News

State Department Report, Powell on Iraq
February 6, 2002
Washington File
	  (Says Bush is examining full range of options on Iraq) 

U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell says the Bush administration is
examining a full range of options on Iraq, and "it is the most serious
assessment of options that one might imagine."

President Bush is "leaving no stone unturned as to what we might do,"
Powell said, in dealing with Iraqi President Saddam Hussein's refusal
to permit U.N. international weapons inspections to resume.

"The president is examining a full range of options of how to deal
with Iraq," the secretary said during testimony before the House
International Relations Committee February 6. The committee was
conducting a hearing on the administration's request for $25,300
million for U.S. international affairs spending in fiscal year 2003.

Powell declined to elaborate on the extent of the options under
consideration by the Bush administration. However, he said there is no
doubt that Iraq is pursuing a nuclear weapons program.

"The best intelligence we have suggests that it isn't something they
have ready to pop out with in the next year or so. It would take them
a bit longer," Powell said.

To accomplish the U.N.-mandated inspections effectively, Powell said
the Iraqi government must allow the international inspectors
unfettered access.

"The president is determined to keep this on the front burner and is
looking at all the options that are available for him to deal with
this in a decisive way," Powell said. "We still have a U.S. policy of
regime change because we believe Saddam Hussein should move on and
that the Iraqi people deserve better leadership."

Powell suggested "regime change is something the United States ...
might have to do alone."

At a separate hearing before the Senate Select Intelligence Committee,
CIA Director George Tenet said "Saddam remains a threat," and the
Iraqi leader is determined to thwart U.N. sanctions imposed for
failing to permit international weapons inspectors in the country.

"Iraq continues to build and expand an infrastructure capable of
producing WMD [weapons of mass destruction]," Tenet said. He added
that "Iraq retains a significant number of nuclear scientists, program
documentation, and probably some dual-use manufacturing infrastructure
that could support a reinvigorated nuclear weapons program."

Sources