munition. There were grounds for scepticism both about the reports’ sources and their quality. Nevertheless, we conclude that the Government was right in 1990 and 1991 to act on a precautionary basis.
We find it harder to understand the treatment of the intelligence in the ensuing period. Dusty mustard disappears from JIC assessments from 1993 onwards. By contrast, although little new intelligence was received, and most of that was historical or unconvincing, plague continued to be mentioned in JIC assessments up to March 2003. Those fluctuated in the certainty of judgements about Iraqi possession of plague between “possibly” and “probably”.
We conclude that, in the case of plague, JIC assessments reflected historic evidence, and intelligence of dubious reliability, reinforced by suspicion of Iraq, rather than up-to-date evidence.
6.9 DR JONES’S DISSENT
Dr Brian Jones, the then Head of the Nuclear, Biological, Chemical Technical Intelligence branch in the DIS, was on leave when the process of drafting the Government’s dossier began. On his return to work on 18 September (that is, six days before publication of the dossier), his staff expressed to him a range of concerns about the strength of the judgements being made in the dossier, some of which they believed were not supported by the intelligence. Dr Jones shared a number of his staffs’ concerns and recorded his concerns in a minute to his management on 19 September6.
It is clear that Dr Jones saw the action that he had taken in registering his dissent as being unusual. We heard from the then Chief of Defence Intelligence, however, that:
It is not our intention in this report to revisit issues already addressed by Lord Hutton. But we believe that the episode raises three broader issues about the use of the available intelligence material in the Government’s dossier, and about the handling of sensitive intelligence more generally, which merit consideration here.
USE OF THE AVAILABLE INTELLIGENCE MATERIAL
Dr Jones raised concerns about the treatment of the intelligence containing the ’45 minute’ report. In his minute, Dr Jones said that:
We have a number of questions in our minds relating to the intelligence on the military plans for the use of chemical and biological weapons,particularly about t he times mentioned7 and the failure to differentiate between the two types of weapons.
We conclude that Dr Jones was right to raise concerns about the manner of expression of the ‘45 minute’ report in the dossier given the vagueness of the underlying intelligence.
I saw it as part of the day-to-day process.
Submitted to Lord Hutton’s Inquiry as MOD/22/0001. Dr Jones told us that he used guarded language in his minute because of its low classification.