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Ordered by the House of Commons to be printed 14th July 2004 - page 93 / 216

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The dossier is based on the work of the British Joint Intelligence Committee . . . Normally,its work is obviously secret. Unusually,because it is importan t that we explain our concerns about Saddam to the British people,we have decided to disclose its assessments.

[Hansard, 24 September 2002, Col 3]

325.

We record above the Foreign Secretary’s evidence to us that the Government’s understanding of the purpose of the dossier was that it was to:

. . . meet the demand for intelligence-based information about Iraq . . .

and to:

. . . make a case for the world to recognise the importance of the issue and hopefully to galvanise the international community into taking it seriously.

326.

As we also record above, the Chairman of the JIC, too, saw its purpose as informing public debate by putting:

. . . into the public domain . . . the intelligence assessment on this issue . . .

but not as making a case:

. . . in no sense,in my mind or that of the JIC,was it a document designed to mak e a case for anything.

327.

The Government wanted a 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 that this standard was met. But this will have put strain on them in seeking to maintain their normal standards of neutral and objective assessment. Intelligence assessment is necessarily based heavily on judgement, relying on such material as intelligence has provided. It is not simply a matter of reporting this material but of presenting the judgements which flow from it to an experienced readership. Explaining those judgements to a wider public audience is a very different and difficult presentational task.

THE INTELLIGENCE BEHIND THE DOSSIER

328.

As the Intelligence and Security Committee noted in its report7 in September 2003:

The dossier was founded on the assessments then available.

329.

In this Section we examine the way in which judgements in JIC assessments prepared during 2002 were translated into the dossier. We are acutely aware of the danger of being unfair through selective quotation. The dossier did not follow the format of JIC assessments exactly, nor should it have done so. It was written for a different purpose and

7

Iraqi Weapons of Mass Destruction - Intelligence and Assessments.” Cm 5972. September 2003.

79

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