[07-14-04] Butler Committee Report: Review of Intelligence on Weapons of Mass Destruction

Return to an Address of the Honourable the House of Commons
dated 14th July 2004
for the
Review of Intelligence
on
Weapons of Mass Destruction
Report of a Committee
of
Privy Counsellors
Chairman:
The Rt Hon The Lord Butler of Brockwell KG GCB CVO
Ordered by the House of Commons to be printed 14th July 2004
HC 898
London: The Stationery OYce
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MEMBERS OF THE COMMITTEE
The Rt Hon The Lord Butler of Brockwell KG GCB CVO
(Chairman)
The Rt Hon Sir John Chilcot GCB
The Rt Hon Field Marshal The Lord Inge KG GCB DL
The Rt Hon Michael Mates MP
The Rt Hon Ann Taylor MP
i
ii
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Paragraphs
Pages
i
MEMBERS OF THE COMMITTEE
TABLE OF CONTENTS
iii
TERMINOLOGY AND GLOSSARY
ix
INTRODUCTION
1
Our Terms of Reference
Our Work
Our Approach
Definitions and Usage
14
3
CBW
15-16
4
CBRN
1.1
1.2
1.3
1.4
1.5
1.6
1.7
1.8
1.9
Chapter 2
2.1
2.2
17
4
18-19
4
7
THE NATURE AND USE OF
INTELLIGENCE
Introduction
Collection
Validation
Analysis
Assessment
The Joint Intelligence Committee
The Limitations of Intelligence
Risks to Good Assessment
The Use of Intelligence
20-22
23-26
27-29
30-32
33-40
41-46
47-52
53-58
59
COUNTRIES OF CONCERN OTHER
THAN IRAQ AND GLOBAL TRADE
7
8
9
10
10
12
14
15
16
17
Introduction
AQ Khan
60-63
17
17
Introduction
64
17
What Was Known
Validation
Conclusions
2.3
1
1
3
3
WMD
Our Thanks
Chapter 1
1
2-7
8-12
13
65-72
18
73
19
74-75
19
20
Libya
Introduction
76-78
20
What Was Known
79-80
20
Use of the Intelligence
81-82
21
Validation
83
21
Conclusions
84
22
iii
Paragraphs
2.4
2.5
3.1
3.2
3.3
3.4
3.5
3.6
3.7
88-92
22
93-94
23
Conclusions
95-96
Chapter 4
4.1
4.2
4.3
4.4
Chapter 5
5.1
5.2
97-98
24
99-102
25
Validation
103-104
25
Conclusions
105-106
26
107-109
26
110
111-114
115-116
117-121
122-124
125-127
128
29
29
29
31
31
33
34
35
Nuclear
129
35
Chemical
130
35
General Conclusions
TERRORISM
Scope
The Period up to 1995
1995-1997
1998-1999
2000-2001
The Aftermath of 9/11
Intelligence on UBL’s Capabilities and its
Validation
Intelligence Reponses to International
Terrorism
iv
131-132
35
133-136
36
COUNTER-PROLIFERATION
MACHINERY
Introduction
Departmental Responsibilities
Co-ordination
The Role of Intelligence
37
137
138-142
143-147
148-150
37
37
37
38
151-154
155
41
41
42
156-171
42
IRAQ
Introduction
1990-1998
Iraq’s Nuclear Weapons Programme
5.3
24
24
North Korea
Biological
3.8
22
Validation
What Was Known
Chapter 3
85-87
What Was Known
Introduction
2.6
22
Iran
Introduction
Pages
Iraq’s Chemical Weapons Programme
172-182
45
Iraq’s Biological Weapons Programme
183-189
48
Iraq’s Ballistic Missile Programme
190-206
49
Summary
207-209
52
53
1998-March 2002
The Policy Context
210-217
53
Iraq’s Nuclear Weapons Programme
218-225
55
Paragraphs
5.4
5.5
Iraq’s Chemical Weapons Programme
226-235
56
Iraq’s Biological Weapons Programme
236-245
58
Iraq’s Ballistic Missile Programme
246-254
60
Summary
255-258
63
The Policy Context
259-269
64
Iraq’s Prohibited Programmes
270-281
67
Policy Development, April-August 2002
282-288
70
JIC Assessments, August-September 2002
289-307
71
Introduction
308-312
76
The Genesis of the Dossier
313-319
77
Presenting Intelligence to the Public
320-327
78
The Intelligence Behind the Dossier
328-332
79
The Accuracy of the Dossier
333-341
82
342
87
The Scope of JIC Assessments
343-345
87
Iraqi Capabilities
346-351
87
Deception and Concealment
352-354
89
355
89
356-364
89
365
92
366-387
93
Use of the Intelligence
The Role of Intelligence in Assessing the
Legality of the War
What Has Been Found in Iraq Since the
War
388-392
97
What the Iraq Survey Group has Found
393-396
98
397
99
99
Validation of Human Intelligence Sources
Introduction
398
99
Context
399-401
99
SIS Main Sources
402-405
100
Liaison Service Sources
406-409
101
410
101
Other Sources
411-412
102
SIS Validation Procedures
413-423
Summary of Main Sources
5.10
97
Introduction
Conclusions
5.9
87
September 2002-March 2003
Summary
5.8
76
The Government’s Dossier of September
2002
Reliability of Human Intelligence Reports
5.7
64
March-September 2002
Lessons for the Future
5.6
Pages
The Policy Context
The Sources of Intelligence
Assessment
The Treatment of Intelligence Material
102
104
Conclusions on Iraq
424-432
433-445
446-448
449
104
107
109
110
v
Paragraphs
Pages
450
451-452
453-459
460-469
470-472
110
110
111
113
113
115
473-474
116
Introduction
Links between Al Qaida and the Iraqi
Regime
475
476
119
119
The ‘Poison Cell’ in Kurdish Northern Iraq
Co-operation between the Iraqi Regime and
Al’Qaida
477-480
481-484
119
119
485-489
490-503
504-512
513
120
121
125
127
514-523
127
524-527
528-530
129
130
531
130
532-533
534-545
130
131
The Effect of Departmental Policy Agendas
Access to Technical and Other Expertise
Quality of JIC Assessments
The Use of Intelligence
The Government’s Dossiers
Intelligence and the Legality of the Use of
Military Force
Validation of the Intelligence
Chapter 6
6.1
6.2
6.3
6.4
6.5
6.6
IRAQ: SPECIFIC ISSUES
Operation Mass Appeal
Uranium from Africa
The 45-Minute Claim
Mobile Biological Weapons Laboratories
Intelligence on Mobile Biological Agent Production
Facilities
Validation
Mobile Facilities Discovered Post-War
6.7
Aluminium Tubes
Background
The Emerging Intelligence Picture
6.8
Dr Jones’s Dissent
Use of the Available Intelligence Material
The Handling of Intelligence
6.10
Oil Supplies
Chapter 7
CONCLUSIONS ON BROADER ISSUES
7.1
General Conclusions About Intelligence
and its Use
Other Cases
International Co-operation
Co-ordination of Counter-Proliferation Activity
7.2
vi
134
136
566-568
137
569-572
573-578
137
138
579
139
580
141
141
581-582
583-584
585
141
141
142
142
586-590
591-597
598-601
Machinery of Government
142
143
144
145
Intelligence Assessments
The Language of JIC Assessments
JIC Assessments
7.4
546-559
560-565
Intelligence Machinery
The Defence Intelligence Staff
The Joint Intelligence Committee
The Assessments Staff
7.3
134
Plague and Dusty Mustard
Plague
Dusty Mustard
6.9
119
602-604
605
145
146
606-611
146
Chapter 8
Paragraphs
Pages
1-2
149
3-5
149
6
150
SUMMARY OF CONCLUSIONS
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Countries of Concern other
than Iraq and Global Trade
Terrorism
Counter-Proliferation
Machinery
Iraq
The Policy Context
The Sources of Intelligence
Assessment
The Use of Intelligence
Validation of the Intelligence
Chapter 6
150
7-12
13-19
20-29
30-40
41
42-43
44
45
46
47
48
49-52
53-55
56
156
156
156
156
157
157
157
158
158
158
Conclusions on Broader Issues
General Conclusions About Intelligence and its
Use
Co-ordination of Counter-Proliferation Activity
The Defence Intelligence Staff
The Joint Intelligence Committee
The Assessments Staff
The Language of JIC Assessments
Machinery of Government
150
151
152
153
155
156
Iraq: Specific Isssues
Links between Al Qaida and the Iraqi Regime
Operation Mass Appeal
Uranium from Africa
The 45-Minute Claim
Mobile Biological Weapons Laboratories
Aluminium Tubes
Plague and Dusty Mustard
Dr Jones’s Dissent
Oil Supplies
Chapter 7
149
57
158
58
59-61
62-63
64-65
66
67
158
158
159
159
159
160
ANNEXES
A
B
C
D
List of Witnesses
Intelligence Assessment and Presentation: From
March to September 2002
Iraq: Military Campaign Objectives
Foreign Secretary’s Letter of 17 March 2003
161
163
177
181
vii
viii
TERMINOLOGY
1. We use the following terms in this report:
Munitions
Projectiles, bombs, warheads or dispensing systems.
Weapons
Munitions and their delivery systems.
Chemical/BiologicalAgent The non-explosive fill for chemical/biological munitions.
Programme
Means that people and resources are being allocated under a management
structure for either the research and development of a WMD capability or
the production of munitions. It does not necessarily mean that WMD
munitions have been produced, as only when the capability has been
developed can weapons be produced.
Capability
Means that a country has the technical knowledge, the production facilities
and the necessary raw materials to:
a) produce chemical and/or biological agents and weaponise them;
and/or
b) produce a nuclear device and weaponise it.
Having a WMD capability means that chemical, biological and/or nuclear
munitions could be produced if required. It does not mean that they have
been produced.
GLOSSARY
Ababil-100
Solid-propellant short-range (c. 150 km) Iraqi ballistic missile
Aflatoxin
A fungal toxin used as a BW agent
Al Abbas
900-km-range Iraqi development of the Scud B (see below) missile; not taken
beyond the development stage
Al Hussein
650-km-range Iraqi development of the Scud B (see below) missile; several
hundreds were fired during the Iran/Iraq war and the first Gulf war
Al Qaida
Literally translated, it means ‘The Base’. Founded by Usama bin Laden, it is
now a loose network of Islamist extremist groups
Al Samoud
Iraqi development of Soviet SA2 surface-to-air missile as a short-range
surface-to-surface missile (150 km range, but Al Samoud 2 was being
developed to attain significantly longer range)
Ansar al Islam
Literally, Supporters of Islam: an Islamist extremist group based in northern
Iraq
Anthrax
A disease caused by the bacterium Bacillus Anthracis: used as a BW agent
BCW
See CBW
Botulinum toxin
A toxin used as a BW agent
BTWC
Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention
BW
Biological Weapons (or Biological Warfare)
CB
Chemical and Biological
CBR
Chemical, Biological and Radiological
CBRN
Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear
CBW
Chemical and Biological Weapons (sometimes “BCW”)
Centrifuge
A piece of equipment containing a rotating device used to separate solid or
liquid particles of different densities by spinning them at high speed in a tube.
