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Last Updated: Thursday, 11 September, 2003, 12:39 GMT 13:39 UK
The ISC report: At a glance
Key points from the Intelligence and Security Committee's report:

Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon:

  • Two individuals in the Defence Intelligence Service wrote to their line managers registering their concerns about the 24 September dossier.

  • The concerns were not brought to the attention of Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon or the chairman of the Joint Intelligence Committee, John Scarlett.

    Is this anything to do with the Hutton inquiry?
    The MPs and peers on the committee began their investigation before Dr David Kelly's death
    Their conclusions and evidence will be fed into the larger Hutton inquiry looking into the circumstances of Dr Kelly's death

  • The ISC regard the initial failure by the MoD to disclose that some staff had put their concerns in writing to their line managers "as unhelpful and potentially misleading"

  • The ISC said it was "disturbed" that after the first evidence session, which did not cover all the concerns raised by the DIS staff, Mr Hoon "decided against giving instructions for a letter to be written to us outlining the concerns".

  • It is important that all DIS staff should be made aware of the current procedures for recording formal concerns on draft JIC assessments.

    "We recommend that if individuals in the intelligence community formally write to their line managers with concerns about JIC assessments that the concerns are brought to the attention of the JIC chairman."

    Was the report "sexed up"?

  • The dossier was not "sexed up" by Alastair Campbell, the prime minister's former director of communications, or anyone else.

  • Mr Campbell did not chair meetings on intelligence matters - he chaired meeting on the presentational aspects of these issues which were appropriate to his position as director of communications and strategy.

    Who was Dr Kelly?
    He was the government weapons inspector who was found dead, apparently after committing suicide, two days after giving evidence to the ISC
    He was told to give evidence to them after he was named as the suspected source for a BBC report of claims that Downing Street "sexed up" the dossier on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction

  • Only ministers or members of the intelligence community chair meetings on intelligence matters.

  • A wide range of departments and agencies, including 10 Downing Street and the DIS, made comments on drafts of the dossier.

  • The JIC chairman stated "unequivocally" that he "did not at any time feel under pressure, nor was he asked to include material that he did not believe ought to be included in the dossier".

    "We accept this assurance.

    "We are content that the JIC has not been subjected to political pressures and that its independence and impartiality has not been compromised in any way."

    The 45 minute claim

  • The 45 minute claim, included four times in the dossier, was likely to attract attention because it was "arresting detail that the public had not seen before".

  • "As the 45 minutes claim was new to its readers, the context of the intelligence and any assessment needed to be explained," the ISC report says.

  • "The omission of the context and assessment allowed speculation as to its exact meeting. This was unhelpful to an understanding of this issue."

    Did dossier accurately reflect available intelligence?

  • The jury is still out on the accuracy of the intelligence, the assessments and therefore the dossier.

  • Saddam Hussein was not considered a current or imminent threat to mainland UK, but the dossier did not say so.

  • ISC analysis of the Joint Intelligence Committee assessments showed the most likely chemical and biological munitions to be used against Western forces were battlefield weapons rather than strategic weapons: "This should have been highlighted in the dossier."

    Is this an independent committee?
    The ISC is a committee which holds its hearings in private because of the sensitive nature of its work, scrutinising intelligence
    The committee has a good reputation for impartiality despite some who point out it reports to Mr Blair rather than Parliament
    Mr Blair can then edit out sensitive material before the reports are published

  • The use of the phrase "continued to produce chemical and biological weapons" in the foreword to the dossier could give the impression that Saddam was actively producing both chemical and biological weapons and significant amounts of agents.

    The JIC did not know what had been produced and in what quantities.

    "We believe that this uncertainty should have been highlighted to give a balanced view of Saddam's chemical and biological capacity."

  • Although Iraq possessed the technology to stabilise some agents, it was not known what type of chemical agents had been retained and consequently if they would still be effective.

    Who are the committee members?
    Ann Taylor, Labour, chairman
    James Arbuthnot, Tory
    Lord (Peter) Archer of Sandwell, Labour
    Kevin Barron, Labour
    Alan Beith, Lib Dem
    Alan Howarth, Labour
    Michael Mates, Tory
    Joyce Quin, Labour
    Gavin Strang, Labour

  • Previous conflicts had established that the Iraqis could use chemical and biological battlefield weapons rapidly.

  • "The JIC did not know precisely which munitions could be deployed from where to where and the context of the intelligence was not included in the JIC assessment.

    "This omission was then reflected in the 24 September dossier."

  • The ISC has "no doubt" that Iraq had the capability to produce chemical and biological weapons and therefore the necessary protective steps had to be taken by UK forces deployed to Iraq.

  • The committee would not support the claim that the UK was "heavily reliant" on US intelligence, defectors or exiles.

  • The Security and Intelligence Service continues to believe that the Iraqis were attempting to negotiate the purchase of uranium from Niger.

    "We have questioned them about the basis of their judgement and conclude that it was reasonable."

    February's "dodgy" dossier

  • Both Alastair Campbell and the chief of the SIS agreed that making the document public without consulting the SIS or the JIC chairman was a "cock up".

  • The prime minister was correct to describe the document as containing "further intelligence ... about the infrastructure of concealment ... It is the intelligence that they [the intelligence agencies] are receiving and we are passing on to people".

    "However ... it was a mistake not to consult the agencies before their material was put in the public domain."

    The prime minister agreed with this and the ISC has reported the assurance that in future the JIC chairman will check all intelligence-derived material on behalf of the intelligence community prior to publication.

    "The publicity surrounding the document was such that it devalued the input of the agencies.

    "It was counter-productive in that attention was distracted from the concealment, intimidation and deception of the Iraqi regime."

  • It was "reasonable to assume" that while the UN inspectors were in Iraq, they would have "had some inhibiting effect on any production and storage of chemical and biological agents and munitions".

    "We do not consider that the was fully reflected in the JIC assessments, nor was it reflected in the February 2003 document."

  • Plagiarism is unacceptable and the government has apologised.

    Other issues

  • The ISC will examine the intelligence agencies' relationship with the media and the use of intelligence derived material by the government to brief the public, taking account of any relevant recommendations by the Hutton inquiry.

  • UN inspectors were content with the support they received from the UK.

    The BBC's James Landale
    "A man under pressure"

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