December 18: From Powell to Blix:
Before you present your first report on the team’s findings in Iraq to the UN Secretary and Security Council, may I remind you of our prior understandings:
1. You will specify that the December 7 Iraqi arms declaration denying possession of weapons of mass destruction is in fact a rehash of old materials and full of gaps. But you won’t go any farther. You will not for example state that Iraq is in breach of Security Council Resolution 1441.
2. You will state that secret data from the United States and the United Kingdom would help the inspectors find the hidden weapons sites.
3. Towards the end of the week, I will try and persuade President Bush to allow you access to certain classified data as a demonstration that effective UN pressure on the White House brings results.
4. You will pay no heed to the flood of reports from Washington and London about troop buildups and the approaching war. I can promise you the war will not begin without the final okay from you and me – and the UN Secretary of course. I would like you to know that I keep the President fully apprised of the efforts you and the UN secretary are making to cooperate with us and the President asked me to convey his appreciation to you for all your hard work.
December 19: From Blix to Powell:
A few minutes before I go before the media, I would like to say in brief that I relayed your words about the President to the Secretary General and we are both grateful for your warm commendation. Neither you nor the President need be anxious. Everything is going according to plan!
December 20: From Powell to Blix:
09:45 EST: URGENT. What’s going on? My staff tells me that you went on BBC4 radio and complained that you and the UN inspectors do not command resources like the Americans for finding out what the Iraqis are up to – intelligence, satellites and, did I hear correctly? – spies? I happened to be with the President at that moment and saw him blow up: “Spies, my ass!” he said and thumped the table.”Let George (Tenet) tell those idiots where the real spies are.” It took me 20 minutes to calm him down. I had to keep on telling him that you would never use that word again. Let’s be absolutely clear on the differences between us: We practice intelligence; spies are what the UN runs!
It will not be news to you. After all, we were both around eleven years ago and know exactly who tipped the Iraqis off about our preparations for Gulf War I through the German foreign ministry. And surely you haven’t forgotten Mogadishu, 1993, when our operational plans reached al Qaeda and Aidid through the UN’s New York headquarters. And you must know how it pains us to remember that a top-flight FBI officer like Philip Hanssen not only spied for Moscow, but blew our most sensitive secrets to Baghdad – again through the UN Secretariat.
That gaffe was major and had instant repercussions. The President picked it up there and then and shouted that no one at the UN including your team can be trusted. To make sure there would be no more UN shenanigans, he ordered me to go before the media after you and state clearly that Baghdad is in material breach of 1441. We all know what that means. It means that the plans I worked on with Kofi Annan to get the war put off till the end of 2003 have gone up in smoke. Our hand has been forced. Whether we like it or not, your report will have to be presented in the first week of January, in time for war to be launched in the second half of the month.
Here’s what happens next. You will gladly accept the intelligence data we hand you, mostly satellite photographs, and take it back with you to Baghdad to help with resumed inspections. However, the photos will be as outdated as the Iraqi document – nothing after 1998. Ten days later, in the first week of January, you will return to New York and announce the Iraqis are not cooperating and are therefore in breach of 1441. FYI, the war will start, with or without your report, on January 16.
December 21: Blix to Powell:
URGENT. Could you not let us have just one or two shots dated 2002 or even 2001?
December 21: Powell to Blix:
What are you talking about? You know we don’t have any new photographs. And we both know where the Iraqis have really hidden their nuclear, chemical and biological materials – in bunkers under their hospitals and schools. A year ago, they whined they don’t have enough money and medicines to operate hospitals. All of a sudden, they send 4,500 healthy Iraqis to bed in hospital pretending to be sick. Those fake patients, like the students, are human shields used to protect Saddam’s WMD. That’s really crafty. If radiation is detected by your inspectors around the hospitals and schools, the Iraqis will say it comes from the chemical and biological labs in the hospitals and schools.
P.S. I almost forgot, Rumsfeld asked me to tell you that the Iragis have just planted around Baghdad and Tirkit whole forests of millions of sharp metal spikes, some as high as 15 cm., to stop us dropping our troops around the two cities. They are sharp enough to damage tank chains and force them to halt. Some of our informants suggest the spikes may be contaminated with lethal chemicals. So when you get back to Baghdad, please see if some of your men can’t sneak through to collect a spike or two and post it to New York. I know this expedition would put your men in danger, but one of those spikes would give us proof – and, anyway, it is the least you can do to make up for that faux pas of yours on spies.
December 18: From Powell to Blix: