“Known and Unknown: A Memoir” (2011)
As we now know, portions of Powell’s presentation about Iraq’s WMD programs proved not to be accurate, but something interesting happened over the years that followed. ... Over time, a narrative developed that Powell was somehow innocently misled into making a false declaration to the Security Council and the world. Powell himself later contended, in defense of his participation, “There were some people in the intelligence community who knew at the time that some of these sources were not good, and shouldn’t be relied upon, and they didn’t speak up. That devastated me.” When asked why these people did not speak up, he replied, “I can’t answer that.”
Powell had spent decades in uniform and had become the most senior military officer in our country, and at every level he had spent long hours dealing with intelligence. As President Reagan’s national security adviser, he routinely had been exposed to reporting and analysis from the intelligence community. As secretary of state, his department’s own intelligence agency reported to him. There was no one else in the administration who had even a fraction of his experience in intelligence matters, including CIA Director Tenet. Powell was not duped or misled by anybody, nor did he lie about Saddam’s suspected WMD stockpiles. The President did not lie. The Vice President did not lie. Tenet did not lie. Rice did not lie. I did not lie. The Congress did not lie. The far less dramatic truth is that we were wrong.