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Wolf Blitzer Asks UK Defense Minister About Downing Street Memo
This Sunday on CNN Late Edition, Wolf Blitzer asked U.K. Defense Minister John Reid about the Downing Street Memo.
CNN LATE EDITION WITH WOLF BLITZER 11:00 AM EST
November 6, 2005 Sunday
BLITZER: Mr. Secretary, with all due respect, you say there was no debate about that going into the war, but there was what has now famously been called the Downing Street Memo, which came out on July 23, 2002, almost a year before the war, in which your government was told this, "There was a perceptible shift in attitude, referring to what's going on in the Bush administration in Washington. Military action was now seen as inevitable. Bush wanted to remove Saddam through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence of facts were being fixed around the policy. The NSC had no patience with the U.N. route, and no enthusiasm for publishing material on the Iraqi regime's record. There was little discussion in Washington of the aftermath after military action."
Your government was told, almost a year before the war, that this intelligence was being concocted.
REID: No, they weren't, with great respect. You can produce one out of a thousand of memos that were flying about, which represented one person's view about one particular issue. I don't quite know what is the point that you're making. Let me just repeat again, Wolf, with great respect, every intelligence agency in the world knew that Saddam Hussein had the intention and capability over a period of years to develop a threat to the region, as well as to the world.
History had illustrated that, both in intention and capability. The only disagreement was not about the measure of the threat, Resolution 1441 specifically referred to his breaches of the United Nations' regulations, said that he was guilty, said that in order to get any relief from that guilt, he had to give immediate, unconditional compliance with the United Nations itself.
There was no question about the degree of the guilt. The only question at the time was whether or not he should be given more time with the inspectors, or whether a military intervention should take place.