On ABC's World News Tonight last night, it was amusing to hear State Department reporter Martha Raddatz dash the hopes of conservatives that Colin Powell's February 5 appearance at the U.N. will provide smoking-gun evidence of ties between Iraq and al-Qaeda. Here's what Raddatz told Peter Jennings:
Secretary Powell said today that basically what he’ll talk about is an expansion of things that have already been out there. He will fill in the gaps, so to speak. He does have some new evidence; it’s all circumstantial evidence. He’ll pull out some charts, some graphs, probably some satellite imagery, but, Peter, I think this will be more of a comprehensive term paper.
...The intelligence community is probably more skeptical of this than anyone. Most officials I talked to say there is no undeniable proof in Powell’s presentation.
Today The New York Times outlines the administration’s case, such as it is. Smoking gun? Hardly. At best, a deeply unsatisfying game of “Six Degrees of Osama bin Laden.”