Downing Street has issued a report claiming that the UN weapons inspectors are being "deliberately hampered" in their work in Iraq and spied upon by the Iraqi secret police.
These are the main points from the report:
- The 108 or so UN Weapons Inspectors in Iraq are vastly outnumbered by over 20,000 Iraqi Intelligence officers, bent on obstructing them. This is a ratio of 200:1.
- The Iraqi regime has intensified efforts to hide documents and materials in places where they are unlikely to be found, such as private homes of low-level officials, universities, hospitals and even mosques.
This material is being moved constantly and those in whose homes it is concealed have been warned of serious consequences if it is discovered.
- The Iraqis have installed surveillance equipment all over the hotels and offices that UN personnel are using. All their meetings are monitored, their relationships observed, their conversations listened to.
Telephone calls are monitored by Al-Mukhabarat, the main intelligence agency. Also the rooms where inspectors meet to co-ordinate activities are bugged.
- The rooms where inspectors interview Iraqi scientists are also monitored by Iraqi intelligence and the interviewees are aware of this - and are therefore fearful of giving anything away.
Almost all guards, escorts and drivers dealing with the inspectors are also members of Al-Mukhabarat and keep tabs on the inspectors.
Journeys are monitored by security officers stationed on the route if they have prior intelligence. Any changes of destination are notified ahead by telephone or radio so that arrival is anticipated.
Al Mukhabarat have teams whose role is to organise car crashes to cause traffic jams if the inspectors suddenly change course towards a target the Iraqis wish to conceal.
- The inspectors use sophisticated industrial technology to detect hidden Iraqi programmes but the Iraqis have access to the same technology and so can check that they are hiding chemicals or substances effectively.
- The intelligence agencies try to put psychological pressure on the weapons inspectors. They find out their names and backgrounds, disrupt their work and try to intimidate them.