SOURCE: Matt Drudge: Bleep The Press?
CAMERA MOVED OFF POWELL DURING RUSSERT GRILLING; AIDE ATTEMPTED TO CUT OFF INTERVIEW
Sun May 16 2004 10:45:35 ET
An aide to Sec. of State Colin Powell ordered a halt to a MEET THE PRESS interview and directed a camera to shoot a palm tree during provocative questioning by host Tim Russert. As Powell was being interview by satellite from Jordan, State Department press aide Emily Miller fumed as Tim Russert went beyond the 10 minutes allotted for the NBC Sunday session. 13 minutes in to the interview, Miller attempted to pull the plug.
As Russert grilled Powell on his presentation at the UN of Iraq’s alleged WMDs — Miller moved the single remote camera off Powell. Transcript follows.
“You’re off,” Miller announced.
“I am not off,” Powell warned.
“No. They can’t use it, they’re editing it…” Miller said on an open microphone.
“Emily, get out of the way. Bring the camera back please,” the secretary snapped.
Russert aired the exchange unedited. Powell was 45 minutes late to the taping, a top source explained.
TIM RUSSERT: Finally, Mr. Secretary, in February of 2003, you placed your enormous personal credibility before the United Nations and laid out a case against Saddam
(Camera moved off of interview subject)
EMILY MILLER, STATE DEPARTMENT PRESS AIDE: You’re off.
SECRETARY POWELL: I am not off.
EMILY MILLER, PRESS AIDE: No. They can’t use it, they’re editing it.
SECRETARY POWELL: He’s still asking the questions.
EMILY MILLER, PRESS AIDE: He was not …
SECRETARY POWELL: Tim, I am sorry I lost you.
MR. RUSSERT: I am right here Mr. Secretary. I would hope they would put you back on camera. I don’t know who did that.
EMILY MILLER, PRESS AIDE: He was going to go for another five minutes.
SECRETARY POWELL: We’ve really scre…
MR. RUSSERT: I think that was one of your staff Mr. Secretary. I don’t think that’s appropriate.
SECRETARY POWELL: Emily, get out of the way. Bring the camera back please. (Camera returns to the interview subject) I think we’re back on Tim, go ahead with your last
MR. RUSSERT: Thank you very much, sir.
In February of 2003, you put your enormous personal reputation on the line before the United Nations and said that you had solid sources for the case against Saddam Hussein. It now appears that an agent called “Curve Ball” had misled the CIA by suggesting that Saddam had trucks and trains that were delivering biological chemical weapons.
How concerned are you that some of the information you shared with the world is now inaccurate and discredited?
SECRETARY POWELL: I’m very concerned. When I made that presentation in February 2003, it was based on the best information that the Central Intelligence Agency made available to me. We studied it carefully. We looked at the sourcing and the case of the mobile trucks and trains. There was multiple sourcing for that. Unfortunately, that multiple sourcing over time has turned out to be not accurate, and so I’m deeply disappointed.
But I’m also comfortable that at the time that I made the presentation it reflected the collective judgment, the sound judgment, of the intelligence community, but it turned out that the sourcing was inaccurate and wrong and, in some cases, deliberately misleading. And for that I’m disappointed, and I regret it.
MR. RUSSERT: Mr. Secretary, we thank you very much for joining us again and sharing your views with us today.
SECRETARY POWELL: Thanks, Tim.
(END OF PRE-TAPE INTERVIEW)
MR. RUSSERT: AND THAT WAS AN UNEDITED INTERVIEW WITH THE SECRETARY OF STATE, TAPED EARLIER THIS MORNING FROM JORDAN.
WE APPRECIATE SECRETARY POWELL’S WILLINGNESS TO OVERRULE HIS PRESS AIDES’ ATTEMPT TO ABRUPTLY CUT OFF OUR DISCUSSION AS I BEGAN TO ASK MY FINAL QUESTION.