It also noted that:
Intelligence indicates that the Iraqis may have developed an extended al-Samoud, which sources claim has a range of over 300 Kms. We judge such ranges are technically possible,but would result in a significant decrease in payloa d.
[JIC, 6 December 2002]
DECEPTION AND CONCEALMENT
In contrast to reporting on Iraqi nuclear, biological, chemical and ballistic missile capabilities, intelligence reporting between mid-October 2002 and March 2003 on Iraqi deception and concealment activities was voluminous. Reports covered Iraqi preparations for the arrival of UNMOVIC and IAEA inspectors following the adoption of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1441, and plans to obstruct their activity once they had arrived. Human intelligence reports again played an important role in informing JIC assessments during this period.
Two full JIC assessments addressed Iraqi deception and concealment in depth. The issue was covered, sometimes extensively, in four Weekly Intelligence Summaries on Iraq, 32 Intelligence Updates and 19 Daily Intelligence Highlights provided to relevant Ministers and officials.
Those reports, together with the findings of the United Nations inspectors, were available to the Prime Minister when deciding whether Iraq was in further material breach of its obligations under United Nations Security Council Resolution 1441, an issue to which we return in the next Section. We have therefore examined their quality, both in terms of the reliability of the original sources and by validation against the discoveries made by UNMOVIC and the IAEA on the basis of the intelligence reports they received from the UK.
Reliability of human intelligence reports
Of the human intelligence reports which had a material influence on JIC assessments on Iraqi deception and concealment, over four-fifths came from two principal sources, and two-thirds from one in particular. Both were believed at the time to be reporting reliably13. There will therefore have been a tendency for the intelligence community to assume that they were similarly reporting reliably on Iraqi concealment and deception.
Use of the Intelligence
The British Government, drawing on intelligence reports, passed leads to UNMOVIC via the ‘Rockingham’ cell (see box) and SIS to assist them in their search for weapons, materiel, documents and personnel related to Iraq’s nuclear, biological, chemical and ballistic missile programmes.
We have, however, been told that post-war validation by SIS of its sources has led to doubts about the reliability of the reports provided by the source who provided the smaller proportion of the reporting.