ix
Many hundreds or thousands of centrifuges are connected in ‘cascades’ to
enrich uranium
x
CIA
Central Intelligence Agency, US
CIG
Current Intelligence Group, UK
Clostridium perfringens
A BW agent
CPC
Counter Proliferation Committee (UK)
CPIC
Counter Proliferation Implementation Committee (UK)
CW
Chemical Weapons (or Chemical Warfare)
CWC
Chemical Weapons Convention
Cyclosarin
A CW nerve agent (sometimes referred to as GF)
Desert Fox
US and UK air campaign against key military targets in Iraq in December
1998, shortly after UNSCOM inspectors had left the country
Desert Storm
The military operation undertaken by the allied coalition in 1991 to liberate
Kuwait from Iraqi occupation
DIA
Defense Intelligence Agency, US
DIS
Defence Intelligence Staff, UK
DTI
Department of Trade and Industry (UK)
ECO
Export Control Organisation, part of the Department of Trade and Industry
(UK)
EMIS
Electromagnetic Isotope Separation (one of several routes to uranium
enrichment)
EU3
Informal name for the UK, France and Germany in the context of their 2003
demarche to Iran
FCO
Foreign and Commonwealth Office, UK
Fissile material
Material (eg, uranium) capable of undergoing nuclear fission
G7 (or G8)
The group of seven (or eight, including Russia) leading industrial countries:
the US, UK, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan
GCHQ
Government Communications Headquarters, UK
Ghauri
Pakistani medium-range ballistic missile (1,300 km range) based on North
Korean No-Dong technology)
HEU
Highly Enriched Uranium
Humint
Human intelligence
IAEA
International Atomic Energy Agency
ICBM
Inter-continental Ballistic Missile
Imint
Imagery intelligence
ISC
Intelligence and Security Committee, UK
ISG
Iraq Survey Group
JIC
Joint Intelligence Committee, UK
Jihad
The usual translation ‘holy war’ is misleading; ‘exertion’ or ‘struggle’ is more
accurate: “A general injunction to strive in the way of God” (Albert Hourani: A
History of the Arab Peoples, Faber and Faber, 1992)
JTAC
Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre, UK
KAZ
Kurdish Autonomous Zone (of Iraq)
Key Judgement
In a paper produced by the JIC (see above), one of several judgements
extracted from the main body of the text and listed on the front page of the
paper
Liaison
Term used to indicate a collaborative relationship between the intelligence
services of different countries, as in ‘liaison service’ or ‘liaison source‘
Masint
Measurement and Signature Intelligence
MOD
Ministry of Defence, UK
MTCR
Missile Technology Control Regime
NBC
Nuclear, Biological and Chemical (often used in describing defensive
equipment, as in “NBC suits”)
No-Dong
Western name for the North Korean Medium-Range Ballistic Missile (MRBM),
with a range of 1,300 km
NPT
The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons
OPCW
Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons
OSE
Official Committee on Strategic Exports (UK)
P5
The five permanent members of the UN Security Council (the US, the Russian
Federation, China, the UK and France)
R&D
Research and Development
REU
Restricted Enforcement Unit, part of the Department of Trade and Industry,
UK
Ricin
A toxin used as a BW agent, derived from the castor bean
Sarin
A CW nerve agent (sometimes referred to as GB)
SCR
Security Council Resolution (of the United Nations)
Scud
Western designation for a family of short-range ballistic missiles, originally of
Soviet design but subsequently adapted and upgraded by North Korea
Scud B
Short-range ballistic missile, with a range of 300 km
Scud C
Short-range ballistic missile, with a range of 500 km
Scud D
Short-range ballistic missile, with a range of 800 km
Shahab
Family of Iranian ballistic missiles (literally, meteor or shooting star)
Sigint
Signals intelligence
SIS
Secret Intelligence Service, UK
Soman
A CW nerve agent
SSO
Special Security Organisation, Iraq
Tabun
A CW nerve agent (sometimes referred to as GA)
Taepo-Dong 1
Western name for a North Korean medium-range ballistic missile, with a
range of 2,000! km
Taepo-Dong 2
Western name for a North Korean inter-continental ballistic missile (ICBM)
with an assessed range of up to 15,000 km (under development)
UBL
Usama bin Laden (see also Al Qaida)
UF6
Uranium hexafluoride (a compound used in the process of enriching uranium
which may be used for a nuclear bomb)
UN
United Nations
UNMOVIC
United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission, set up by
UNSCR 1284 of 17 December 1999 as a replacement for UNSCOM (see
xi
below)
xii
UNSCOM
United Nations Special Commission, set up by UNSCR 687 of 3 April 1991 “to
carry out immediate on-site inspection of Iraq’s biological, chemical and
missile capabilities”
UNSCR
United Nations Security Council Resolution
VX
One of the most toxic CW nerve agents
WMD
Weapons of Mass Destruction (see Introduction for a description of the
difficulties of using this term)
Yellowcake
Uranium ore concentrate
INTRODUCTION
OUR TERMS OF REFERENCE
1.
On 3 February 2004, the Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary announced in the House
of Commons:
My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister has decided to establish a committee to
review intelligence on weapons of mass destruction. This committee will be
composed of Privy Counsellors. It will have the following terms of reference: to
investigate the intelligence coverage available in respect of WMD programmes in
countries of concern and on the global trade in WMD, taking into account what is now
known about these programmes; as part of this work, to investigate the accuracy of
intelligence on Iraqi WMD up to March 2003, and to examine any discrepancies
between the intelligence gathered, evaluated and used by the Government before
the conflict, and between that intelligence and what has been discovered by the Iraq
survey group since the end of the conflict; and to make recommendations to the
Prime Minister for the future on the gathering, evaluation and use of intelligence on
WMD, in the light of the difficulties of operating in countries of concern.
My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister has asked the committee to report before the
summer recess. The committee will follow the precedent in terms of procedures of
the Franks committee. It will have access to all intelligence reports and assessments
and other relevant Government papers, and will be able to call witnesses to give oral
evidence in private. The committee will work closely with the US inquiry and the Iraq
survey group.
The committee will submit its final conclusions to my right hon. Friend the Prime
Minister in a form for publication, along with any classified recommendations and
material. The Government will, of course, co-operate fully with the committee.
OUR WORK
2.
The Committee met for the first time on Thursday 5 February and four of us were sworn in
as Members of the Privy Council on Wednesday 11 February. Mrs Taylor was already a
Privy Counsellor.
3.
In view of the very tight timetable for our Review, it was essential to make a rapid start. We
are therefore especially grateful for the speed with which the Security and Intelligence Coordinator, Sir David Omand, supplied us with accommodation and an excellent team of
support staff in the Cabinet Office. We are also grateful to the Intelligence and Security
Committee and their staff for enabling us to use the Committee’s room in the Cabinet Office
for our hearings, and for the forbearance and co-operation they extended to us.
4.
Since 5 February, we have met 36 times. We have visited Washington, where we met the
co-Chairs of the President’s Commission on the Intelligence Capabilities of the United
States Regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction, Governor Charles S. Robb and Judge
1
Laurence H. Silberman and members of their Commission; General Brent Scowcroft,
Chairman of the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board; and senior members of
the Administration and the Congress, including Senator Pat Roberts and Senator John
Rockefeller, Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Intelligence Committee;
Congressman Porter Goss and Congresswoman Jane Harman, Chairman and Ranking
Member of the House Intelligence Committee; Dr Condoleezza Rice, National Security
Adviser; General Colin Powell and Mr Richard Armitage, State Department; Mr George
Tenet, Director, and staff of the Central Intelligence Agency; and Vice Admiral Lowell
Jacoby and staff of the Defense Intelligence Agency. We are grateful to Sir David
Manning, HM Ambassador at Washington, and his team for making the arrangements for
this visit. We also visited Baghdad and we express our particular appreciation to Major
General Keith Dayton, Brigadier Graeme Morrison and Mr Charles Duelfer and their staffs
for being willing to receive and brief us at a very difficult and busy time, and to staff of the
Ministry of Defence and the Royal Air Force for organising the visit and arranging our safe
journey there and back. We also had useful discussions with representatives of a number
of other countries.
2
5.
The tight timetable for our Report has caused some difficulties for us. The main one is that
the Iraq Survey Group, with whose findings our terms of reference require us to compare
the intelligence received by the British Government, have not yet produced any publicly
available report. They produced an interim report in September 2003 and a Status Report
in March 2004. We have had access to these. We were very grateful to General Dayton
and Mr Duelfer for also briefing us about their progress. We have undertaken not to
anticipate their findings but, on the basis of the information they gave us, we believe that
our conclusions are not inconsistent with what they have discovered so far. The much
longer timetable given to the US Presidential Commission has had the result that, while we
had useful initial discussions with them, we have not been able to fulfil the Foreign
Secretary’s statement that we would work closely with them.
6.
On the other hand, we were greatly helped by the evidence given to Lord Hutton’s Inquiry,
by the report of the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee on “The Decision to go
to War in Iraq” (HC 813) and above all by the report of the Intelligence and Security
Committee entitled “Iraqi Weapons of Mass Destruction—Intelligence and Assessments”
(Cm 5972). We should like to express particular thanks to the Intelligence and Security
Committee for giving us access to the classified evidence which underlay their report. This
saved us much spadework.
7.
It may be asked what further we could add by going over such heavily traversed ground.
One answer is perhaps that, as in the search for weapons in Iraq, one can never do too
much digging. But others are that we have had the considerable advantage of the further
passage of time which has allowed us to consider the evidence that has emerged since
the war on Iraqi nuclear, biological, chemical and ballistic missile programmes and the
results of post-war validation by the Secret Intelligence Service of their relevant human
intelligence sources. More importantly, we have had much wider access to the
Government’s intelligence and policy papers. Even so, we do not pretend that ours can
be the last word on every aspect of the issues we cover.
OUR APPROACH
8.
Our approach has been to start with the intelligence assessments of the Joint Intelligence
Committee (JIC) and then to get from the intelligence agencies a full list of the underlying
intelligence, both accepted and rejected, which was available to inform those
assessments. We have then compared that intelligence with the JIC’s assessments and
considered whether it appears to have been properly evaluated. In the other direction, we,
like the Franks Committee, have obtained from Government departments those policy
papers which their Permanent Secretaries have certified as containing all the material
relevant to our Review, to allow us to establish the use which was made of the intelligence.
Finally, where outcomes are known, we have compared the prior intelligence and the
assessments made of it with those outcomes.
9.
We have received 68 written submissions from members of the public and have taken oral
evidence from 47 witnesses, some of whom gave evidence more than once. Except where
witnesses asked for their identity to be protected, we list our witnesses at Annex A.
10.
We have focussed on the intelligence available to the British Government and the use
made of it by our Government. Although that inevitably has led us to areas of UK/US cooperation, we have deliberately not commented in this Report on the actions of the US
intelligence agencies, ground that is being covered by the Presidential Commission.
11.
We have been conscious of the Foreign Secretary’s statement that our report should be
submitted to the Prime Minister in a form fit for publication. We have also been conscious
of the overriding need not to prejudice continuing or future intelligence operations or to
endanger sources and have shaped our report accordingly. We are confident that what
is published here gives Parliament and the public a fair representation of our conclusions
and views.
12.
In furtherance of this, we have exceptionally included in our Report extensive quotations
from assessments of the Joint Intelligence Committee. We have ensured that in all cases
our quoting these will not have implications for national security. The Government has
made clear that our action in doing so will not be accepted as a precedent for putting those
assessments into the public domain in the future.
DEFINITIONS AND USAGE
13.
The Intelligence and Security Committee started their report with definitions of the
terminology they used. We repeat their definitions in our ‘Terminology and Glossary’ and
have tried to follow them. But we believe that there are problems with the term ‘weapons of
mass destruction’ and with the shorthand ‘chemical and biological weapons’ (CBW) and
‘chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear’ (CBRN) weapons.
‘WMD’
14.
There is a considerable and long-standing academic debate about the proper
interpretation of the phrase ‘weapons of mass destruction’. We have some sympathy with
the view that, whatever its origin, the phrase and its accompanying abbreviation is now
3
used so variously as to confuse rather than enlighten readers. Rather than adding to this
debate and this confusion, we have in our Report chosen to spell out what we mean in full.
In cases where it is used by others, most notably in JIC assessments, we have had in mind
in interpreting those assessments the definition at paragraphs 8 and 9 of United Nations
Security Council Resolution 687 of 3 April 1991, which defined the systems which Iraq was
required to abandon:
Nuclear weapons or nuclear-weapons-usable material or any sub-systems or
components or any research, development, support or manufacturing facilities
relating to [nuclear weapons].
Chemical and biological weapons and all stocks of agents and all related subsystems and components and all research, development, support and
manufacturing facilities.
Ballistic missiles with a range greater than 150 kilometres and related major parts,
and repair and production facilities.
‘CBW’
15.
The abbreviation ‘CBW’ (often expressed as ‘BCW’) occurs regularly both in intelligence
reporting and in related analysis and assessment. At a certain level of generality, ‘CBW’
can be a useful term to embody the concept of chemical and biological warfare. Thus, for
example, in the face of a ‘CBW’ attack the tempo of military operations is significantly
impeded by soldiers having to don cumbersome clothing whether facing chemical
weapons or biological weapons. But for detailed technical intelligence assessments, the
distinction is important. Chemical weapons and biological weapons involve very different
technologies, and are usually developed by different people at different facilities. Delivery
requirements, and hence doctrine, training, storage and handling, are different, as are the
troops involved. One of our witnesses said that any report in which the terms ‘CW’ and ‘BW’
were interwoven or combined through the use of the single acronym ‘CBW’:
. . . always makes me slightly suspicious.
