the Security and Intelligence Co-ordinator’s disposal to commission such resources, we would support that.
The question of whether there should have been better machinery for bringing to the attention of the Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC) dissenting opinions in the DIS arose in relation to the Government’s dossier of September 2002. But the same point applies to JIC assessments. The Intelligence and Security Committee have recommended that if individuals in the intelligence community formally record concerns in relation to assessments these concerns should be brought to the attention of the JIC Chairman.
The Government has said that it is keeping the situation under review, and that DIS standing instructions exist for the notification to the Chief of Defence Intelligence and his deputy of dissenting views on JIC issues. We recommend consideration of the provision of proper channels for the expression of dissent within the DIS through the extension of the remit of the Staff Counsellor, who provides a confidential outlet for conscientious objection or dissent within the intelligence agencies, to cover DIS civilian staff and the Assessments Staff.
We have another recommendation in relation to the DIS. During the lead-up to the Iraq war, neither the Chief of Defence Intelligence nor his deputy were intelligence specialists. We recognise the case for the Chief of Defence Intelligence to be a serving officer so that he is fully meshed into military planning. But we consider that the Deputy should, unless there are good reasons to the contrary at the time when a particular appointment is made, be an intelligence specialist.
THE JOINT INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE
A good deal of our attention has inevitably been focussed on the JIC and its operations. Its role in co-ordinating the intelligence community and producing objective intelligence assessments is widely admired, including by all members of our Committee. We conclude that it is vital to maintain and reinforce its independence.
As regards the JIC itself, two questions we have asked ourselves are whether, as a result of the additions to its membership described in Chapter 1, it has become too big, and whether its objectivity is in danger of being compromised by the presence of more policy heavy-weights than in the past.
On the first question, the changed nature of the security challenges faced by the UK in the 21st century has inevitably led to intelligence having a wider application in policy-making. That in turn has resulted in more departments with only an occasional interest in the JIC’s work being added to its membership. If all those members were to attend on each occasion, JIC meetings would certainly become unwieldy. But we understand that they do not. Provided that this is the case, it seems desirable that those departments which may have an interest in, and use for, intelligence should attend as necessary when items affecting their business are discussed.