CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL
Colin Powell Holds Media Availability
Aired June 8, 2003 - 09:19 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
HEIDI COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: Secretary of State Colin Powell speaking now at a stakeout. Let's go ahead and listen in to what he has to say this morning.
COLIN POWELL, SECRETARY OF STATE: ... and there can be no question that Iraq had and has had weapons of mass destruction. And now that we are sending in a 1,300- man team, I'm sure we'll be uncovering more of that capability.
You have to remember that in my presentation on the 5th of February, I also made the point that they had one of the best deception and hiding efforts known. And that's what we're going to have to go in and look at.
And I think all the documents that are now coming forward and people who are being interviewed will tell us more about what they have hidden and where they have hidden it.
And I think the mobile labs are a good indication of the kind of thing they're doing. If those mobile biological-weapons vans that we discovered were not biological-weapons vans, if they were, as some suggest, nothing more than a device to produce hydrogen gas for weather balloons, I can assure you that the day after my presentation the Iraqis would've had that van out there producing hydrogen gas for weather balloons. They have never acknowledged that they had it. They lied about it. And we found it. And the director of central intelligence, Mr. Tenet, is confident that it is what we said it was, a biological-warfare van.
And so that tells you the nature of this regime. This regime could've come clean. This regime could've destroyed its weapons of mass destruction. It chose not to. And the United Nations and a willing coalition of nations acted appropriately and in accordance with international law derived from U.N. Resolution 1441 and took the regime out.
The world is better off for it. The Iraqi people have been liberated. And there will be no weapons of mass destruction once we get through in Iraq with our efforts.
QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) the American people that the intelligence that you were using is credible and that it's not...
POWELL: The American people are quite assured. It's the media that invents words such as "bogus." How can it be bogus when I can show you pictures of people that were gassed by Saddam Hussein; I can show you reports from U.N. inspectors all through the 1990s that demonstrated that the Iraqis had weapons of mass destruction; I can show you reports where the Iraqis were caught lying about their weapons of mass destruction? You tell me why they issued a false declaration when they had the opportunity to tell the truth.
And so, I think the case is clear, the case has been substantiated over the years. Every nation that voted for Security Council Resolution 1441 voted for a resolution that began with the statement that Iraq was in material breach of its obligations. And so there is nothing bogus about the intelligence.
QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) uncover any weapons of mass destruction?
POWELL: We have uncovered the mobile vans, and we are continuing to search. We also know that they were masters of deceit and masters of hiding these things. So a little patience is required.
And it is really somewhat outrageous on the part of some critics to say that this was all bogus. It (UNINTELLIGIBLE) in the least, was it bogus.
And the work continues, and that 1,300-man group is going in to continue that work.
POWELL: The peace process...
SANJAY GUPTA, CNN ANCHOR: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) controversy, there's no question about the mobile vans that we've been hearing so much about.
POWELL: ... the Aqaba summit. And we must not allow terrorist organizations such as Hamas and PIJ and the al-Aqsa Brigade and similar organizations to derail this. The international community must speak out, and the Palestinian Authority must act. Israel will do what is necessary to defend itself.
But we have to move forward. It would be a tragedy if, with this new momentum in the peace process, we allowed terrorists to derail it and stop it. I regret the incident. I grieve along with the Israeli people for the loss of these four soldiers. But we have go to keep moving. We cannot allow this to derail our efforts.
GUPTA: OK. Secretary of State Colin Powell being called back to the podium there, as you can see. First talking about the mobile vans -- well, did they contain biological weapons or not, and then again about the Mideast peace process.
TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com