16.
We agree that such use is confusing. Thus, although the term may have some value in
some contexts, we have sought to avoid it altogether, although it does feature in some of
the extracts from JIC assessments which we have taken in to our Report.
‘CBRN’
17.
As well as nuclear, biological and chemical weapons, JIC assessments and intelligence
reports, especially those on terrorism, also consider radiological weapons, which employ
conventional, typically high-explosive means to distribute radioactive material. As a result,
our Report includes where relevant the phrase ‘chemical, biological, radiological and
nuclear weapons’, and its abbreviation ‘CBRN’.
OUR THANKS
18.
4
Notwithstanding our short timetable, a massive amount of paper has been relevant to our
Review. Sorting out and providing these papers has been a huge task for the intelligence
agencies and departments at a time when they have also had their vital day-to-day work
to undertake. As noted above, we have relied on certificates from Permanent Secretaries
that all papers relevant to our interpretation of our terms of reference have been supplied
to us. While we have on some occasions been critical of the slow rate at which these have
been supplied and by the coverage of those originally offered, we are now reasonably
confident that we have obtained the papers relevant to our work. We are grateful to all
those who have had the task of identifying them and providing them. We have also been
greatly helped by the fact that the intelligence community co-operated in providing a coordinated service so that we did not receive separate streams of papers from each agency
which we would subsequently have had to relate to each other.
19.
We would like to express our particular thanks to Mr Daniel Thornton and his team who
were our link with the Government for the supply of intelligence material, departmental
papers and other evidence. The documents they provided and the other evidence have
of course all come to rest on the desks of our Secretary, Mr Bruce Mann, and his team,
Mr Michael Ryder, Mr Peter Freeman, Mr Nigel Pearce, Mr Patrick Sprunt, Ms Carol Hook,
Ms Judith Freeman and an additional team of transcribers. They have been indefatigable
and we cannot find words to praise their skill and commitment adequately. We thank and
commend them above all.
5
6
CHAPTER 1
THE NATURE AND USE OF INTELLIGENCE
“Much of the intelligence that we receive in war is contradictory, even more of it is
plain wrong, and most of it is fairly dubious. What one can require of an officer, under
these circumstances, is a certain degree of discrimination, which can only be gained
from knowledge of men and affairs and from good judgement. The law of probability
must be his guide.”
[Clausewitz, On War, Vol I, Bk I, Ch VI]
1.1 INTRODUCTION
20.
In view of the subject matter of our Review, and of what we have found in the course of it,
we think that it may be helpful to the general reader to describe the nature of intelligence;
the successive processes of validation, analysis and assessment which are necessary for
using it properly; its limitations; and the risks which nevertheless remain.
21.
Governmental decisions and actions, at home and abroad, are based on many types
of information. Most is openly available or compiled, much is published, and some is
consciously provided by individuals, organisations or other governments in
confidence. A great deal of such information may be accurate, or accurate enough in
its own terms. But equally much is at best uninformed, while some is positively
intended to mislead. To supplement their knowledge in areas of concern where
information is for one reason or another inadequate, governments turn to secret sources.
Information acquired against the wishes and (generally) without the knowledge of its
originators or possessors is processed by collation with other material, validation,
analysis and assessment and finally disseminated as ‘intelligence’. To emphasise the
point, the term ‘secret intelligence’ is often used (as, for instance, enshrined in the title
of the Secret Intelligence Service), but in this Review we shall use the simple word
‘intelligence’.
22.
The protective security barriers which intelligence collectors have to penetrate are
usually formidable, and particularly so in the case of programmes which are the subject
of this Review. Nuclear, biological and chemical programmes are amongst the ultimate
state secrets, controlled by layers of security protection going beyond those applied
to conventional weapons. Those of the greatest concern to governments are usually
embedded within a strong apparatus of state control. Few of the many people who are
necessarily involved in such programmes have a view of more than their own immediate
working environment, and very few have comprehensive knowledge of the
arrangements for the control, storage, release and use of the resulting weapons. At
every stage from initial research and development to deployed forces, nuclear,
biological and chemical weapons and their delivery systems are treated as being of
particular sensitivity, often to the extent of the establishment of special command
and control arrangements in parallel with, but separate from, normal state or military
channels.
7
1.2 COLLECTION
23.
The UK has three intelligence and security agencies (‘the agencies’) responsible for the
collection of intelligence1: the Secret Intelligence Service (SIS), the Security Service and
Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ). The Defence Intelligence Staff
(DIS), part of the Ministry of Defence (MOD), also manages some intelligence collection,
notably that of imagery, but its main function is all-source analysis and assessment and
the production of collated results, primarily to serve MOD requirements.
24.
There is a panoply of collection techniques to acquire intelligence which do not exactly
correspond to inter-departmental organisational boundaries. The three main ones are
signals intelligence (the product of interception, generally abbreviated to ‘Sigint’);
information from human sources such as classical espionage agents (which is
conveniently described, by extension from the previous category, as ‘Humint’): and
photography, or more generally imagery (‘Imint’). Signals intelligence and human
intelligence are of widespread and general applicability. They can produce intelligence
on any topic (for example, the intentions, plans, negotiations, activities and achievements
of people involved in the development, acquisition, deployment and use of
unconventional weapons), since ultimately the data they acquire stem from the human
beings involved. Imagery is more confined to the study of objects (buildings, aircraft,
roads, topography), though modern techniques have extended its abilities (for example,
infra-red photography can in some circumstances show where an object was, even
though it may have gone by the time the photograph is taken).
25.
There are also other, more specialised intelligence techniques, some of particular
relevance to this Review2. For example, the development of nuclear explosives inevitably
involves highly-radioactive materials, radiation from which may be detected. Leakage
from facilities concerned with the development of chemical and biological agents, and
deposits in testing areas, can provide characteristic indicators. Missile testing may involve
the generation of considerable heat, which can be detected, and missiles may be tracked
by radar.
26.
In the case of the weapons covered by this Review, there is additionally another category
of information which is frequently mentioned by the Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC) in
its assessments. International inspection and enforcement bodies have been established,
on a permanent basis (e.g. the International Atomic Energy Agency), or temporary basis
(e.g. the United Nations Special Commission), to ensure compliance with international
treaties or United Nations resolutions3. Some of the findings and reports of these bodies
are published on an official basis to United Nations members and are of considerable
importance. In Iraq between 1991 and 1998, in many ways they surpassed anything that
national intelligence agencies could do, but since their work is carried out on behalf of the
United Nations it can hardly be considered ‘intelligence’ by the definitions to which we are
working. Data obtained in the course of work on export licensing can also be important.
1
2
3
8
They also have other functions not relevant here.
The term ‘Masint’ (Measurement and Signature Intelligence) has been coined for at least some of these techniques,
though they lack the unifying themes which characterise Sigint and Humint.
Such bodies often also have a wider operational role in the implementation of treaties or Security Council Resolutions.
1.3 VALIDATION
27.
Intelligence, though it may not differ in type or, often, reliability from other forms of
information used by governments, operates in a field of particular difficulty. By definition
the data it is trying to provide have been deliberately concealed. Before the actual content
of an intelligence report can be considered, the validity of the process which has led to its
production must be confirmed. For imagery and signals intelligence this is not usually an
issue, although even here the danger of deception must be considered. But for human
intelligence the validation process is vital.
28.
Human intelligence reports are usually available only at second-hand (for example,
when the original informant talks to a case officer4 who interprets – often literally – his
words to construct an intelligence report), and maybe third- or fourth-hand (the original
informant talks to a friend, who more or less indirectly talks to a case officer).
Documentary or other physical evidence is often more compelling than the best oral
report5, and has the advantage of being more accessible to specialised examination,
but is usually more difficult to acquire. Conventional oral reporting can be difficult
enough if all in the chain understand the subject under discussion. When the topic is
unfamiliar to one or more of the people involved, as can be the case when details of
(say) nuclear weapons design are at issue, there is always the chance of
misunderstanding. There is in such cases a considerable load on the case officer to be
familiar with the subject-matter and sufficiently expert in explaining it. It need only be
added that often those involved in providing intelligence may for one reason or another
have deliberately mis-represented (or at least concealed) their true identities,
their country of origin or their employment to their interlocutors6, to show how
great is the need for careful evaluation of the validity of any information which
eventually arrives.
29.
The validation of a reporting chain requires both care and time, and can generally only
be conducted by the agency responsible for collection. The process is informed by the
operational side of the agency, but must include a separate auditing element, which
can consider cases objectively and quite apart from their apparent intelligence value.
Has the informant been properly quoted, all the way along the chain? Does he have
credible access to the facts he claims to know? Does he have the right knowledge to
understand what he claims to be reporting? Could he be under opposition control, or
be being fed information? Is he fabricating? Can the bona fides, activities, movements
or locations attributed to those involved in acquiring or transmitting a report be checked?
Do we understand the motivations of those involved, their private agenda7, and hence
the way in which their reports may be influenced by a desire to please or impress?
How powerful is a wish for (in particular) financial reward? What, if any, distorting effect
might such factors exert? Is there – at any stage – a deliberate intention to deceive?
Generally speaking, the extent and depth of validation required will depend on the
4
5
6
7
An official responsible for handling and receiving reports from human intelligence sources.
Such evidence is no more immune to deception or fabrication than is oral testimony, though of a different type.
The ultimate in such deceptions is the classic ’double agent’, who is infiltrated into an espionage network to discover,
misinform, expose or pervert it.
We have been assured that SIS has for half a century been viscerally wary of emigre organisations. We return to this below
in the context of Iraq.
9
counter-intelligence sophistication of the target, although the complexity of the
operational situation will affect the possibility of confusion, misrepresentation or
deception.
1.4 ANALYSIS
30.
The validation process will often have involved consideration of the coherence and
consistency of intelligence being provided by an informant, as one of the ways in which
that source’s reliability can be tested. But at the next stage, analysis, the factual material
inside the intelligence report is examined in its own right. This stage may not be required
where the material is self-explanatory, or it may be readily subsumed into assessment and
conducted by the same people. But much intelligence is fragmentary or specialised and
needs at least a conscious analytic stage. Analysis assembles individual intelligence
reports into meaningful strands, whether weapons programmes, military operations or
diplomatic policies. Intelligence reports take on meaning as they are put into context.
Analysis is also the process required to convert complex technical evidence into
descriptions of real-world objects or events.
31.
The department which receives the largest quantity of intelligence is the MOD, where
analysis is carried out by the DIS8 whose reports are distributed not only internally in the
MOD but also to other relevant departments. Although the DIS is a component of the MOD,
funded from the Defence Account and managed in accordance with defence priorities, it
is a vital component of and contributor to the national intelligence machinery, and its
priorities and work programme are linked with those of the Cabinet Office.
32.
Analysis can be conducted only by people expert in the subject matter – a severe
limitation when the topic is as specialised as biological warfare or uranium enrichment, or
the internal dynamics of terrorist cells or networks. A special danger here can be the failure
to recognise just what particular expertise is required. The British intelligence assessment
of the German V-2 rocket during the Second World War was hindered by the involvement
of the main British rocket expert, who opined that the object visible on test-stands could
not possibly be a rocket. The unrecognised problem was that he was an expert only on
solid powder rockets, of the type that the UK had developed for short-range artillery. It was
true that a solid firework of the size of the V-2 was, with the technology then available,
impracticable. But the Germans had developed liquid-propellant rocket engines, with the
combustion chamber fed by powerful turbo-pumps. On that subject, there were no British
experts.
1.5 ASSESSMENT
33.
8
10
Assessment may be conducted separately from analysis or as an almost parallel process
in the mind of the analyst. Intelligence reports often do not immediately fit into an
established pattern, or extend a picture in the expected way. Assessment has to make
choices, but in so doing runs the risk of selection that reinforces earlier conclusions. The
risk is that uneven standards of proof may be applied; reports that fit the previous model
The DIS also has other management and intelligence collection responsibilities.
are readily accepted, while contrary reports have to reach a higher threshold. This is not
only perfectly understandable, it is the way perception normally operates. But in the
intelligence world in which data are scanty, may be deliberately intended to confuse and
may sometimes be more inadequate than can be appreciated, normal rules do not apply.
34.
