UK Intelligence Chiefs Admit Error on Iraq’s WMD

April 10th, 2005 - by admin

Aljazeera / Tehran Times – 2005-04-10 10:44:37

LONDON (April 11, 2005) — Britain’s Intelligence chiefs have admitted for the first time that claims made by them about Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction were wrong and have not been substantiated.

The annual report of the parliamentary intelligence and security committee reveals the admission as well as sharply criticizing the lack of communication between ministers and the Secret Intelligence Service, MI6.

The report discloses that late last year the Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC) reviewed key judgments on Iraq’s WMD capability and programs behind the government’s now discredited dossier published in September 2002.

The JIC claimed in 2002: “Iraq is pursuing a nuclear weapons program.” It now admits this “was wrong, in that Iraq was not pursuing a nuclear weapons program”. The JIC further judged in 2002 that “Iraq retains up to 20 al-Hussein ballistic missiles” which it now admits “This has not been substantiated.” – In 2002, the JIC judged: “Iraq may retain some stocks of chemical agents … Iraq could produce significant quantities of mustard

[gas] within weeks, significant quantities of Sarin and VX within months, and, in the case of VX may already have done so.” The committee now says: “Although a capability to produce some agents probably existed, this judgment has not been substantiated.” It adds that the Iraq Survey Group found that Saddam “intended to resume a CW

[chemical weapons] effort once

[UN] sanctions were lifted”. – The JIC in 2002 said: “Iraq currently has available … a number of biological agents … Iraq could produce more of these biological agents within days”. The intelligence now says that the ISG found Iraq could resume production, “but not within the time frames judged … and

[it] found no evidence that production had been activated”. – In 2002, the JIC judged: “Saddam … might use CBW

[chemical and biological weapons] against coalition forces, neighboring states and his own people. Israel could be the first target.” The Iraqi agent who made the claims utilized by British intelligence was subsequently dropped by MI6.

Three MI6 agents were “withdrawn” after the invasion of Iraq including one who’d previously claimed that Iraq was still making chemical and biological weapons.

Reference was also made by the ICJ to the Butler inquiry which described the MI6 agent behind the claim that Iraq could deploy chemical weapons within 45 minutes as open to “serious doubts” and “seriously flawed”.

The committee said “We are concerned at the amount of intelligence on Iraqi WMD that has now had to be withdrawn” adding that Blair had not been informed until a year later about an MI6 decision to drop an Iraqi agent he had earlier been told was potentially important.

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