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Blix takes Washington to task

By Richard Roth
CNN Senior U.N. Correspondent

Editor's Note: CNN Access is a regular feature on providing interviews with newsmakers from around the world.

Blix told a London newspaper: "There are bastards who spread things around."

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UNITED NATIONS (CNN) -- Satellite photographs on his office wall are the only way Hans Blix can see Iraq these days.

The chief U.N. weapons inspector and his international searchers are shut out of Iraq by the United States.

But in his final days on the job, Blix is speaking out more -- angry over how he feels he was treated by some in the U.S. government.

In an interview in London's Guardian newspaper, Blix said: "I have my detractors in Washington. There are bastards who spread things around, of course, who planted nasty things in the media, not that I cared very much."

Asked about his comments, Blix told CNN:

"Well, I think it vexes me if I have what I regard as totally unjustified accusations, but I don't lose sleep over it, and I pursued my job here. ..."

"You used a word beginning with 'b,'" CNN asked Blix.

"Ah yes, yes. I didn't think it would be printed in America," he said.

"Do you think they were (bastards)?" CNN asked.

"I certainly had a low opinion about these detractors, but it's not really worth much time," Blix said.

In print, Blix said some elements of the Pentagon were behind a smear campaign against him.

"Clearly when a former Swedish deputy prime minister writes in the Washington Times or Wall Street Journal and I haven't met the guy since the '70s and evidently some of the information must have come from private sources in the U.S., there is something wrong," Blix said.

U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell said there was "no smear campaign that I'm aware of."

"I have high regard for Dr. Blix. I worked very closely with Dr. Blix over the last eight or nine months.

"! know the president has confidence in him as well, and what we're doing now is looking forward, not looking backwards," Powell said.

Powell's briefing to the U.N. Security Council has yet to bear fruit on the ground.

Blix says he received little intelligence during his time in Iraq that his teams could ever confirm.

And the former Swedish foreign minister had this warning for the future:

"I think one has to be cautious in making use of the armed forces on flimsy or shaky grounds that it has justification," Blix said.

Blix may have even more to say. He is preparing a book.

U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan defends Blix and adds: "We haven't heard the last of him."

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