Wednesday, 20 July 2011

The Iraq Inquiry - MI6 had doubts about the "intelligence" from the outset

Andrew Gilligan blogged recently about an interesting release of documents from the Chilcot Inquiry, Iraq dossier: MI6 concerned about its claims 'from the outset'.

This newly released documentation seems to raise further doubts about the truthfulness of the evidence of Sir Richard Dearlove and John Scarlett to the Hutton Inquiry.

1 comment:

  1. Andrew,
    there is an interesting exchange in Hansard 20 July 2004 between Lord Owen and Baroness Symons (Mrs Phil Bassett): Bassett was a Special Adviser involved early on in the dossier)
    "....Whether the withdrawal by the Secret Intelligence Service in July 2003 of two reports, as described in paragraph 405 of the Butler report, was revealed to the Hutton inquiry; and, if so, whether the inquiry was prevented from disclosing this withdrawal."

    In a nutshell, the answer from Symons was NO.

    She continued...
    "On 17 July 2003, the chief of the Secret Intelligence Service told the Intelligence and Security Committee that the intelligence was being withdrawn, on the condition that they did not refer to it in their report. This was because the sourcing was still being investigated as a sensitive operational matter. The report was formally withdrawn on July 29 2003, and the investigation continued. But C pointed out to the ISC that he still 99 believed the information was correct, although SIS could no longer substantiate the sourcing chain and hence the report was being withdrawn.
    The Foreign Secretary first became aware of the withdrawal of this report when he agreed, in response to a request from the SIS on 8 September 2003, that the reports in question should be disclosed to the Intelligence and Security Committee."

    So Straw himself was out of the loop until the Hutton Inquiry was well on its way to having heard all the evidence.