X hits on this document

PDF document

Ordered by the House of Commons to be printed 14th July 2004 - page 167 / 216





167 / 216

unduly strict ‘compartmentalisation’ of intelligence. It was wrong that a report which was of significance in the drafting of a document of the importance of the dossier was not shown to key experts in the DIS who could have commented on the validity and credibility of the report. We conclude that arrangements should always be sought to ensure that the need for protection of sources should not prevent the exposure of reports on technical matters to the most expert available analysis. (Paragraphs 452)


We were impressed by the quality of intelligence assessments on Iraq’s nuclear capabilities. (Paragraphs 453)


Partly because of inherent difficulties in assessing chemical and biological programmes, JIC assessments on Iraq’s chemical and biological weapons programmes were less assured. The most significant is the ‘dual use’ issue – because chemical and biological weapons programmes can draw heavily on ‘dual use’ materials, it is easier for a proliferating state to keep its programmes covert. (Paragraph 454/455)


There were also Iraq-specific factors. The intelligence community will have had in mind that Iraq had not only owned but used its chemical weapons in the past. It will inevitably have been influenced by the way in which the Iraqi regime was engaged in a sustained programme to try to deceive United Nations inspectors. Most of the intelligence reports on which assessments were being made were inferential. The Assessments Staff and JIC were not fully aware of the access and background of key informants, and could not therefore read their material against the background of an understanding of their motivations. The broad conclusions of the UK intelligence community (although not some particular details) were widely-shared by other countries. (Paragraphs 456/457)


We detected a tendency for assessments to be coloured by over-reaction to previous errors. As a result, there was a risk of over-cautious or worst case estimates, shorn of their caveats, becoming the ‘prevailing wisdom’. The JIC may, in some assessments, also have misread the nature of Iraqi governmental and social structures. (Paragraph 458/459)


We emphasise the importance of the Assessments Staff and the JIC having access to a wide range of information, especially in circumstances (e.g. where the UK is likely to become involved in national reconstruction and institution-building) where information on political and social issues will be vital. (Paragraph 459)



The main vehicle for the Government’s use of intelligence in the public presentation of policy was the dossier of September 2002 and accompanying Ministerial statements. The dossier broke new ground in three ways:the JIC had never previously produc ed a public document; no Government case for any international action had previously been made to the British public through explicitly drawing on a JIC publication; and the authority of the British intelligence community, and the JIC in particular, had never been used in such a public way. (Paragraph 460/461)


The dossier was not intended to make the case for a particular course of action in relation to Iraq. It was intended by the Government to inform domestic and international understanding of the need for stronger action (though not necessarily military action) – the


Document info
Document views677
Page views677
Page last viewedFri Oct 28 15:50:58 UTC 2016