judgements to the dossier, the JIC omitted the important information about the need for substantial re-engineering of the aluminium tubes to make them suitable for use as gas centrifuge rotors. This omission had the effect of materially strengthening the impression that they may have been intended for a gas centrifuge and hence for a nuclear programme.
6.8 PLAGUE AND DUSTY MUSTARD
In November 1990, the JIC reported that:
According to the new intelligence,Iraq possesses the BW agents pneumonic plague and anthrax and has weaponised them . . . Weapons are ready for immediate use. . . .
The report that Iraq has weaponised anthrax is consistent with our earlier assessment that it might have done so. But we have no collateral for the claim that it has developed plague to a similar extent. Plague was,however,one of the ag ents included in the list of those that Iraq had studied or on which it had information. . . . We believe that Iraq has the facilities to produce plague in sufficient quantities for weaponisation.
[JIC, 9 November 1990]
Slightly later in November 1990, the DIS said that plague seedstock was now “probably available” to Iraq.
These judgements were based on several intelligence reports from a single informant described as “a new source of unestablished reliability”. In the heightened state of concern pre-war, and because the source was felt to be in a position to comment authoritatively, the British Government decided to inoculate UK forces against plague.
After the first Gulf war, some apparently corroborative intelligence was obtained from two further sources. There were inconsistencies in the knowledge of one of these and of the original source that could have led to questioning of their access to information on the
But, in August 1993 the JIC said:
Iraq has admitted to the UN that it conducted research into BW agents from 1986 to 1990,but claims never to have produced agent in quantity nor to have posses sed biological weapons. We have information that this claim is untrue and assess that Iraq produced BW weapons containing anthrax and plague . . . Stocks of agents and weapons have probably been hidden,together with key items of equipmen t.
[JIC, 25 August 1993]
In August 1995, after Iraq had finally admitted weaponisation of some biological agents following the defection of Hussein Kamil, the JIC noted that:
We have convincing intelligence of a BW programme which started in the 1970s and strong indications that it produced and weaponised anthrax,botulinum to xin,and