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Ordered by the House of Commons to be printed 14th July 2004 - page 166 / 216





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    • c.

      Reports from a third SIS main source have been withdrawn as unreliable.

    • d.

      Reports from two further SIS main sources continue to be regarded as reliable, although it is notable that their reports were less worrying than the rest about Iraqi chemical and biological weapons capabilities.

    • e.

      Reports received from a liaison service on Iraqi production of biological agent were seriously flawed, so that the grounds for JIC assessments drawing on those reports that Iraq had recently-produced stocks of biological agent no longer exist. (Paragraph 436)

  • 17.

    We do not believe that over-reliance on dissident and emigre´ sources was a major cause of subsequent weaknesses in the human intelligence relied on by the UK. (Paragraph 438)

  • 18.

    One reason for the number of agents whose reports turned out to be unreliable or questionable may be the length of the reporting chains. Another reason may be that agents who were known to be reliable were asked to report on issues going well beyond their usual territory. A third reason may be that, because of the scarcity of sources and the urgent requirement for intelligence, more credence was given to untried agents than would normally be the case. (Paragraphs 440–442)

  • 19.

    A major underlying reason for the problems that have arisen was the difficulty of achieving reliable human intelligence on Iraq. However, even taking into account the difficulty of recruiting and running reliable agents on Iraqi issues, we conclude that part of the reason for the serious doubt being cast over a high proportion of human intelligence reports on Iraq arises from weaknesses in the effective application by SIS of its validation procedures and in their proper resourcing. Our Review has shown the vital importance of effective scrutiny and validation of human intelligence sources and of their reporting to the preparation of accurate JIC assessments and high-quality advice to Ministers. We urge the Chief of SIS to ensure that this task is properly resourced and organised to achieve that result, and we think that it would be appropriate if the Intelligence and Security Committee were to monitor this. (Paragraphs 443–445)


  • 20.

    In general, we found that the original intelligence material was correctly reported in JIC assessments. An exception was the ’45 minute’ report. But this sort of example was rare. (Paragraph 449)

  • 21.

    We should record in particular that we have found no evidence of deliberate distortion or of culpable negligence. (Paragraph 449)

  • 22.

    We found no evidence of JIC assessments and the judgements inside them being pulled in any particular direction to meet the policy concerns of senior officials on the JIC. (Paragraph 450)

  • 23.

    We conclude in general that the intelligence community made good use of the technical expertise available to the Government. (Paragraph 451)

  • 24.

    We accept the need for careful handling of human intelligence reports to sustain the security of sources. We have, however, seen evidence of difficulties that arose from the

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