In the UK, assessment is usually explicitly described as ‘all-source’. Given the
imperfections of intelligence, it is vital that every scrap of evidence be examined, from the
most secret sources through confidential diplomatic reports to openly published data.
Intelligence cannot be checked too often. Corroboration is always important but seldom
simple, particularly in the case of intelligence on ‘hard targets’9 such as nuclear, biological
or chemical weapons programmes or proliferation networks. The simple fact of having
apparently coincident reports from multiple types of intelligence sources is not in itself
enough. Although reports from different sources may say the same thing, they may not
necessarily confirm one another. Is a human intelligence report that a factory has been put
into operation confirmed by imagery showing trucks moving around it? Or are both merely
based on the same thing – observation of physical external activity? Reporting of different
but mutually consistent activities can be complementary. This can build up knowledge to
produce a picture which is more than the simple sum of the parts. But it may be false, if
there is no link between the pieces other than the attractiveness of the resulting picture.
Complementary information is not necessarily confirmatory information.
35.
Multiple sources may conflict, and common sense has to be used in evaluation. A dozen
captured soldiers may have provided mutually consistent and supportive reports about
the availability of chemical weapons to their neighbouring battalion. But if these were flatly
contradicted by a single report from a senior member of that battalion, which should be
believed?
36.
It is incorrect to say, as some commentators have done, that ‘single source’ intelligence
is always suspect. A single photograph showing missiles on launchers, supporting a
division deployed in the field, trumps any number of agent reports that missiles are not part
of a division’s order of battle. During the Second World War, innumerable Allied command
decisions were taken on the basis of intelligence reports from a single type of source
(signals intelligence, providing decrypts of high-level German and Japanese military
plans and orders), and quite often (e.g. re-routing convoys in the middle of the Atlantic)
important decisions had to be taken on the basis of a single report. As before, common
sense and experience are the key.
37.
Assessment must always be aware that there may be a deeper level of reality at which
apparently independent sources have a common origin. Multiple sources may have been
marshalled in a deception campaign, as the Allies did in Operation Fortitude before D-Day
to mislead the German High Command about the location of the landings. Although
deception on so grand a scale is rare, the chance of being deceived is in inverse
proportion to the number of independent sources – which, for ‘hard targets’, are few.
9
In a sense, almost all intelligence is conducted against ‘hard targets’. If the information were readily available, it would
not be necessary to call on intelligence resources to acquire it. But within the hierarchy of intelligence activities it is
inevitable, given the protection afforded to nuclear, biological and chemical weapons programmes, that they are among
the hardest targets.
11
38.
Many of the manifestations of nuclear, biological or chemical weapons programmes can
have innocuous, or at least non-proscribed, explanations – the ‘dual-use’ problem.
Nuclear developments can be for peaceful purposes. Technologies for the production of
chemical and biological agents seldom diverge from those employed in normal civilian
chemical or bio-chemical industries. And, in the case of missile development, some
procurement and development activities may be permissible.
39.
Thus, the recipients of intelligence have normally to make decisions on the basis of the
balance of probabilities. That requires, first, the most effective deployment of all possible
sources and, secondly, the most objective assessment possible, as unaffected as may be
by motives and pressures which may distort judgement.
40.
In the UK, central intelligence assessment is the responsibility of the Assessments Staff.
This comprises some 30 senior and middle-ranking officials on secondment from other
departments, within the Cabinet Office, together with secretarial and administrative
support.
1.6 THE JOINT INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE
41.
The agencies and the DIS are brought together with important policy departments in the
JIC10. The JIC was established in 1936 as a sub-committee of the Committee of Imperial
Defence. During the Second World War, it comprised the heads of the agencies and the
three Services’ Directors of Intelligence, under the chairmanship of a senior member of
the Foreign Office and was joined by other relevant departments such as the Ministry of
Economic Warfare, responsible for the Special Operations Executive.
42.
The JIC has evolved since 1945. It became part of the Cabinet Office rather than of the
Chiefs of Staff organisation in 1957. To the original membership of the JIC (intelligence
producers, with users from MOD and the FCO) were added the Intelligence Co-ordinator
when that post was established in 1968, the Treasury (1968), the Department of Trade and
Industry (1997) and the Home Office (2000). Other departments attend when papers of
relevance to them are taken. Representatives of the Australian, Canadian and United
States intelligence communities also attend as appropriate. In 1993, the post of Chairman
of the JIC and that of the Head of the Cabinet Office’s Defence and Overseas Secretariat11
were combined, the two posts remaining so until 1999. From 1992 to 2002, the
chairmanship was combined with the post of Intelligence Co-ordinator. A new post of
Security and Intelligence Co-ordinator was created in 2002, taking on the responsibilities
of the previous Intelligence Co-ordinator together with wider responsibilities in the field of
counter-terrorism and crisis management. The holder became a member of the JIC.
10
For a fuller description see National Intelligence Machinery, HMSO 2001, which puts the JIC into context within the
structures of Parliamentary and Cabinet government.
11 From 1984 to the end of 1993 the Chairman of the JIC was also the Prime Minister’s Foreign Policy Adviser. This title was
revived in September 2001 and assumed by the Head of the Defence and Overseas Secretariat.
12
43.
The JIC’s main function12, on which its regular weekly meetings are centred, is to provide:
Ministers and senior officials with co-ordinated intelligence assessments on a range
of issues of immediate and long-term importance to national interests, primarily in the
fields of security, defence and foreign affairs.
The Assessments Staff are central to this role, and the Chief of the Assessments Staff is a
member of the JIC in his own right. With the assistance of other departments, the
Assessments Staff draft the JIC assessments, which are usually debated at Current
Intelligence Groups (CIGs) including experts in the subject before being submitted to the
JIC. The JIC can itself ask the Assessments Staff to draft an assessment, but the process
is usually triggered by a request from a policy department. The forward programme of
assessments to be produced is issued three times a year, but is revised and, when
necessary, overridden by matters of more immediate concern. The JIC thus brings
together in regular meetings the most senior people responsible for intelligence
collection, for intelligence assessment and for the use of intelligence in the main
departments for which it is collected, in order to construct and issue assessments on the
subjects of greatest current concern. The process is robust, and the assessments that
result are respected and used at all levels of government.
44.
Intelligence is disseminated at various levels and in different forms. The agencies send
reports direct to users in departments and military commands; these reports are used by
civil and military officials in their daily business, and some of them are selected and
brought to Ministers’ attention. The JIC’s co-ordinated intelligence assessments, formally
agreed at their weekly meetings, are sent to Ministers and senior officials. In addition the
JIC produces Intelligence Updates and Immediate Assessments whenever required,
which are sent to a standard distribution throughout government.
45.
A feature of JIC assessments is that they contain single statements of position; unlike the
practice in the US, there are no minority reports or noted dissents. When the intelligence
is unclear or otherwise inadequate and the JIC at the end of its debate is still uncertain, it
may report alternative interpretations of the facts before it such as they are; but in such
cases all the membership agrees that the interpretations they are proposing are viable
alternatives. The JIC does not (and this is borne out by our examination of several hundred
JIC assessments in the course of our Review) characterise such alternatives as
championed by individual members who disagree with colleagues’ points of view. While
the JIC has at times been criticised for its choice of language and the subtlety of the
linguistic nuances and caveats it applies13, it has responded that when the intelligence is
ambiguous it should not be artificially simplified.
46.
In the sometimes lengthy line that leads to the production of the JIC’s output, all the
components of the system – from collection through analysis and assessment to a wellbriefed and educated readership – must function successfully. Problems can arise if the
12
The JIC also has other responsibilities, for the establishment of intelligence collection priorities and monitoring of agency
performance.
13 We have been told that some readers believe that important distinctions are intended between such phrases as
“intelligence indicates . . . ”, “intelligence demonstrates . . . ” and “intelligence shows . . . ”, or between “we assess that
. . . ”, “we judge that . . . ” and “we believe that . . . ”. We have also been told that there is in reality no established
glossary, and that drafters and JIC members actually employ their natural language.
13
JIC has to make bricks without (enough) straw. Collection agencies may produce too little
intelligence, or too much intelligence about the wrong subjects, or the right intelligence
but too late to be of value. Although assessments generated under such circumstances
may have proper caveats, with attention drawn to important gaps in knowledge and with
the dubious steps in an argument clearly identified, they may reach misleading
conclusions. Or – which is equally destructive of their purpose – even if they are correct
they may be mistrusted. In either case, the reputation of the JIC product is at risk, and the
Committee has on occasion refused to issue drafted papers which it has felt are not
sufficiently supported by new intelligence or add nothing to the information already
publicly available.
1.7 THE LIMITATIONS OF INTELLIGENCE
14
47.
Intelligence merely provides techniques for improving the basis of knowledge. As with
other techniques, it can be a dangerous tool if its limitations are not recognised by those
who seek to use it.
48.
The intelligence processes described above (validation, analysis, assessment) are
designed to transform the raw material of intelligence so that it can be assimilated in the
same way as other information provided to decision-makers at all levels of government.
Validation should remove information which is unreliable (including reporting which has
been deliberately inserted to mislead). Analysis should assemble fragmentary
intelligence into coherent meaningful accounts. Assessment should put intelligence into
a sensible real-world context and identify how it can affect policy-making. But there are
limitations, some inherent and some practical on the scope of intelligence, which have to
be recognised by its ultimate recipients if it is to be used wisely.
49.
The most important limitation on intelligence is its incompleteness. Much ingenuity and
effort is spent on making secret information difficult to acquire and hard to analyse.
Although the intelligence process may overcome such barriers, intelligence seldom
acquires the full story. In fact, it is often, when first acquired, sporadic and patchy, and
even after analysis may still be at best inferential.
50.
The very way that intelligence is presented can contribute to this misperception. The
necessary protective security procedures with which intelligence is handled can reinforce
a mystique of omniscience. Intelligence is not only – like many other sources – incomplete,
it can be incomplete in undetectable ways. There is always pressure, at the assessment
stage if not before, to create an internally consistent and intellectually satisfying picture.
When intelligence becomes the dominant, or even the only, source of government
information, it can become very difficult for the assessment process to establish a context
and to recognise that there may be gaps in that picture.
51.
A hidden limitation of intelligence is its inability to transform a mystery into a secret. In
principle, intelligence can be expected to uncover secrets. The enemy’s order of battle
may not be known, but it is knowable. The enemy’s intentions may not be known, but they
too are knowable. But mysteries are essentially unknowable: what a leader truly believes,
or what his reaction would be in certain circumstances, cannot be known, but can only be
judged. JIC judgements have to cover both secrets and mysteries. Judgement must still
be informed by the best available information, which often means a contribution from
intelligence. But it cannot import certainty.
52.
These limitations are best offset by ensuring that the ultimate users of intelligence, the
decision-makers at all levels, properly understand its strengths and limitations and have
the opportunity to acquire experience in handling it. It is not easy to do this while
preserving the security of sensitive sources and methods. But unless intelligence is
properly handled at this final stage, all preceding effort and expenditure is wasted.
1.8 RISKS TO GOOD ASSESSMENT
53.
It is a well-known phenomenon within intelligence communities that memory of past
failures can cause over-estimation next time around. It is equally possible to be misled by
past success. For 45 years of Cold War, the intelligence community’s major task was to
assess the intentions and capabilities of the Soviet Union and its satellite states14. As the
details which had been sought became more accessible, first through glasnost’ and
explicit exchanges of data under international agreements and then fairly readily through
open sources after the dissolution of the Soviet empire, most of the intelligence
community’s conclusions were vindicated – at least in the areas in which it had spent the
largest part of its efforts, the Soviet bloc’s military equipment, capabilities and order of
battle.
54.
But it is risky to transfer one model to cases where that model will only partially apply.
Against dictatorships, dependent upon personal or tribal loyalties and insensitive to
international politics, an approach that worked well for a highly-structured, relatively
cohesive state target is not necessarily applicable even though many aspects of the work
may appear to be identical. The targets which the UK intelligence community needs to
study most carefully today are those that structurally and culturally look least like the
Government and society it serves. We return to this when we consider terrorism, at
Chapter 3.
55.
Risks in intelligence assessment will arise if this limitation is not readily recognised. There
may be no choice but to apply the same intelligence processes, methods and resources
to one target as were developed for and applied to others. But it is important to recognise
that the resulting intelligence may need to be analysed and assessed in different ways.
