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Ordered by the House of Commons to be printed 14th July 2004 - page 135 / 216

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It was intelligence data that dealt with Iraq’s efforts to procure WMDs,wi th Iraq’s efforts to conceal WMDs. It was all single source data of dubious quality,w hich lacked veracity.

They took this information and peddled it off to the media,internationall y and domestically,allowing inaccurate intelligence data to appear on the fro nt pages.

The government,both here in the UK and the US,would feed off these media rep orts, continuing the perception that Iraq was a nation ruled by a leader with an addiction to WMDs.

[BBC News, 12 November 2003]

487.

Mr Ritter was reported as saying that he was prepared to reveal details before a public inquiry.

488.

We took evidence from Mr Ritter, including on Operation Mass Appeal. Mr Ritter said that Operation Mass Appeal was already up and running when SIS approached him in December 1997. He was asked if there was material on Iraq’s weapons programmes on which the United Nations Special Commission (UNSCOM) could not act, but which might be made public through media outlets in a range of countries. Mr Ritter said that Mr Richard Butler, the then Executive Chairman of UNSCOM, agreed that UNSCOM should co-operate with the UK in this way and that two reports relating to prohibited trade between Iraq and two other countries were passed to the UK the same month. UNSCOM’s involvement then fell into abeyance until May 1998 when contact resumed. Mr Ritter said that he met SIS officers again in June 1998 to discuss Operation Mass Appeal for the last time. He resigned from UNSCOM soon after that.

489.

We have examined relevant SIS papers.

These confirm that

meetings

between

British

Government

officials

there and

were two UNSCOM

representatives, including Mr Ritter, in May and June 1998 at which there were discussions about how to make public the discovery of traces of the nerve agent VX on missile warheads after this fact had been reported to the United Nations Security Council. (Iraq had previously denied weaponising VX.) Operation Mass Appeal was set up for this specific purpose and did not exist before May 1998. In the event, before Operation Mass Appeal could proceed, the UNSCOM report was leaked to the press

in Washington.

Because of this, Operation Mass Appeal was abandoned.

    • 6.4

      URANIUM FROM AFRICA

  • 490.

    There has been significant controversy surrounding the reliability of Government statements about Iraqi attempts to buy uranium from Africa. We have therefore studied this issue in detail.

491.

Natural uranium is the necessary starting point for all nuclear developments (whether for weapons or civil power). In the late 1970s, Iraq obtained large quantities of uranium ore from Niger, Portugal and Brazil. By the mid-1980s, however, Iraq had become self- sufficient in uranium ore, which was a by-product of indigenous phosphate mines at

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