The Bush Administration’s Secretary of State in the first term, Powell had a reputation as being more pragmatic and less dogmatic, but he was torn between that preference and the influence of the dogmatists (ideologues, warmongers) in the Bush Administration.
In September 2001 he was interviewed on NBC’s ‘Meet the Press’ With Tim Russert and asked whether he (the Bush Administration) would provide evidence that proved that Osama bin Laden was behind the 9/11 attacks.
Powell said yes. The next day the White House Chief Liar, Ari Fleischer (not that Bush told the truth very often, but he was an executive too) came and and denied that Powell had said exactly what he had said. The Bush Administration never provided the white paper Powell had promised. Nor did it provide the evidence in any other form. There were a couple of photographs from the Pentagon in 2004 or 2005, which did not show clearly what hit the building. There was an obviously faked bin Laden tape at one point. But the evidence that proved or strongly suggested that 9/11 was the work of Arab terrorists, of al Qaeda, of Osama bin Laden or anyone linked to him, which would have or could have persuaded America and the world that they really were responsible for the attacks of 9/11, was never provided. In Europe there was some objection to launching the war on Iraq without this evidence, or the war on Afghanistan (both) but the overall stampede led by Washington overcame those objections not with facts but with emotion. It just ran right over the lack of evidence the same way Washington stampeded the USA Patriot Act through Congress and started both wars.
History commons, which publishes the complete 9/11 timeline and is generally a very comprehensive source all from news stories in the mainstream media, covered this:
Or you can just go to www.historycommons.org and type in the search box Colin Powell white paper.
You can read the transcript of the interview of Colin Powell by Tim Russert here:
In case the Washington Post decides to take that page down, although it was dated September 23, 2001 and it is still up as of March, 2010, I will copy and paste the relevant sections here:
” RUSSERT: Are you absolutely convinced that Osama bin Laden was responsible for this attack?
POWELL: I am absolutely convinced that the al Qaeda network, which he heads, was responsible for this attack.
You know, it’s sort of al Qaeda–the Arab name is for “the base.” It’s something like a holding company of terrorist organizations that are located in dozens of countries around the world, sometimes tightly controlled, sometimes loosely controlled. And that the head of that organization is Osama bin Laden.
So what we have to do in the first phase of this campaign is to go after al Qaeda and to go after Osama bin Laden. But it is not just a problem in Afghanistan. It is a problem throughout the world. That’s why we are attacking it with a worldwide coalition.
RUSSERT: Will you release publicly a white paper which links him and his organization to this attack to put people at ease?
POWELL: We are hard at work bringing all the information together, intelligence information, law enforcement information. And I think in the near future we will be able to put out a paper, a document that will describe quite clearly the evidence that we have linking him to this attack. But also, remember, he has been linked to earlier attacks against U.S. interests, and he’s already indicted for earlier attacks against United States.”
As historycommons.org mentions, the next day (September 24, 2001) the New York Times reports that this report is expected to be published “within days… Officials say they are still arguing over how much information to release…”
In case the New York Times decides to take down that article, even though it has been there for 8 1/2 years, here is the relevant text:
U.S. to Publish Terror Evidence on bin Laden
By JANE PERLEZ and TIM WEINER
Published: September 24, 2001
WASHINGTON, Sept. 23 — The Bush administration plans to make public evidence linking Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda network to the terror attacks on the United States in an effort to persuade the world, and particularly Muslim nations, that a military response is justified.
The evidence will embrace new information gathered by law enforcement and intelligence agents on the Sept. 11 attacks, as well as material used in indictments against Mr. bin Laden in the bombing of American Embassies in East Africa in 1998, Secretary of State Colin L. Powell said today.
It may also cite leads developed in the investigation of the bombing of the destroyer Cole in Yemen last October.
The administration sees the evidence as crucial to the support of friendly Muslim countries — Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan and Pakistan — whose governments fear that punishing military action by the United States against the terrorists will spur widespread popular unrest.
” Two reports are expected within days, officials said: a public one from the State Department, and a secret one prepared by United States intelligence agencies and including details from trusted foreign sources. Officials say they are still arguing over how much information to release — and to which countries.
The list of nations trusted with all the secret information would be short, and some countries might receive fewer details than others, they said.
The evident intention is to produce evidence before any American military strike. “If you release it after the action, you’re lost,” one official said, since Muslim governments would have no chance to make the case for the American acts.
The evidence, American officials say, reaches from the southern tip of Manhattan to the foothills of the Hindu Kush mountains of Afghanistan. It traces a group that started out running material aid to the rebels fighting the Soviet invaders of Afghanistan in the 1980’s and wound up declaring war on the United States.
The national security adviser, Condoleezza Rice, said today that the government had “very good evidence of links” between bin Laden operatives “and what happened on Sept. 11.” She added: “We are drawing in investigative services, law enforcement, intelligence from a lot of countries. And so we need to be careful with how we use this information.”
(Page 2 of 2)
Senior officials said they could not include sensitive intelligence information because it could compromise their sources and methods of investigation. But they were also aware, they said, of the concerns of Arab and other leaders. The Saudi foreign minister, Saud al-Faisal, has said the American response should be based on justice, not vengeance.
The Egyptian leader, Hosni Mubarak, has repeatedly said the United States must be sure that it had the evidence against the suspects. An American attack could otherwise backfire and nurture more Islamic extremists, he has warned. Mr. Mubarak did not appear to suggest that the evidence be sufficient to prove a court case but rather that it persuade the man in the street that Mr. bin Laden is to blame.
Administration officials took care today to note that the White House was not preparing evidence on Mr. Bin Laden to satisfy the demand for it from the Taliban rulers of Afghanistan.
“This is not a government that has given to Western jurispudence, so these calls for proof are somewhat misplaced,” the national security adviser, Condoleezza Rice, said on CNN’s “Late Edition.” Ms. Rice said the evidence would be laid out for “friends, allies and the American people and others.”
In an extended interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Secretary Powell said that both he and the Pentagon were sensitive to the warnings of Mr. Mubarak that a new generation of militants could emerge from American military assaults.