the President have always expressed skepticism about the inspection process. That skepticism is still there. ///The United States is renewing all of it’s intelligence holdings. And we will have a presentation to make to– the international community, probably through the Security Council, in due course, as to whether or not we believe– Saddam Hussein is cooperating and what additional evidence we have that might not be– immediately– a product of the inspection process.


Will that be an overwhelming case?


We will see. Overwhelming is in the eyes of the receiver. We think there is a– case that– will be made, and it will be persuasive, in the absence of Iraqi cooperation.



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