Former Secretary of State Colin Powell on Sunday dismissed as "cheap shots" the criticism leveled at him and others in former Vice President Dick Cheney's memoir.
It was the latest volley in a clash that stretches back to their first years in the George W. Bush administration.
Powell went so far as to say that if Cheney's staff and others in Bush's White House had been as forthcoming as the State Department in the case involving CIA operative Valerie Plame, the indictment and conviction of Cheney's friend and former chief of staff never would have happened.
Powell made the remarks Sunday on CBS' "Face the Nation" ahead of the Tuesday release of Cheney's book, "In My Time: A Personal and Political Memoir." Cheney said in an earlier NBC interview that the book would cause "heads to explode" in Washington, a description Powell said he expected from a supermarket tabloid and not a former vice president.
"My head isn't exploding. I haven't noticed any other heads exploding in Washington," Powell said. "From what I've read in the newspapers and seen on television, it's essentially a rehash of events of seven or eight years ago."
Cheney and Powell had numerous disagreements in the administration, particularly over policy toward Iraq and the run-up to the 2003 invasion by U.S.-led forces. Still, Powell termed "nonsense" Cheney's description of how Powell went outside with his criticism of administration policies.
Powell also suggested that Cheney wrongly took credit for Powell's resignation from the State Department in 2004; Powell said he had always planned to serve only four years.
He labeled as "almost condescending" the tone of Cheney's criticism of Condoleezza Rice, who succeeded him as secretary of state.
"Mr. Cheney has had a long and distinguished career and I hope in his book that's what he will focus on, not these cheap shots that he's taking at me and other members of the administration who served to the best of our ability for President Bush," Powell said.
On the Plame matter, Powell said Cheney tries to "lay it all off" on Powell and Richard Armitage, the deputy secretary of state under Powell.