Rice Questioned on Pre-9/11 Statements that Iraq Had Not Rearmed

Outside the Capitol Hill studios of Fox News, Sam Husseini asked Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice about claims she made — as National Security Advisor with then Secretary of State Colin Powell in 2001 — that Saddam Hussein’s “military forces have not been rebuilt.” Claims made not too long before the 2003 invasion of Iraq by the United States in part on the asserted premise of Iraq being a military threat.

In February of 2001, Colin Powell said: “He has not developed any significant capabilities with respect to weapons of mass destruction. He is unable to project conventional power against his neighbors.” In July of 2001, Condoleeza Rice is on the record as saying, “…we are able to keep arms from him [Saddam Hussein]. His military forces have not been rebuilt.”

Both of those statements are documented in a film by journalist John Pilger and a relevantclip from the film of these quotes is available on YouTube.

With no response to that line of questioning, Husseini queried Rice on a widely accepted fact that has not been officially acknowledged by the United States — Israel’s possession of nuclear weapons.

However, the Secretary of State stopped for no-one, and drove off into the morning snowstorm.


Sam Husseini: Madame Secretary, please. Please just a few short questions.

Condoleeza Rice: Sorry. Gotta Run.

SH: You can make time for the press.

CR: I just did.

SH: Well that was some other press. Madame Secretary in 2001 both you and Colin Powell said Saddam Hussein didn’t have weapons of mass destruction. You said his military forces have not been rebuilt. How do you reconcile that with your previous — with your statements — during the buildup of the war?

Secretary Rice, please? This is an important question. I don’t think you have been asked this question. How do you reconcile? — Does Israel have nuclear weapons? Can you answer that? It’s a very simple question. Secretary Gates said they did — implied it — during his confirmation hearings. Please. Please. They’re two very simple questions.

This article was originally posted on February 25, 2007. It was edited to add supporting material on February 27, 2007.

[originally published on Washington Stakeout on Feb. 25, 2007; posted on posthaven Nov. 13, 2015]