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Powell Says Iraq WMD Speech Blot On His Record

Colin Powell (file photo) 9 September 2005 (RFE/RL) -- Former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell says his pre-Iraq-war speech at the United Nations, in which he accused Saddam Hussein's regime of harboring weapons of mass destruction, is now a "blot" on his record.

The United States invaded Iraq in March 2003 and toppled Hussein's regime, but no weapons of mass destruction have been found.

In an interview on U.S. television, Powell said memories of his February 2003 address to the UN Security Council are "painful" for him.

Powell said that for the speech, he relied on information he received in Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) briefings, and that then CIA Director George Tenet believed the information was accurate.

But, Powell said, the U.S. intelligence system was not working well, and he was misinformed by officials.

Powell added that he still supported President George W. Bush's decision to use force because the Hussein regime's violation of UN resolutions.