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Powell to make case against Iraq

Secretary of state to give crucial address to Security Council

U.S. Secretary Colin Powell is to make what may be a pivotal multimedia presentation to the U.N. Security Council.
U.S. Secretary Colin Powell is to make what may be a pivotal multimedia presentation to the U.N. Security Council.

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U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell is expected to present detailed proof of Iraqi deception to the U.N. Security Council. CNN's John King reports. (February 5)
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NEW YORK (CNN) -- In a multimedia presentation to the U.N. Security Council on Wednesday, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell will unveil video, slides and audiotapes of intelligence intercepts as evidence supporting the Bush administration's claim that Iraq is deceiving U.N. weapons inspectors, U.S. officials said.

As he left the U.S. mission at the United Nations on Tuesday, Powell had this response to Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein's claims that he has no weapons of mass destruction: "Prove it."

Powell's speech is expected to last about 90 minutes. One official described the presentation as a narrative full of "stories with subplots" and said Powell may wear a wireless microphone so that he can stand up and move around as he speaks.

Among the evidence, U.S. officials said, Powell will play audiotapes of intercepted conversations in which Iraqis talk about concealing evidence from inspectors and coaching scientists on how to answer questions.

They said Powell also will present satellite photographs of material being moved from sites in Iraq just before visits by U.N. inspectors and intelligence detailing Iraqi imports of banned weapons materials.

In addition, Powell will detail travels in and out of Iraq by al Qaeda operatives and some contacts with Iraq, but officials said the secretary of state will not suggest any formal alliance exists.

Officials said Powell's highly technical and elaborate presentation will include about 30 slides, several audiotape intercepts and satellite photographs. They said the bulk of the presentation will focus on weapons of mass destruction, with a "healthy" part devoted to terrorism links and a smaller portion dedicated to Iraq's human rights record.

CIA Director George Tenet will accompany Powell when he comes to the horseshoe-shaped Security Council table, and he will sit behind the secretary of state. A senior State Department official said Tenet's presence was "part of the credibility of the whole package" -- a "personal endorsement" of Powell's message.

At the other end of the table will be Mohammed Aldouri, Iraq's ambassador to the United Nations. Aldouri will be seated next to British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, a staunch critic of the Iraqi regime. Aldouri is expected to give a speech, but only after the 15 members of the Security Council have addressed the world body.

The Security Council is to be called to order at 10:15 a.m. EST, with Powell's presentation to begin around 10:30.

Twelve foreign ministers will be present for the meeting in the most anticipated live television presentation there since the 1962 Cuban missile crisis. U.N. officials said there will be more television feeds than usual, with one camera dedicated to Powell and another for his presentation items.

After Powell speaks, each member nation then will be allowed to speak for six to eight minutes apiece. U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan and the two chief U.N. weapons inspectors, Hans Blix and Mohammed ElBaradei, are to attend but are not expected to speak.

On the eve of Powell's presentation, officials involved in the preparation said they were "still scrubbing stuff," referring to the formal process of declassifying intelligence.

Powell has been intimately involved in reviewing U.S. intelligence on Iraq's alleged weapons of mass destruction program and links to terrorist groups, officials said. Since last week, Powell has met with intelligence analysts and has read multiple drafts of the speech.

On Tuesday afternoon, Powell held one final practice at the U.S. mission to the United Nations with Tenet.

CNN.com's Iraq Tracker has further developments in the standoff with Iraq.


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