"Weapons of Mass Deception"
Student Wrote British Iraq Document
By Zachary R. DowdySTAFF WRITERFebruary 8, 2003United Nations - Much of a British dossier that Secretary of State Colin Powell cited before the UN Security Council Wednesday to outline what he called Iraq's deceptions was actually the work of a graduate student in California - not that of intelligence operatives in Iraq - an embarrassed British government said Friday.As he argued that Iraq should be invaded, Powell called the British report, released this week, "a fine paper" that backed up his case with its account of how Iraq is blocking UN weapons inspectors. On Thursday, London's Channel 4 television station reported that the British paper contains verbatim chunks of a report published online in September entitled "Iraq's Security and Intelligence Network: A Guide and Analysis."The earlier report was published online in September by Ibrahim al-Marashi, 29."We acknowledge that we should have given people the name of the source," said a spokesman for British Prime Minister Tony Blair. "But, as the author has said, the report's accurate."The British government published its report - "Iraq - Its Infrastructure of Concealment, Deception and Intimidation" - on its Web site. Al-Marashi's 20-page paper covers Iraq's intelligence structure using material gathered after the Gulf War, dating some material back to 1991.U.S. officials at the United Nations declined to comment Friday, but some politicians in Britain were outraged. "This is the sort of thing that Saddam Hussein himself issues," opposition Liberal Democrat Jenny Tonge told Reuters. Former defense minister Peter Kilfoyle told the news agency he was upset that Blair had given the British people "thin evidence" in making the case for war.Al-Marashi, who is now a researcher at the Monterey Institute of International Studies in California and a student of Iraqi intelligence at Oxford University in Britain, said that he was annoyed his work was plagiarized, but that the work is accurate. He said entire passages were taken from his work verbatim - grammatical errors included. He also said that, had Blair's people consulted him, he "could have provided them with more updated information."But he said he hoped the controversy would not cast aspersions on Powell's presentation, especially since Powell mentioned the British report but did not use material from it for the presentation."The worry I have is that this might be used to tarnish Powell's report and jeopardize his argument," said al-Marashi, who has never visited Iraq but whose parents immigrated to the United States from Iraq in 1968. "I don't want it to be used for that."
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Milton Frihetsson, 02:35