56.
A further risk is that of ‘mirror-imaging’ – the belief that can permeate some intelligence
analysts that the practices and values of their own cultures are universal. The more diffuse
range of security challenges of the 21st century means that it will not be possible to
accumulate the breadth and depth of understanding which intelligence collectors,
analysts and users built up over the years about the single subject of the Soviet Union. But
the more alien the target, the more important is the ability of intelligence analysts to
appreciate that their own assumptions do not necessarily apply everywhere. The motives
14
The intelligence community did, of course, have many other tasks during this period ranging from the consequences
of the withdrawal from empire through the many facets of the conflicts and confrontations in the Middle East to the
Falklands War.
15
and methods of non-state organisations built on a special interest (whether criminal,
religious or political) can be particularly hard for members of a stable society to assess.
57.
There is also the risk of ‘group think’ – the development of a ‘prevailing wisdom’. Welldeveloped imagination at all stages of the intelligence process is required to overcome
preconceptions. There is a case for encouraging it by providing for structured challenge,
with established methods and procedures, often described as a ‘Devil’s advocate’ or a
‘red teaming’ approach. This may also assist in countering another danger: when
problems are many and diverse, on any one of them the number of experts can be
dangerously small, and individual, possibly idiosyncratic, views may pass unchallenged.
58.
One final point should be mentioned here, to which we return in our Conclusions. The
assessment process must be informed by an understanding of policy-makers’
requirements for information, but must avoid being so captured by policy objectives that
it reports the world as policy-makers would wish it to be rather than as it is. The JIC is part
(and an important part) of the UK’s governmental machinery or it is nothing; but to have
any value its product must be objective. The JIC has always been very conscious of this.
1.9 THE USE OF INTELLIGENCE
59.
16
In addition to the use of intelligence to inform government policy, which we describe in
Chapters 2 and 3, there are important applications in the enforcement of compliance with
national law or international treaties and other obligations, in warning of untoward events,
in the support of military and law enforcement operations, and in long-term planning for
future national security capabilities. The British Government’s machinery for the areas
covered by our Review is described at Chapter 4.
CHAPTER 2
COUNTRIES OF CONCERN OTHER THAN IRAQ AND GLOBAL
TRADE
2.1 INTRODUCTION
60.
Our terms of reference require us:
To investigate the intelligence coverage available on WMD programmes of countries
of concern and on global trade in WMD, taking into account what is now known about
these programmes.
61.
We do so in this Chapter. This has allowed us to form an overall judgement of the UK’s
performance in obtaining intelligence on the nuclear, biological, chemical and ballistic
missile programmes of a wide range of states and on sources of proliferation, whether by
states or by trading networks. Given its significance for the activities of some states, we
open this Chapter with the AQ Khan network.
62.
Many of these countries remain of concern. Sensitive intelligence operations and
diplomatic activity are continuing. So the information we include in this Report must
necessarily be limited. But in some cases declarations by the countries concerned, and
statements by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and other bodies about the
results of their activities, have made it possible to judge the work of the intelligence
agencies against what is now known. (Indeed, the extent and accuracy of the knowledge
gained by the intelligence agencies were in some cases significant factors in persuading
the states concerned to abandon their covert programmes.) Although our Review has
gone more broadly, we have deliberately chosen to report only on those cases where
information about the extent of states’ programmes or of illicit trading activity is now
publicly available, so that comparison can be made with the judgements in prior
intelligence assessments without damage to continuing operations.
63.
We draw out broad Conclusions at the end of this Chapter.
2.2 AQ KHAN
INTRODUCTION
64.
AQ Khan directed Pakistan’s nuclear programme for 25 years and is known as the ‘father
of the Pakistani nuclear bomb’. After studying in Europe, Khan worked for a company
involved with the construction of an enrichment facility in the Netherlands. In 1976, he
obtained Dutch and German designs for uranium centrifuges and took them to Pakistan.
Based on these designs, Khan built a uranium enrichment facility at Khan Research
Laboratories, where he successfully produced enough highly enriched uranium for
Pakistan to test its first nuclear device in 1998. Khan subsequently exploited the supply
network he developed to support the Pakistani programme in order to sell nuclear
17
technologies to countries of concern. In this Section of our Report, we describe the
significant help his activities gave to the nuclear programmes of several countries of
concern, particularly Libya, and actions taken by the British Government in conjunction
with others to close down Khan’s network.
WHAT WAS KNOWN
18
65.
During the 1990s, there were intermittent clues from intelligence that AQ Khan was
discussing the sale of nuclear technology to countries of concern. By early 2000,
intelligence revealed that these were not isolated incidents. It became clear that Khan was
at the centre of an international proliferation network.
66.
By April 2000, the Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC) was noting that there was an
evolving, and as yet incomplete, picture of the supply of uranium enrichment equipment
to at least one customer in the Middle East, thought to be Libya, and evidence linking this
activity to Khan. By September 2000, it was pointing out that the network was expanding
to mass-produce components for large-scale centrifuge cascades.
67.
During 2001, the JIC continued to track AQ Khan’s activities. An assessment in March
2002 pulled together all the strands of intelligence on AQ Khan then available. The
conclusions showed the wide spread of Khan’s network and that he had moved his base
outside Pakistan and was now controlling it through his associates in Dubai. At the same
time, intelligence showed that he had now established his own production facilities, in
Malaysia. He was being helped in his activities by a network of associates and suppliers,
including BSA Tahir (a Sri Lankan businessman operating out of Dubai).
68.
By July 2002, the JIC had concluded that AQ Khan’s network was central to all aspects
of the Libyan nuclear weapons programme. Since Khan had access to nuclear weapon
designs and had been involved in the development of Pakistani missiles, the Government
feared that he might not only pass on the technology for enriching uranium but that he
might also enable his customers to build nuclear warheads for missiles. As intelligence
continued to build up, the JIC assessed that this was the first case of a private enterprise
offering a complete range of services to enable a customer to acquire highly enriched
uranium for nuclear weapons.
69.
lntelligence also identified further individuals in the supply chain, and more intelligence
was also becoming available on finance and transportation methods, including details of
banks in a number of countries and the names of the shipping companies involved. Khan
was also continuing to develop his business through his overseas facilities. By January
2003, the JIC was becoming particularly concerned at the progress Libya might be able
to make as a result of the assistance it had received from the network.
70.
Action to close down the network had until this stage been deferred to allow the
intelligence agencies to continue their operations to gather further information on the full
extent of the network. This was important to gain a better understanding of the nuclear
programmes of other countries which Khan was supplying. But Khan’s activities had now
reached the point where it would be dangerous to allow them to go on.
71.
At the tactical level, action was taken to interdict supplies of components moving from
Khan’s manufacturing facility in Malaysia to Libya. The various stages in this supply chain
had been tracked through intelligence reports. In October 2003, the BBC China, a
German-registered ship carrying centrifuge parts, was diverted to Italy as part of a
carefully-planned intelligence operation in co-operation with the Italian and German
authorities. On the basis of the material found on board the BBC China, in November 2003
the UK and US Governments approached the Malaysian authorities to investigate a
Malaysian company run by BSA Tahir. According to the official Malaysian police report:
His [Tahir’s] involvement . . . started in 1994/1995. That year the [Pakistani nuclear
expert] had asked B S A Tahir to send two containers of used centrifuge units from
Pakistan to Iran. B S A Tahir organised the transshipment of the two containers from
Dubai to Iran using a merchant ship owned by a company in Iran. B S A Tahir said
the payment for the two containers of centrifuge units, amounting to about US$3
million, was paid in UAE Dirham currency by the Iranians. The cash was brought in
two briefcases.
72.
At the strategic level, action was taken in co-operation with President Musharraf of
Pakistan to stop Khan from continuing his activities. Khan subsequently appeared on
national television on 4 February 2004 to:
. . . offer my deepest regrets and unqualified apologies to a traumatised nation . . .
and admitted that an investigation by the Pakistani government:
. . . has established that many of the reported activities did occur, and that these
were inevitably initiated at my behest.
VALIDATION
73.
Key individuals in the network have provided verification of the intelligence (for example,
as indicated by the press release issued on 20 February 2004 by the Inspector-General
of the Royal Malaysian Police after an investigation into BSA Tahir’s activities). The
discovery of centrifuge parts on the BBC China bore out the intelligence on the supply
chain. Libyan co-operation following Colonel Qadhafi’s decision to abandon his nuclear
weapons programme has produced firm evidence that the intelligence on AQ Khan’s
support for this programme was accurate.
CONCLUSIONS
74.
The uncovering and dismantlement of this network is a remarkable tribute to the work of
the intelligence agencies. As we looked at the reasons behind this success, several key
points became apparent. First, a team of experts worked together over a period of years,
overcoming setbacks and patiently piecing together the parts of the jigsaw. Although an
element of luck was important in providing a breakthrough, this was not a flash in the pan.
It was the result of a clear strategy, meticulously implemented, which included the
identification of key members of the network and sustained work against their business
activities. Secondly, there was close co-operation between UK and US agencies, with
19
both sides working to the same agenda. But most importantly of all, there was strong
integration in the UK between all the agencies. A decision was taken early on that at
working level all information, however sensitive, would be shared.
75.
There was also a high degree of co-operation between the agencies and policy-makers
in departments. This enabled swift and effective action to be taken at the right time. The
action was intelligence-led. The agencies uncovered the activities of the network. The
development of policy and action to close it down followed: by interdicting shipments;
seeking co-operation from the Pakistani authorities; taking action with the recipients of AQ
Khan’s products, most notably Libya; and by encouraging legal action, where possible,
against members of the network.
2.3 LIBYA
INTRODUCTION
76.
On 19 December 2003, in a public statement, the Libyan Government said that:
. . . Libya has taken the initiative and has instigated among the countries of the world,
especially the Middle East, Africa, and the Third World, the abandonment of WMD
programmes . . .
77.
Colonel Qadhafi’s dramatic change of policy should be viewed in the wider context of his
decision in the late 1990s to move towards rapprochement with the West through, among
other things, an attempt to resolve the Lockerbie issue. Much of Colonel Qadhafi’s
motivation for this rapprochement was economic. He recognised that he needed western,
and especially US, investment in Libya’s economy. The UK was important to him because
it offered the best route to the US.
78.
It is a matter of judgement how far the ‘Iraq factor’ was decisive in Colonel Qadhafi’s policy
change, but it seems likely that coalition action in Iraq in 2003 accelerated a process that
was already under way. Nevertheless, between the late 1990s and 2003, Colonel Qadhafi
may well have thought that he could achieve rapprochement with the West while retaining
nuclear, chemical and ballistic missile programmes. If so, it took some time for him to
recognise the incompatibility between these two objectives.
WHAT WAS KNOWN
79.
20
The principal JIC assessments on Libya between 1998 and 2003 paint a picture of steady
progress in its nuclear and ballistic missile programmes. At first the JIC was not too
concerned, judging that these programmes were not making any significant headway. But
by mid-2000 the JIC was picking up signs of increased activity. By 2003, when the AQ
Khan network was much better understood, Libya had been identified both as a prime
customer and as one already in receipt of nuclear-related materiel. This was disturbing
enough in itself, but was even more so when combined with knowledge of Libya’s longrange ballistic missile aspirations. The JIC felt confident enough to conclude that Colonel
Qadhafi was actively pursuing the acquisition and development of “weapons of mass
destruction”.
80.
The various strands of intelligence on Libya’s nuclear programme were precise, detailed
and collectively strong. The intelligence on the AQ Khan network was extremely important,
but it was backed up by other multi-agency reporting. Likewise, different strands of
reporting combined to fill out the picture of Libyan ballistic missile and chemical weapons
programmes. Most of the JIC’s assessments were later borne out by validation of Libya’s
declarations of its nuclear, chemical and ballistic missile holdings and capabilities.
USE OF THE INTELLIGENCE
81.
One use of intelligence in the Libyan case has been to stimulate interceptions of goods
destined for Libya’s programmes. This has involved activity by HM Customs and Excise,
co-operation with European partners and actions by other Governments.
82.
A particularly notable example is that of the interception of the BBC China referred to
above. The discoveries made enabled the UK and US Governments to confront Libyan
officials with this evidence of their nuclear-related procurement at a time when Libya was
still considering whether to proceed to full admission of its programmes.
VALIDATION
83.
