Dr Jones also raised concerns about the certainty of language used in the dossier on Iraqi production and possession of chemical agents. In his minute, Dr Jones said that:
We have not seen intelligence which we believe ’shows’ that Iraq has continued to produce CW agent in 1998-2002,although our judgement is that it has probab ly done so.
We have commented separately in Chapter 5 on the way in which the dossier did not reflect the limitations of some aspects of the intelligence on which it drew. We conclude that Dr Jones was right to raise concerns about the certainty of language used in the dossier on Iraqi production and possession of chemical agents.
THE HANDLING OF INTELLIGENCE
Dr Jones was not shown one particularly sensitive human intelligence report which said that production of biological and chemical agent had been accelerated by the Iraqi Government, including through the building of further facilities throughout Iraq. Dr Jones’s managers told him that they regarded this report as justifying the certainty of language in the dossier about Iraqi production of chemical weapons. We have looked into this point in some detail.
The intelligence report came from a new source on trial. It was issued on 11 September 2002. SIS had what at the time appeared to be well-founded hopes that this source would become a major asset. In particular, the source had indicated to SIS that he would be able to provide substantial and critical additional intelligence in the near future. The Chief of SIS has told us that SIS were concerned to minimise knowledge of the existence of the source during what they expected to be an initial, very sensitive, period of development. The source’s intelligence about chemical weapons production was therefore distributed to an extremely limited circle of senior readers.
We understand SIS’s concern to give maximum protection to their source in those particular, and transitional, circumstances. We were told that in-house SIS technical experts took a preliminary and provisional view that the report should be issued, as being from “A new source on trial”. But the exclusion of Dr Jones and his staff from readership of the original report meant that this intelligence was not seen by the few people in the UK intelligence community able to form all-round, professional technical judgements on its reliability and significance. In the event, SIS withdrew the intelligence from this source as being unreliable in July 2003.
We recognise that circumstances arise in which it is right for senior officials to take a broad view that differs from the opinions of those with expertise on points of detail. We do not, however, consider that the report held back from Dr Jones and his staff (which Dr Jones’ superiors regarded as justifying the certainty of the language in the dossier) was one to which such considerations should have applied. The judgement reached by the JIC in this case should have been able to depend on detailed, expert analysis of the intelligence. In the event, the JIC had no reason to know that that had not happened.