The JIC assessment of May 2001 cautioned that:
Our picture of Iraq’s BW programme is unclear.
[JIC, 10 May 2001]
It went on to record, however, that it had:
. . . good intelligence of one facility that could be used to support BW agent production.
Other intelligence which points to the possible research and production of BW agent is unconfirmed. We believe Iraq retains equipment and materials to produce BW. ...
[JIC, 10 May 2001]
In support of these judgements, the assessment pointed to additional intelligence on:
Iraqi attempts to recruit new scientists by people formerly associated with Iraq’s BW programme to work on BW related research,including genetic engineering.
Evidence of increased activity at a former BW associated plant in Amiriyah. [JIC, 10 May 2001]
The new intelligence came from human intelligence and imagery. Although the human intelligence was recording events that had taken place some time previously, we conclude that it was fairly reflected by the JIC.
Continuing intelligence reports from the liaison service on Iraqi mobile biological agent production facilities had a significant impact on the next JIC assessment, produced in February 2002, which noted that: Iraq . . . if it has not already done so,could produce significant quantities of BW agent within days. . . .
[JIC, 27 February 2002]
We were told that this further shortening of production timescales - from weeks to days - was based on a more thorough understanding of the capabilities of the mobile production facilities, and on refurbishment of an Iraqi facility involved in biological agent production and research before the first Gulf war.
IRAQ’S BALLISTIC MISSILE PROGRAMME
A substantial JIC assessment in December 2000 covered Iraqi ballistic missile stocks and indigenous research, development and production capabilities. The JIC sustained its estimate of the late-1990s of the size of residual Iraqi ballistic missile stocks:
. . . a handful of ageing SCUD-derived missiles,with a range of up to 650 km,a re probably disassembled and concealed. These could be re-assembled quickly and