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Ordered by the House of Commons to be printed 14th July 2004 - page 127 / 216

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on Iraqi political issues was designated as being Third Order. The membership of the JIC is broad enough to allow such wider evidence to be brought to bear. We emphasise the importance of the Assessments Staff and the JIC having access to a wide range of information, especially in circumstances (e.g. where the UK is likely to become involved in national reconstruction and institution-building) where information on political and social issues will be vital.

THE USE OF INTELLIGENCE

The Government’s dossiers

460.

The main vehicle for the Government’s use of intelligence in the public presentation of policy was the dossier of September 2002 and accompanying Ministerial statements. (The dossier of February 2003 has been fully dealt with in the ISC Report and we make no further comment on it here, except to endorse the conclusion accepted by the Government that the procedures followed in producing it were unsatisfactory and should not be repeated.)

461.

The dossier broke new ground in three ways: the JIC had never previously produced a public document; no Government case for any international action had previously been made to the British public through explicitly drawing on a JIC publication; and the authority of the British intelligence community, and the JIC in particular, had never been used in such a public way.

462.

The dossier was not intended to make the case for a particular course of action in relation to Iraq. It was intended by the Government to inform domestic and international understanding of the need for stronger action (though not necessarily military action) - the general direction in which Government policy had been moving since the early months of 2002, away from containment to a more proactive approach to enforcing Iraqi disarmament. The Government’s wish to give its case greater objectivity and credibility led to the Government’s decision to commission the JIC to produce the dossier and to make public the JIC’s authorship of it. The Chairman of the JIC accepted responsibility for its production with the intention of ensuring that it did not go beyond the judgements which the JIC had reached. He and the JIC therefore took on the ownership of it.

463.

The Government wanted an unclassified document on which it could draw in its advocacy of its policy. The JIC sought to offer a dispassionate assessment of intelligence and other material on Iraqi nuclear, biological, chemical and ballistic missile programmes. The JIC, with commendable motives, took responsibility for the dossier, in order that its content should properly reflect the judgements of the intelligence community. They did their utmost to ensure this standard was met. But this will have put a strain on them in seeking to maintain their normal standards of neutral and objective assessment.

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