Colin Powell: I Did Not Misrepresent "Don't Ask, Don't Tell"

Former Secretary of State Colin Powell on "Face the Nation," Sunday, Feb. 21, 2010. FTN CBS

Updated 6:10 p.m. ET

Colin Powell has released a statement saying  that he did not misrepresent how the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy would be put into effect to former President Clinton.

Mr. Clinton said in an interview with CBS News' Katie Couric, "Now, when Colin Powell sold me on don't ask, don't tell, here's what he said it would be. Gay service members would never get in trouble for going to gay bars, marching in gay rights parades as long as they weren't in uniform."  

"That was what they were promised," the former president said. "That's a very different don't ask, don't tell than we got." 

"What we got as soon as General Powell retired was this vicious mid- and low-level officer feedback where they--for a year or so--made it worse than it had been before," Mr. Clinton continued. "Then, they sort of settled down. But the reason I accepted it was because I thought it was better than an absolute ban. And because I was promised it would be better than it was."

In the interview, Mr. Clinton did not use the word "misrepresented" in talking about Powell.

Powell's statement says Mr. Clinton "is incorrect in saying I misrepresented to him how the 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' law of 1993 would be implemented by the military." Powell was Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff when Mr. Clinton was working out his position on the policy.

"In any event, that is beside the point," the former general continued. "I retired a few months after the law was passed. President Clinton was commander-in-chief for the next seven years and he and his military leaders were responsible for the procedures implementing the law and the policy."


Brian Montopoli is a political reporter for CBSNews.com. You can read more of his posts here. Follow Hotsheet on Facebook and Twitter.

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