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Ordered by the House of Commons to be printed 14th July 2004 - page 168 / 216





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general direction in which Government policy had been moving since the early months of 2002, away from containment to a more proactive approach to enforcing Iraqi disarmament. (Paragraph 462)

  • 32.

    The Government wanted an unclassified document on which it could draw in its advocacy of its policy. The JIC sought to offer a dispassionate assessment of intelligence and other material on Iraqi nuclear, biological, chemical and ballistic missile programmes. The JIC, with commendable motives, took responsibility for the dossier, in order that its content should properly reflect the judgements of the intelligence community. They did their utmost to ensure this standard was met. But this will have put a strain on them in seeking to maintain their normal standards of neutral and objective assessment. (Paragraph 463)

  • 33.

    Strenuous efforts were made to ensure that no individual statements were made in the dossier which went beyond the judgements of the JIC. But, in translating material from JIC assessments into the dossier, warnings were lost about the limited intelligence base on which some aspects of these assessments were being made. Language in the dossier may have left with readers the impression that there was fuller and firmer intelligence behind the judgements than was the case:our view, having reviewed all of th e material, is that judgements in the dossier went to (although not beyond) the outer limits of the intelligence available. (Paragraph 464)

  • 34.

    We conclude that it was a serious weakness that the JIC’s warnings on the limitations of the intelligence underlying its judgements were not made sufficiently clear in the dossier. (Paragraph 465)

  • 35.

    We understand why the Government felt it had to meet the mounting public and Parliamentary demand for information. We also recognise that there is a real dilemma between giving the public an authoritative account of the intelligence picture and protecting the objectivity of the JIC from the pressures imposed by providing information for public debate. It is difficult to resolve these requirements. We conclude, with the benefit of hindsight, that making public that the JIC had authorship of the dossier was a mistaken judgement, though we do not criticise the JIC for taking responsibility for clearance of the intelligence content of the document. However, in the particular circumstances, the publication of such a document in the name and with the authority of the JIC had the result that more weight was placed on the intelligence than it could bear. The consequence also was to put the JIC and its Chairman into an area of public controversy and arrangements must be made for the future which avoid putting the JIC and its Chairman in a similar position. (Paragraph 466)

  • 36.

    We believe that there are other options that should be examined for the ownership of drafting, for gaining the JIC’s endorsement of the intelligence material and assessments that are quoted and for subsequent ‘branding’. One is for the government of the day to draft a document, to gain the JIC’s endorsement of the intelligence material inside it and then to publish it acknowledging that it draws on intelligence but without ascribing it to the JIC. Or the Government, if it wishes to seek the JIC’s credibility and authority, could publish a document with intelligence material and the JIC’s endorsement of it shown separately. Or the JIC could prepare and publish itself a self-standing assessment, incorporating all of its normal caveats and warnings, leaving it to others to place that


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