Since Libyan Foreign Minister Shalgam’s public statement, also on 19 December 2003,
on his country’s decision to eliminate:
. . . the materials, equipments and programmes which lead to the production of
internationally proscribed weapons . . .
and
. . . to restrict itself to missiles with a range in line with the standards agreed in the
MTCR [Missile Technology Control Regime] . . .
much progress has been made in validating Libya’s declarations of its holdings of nuclear
and chemical materiel, ballistic missiles and associated facilities. The inspection process
for validation has been carried out by the relevant international organisations and by UK
and US experts working closely with the Libyans. This in turn has helped to confirm the
validity of many of the original intelligence concerns. The same intelligence that
uncovered the Libyan programmes was helpful to the inspectors for another reason: it
demonstrated to the Libyans how much was known about their programmes and helped
to persuade them to be fully co-operative. As the 2003–04 Annual Report of the
Intelligence and Security Committee1 said in June 2004:
The detailed intelligence on Libya and its procurement activities, collected by the UK
and USA from all sources over a significant period of time, enabled the UK and USA
to demonstrate to the Libyan authorities that they knew about their WMD
programmes. Consequently, when the inspectors went to Libya the Libyan
authorities, while they tried, were not able to hide their programmes and full
disclosure was eventually achieved.
1
Cm 6240. June 2004.
21
CONCLUSIONS
84.
Where intelligence is good it can create its own positive momentum. Successful
interdictions, having been proved to be based on sound intelligence, increase confidence
in the reliability of reporting from the sources. They will also often uncover new leads (from
documents and questioning of those involved) that help to fill out an intelligence picture.
This was a major intelligence success.
2.4 IRAN
INTRODUCTION
85.
Iran was attacked by Iraq at the beginning of the Iran/Iraq War in 1980, and suffered
enormous casualties. Ballistic missiles were used by both sides in battlefield
confrontations. Iran had considerably the worse of the strategic-level exchanges in the
‘War of the Cities’ in the final months of the war in 1988. It also suffered seriously from the
Iraqi use of chemical warfare munitions on the battlefield, notably during the capture of the
Fao Peninsula in early 1988.
86.
During the Iran/Iraq war, Iran launched a chemical weapons programme and invested
heavily to develop its ballistic missile capabilities. It now has a substantial and advanced
indigenous ballistic missile industry. It has also been pursuing for many years a wide
range of nuclear fuel cycle activities, which it claims are for entirely peaceful purposes but
which could enable it to produce fissile material for nuclear weapons.
87.
Despite Iran’s recent engagement with the IAEA, the UK remains concerned by the
potential dangers inherent in the combination of Iran’s ballistic missile capabilities and its
nuclear fuel cycle activities.
WHAT WAS KNOWN
22
88.
It is clear to us that, for the British Government, the greatest concern has been the
development by Iran of a capacity to produce fissile material (which could be used to
make a nuclear weapon); and ballistic missiles.
89.
Iran acquired the Scud B missile from Syria (produced in the Soviet Union) and from North
Korea (indigenously produced). After the Iran/Iraq war, North Korea sold to Iran
production technology for first the Scud B and then the Scud C missile (an upgraded North
Korean design with a range of 500km), as well as a number of complete missiles of both
types.
90.
In the mid-1990s, Iran bought a few examples of the then latest North Korean missile,
known to the West as the No Dong 1 and with a range of some 1300km. Iran has since
developed its own version of the No Dong 1, called the Shahab 3. The Shahab 3 brings
within range the capitals and most of the territories of the states of the Near and Middle
East; the Caucasus; Pakistan; most of Central Asia and Turkey; and part of India. Iran is
now considering systems beyond the Shahab-3. Some of these longer-range systems are
represented as space launchers rather than as ballistic missiles.
91.
92.
Iran’s nuclear fuel cycle activities have developed slowly over more than two decades, but
in recent years it has become apparent that it is developing facilities that will enable it to
enrich uranium indigenously on a significant scale. Iran has announced or the IAEA has
reported that Iran:
a.
Intends to mine indigenous uranium deposits near Yazd and to produce
yellowcake from the ore.
b.
Has constructed a large uranium conversion facility at Esfahan that is in the
process of being commissioned and will be able to convert yellowcake into
uranium hexafluoride (the feed material required for gas centrifuges).
c.
Has constructed a large, underground facility at Natanz to house a Pilot Fuel
Enrichment Plant and a full-scale Fuel Enrichment Plant, both using gas
centrifuge technology.
d.
Has indigenous facilities to manufacture centrifuge components.
e.
Has engaged in work on both the P-1 gas centrifuge (work which led to the
actual enrichment of uranium, an activity it did not declare to the IAEA at the
time) and on the P-2 gas centrifuge, about which, important information as the
IAEA has recently said, has in some cases been incomplete, and continues to
lack necessary clarity.
f.
Has had help with its gas centrifuge programme from a number of foreign
sources. In particular, having reviewed the original P-2 technical drawings
which Iran says it received from foreign intermediaries, the IAEA’s experts
concluded that the origin of the drawings was the same as that of the drawings
provided to Libya2.
The IAEA has also reported that Iran:
a.
Has plans to produce a Heavy Water Research Reactor.
b.
Has largely completed a Heavy Water Production Plant to provide the heavy
water it will require.
c.
Has plans for a Fuel Manufacturing Plant.
d.
Has experimented in the past with plutonium separation, without declaring it at
the time to the IAEA.
The IAEA has also raised concerns about work on laser enrichment and polonium-210.
VALIDATION
93.
France, Germany and the UK (sometimes known as the ‘EU3’) have worked together to
support the IAEA on its activities. Intelligence supplements what the UK knows from the
IAEA, and policy formulation and execution has made full use of both sets of information.
Separately, since the National Council of Resistance of Iran publicised previously secret
2
That is, by AQ Khan.
23
facilities in August 2002 (the enrichment facility at Natanz and the Heavy Water Production
Plant at Arak), the IAEA has sought to obtain a better understanding of all Iran’s past and
current nuclear activities. It has also called on Iran to accept additional safeguards
obligations and urged it, as a confidence-building measure, to suspend some of its
activities.
94.
As regards the chemical weapons programme launched during the Iran/Iraq War, Iran has
subsequently signed and ratified the Chemical Weapons Convention (in 1993 and 1997
respectively). Although Iran did not meet the declaration timetable specified by the
Convention, it did later declare two former chemical weapons production facilities. The
Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons has since verified that this
production capability has been eliminated.
CONCLUSIONS
95.
As with other cases we have reviewed, we have observed in the case of Iran that British
policy is to promote the effective use of international processes. Hence Britain, with
France and Germany, played an important role in October 2003 in persuading Iran to
respond to the IAEA Board of Governors’ calls on Iran to make a full declaration about its
past and current activities, to commit itself to signing an Additional Protocol (and to apply
its provisions while moving to ratification), and to suspend all enrichment-related and any
reprocessing activities.
96.
There are also clearly outstanding issues about Iran’s activities. Iran has signed an
Additional Protocol to its Safeguards Agreement and is making additional declarations to
the IAEA as a result, but has still not ratified it. Furthermore, negotiations with Iran over the
scope and verification of the activities to be suspended have been difficult. Most recently,
Iran has decided to resume manufacturing of components and assembly of centrifuge
machines under IAEA supervision, having earlier decided voluntarily to suspend them.
2.5 NORTH KOREA
INTRODUCTION
24
97.
We have focused mainly on the threat that North Korea poses as a proliferator. However,
to put North Korean exports in context, we have kept in mind that North Korea itself could
pose a nuclear threat not just to its neighbours but increasingly on a global scale.
Agreements reached in the 1990s to suspend North Korean plutonium production in
return for economic aid recently broke down when the North Koreans, confronted by the
US, admitted that they had also embarked on a secret programme to enrich uranium.
98.
In December 2002, under pressure to abandon this programme, North Korea expelled the
IAEA inspectors who had been monitoring their suspended plutonium production
facilities, and soon after announced its withdrawal from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation
Treaty. The North Koreans probably have enough plutonium from their previous
programme to make at least one nuclear weapon. Reprocessing their spent fuel stocks
could produce plutonium for still more weapons. Their uranium enrichment programme
could potentially produce highly enriched uranium for yet more. At the same time, North
Korea has engaged on an extensive missile development programme, based on original
designs from the Soviet Union. During the 1990s, North Korea steadily increased the
range and payload of these missiles and in 1998 it test fired a three-stage rocket on a
trajectory which took it over Japan. While this could not deliver a nuclear warhead beyond
a medium range, North Korea is now thought to be developing missiles capable of
delivering nuclear weapons as far away as the continental United States and Europe.
WHAT WAS KNOWN
99.
North Korea is a particular cause for concern because of its willingness to sell ballistic
missiles to anyone prepared to pay in hard currency. While the sale of the missiles
themselves is not illegal, providing them to countries which are or may be developing
nuclear weapons increases the global threat from such weapons. For this reason, tracking
North Korea’s role as a supplier of missile systems has been a top priority for the
intelligence community since 1991.
100.
We examined the JIC assessments and relevant intelligence reports from that date until
2003, and heard evidence from witnesses engaged in collecting intelligence on this
subject. The picture that emerged was of a state-controlled, self-sustaining missile
industry, which was able to fund further development by channelling profits from exports
back into the programme. While the Middle East has been the main destination for North
Korean missiles, we saw evidence of North Korean interest in sales on a global scale.
101.
The JIC first noted in an assessment of February 1992 that North Korea had emerged as
a major exporter of missiles and that it was also prepared to sell missile production
technology. The sale of technology, while lucrative on a short-term basis, closed off
options for future sales but, on a wider perspective, fuelled the cycle of onward
proliferation, as North Korea’s customers became producers themselves and developed
their own export programmes.
102.
Throughout the 1990s, the JIC followed details of North Korean missile sales to third world
countries. It noted that, in addition to Scud B and C, which had been sold with production
technology for local manufacture, North Korea had also offered the No Dong 1, a longer
range version of the Scud, to foreign purchasers. By 2001, the JIC was noting that North
Korea was also prepared to offer Taepo Dong missiles with an assessed range of up to
15,000 km. In its most recent assessment of 2003, the JIC assessed that North Korea was
continuing its export programme, seeking new customers and offering upgrades to
existing customers.
VALIDATION
103.
Intelligence has fed into the work of the Restricted Enforcement Unit, an interdepartmental organisation in the UK working to prevent the export of sensitive materials
to North Korea and other countries of concern.
104.
Apart from interdictions, which were the result of specific leads from intelligence,
photographs of the Pakistani Ghauri missiles show that they are almost identical to the No
25
Dong, confirming intelligence that they were based on North Korean technology. Access
to the Libyan missile programme has also confirmed earlier intelligence that the North
Koreans helped the Libyans to develop an 800km-range Scud missile.
CONCLUSIONS
105.
We have studied the steady flow of intelligence on North Korean proliferation activities.
North Korea is a difficult target because of tight state control. But the intelligence agencies
have co-operated closely to tackle this problem, with cross-correlation of intelligence
producing a total result which has been greater than the sum of the parts. The intelligence
agencies have employed a range of ingenious tactics patiently and skilfully to piece
together an intelligence picture of North Korean activity. This has provided important
insights that have enabled the British Government to take decisive action to limit the extent
of North Korean exports of missile delivery systems.
106.
Intelligence continues to contribute to specific actions against missile exports in the
context of the US-led Proliferation Security Initiative, which provides a framework for
international co-operation aimed at disrupting the proliferation activities of states such as
North Korea. Intelligence on specific activities is vital to the success of this operation.
Close co-operation with liaison services is also important and we have seen clear
evidence of this in the work of the intelligence agencies.
2.6 GENERAL CONCLUSIONS
26
107.
AII four of the case studies we discuss were to a greater or lesser extent
success stories. To a degree, that was inevitable – we chose those cases
where intelligence about nuclear, biological, chemical and ballistic
missile programmes and proliferation activities can be discussed
precisely because it has contributed to disclosure of those activities. But
that should not detract from what has clearly been an impressive
performance by the intelligence community and policy-makers in each
case, and overall.
108.
A number of common threads have become clear from our examination
of each case. The first and most obvious is the powerful effect of
exploiting the linkages where they exist between suppliers (AQ Khan;
North Korea) and buyers (Iran; Libya; others) for counter-proliferation
activity. It is in the nature of proliferation that what can be discovered
about a supplier leads to information about the customer, and vice versa.
