POWELL GIVES INTEL PEEK In his U.N. presenation on Wednesday, Colin Powell provided a snippet of a phone call, ordering an Iraqi soldier to clam up about the regime's nerve agents. How did the U.S. intercept that conversation? A geostationary satellite, positioned over Baghdad, is the most likely answer, the Los Angeles Times reports.The tapped conversation is one of several ways in which Powell's briefing shed a few, fleeting rays of light on American intelligence capabilities and how the U.S. interprets the information that it collects.
In satellite images of purported weapons labs, for instance, Powell pointed to ancillary buildings and circling decontamination vehicles that analysts consider "signatures" of illegal weapons work, a tip the Iraqis are certain to note.One thing Powell's show-and-tell did not reveal, the Times says, was the true capability of American satellite imagery. The pictures Powell showed were pretty poor quality, on par with snapshots taken from commercial satellites. Perhaps, the paper suggests, those images were deliberately dumbed down, to keep other countries guessing about just how good the U.S.' eyes in the sky really are.