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WASHINGTON – Former secretary of state Colin Powell dismissed the criticism leveled at him and others in vice president Dick Cheney’s memoir, calling them “cheap shots.’’

It was the latest volley in a clash that stretches back to their first years in former President George W. Bush’s administration.

Powell said 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 Wilson, the indictment and conviction of Cheney’s friend and former chief of staff wouldn’t have happened.

Powell made the remarks yesterday on CBS’s “Face the Nation’’ ahead of tomorrow’s 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.

“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 US-led forces. Still, Powell called Cheney’s description of how Powell went outside with his criticism of administration policies “nonsense.’’

“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.

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