An aide to former Secretary of State Colin Powell has hit out at Dick Cheney, saying the former Vice President fears being ‘tried as a war criminal’
Powell’s long-time aide and chief of staff, Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson told ABC news Cheney, ‘Was president for all practical purposes for the first term of the Bush administration,’ adding, ‘[He] fears being tried as a war criminal.’
The attack comes in the wake of attempts by Cheney to publicise his new book, with Powell accusing the one-time vice president of taking ‘cheap shots’ at the former Bush administration.
According to early reports, Cheney’s forthcoming book breaks with the former administration’s version of events.
But former Secretary of State Powell has dismissed Cheney’s sensational claims as ‘supermarket tabloid’ material designed to ‘pump up sales’.
He brushed off Cheney’s claims that Powell tried to undercut President Bush’s policies in Iraq.
He also dismissed Cheney’s assertion that Powell had stood by while his former deputy leaked the identity of CIA officer Valerie Plame, pointing out that the scandal eventually led to the criminal conviction of Cheney’s former chief of staff Scooter Libby.
Cheney had claimed that he would make heads in Washington ‘explode’ with revelations including that he told George W. Bush to bomb Syria and has ‘no regrets’ about water-boarding terror suspects.
He also revealed that he prepared a secret signed resignation letter, while still in office, in case of health complications.
But Powell branded the former Vice President’s promotional tag-line ‘cheap’ insisting: ‘My head isn’t exploding and I haven’t noticed any other heads exploding in Washington DC.
‘It’s the kind of headline I would have expect to come out of a gossip columnist or the kind of headline you might see one of the supermarket tabloids write.’
He added: ‘Mr Cheney has had a long and distinguished career. I hope in his book that that’s what he focuses on, not these cheap shots that’s he taking at me and other members of the administration.’
Powell also criticised Cheney’s approach to former colleagues. In ‘In my Time’, to be published later this month, he describes former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice as naïve and said Colin Powell was right to resign after the 2004 election.
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