If you had any doubts ...
about the respect afforded Colin Powell in this administration, this exchange with an assistant press secretary during a televised interview on Meet The Press should remove them.
Russert: Finally, Mr. Secretary, in February of 2003, you placed your enormous personal credibility before the United Nations and laid out a case against Saddam Hussein citing...How pathetic is that? Emily Miller, an assistant press secretary has no qualms about interrupting the Secretary of State during a televised interview because he's getting asked an uncomfortable question - never mind that it also happens to be one he has already been asked on many occasions and is not likely to deviate from his prior script. Well, in some respects, I guess he is getting the respect he so richly deserves given his performance these past years. Sleepin' well at night Colin? 784 and counting ... the number of US casualities you likely could have prevented had you spoken up before the unnecessary Iraqi invasion. You know, back when you still had a reputation worth salvaging.
Powell: Not off.
Emily: No. They can't use it. They're editing it. They (unintelligible).
Powell: He's still asking me questions. Tim.
Emily: He was not...
Powell: Tim, I'm sorry, I lost you.
Russert: I'm right here, Mr. Secretary. I would hope they would put you back on camera. I don't know who did that.
Powell: We really...
Russert: I think that was one of your staff, Mr. Secretary. I don't think that's appropriate.
Powell: Emily, get out of the way.
Powell: Bring the camera back, please. I think we're back on, Tim. Go ahead with your last question.
Russert: Thank you very much, sir. In February of 2003, you put your enormous personal reputation on the line before the United Nations and said that you had solid sources for the case against Saddam Hussein. It now appears that an agent called Curveball had misled the CIA by suggesting that Saddam had trucks and trains that were delivering biological and chemical weapons. How concerned are you that some of the information you shared with the world is now inaccurate and discredited?
Powell: I'm very concerned. When I made that presentation in February 2003, it was based on the best information that the Central Intelligence Agency made available to me. We studied it carefully; we looked at the sourcing in the case of the mobile trucks and trains. There was multiple sourcing for that. Unfortunately, that multiple sourcing over time has turned out to be not accurate. And so I'm deeply disappointed. But I'm also comfortable that at the time that I made the presentation, it reflected the collective judgment, the sound judgment of the intelligence community. But it turned out that the sourcing was inaccurate and wrong and in some cases, deliberately misleading. And for that, I am disappointed and I regret it.
Russert: Mr. Secretary, we thank you very much for joining us again and sharing your views with us today.
Powell: Thanks, Tim.
Russert: And that was an unedited interview with the secretary of state taped earlier this morning from Jordan. We appreciate Secretary Powell's willingness to overrule his press aide's attempt to abruptly cut off our discussion as I began to ask my final question.