personnel that had either been directly named in refugees’ reporting, had been associated with the source or were linked to sites that became part of the investigation. The information they gathered differs from the original reporting passed to SIS. This includes denials of the existence of the programme from personnel allegedly involved and discrepancies between the source’s description of two of the sites and that observed by inspection by the ISG.
SIS did not have direct access to the main source of this intelligence until well after the war. We describe at Chapter 5 the doubts which have arisen about the reliability of some aspects of the reporting received by SIS. We have been told in particular that an important technical detail was incorrect in the reports passed to SIS. If correctly reported, these would have shown that the product of the mobile laboratories would have been in a slurry form which has a shorter storage life than dried agent and would not have been suitable for stockpiling. The conclusion must be that the main grounds for the assessment that Iraq held recently-produced stocks of biological agent no longer exist.
MOBILE FACILITIES DISCOVERED POST-WAR
In April 2003, US forces recovered two trailers, which are being examined by the ISG.
We have been told that the current view of the UK intelligence community is that the trailers could be used as an inefficient system for either hydrogen or biological agent production and that there is insufficient evidence to draw any firm conclusions. It is generally accepted, however, that they are not the subjects of the intelligence provided by the liaison source.
We consider that it was reasonable for the JIC to include in its assessments of March and September 2002 a reference to intelligence reports on Iraq’s seeking mobile biological agent production facilities. But it has emerged that the intelligence from the source, if it had been correctly reported, would not have been consistent with a judgement that Iraq had, on the basis of recent production, stocks of biological agent. If SIS had had direct access to the source from 2000 onwards, and hence correct intelligence reporting, the main evidence for JIC judgements on Iraq’s stocks of recently-produced biological agent, as opposed to a break-out capacity, would not have existed.
From the late 1990s onwards, the British Government had intelligence that Iraq was seeking to procure aluminium tubes. This intelligence was validated by the seizure of a shipment of Chinese-origin tubes destined for Iraq in June 2001. It has been a matter of uncertainty whether the tubes were evidence of Iraq’s attempts to re-constitute a nuclear programme.
Of the two fissile materials suitable for the production of a nuclear weapon, plutonium and highly enriched uranium (HEU), Iraq had no access to plutonium after the bombing in 1981