For those of us who might have missed this part of the report: Days before Secretary of State Colin L. Powell was to present the case for war with Iraq to the United Nations, State Department analysts found dozens of factual problems in drafts of his speech, according to new documents contained in the Senate report on intelligence failures released last week. Two memos included with the Senate report listed objections that State Department experts lodged as they reviewed successive drafts of the Powell speech. Although many of the claims considered inflated or unsupported were removed through painstaking debate by Powell and intelligence officials, the speech he ultimately presented contained material that was in dispute among State Department experts. Powell's Feb. 5, 2003, speech to the U.N. Security Council was crafted by the CIA at the behest of the White House. Intended to be the Bush administration's most compelling case by one of its most credible spokesmen that a confrontation with Saddam Hussein was necessary, the speech has become a central moment in the lead-up to war. The speech also has become a point of reference in the failure of U.S. intelligence. Although Powell has said he struggled to ensure that all of his arguments were sound and backed by intelligence from several sources, it nonetheless became a key example of how the administration advanced false claims to justify war. Powell has expressed disappointment that, after working to remove dubious claims, the intelligence backing the remaining points of his U.N. speech has turned out to be flawed.


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