Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 24 July 2014

Campbell denies Iraq dossier claims

Alastair Campbell has denied claims he pressurised intelligence officials into finding evidence to make the case for war against Iraq

Tony Blair's former communications chief Alastair Campbell has denied claims he pressurised intelligence officials into finding evidence to make the case for war against Iraq.

In a statement to the Iraq Inquiry released last week, Major General Michael Laurie, a former senior officer in Defence Intelligence, rejected Mr Campbell's evidence to the inquiry that the Government's dossier on Iraqi weapons of mass destruction was not intended to make the case for war.

Maj Gen Laurie said that in the run-up to the publication of the dossier in September 2002, the intelligence community had been "under pressure to find intelligence that could reinforce the case".

In a letter to the inquiry chairman Sir John Chilcot, Mr Campbell said that he had never met Maj Gen Laurie and was unaware of any involvement he might have had in drawing up the dossier.

"Neither I - nor, so far as I am aware, anyone else in Downing Street - was made aware of his views at the time, or at any time in the subsequent nine years, until he felt moved to write to you and the letter was published," Mr Campbell wrote.

"Witnesses who were directly involved in the drafting of the dossier have made clear to several inquiries that at no time did I put anyone in the intelligence community under pressure, or say to them or anyone else that the then prime minister's purpose in publishing the dossier was to make the case for war."

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