[JIC, 9 September 2002]
The more definite judgements inside the assessment were based on the receipt of significant new intelligence in August and September 2002, in response to the routine requirement on SIS to obtain information to support the drafting of JIC assessments (and which in this case supported the drafting of the Government’s dossier). Four reports were received in total, from three sources, which were influential in the JIC’s assessment.
The first provided material from a range of original informants reporting via an intermediary to the source3. We have noted, however, that the individual items from the informants did not confirm directly that Iraq had chemical weapons. They came from senior Iraqi officials who were believed at the time to have direct knowledge of Iraq’s intentions, use, deployment or concealment of chemical weapons, but were based for most of the informants on an assumption (not direct knowledge) that Iraq had such weapons.
The second and third were from a source who had previously reported reliably and who continued to do so in the following months. This source, too, could not confirm from direct experience that Iraq had chemical weapons, resting on reporting “common knowledge” within his circle that chemical agent production was taking place. The second report from this source seems to us to duplicate much of the first.
The fourth was a single report, from a reliable and established source reporting a new sub- source who did not subsequently provide any further reporting, which was described as
to note that:
Other recent intelligence indicates that production of chemical and biological weapons is taking place; . . .
Iraq may have other toxins,chemical and biological agents that we do not kn ow about.
[JIC, 9 September 2002]
On Iraq’s chemical weapons capabilities, the JIC sustained its earlier judgement that: . . . following a decision to do so,Iraq could produce significant quantitie s of mustard agent within weeks; significant quantities of the nerve agents sarin and VX within months (and in the case of VX may already have done so). [JIC, 9 September 2002]
On Iraq’s biological weapons capabilities, the JIC sustained its earlier judgement that: Iraq could produce more biological agents within days. [JIC, 9 September 2002]
On delivery means, the JIC sustained its earlier judgement that: . . . Iraq retains up to 20 Al Husseins . . .
We were told by SIS during the course of our Review that there is now doubt about the reliability of this reporting chain and hence of the reports derived from it. Section 5.9 provides further detail.