The second thread flows from this - the powerful multiplier effect of
effective international (in many cases, multinational) collaboration. This
thread emerges, too, in the next Chapter, on terrorism.
109.
Third, this is painstaking work, involving the piecing together over
extended timescales of often fragmentary information. There are the
surprises and ‘lucky breaks’. But they often come from the foundation of
knowledge developed over several years. It requires close collaboration
between all involved, in agencies and departments, to build the jigsaw,
with teams able to have access to available intelligence and to make the
most of each clue. It also depends on continuity of shared purpose
amongst collectors and analysts, and between the intelligence and policy
communities, in gathering, assessing and using intelligence in tackling
proliferation and nuclear, biological and chemical weapons programmes
which are destabilising in security terms. We develop this theme further, in
Chapter 4 on the UK’s counter-proliferation machinery, and in Chapter 7 on our broader
Conclusions.
27
28
CHAPTER 3
TERRORISM1
3.1 SCOPE
110.
We have examined intelligence reports and assessments on the links between terrorism
and chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear weapons, and the use made of that
intelligence, from when it began in the early 1990s to emerge as a topic of interest to the
Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC). For the purpose of illustrating the contribution made by
intelligence to policy formulation by the Government and to actions taken on the basis of
that policy, we have focussed on the scope and quality of intelligence reports and
assessments on the use by terrorists and extremists of unconventional weapons, and the
extent to which they were validated by subsequent discoveries in Afghanistan. To avoid
prejudicing current operations, we do not cover in this Report more recent intelligence
assessments or findings.
3.2 THE PERIOD UP TO 1995
111.
In the late 1980s, the possibility that terrorist groups might seek to use unconventional
weapons was considered remote. In surveys of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons
proliferation in 1989, the JIC dealt briefly with the possibility that such technology might
be used by terrorists:
We believe that even the most sophisticated and well-organised terrorist group is
highly unlikely to be able to steal and then detonate a nuclear weapon within the
foreseeable future. . . . At present the most feasible terrorist nuclear incident would
probably be a credible hoax. A terrorist threat to detonate a nuclear device would
be difficult to dismiss entirely in view of the increasing number of producers of fissile
material in a variety of countries and the problems of accounting fully for all material
produced. Terrorists might see a seemingly plausible and preferably well publicised
warning of an imminent nuclear attack as potentially a very effective means of
blackmailing governments.
[JIC, 3 July 1989]
and:
We have no intelligence that any terrorist group makes CBW agents, possesses any
such agents or is currently contemplating attacks using CBW agents or other toxic
chemicals. The use of CBW agents by terrorists would generate widespread fear
and could cause large numbers of casualties. The mere threat of such use could be
sufficient to cause panic.
A terrorist would need only small quantities of CW agents. The simpler ones could
in principle be made by anyone with a knowledge of A-level chemistry using readily
1
This section is limited to intelligence on the use by terrorists of chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear weapons.
The large majority of terrorist actions employ conventional armaments and explosives, and are not relevant to this Review.
29
obtainable materials. We believe that terrorist organisations could also readily obtain
and handle without insurmountable difficulty, suitable bacteria, viruses and certain
toxins.
Although CBW proliferation undoubtedly increases the risk that CBW agents could
be stolen by or even supplied to terrorists by state sponsors . . . this prospect must
be viewed against a background where many suitable agents can be manufactured
in small quantities using easily available materials. So as far as terrorism is
concerned, proliferation (if it comes about) may not necessarily be much affected by
the actions of States with the relevant capability.
[JIC, 26 June 1989]
112.
The main strands in this assessment set the standard for the next few years. There was no
credible evidence of terrorist interest in nuclear, biological or chemical weapons; hoaxes
and threats might be more disuptive than actual use; terrorists were very unlikely to be
able to acquire nuclear devices; and the fact that some states possessed nuclear,
biological or chemical weapons was unlikely to affect the risk of their use by terrorists.
113.
In April 19922, in its first assessment specifically on the threat of attacks by terrorists using
chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear weapons, the JIC considered the technical
options, but emphasised the difficulties which were thought likely to render such methods
unattractive options for terrorist groups:
They may be deterred by the danger to their own members, or by the risk of
alienating the public and especially their own supporters. They may also fear that an
attack would cause international outrage leading to determined efforts on an
international scale to bring them to book. By contrast, conventional weapons are
cheaper, easier to procure, and offer equal or greater effectiveness against
traditional targets (such as prominent individuals, members of the security forces,
government buildings).
[JIC, 23 April 1992]
This, too, was to become a feature of JIC assessments: for most terrorist uses,
conventional weapons were better.
114.
By October 1994, there had been a number of media reports – some correct – of fissile
material being available on the black market. In the first of several such studies, the JIC
did not consider that these affected its overall assessment:
Despite the possibility which now exists of obtaining fissile material, it is extremely
unlikely that a terrorist group could produce even a crude nuclear device; nor is there
any evidence that any group has contemplated the use of nuclear weapons. A more
plausible scenario might be the dispersal of radioactive materials by conventional
explosives or other means to achieve radiological contamination. The actual danger
to the public from radioactivity would probably be small – smaller in some cases than
to the terrorists. But such an attack (or its threat) could be highly effective in causing
panic and public concern.
2
30
It was also in 1992 that a Kurdish terrorist group tried to poison the water supply of a Turkish airbase using cyanide.
We believe that terrorists would not be able to acquire or deploy a nuclear weapon;
radiological attacks are possible but unlikely. Attacks involving chemical or
biological agents are also unlikely, though use of toxic chemical substances (for
which there are some limited precedents) remains a possibility.
[JIC, 13–19 October 1994]
3.3 1995–1997
115.
By June 1995, the JIC was assessing the threat posed by Islamist extremists; the terrorist
threat was spreading outside the Middle East. The JIC commented on the use of suicide
tactics, a strand which was subsequently to become significant in such assessments:
Selective interpretation of the Muslim faith enables such groups to justify terrorist
violence and to recruit ‘martyrs’ for suicide attacks.
[JIC, 8 June 1995]
116.
However, the first serious use of chemicals by terrorists was not by Islamist extremists. The
sarin gas attack in the Tokyo underground by the Aum Shinrikyo sect came in March
19953. In a 1996 assessment of the nuclear, biological and chemical threat to the UK4
(which responded to the G7 declaration at the Lyons summit in June that year that special
attention should be paid to the threat of use of nuclear, biological and chemical materials
for terrorist purposes) the JIC stuck to its previous line, though noting the Aum Shinrikyo
attack:
There is no indication of any terrorist or other group showing interest in the use of
nuclear, biological or chemical (NBC) materials against the UK. For a number of
reasons, conventional weapons are likely to remain more attractive for terrorist
purposes. But last year’s nerve agent attack in Tokyo will have heightened interest
and, with ever more NBC information publicly available, hoaxes threatening NBC
use are likely to become more difficult to assess.
[JIC, 4 July 1996]
3.4 1998–1999
117.
Usama bin Laden first became known as a high-profile supporter of Islamist extremism
while fighting against Soviet forces in Afghanistan during the 1980s. Expelled from Saudi
Arabia in 1991 and from Sudan in 1996, he returned to Afghanistan. Evidence of his
interest in unconventional weapons accumulated, and was summarised by the JIC in
November 1998:
He has a long-standing interest in the potential terrorist use of CBR materials, and
recent intelligence suggests his ideas about using toxic materials are maturing and
being developed in more detail. . . . There is also secret reporting that he may have
obtained some CB material – and that he is interested in nuclear materials. We
3
4
The sect had carried out sporadic and unsuccessful open-air attacks using a range of agents since 1990. One attack
(using sarin) in Matsumoto in June 1994 caused 7 deaths and 264 people were hospitalised. These earlier attacks were
little noticed outside Japan.
Because of its limited ambit this paper did not take note of the then recent Chechen guerrilla operation to place minute
quantities of caesium-137 in a Moscow park.
31
assess that he lacks the expertise or facilities even to begin making a nuclear
weapon, but he might seek to make a radiological device.
[JIC, 25 November 1998]
118.
Seven months later, in June 1999, the JIC had received more intelligence, and reassessed the threat from Usama bin Laden’s organisation accordingly:
Most of UBL’s planned attacks would use conventional terrorist weapons. But he
continues to seek chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear material and to
develop a capability for its terrorist use. There is insufficient evidence to conclude
that he has yet acquired radiological or nuclear material. In contrast, we now assess
that his followers have access to some unspecified chemical or biological material.
Some have received basic training in its use against individuals or in confined
spaces.
In April a leading Egyptian terrorist, apparently believing the information was already
known to the authorities, told an Egyptian court that UBL had CB ‘weapons’ which
he would use against US or Israeli targets.
[JIC, 9 June 1999]
Intelligence reports of bin Laden’s associates falling for nuclear materiel frauds
suggested, however, that they were not well advised on nuclear matters.
119.
A month later, in July 1999, the JIC explained an important change in one of the major
assumptions underpinning its previous assessments – some terrorists were no longer
reluctant to cause mass casualties, for example some Islamist extremist terrorists and
Aum Shinrikyo:
Over the 1990s there has been a significant increase in the quantity and quality of
intelligence that some terrorists are interested in CBRN – and particularly in chemical
and biological – materials as weapons. The risk of a CBRN terrorist incident has
risen, albeit from a low base. In part this increase reflects the rise of Islamic
extremism and ethnic hatred as terrorist motivations: some of the terrorists thus
motivated are less constrained by considerations such as public support, casualties
among innocent bystanders, or the prospect of retaliation. It may also reflect the
increasing availability of information about making and using CB materials, and the
publicity attracted by major incidents and hoaxes. Whether the attacker’s aim is
political or economic blackmail, or severe disruption, society’s vulnerability to
terrorist attack from CB or radiological materials is high, exacerbated by the lack of
a tried and tested CB counter-terrorist response in some countries.
[JIC, 15 July 1999]
120.
In the same assessment, the JIC made its own judgement, in the absence of specific
intelligence, that Usama bin Laden had after several years been successful in acquiring
non-conventional weapons. That judgement was later shown to be correct:
There have been important developments in [Islamist extremist] terrorism. It has
become clear that Usama Bin Laden has been seeking CBRN materials . . . His
wealth permits him to fund procurement, training and experimentation to an extent
32
unmatched by other terrorists. . . . Given the quality and quantity of intelligence
about his interest in CB materials, the length of time he has sought them, and the
relative ease with which they can be made, we assess that he has by now acquired
or made at least modest quantities of CB materials – even if their exact nature and
effectiveness are unclear. The significance of his possession of CB materials is that,
in contrast to other terrorists interested in CB, he wishes to target US, British and
other interests worldwide. There is also intelligence on training in the use of
chemicals as weapons in a terrorist camp in Afghanistan, although it is not yet clear
if this is under Bin Laden’s auspices. The CB threat is likely to be higher abroad than
in the UK, reflecting the location of Bin Laden and his allies, the vulnerability of
potential targets, and the effectiveness of local security authorities. Targets may
include British official sites or related facilities overseas. That said, Bin Laden’s
attacks remain more likely to employ conventional weapons than CB materials.
[JIC, 15 July 1999]
121.
However the JIC still retained its overall conclusion, that:
. . . the indications of terrorist interest in CBRN materials have yet to be matched by
a comparable amount of evidence about possession and intent to use CBRN. Most
terrorists continue to favour conventional weapons, as easier to use, more reliable,
safer and more controllable than CBRN materials.
[JIC, 15 July 1999]
3.5 2000–2001
122.
By January 2000, in an assessment of conventional threats, the JIC summarised bin
Laden’s aspirations for non-conventional weapons:
UBL retains his interest in obtaining chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear
(CBRN) materials and expertise. In autumn 1999 there was intelligence that he had
recruited . . . chemicals specialists . . . . Our assessment remains that UBL has
some toxic chemical or biological materials, and an understanding of their utility as
terrorist weapons. But we have yet to see hard intelligence that he possesses
genuine nuclear material.
[JIC, 12 January 2000]
123.
By August 2000, the JIC was clear that, although there were other Islamist extremist
groups5 with an interest in non-conventional weapons, Usama bin Laden posed the most
severe threat:
Some [Islamist extremist groups] are interested in exploring the use of chemical or
biological materials as weapons. In the forefront is UBL . . .
[JIC, 9 August 2000]
124.
