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Powell may take U.S. intelligence to U.N.

Powell during a briefing at the State Department on Monday
Powell during a briefing at the State Department on Monday

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•  Commanders: U.S. | Iraq
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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Secretary of State Colin Powell may present new U.S. evidence against Iraq to the U.N. Security Council next week, a senior administration official told CNN Tuesday.

The Bush administration said Monday it is likely to declassify intelligence as early as next week that it says would prove senior Iraqi officials have been concealing weapons and evidence of weapons programs from U.N. weapons inspectors.

Powell's appearance before the Security Council is still being decided. "He may go but no final decision has been made," the administration official said.

Noting that Powell has already said the Bush administration planned to introduce new evidence on Iraq's weapons program and alleged links to terrorist groups, the official said "clearly the idea of going to the Security Council is something we are considering."

But there is concern within the administration that releasing information would compromise sources, and two officials said the scope of the planned release has not been determined.

The information could include satellite photographs and "intercepts," according to one of the officials, who declined to be named or to be more specific.

Speaking to a group of European journalists Sunday in Davos, Switzerland, Powell said, "We do have a number of intelligence products that convince us that what we are saying is correct, convince us that they are doing these things, and we hope in the next week or so to make as much of this available in public as possible.

But Powell said he did not know if he would introduce the evidence in a similar fashion to the dramatic presentation in 1962 by Adlai Stevenson, who as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations slapped down 26 photos on the Security Council table proving Russian missiles were being deployed in Cuba.

"Stevenson had a much easier task, I think," Powell said. "All he had to prove was that there were Russian missiles in Cuba, and viola, there were Russian missiles in Cuba"

"I would love to have that kind of material to present, and we are seeing what we can do, what we might find in the next couple of weeks."

"What I would also love to see, love to have, but do not at the moment have, are some concrete things. You know, I'd like to have Exhibit A on the ground," Powell said. "Shall we say, a CNN moment?"

Deputy National Security Adviser Steven Hadley is heading the administration effort to determine what to make public. A "careful review" is under way because officials are concerned that releasing information might compromise future intelligence operations, a White House official said.

One reason the United States has not shared its most sensitive intelligence with the U.N. inspectors is the fear inspectors are being monitored by Iraqi officials.

If it reached the senior Iraqi officials, some of that information could undermine a U.S. war effort, the official said.

The Security Council's schedule makes it unlikely Powell would travel to New York before Tuesday. On Monday, the first business day of February, the council is expected to discuss its agenda for the coming month.

Germany, which will hold the rotating council presidency for February, is expected to hold bilateral meetings with other council members Monday.

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