Saturday, 21 May 2011

The Iraq Inquiry - Alastair Campbell digs himself a new hole

There is an old saying "When you're in a hole, stop digging".

Alastair Campbell seems to think it doesn't apply to him.

In today's Guardian, Alastair Campbell rejects Iraq dossier claims, there is an article about Alastair Campbell's response to Major General Michael Laurie's evidence to the Chilcot Inquiry.

Among the points attributed to Mr. Campbell is the following:

• "Neither I – nor, so far as I am aware, anyone else in Downing Street – was made aware of his views at the time, or at any time in the subsequent nine years, until he felt moved to write to you, and his letter was published."

And there, I think, lies the "new hole" in Mr. Campbell's defence.

One relevant document on the Hutton Inquiry web site is Note of meeting, 09/09/02, from Alastair Campbell, which includes the following quote:

The media/political judgement will inevitably focus on "what's new?" and I was pleased to hear from you and your SIS colleagues that, contrary to media reports today, the intelligence community are taking such a helpful approach to this in going through all the material they have. It goes without saying that there should be nothing published that you and they are not 100% happy with.

Was Alastair Campbell serious about publishing nothing that "the intelligence community" wasn't 100% happy with?

Or was it a fig leaf?

What steps did Alastair Campbell take to ensure that the "intelligence community" was "100% happy" with the dossier?

None, so far as I'm aware.

What steps did Alastair Campbell take to ensure that "helpful" lackeys such as the then Deputy Chief of Defence Intelligence, Tony Cragg, did not choke off serious concerns expressed in writing by analysts in the Defence Intelligence Staff?

None, so far as I'm aware.

What steps did Alastair Campbell take to ensure removal of the "lots of spin" in the draft dossier that David Kelly had identified?

None, so far as I'm aware.

There you have it. Alastair Campbell issues fine words about the content of the dossier but, seemingly, fails entirely to take any action to show that he was serious.

Is he negligent? Or disingenuous?

Or, perhaps, both.

You decide.


  1. A secret session at Chilcot with Laurie, recently released, from last year is here

  2. Felix,

    More interesting / damning is the letter from Michael Laurie.

    It contains this quote:
    "Alistair Campbell said to the Inquiry that the purpose of the Dossier was not “to make a case for war”. I had no doubt at that time this was exactly its purpose and these very words were used."

  3. And blog comment here at Politics Home on Laurie at Chiltot.
    Mick Laurie succeeded Joe French as DGIC when the latter became CDI