Belfast Telegraph

Monday 28 July 2014

Secret emails reveal concerns over Iraq war dossier

Secret emails released today under the Freedom of Information Act cast fresh light on the concerns within the intelligence agencies over the Government's notorious dossier on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction.

The emails show officials complained the dossier suggested Saddam Hussein's biological warfare programme was more advanced than they actually believed was the case.

The officials also complained of "iffy drafting" and mocked the claims made about Iraq's nuclear programme, suggesting it was the work of Dr Frankenstein.

The Cabinet Office, which released the documents following a ruling by the Information Commissioner Richard Thomas, would not say which agency the unnamed officials worked for, but confirmed they were in "sensitive posts".

The original FOI request asked for comments made by "the Defence Intelligence Staff (DIS) or anyone else" on one of the final drafts of the dossier.

The Hutton Inquiry heard evidence of the concerns within the DIS about the dossier and the content of the emails suggests the officials involved may have worked for the agency, which includes many technical experts.

One, dated September 16, states: "I note that the paper suggests that Saddam's biotech efforts have gone much further than we ever feared. Page 4 Bullet 4: '(Iraq) has assembled specialists to work on its nuclear programme' - Dr Frankenstein I presume? Sorry. It's getting late..."

Another email supports a proposed drafting amendment to the report, but adds wearily: "We have suggested moderating the same language in much the same way on drafts from the dim and distant past without success. Feel free to try again!"

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