Woodward charges that President Bush decided to invade Iraq by Jan. 11, 2003 (the White House says it was March). He argues that on Jan. 11, Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to Washington was informed of the war plan before the president told Secretary of State Colin Powell.
Woodward also charges that the Saudi ambassador, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, pledged to increase oil production in order to lower gasoline prices so that the economy would improve in time for the presidential election.
Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, Powell denied the accusations.
“First, the suggestion that a plan was presented to Prince Bandar that I was not familiar with is just flat wrong,” said Powell, adding that the plan was not a final decision and that he was “aware” Bandar was being briefed because the Iraqi war would have a “military question” for Saudi Arabia as well “a political dimension.”