Laurence H. Silberman and members of their Commission; General Brent Scowcroft, Chairman of the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board; and senior members of the Administration and the Congress, including Senator Pat Roberts and Senator John Rockefeller, Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Intelligence Committee; Congressman Porter Goss and Congresswoman Jane Harman, Chairman and Ranking Member of the House Intelligence Committee; Dr Condoleezza Rice, National Security Adviser; General Colin Powell and Mr Richard Armitage, State Department; Mr George Tenet, Director, and staff of the Central Intelligence Agency; and Vice Admiral Lowell Jacoby and staff of the Defense Intelligence Agency. We are grateful to Sir David Manning, HM Ambassador at Washington, and his team for making the arrangements for this visit. We also visited Baghdad and we express our particular appreciation to Major General Keith Dayton, Brigadier Graeme Morrison and Mr Charles Duelfer and their staffs for being willing to receive and brief us at a very difficult and busy time, and to staff of the Ministry of Defence and the Royal Air Force for organising the visit and arranging our safe journey there and back. We also had useful discussions with representatives of a number of other countries.
The tight timetable for our Report has caused some difficulties for us. The main one is that the Iraq Survey Group, with whose findings our terms of reference require us to compare the intelligence received by the British Government, have not yet produced any publicly available report. They produced an interim report in September 2003 and a Status Report in March 2004. We have had access to these. We were very grateful to General Dayton and Mr Duelfer for also briefing us about their progress. We have undertaken not to anticipate their findings but, on the basis of the information they gave us, we believe that our conclusions are not inconsistent with what they have discovered so far. The much longer timetable given to the US Presidential Commission has had the result that, while we had useful initial discussions with them, we have not been able to fulfil the Foreign Secretary’s statement that we would work closely with them.
On the other hand, we were greatly helped by the evidence given to Lord Hutton’s Inquiry, by the report of the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee on “The Decision to go to War in Iraq” (HC 813) and above all by the report of the Intelligence and Security Committee entitled “Iraqi Weapons of Mass Destruction—Intelligence and Assessments” (Cm 5972). We should like to express particular thanks to the Intelligence and Security Committee for giving us access to the classified evidence which underlay their report. This saved us much spadework.
It may be asked what further we could add by going over such heavily traversed ground. One answer is perhaps that, as in the search for weapons in Iraq, one can never do too much digging. But others are that we have had the considerable advantage of the further passage of time which has allowed us to consider the evidence that has emerged since the war on Iraqi nuclear, biological, chemical and ballistic missile programmes and the results of post-war validation by the Secret Intelligence Service of their relevant human intelligence sources. More importantly, we have had much wider access to the Government’s intelligence and policy papers. Even so, we do not pretend that ours can be the last word on every aspect of the issues we cover.