5
In January 2001, the JIC reported at length on the terrorist threat from unconventional
weapons and emphasised the unique nature of the threat from Usama bin Laden:
The JIC was a year later to comment that the word ‘groups’ can be misleading in the context of Islamist extremist terrorists.
“There are established groups in different countries, usually working to a national agenda, but the networks associated
with UBL are changeable ad hoc groupings of individuals who share his agenda, and who may come together only for
a particular operation. Nevertheless, ‘groups’ is used as a short form for want of another available term.”
33
The actual threat does not match the media hype. Almost all the available
intelligence refers to terrorist interest in CB materials, rather than to specific attack
plans. There is no credible intelligence that any terrorist except UBL has the
capability or serious intent to explore the use of weapons-grade nuclear materials –
nor, except for Chechen extremists, radiological material. Terrorists interested in CB
are generally those least constrained by public opinion or their members’ or
supporters’ sensitivities. Their resources and targets tend to be abroad rather than in
Britain, so the risk of attacks using toxic materials has always been greater overseas.
UBL has sought CBRN materials for use as terrorist weapons . . . . From his public
statements and interviews it is clear that he believes it is legitimate to use them as
weapons and his wealth has allowed him to fund procurement, experimentation and
training. There is plentiful intelligence that this interest is sustained, mostly relating
to toxic materials.
In 1999 he sought equipment for a chemical weapons lab in Afghanistan, and
claimed already to have . . . experts working there.
[JIC, 10 January 2001]
3.6 THE AFTERMATH OF 9/11
125.
In an important paper shortly after the attacks of 11 September 2001, the JIC made clear
the way in which Usama bin Laden’s philosophy, combined with suicide attacks, had
changed the calculus of threat. This assessment summarised the new security challenge
which, as we describe further in the context of Iraq at Chapter 5, was to become dominant
in the thinking of British Ministers – the desire of terrorists and extremists to cause
casualties on a massive scale, undeterred by the fear of alienating the public or their own
supporters that had been noted as a constraining factor in JIC assessments in the early
1990s or by considerations of personal survival. To this fundamental shift in the JIC’s
judgement on the likely motivation and goals of terrorists and extremists was added a
corresponding shift in its conclusions about the attractiveness of nuclear, biological or
chemical weapons. Thus, in September 2001 the JIC noted that:
Many defensive and preventive measures taken against terrorism (such as ensuring
that passenger and luggage travel together) still presuppose that the terrorist will
want to survive the attack. But suicide attackers, especially those backed by
sophisticated planning and pursuing non-negotiable objectives, negate many
security measures and widen society’s vulnerability. New strategies are required to
counter the threat of terrorists willing, or even eager, to sacrifice their lives as martyrs
in Islamic extremist or other causes – although there can be no complete protection
against them.
In the context of UBL’s jihad, casualties and destruction could be an end in
themselves as much as a means to an end (Footnote: UBL’s stated objective is to
secure US withdrawal from the Middle East or, failing that, to provoke a reaction
which would further demonise the US in the eyes of Muslims and destabilise
moderate Arab states that he perceives as un-Islamic). He has no interest in
34
negotiation and there is no indication that he can be deterred.
[JIC, 18 September 2001]
126.
The JIC also went on in this paper to note Usama bin Laden’s interest in nuclear devices.
127.
The British Government’s dossier of 4 October 20016, which attributed the attacks of 11
September 2001 to Usama bin Laden, also reflected the attractiveness to him of nuclear,
biological and chemical weapons, saying that:
From the early 1990s Usama bin Laden has sought to obtain nuclear and chemical
materials for use as weapons of terror.
and reminding its readership that:
When asked in 1998 about obtaining chemical or nuclear weapons he said
“acquiring such weapons for the defence of Muslims (was) a religious duty”’.
[Government’s dossier, 4 October 2001]
3.7 INTELLIGENCE ON UBL’S CAPABILITIES AND ITS VALIDATION
128.
A considerable quantity of evidence of Usama bin Laden’s capabilities in the nuclear,
biological and chemical fields was uncovered after the US-led military action in
Afghanistan in October 2001. This section compares these discoveries with JIC
judgements beforehand.
NUCLEAR
129.
In 1999, the JIC reported Usama bin Laden’s claims to be setting up a laboratory in
Afghanistan. Following the collapse of the Taliban regime, in January 2002 the United
Nations Security Council listed a former Pakistani nuclear scientist Bashir Mahmoud as
associated with the Taliban or Al Qaida.
CHEMICAL
130.
Intelligence reporting from 1999 onwards testified to the activities of Abu Khabbab, an
explosives and chemicals expert who ran training courses which included information on
how to make and use poisons. This was confirmed by discoveries in Afghanistan such as
a video showing chemical experiments being carried out on animals, and by the finding
of numerous training manuals.
BIOLOGICAL
131.
In 1999, the JIC reported that:
In February 1999 one of his followers claimed that UBL intended to attack US and
UK targets in India, Indonesia and the US, by using means which even the US could
6
“Responsibility for the Terrorist Atrocities in the United States, 11 September 2001”.
35
not counter, implying the use of chemical or biological material.
[JIC, 9 June 1999]
132.
Some work with biological agents was also attributed to Abu Khabbab, though the
evidence was not detailed. However, the JIC’s judgement that Al Qaida was developing
biological weapons was confirmed by the discovery in Afghanistan of the Kandahar
laboratory, and evidence that scientists had been recruited.
3.8 INTELLIGENCE RESPONSES TO INTERNATIONAL TERRORISM
36
133.
Few of the measures being taken by the Government to improve the response to the
terrorist threat are unique to attacks using chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear
materials. The threat is international, and has motivated intelligence organisations to
intensify both national and international collaboration on an unprecedented scale. All of
the UK intelligence agencies are developing new techniques, and we
have seen clear evidence that they are co-operating at all levels.
134.
The most obvious embodiment of enhanced inter-departmental co-operation in the UK is
the Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre (JTAC). This is a multi-agency organisation, hosted by
the Security Service but staffed by personnel seconded from all of the agencies, law
enforcement organisations and relevant departments. Its staff retain links to their parent
departments and, operating on a round-the-clock basis, pool information to produce
continuous assessments of threats within the UK, to British interests abroad and of terrorist
activities generally. JTAC has now been operating for over a year and has
proved a success.
135.
The Security Service and Home Office are improving public education, through web sites
and by other means, for both long-term and immediate appreciation of terrorist threats.
136.
International counter-terrorism collaboration has also been significantly
enhanced in the past six or seven years. Though we understand that other
countries have not yet achieved the same level of inter-departmental
synthesis, considerable developments have taken place. Staff of the UK
intelligence and security agencies are today in much wider contact with
their opposite numbers throughout the world. We have, for example, been
briefed on a recent successful counter-terrorist operation which involved eight different
countries working together. We note these initiatives, but remain concerned
that the procedures of the international community are still not
sufficiently aligned to match the threat.
CHAPTER 4
COUNTER-PROLIFERATION MACHINERY
4.1 INTRODUCTION
137.
The proliferation of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons and their delivery systems
has been recognised by successive British Governments as a major threat to the country’s
interests. Internationally, those concerns have been manifested not least through the UK’s
support for the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, the Chemical Weapons Convention, the
Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention and the Missile Technology Control Regime.
Since the Cold War, the UK has had a range of mechanisms to prevent or limit proliferation
and sensitive technology transfers. In this Chapter, we describe the current UK counterproliferation machinery in relation to countries of concern and non-state actors such as
terrorist groups.
4.2 DEPARTMENTAL RESPONSIBILITIES
138.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) is responsible for advice on all aspects of
counter-proliferation policy including treaties and conventions, sanctions and export
control policy.
139.
The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is responsible for the implementation of the
UK’s international obligations relating to the Chemical Weapons Convention and the
International Atomic Energy Agency, and, through the Export Control Organisation (ECO),
for processing all applications for export licenses. The DTI is also responsible for export
control legislation and contributes to the formulation of general policy on United Nations
sanctions.
140.
The Ministry of Defence is responsible for the defence response to nuclear, chemical and
biological threats and ensures that defence considerations are taken into account in the
Government’s counter-proliferation policy. The Defence Intelligence Staff provides
detailed advice across the full range of counter-proliferation issues, including technical
analysis of weapons, production programmes, delivery systems and procurement
networks.
141.
HM Customs and Excise are responsible for the enforcement of export licensing controls
including the investigation and prosecution of suspected offences.
142.
Within the Cabinet Office, the Joint Intelligence Committee, supported by the
Assessments Staff, provides strategic national intelligence assessments which inform
counter-proliferation policy decisions. The Head of the Defence and Overseas Secretariat
of the Cabinet Office is responsible for co-ordinating policy on counter-proliferation
across Whitehall through the Counter-Proliferation Committee (CPC), which he chairs.
4.3 CO-ORDINATION
143.
The CPC is the principal co-ordination mechanism for strategic counter-proliferation
policy. It was formed in July 2002, bringing together policy and operational issues that had
37
previously been addressed by separate bodies. It includes senior officials from the
relevant policy departments, and the intelligence community.
144.
The Counter-Proliferation Implementation Committee (CPIC) is responsible for actions to
put into effect the strategies and initiatives agreed by the CPC. Among its other functions,
the CPIC co-ordinates more tactical or technical policy development and provides
guidance on priorities for the work of individual Whitehall departments. Representation on
CPIC is the same as the CPC with the addition of the Assessments Staff and HM Customs
and Excise.
145.
When Ministerial decisions are needed, the usual practice is for the department which
leads on the particular issue to consult its own Secretary of State noting the views of the
CPC and CPIC. As appropriate, the responsible Secretary of State may consult the Prime
Minister and other Ministerial colleagues.
146.
The Restricted Enforcement Unit (REU) is the working level group that acts on intelligence
relating to attempted breaches of UK export controls or other attempts to supply sensitive
items to countries of concern. It is chaired by the DTI and includes representatives of all
CPIC member departments.
147.
The Official Committee on Strategic Exports (OSE) has a very broad remit and
membership. It does not address specific counter-proliferation issues, but deals with
general aspects of the control of exports and the licensing of military goods and other
goods of strategic importance.
4.4 THE ROLE OF INTELLIGENCE
38
148.
As we note in Chapter 1, proliferating states usually represent difficult targets for
intelligence collectors, and weapons programmes are usually particularly difficult targets
within them. Intelligence will as a result usually provide only a part of the picture, but the
alternative is usually no picture at all. Countries of concern go to great lengths to conceal
weapons programmes because they represent some of the most sensitive and secret
work undertaken in those countries. For example, because procurement is illegal, they
use networks of companies to conduct procurement; and production and storage facilities
are often sited in remote locations.
149.
Intelligence performs an important role in many aspects of the
Government’s counter-proliferation work. It helps to identify proliferating
countries, organisations and individuals through JIC assessments, DIS
proliferation studies and operational intelligence. It can help to interdict
or disrupt the activities of proliferators either nationally or in co-operation
with other countries. It can support diplomatic activity by revealing
states’ attitudes to counter-proliferation or by informing the assessments
of international partners. It can also support inspection, monitoring and
verification regimes and on occasions military action.
150.
Intelligence can play an important part in enforcing export controls,
particularly in relation to ‘dual-use’ goods and technologies. The ECO
processes some 10,000 intelligence reports a year and about 9,000 applications for
individual export licences. The Restricted Enforcement Unit regularly considers the latest
intelligence relating to potential breaches of export controls or other exports of concern
and co-ordinates action by its member departments. These actions can include alerting
UK exporters to the activities of proliferators, seizing goods, investigating potential
breaches of UK export controls and informing the authorities in other countries of
proliferation activities under their jurisdiction and encouraging them to take action
against them.
39
40
CHAPTER 5
IRAQ
5.1 INTRODUCTION
151.
A great deal of information on Iraq’s nuclear, chemical, biological and ballistic missile
programmes has already been published - more so, it seems to us, than on the other
countries we have studied. We do not therefore seek to tell the full story here. Rather, we
focus mainly on the intelligence assessments made by the British intelligence community;
on how they were derived, and especially on the reliability of the underpinning
intelligence; and on the use made of intelligence in a range of activities of Ministers and
their departments.
152.
We have sought in our examination of departmental papers and in our questioning of
witnesses to assess the intelligence on Iraqi capabilities to enable us to answer three
broad questions:
153.
a.
What was the quality of the intelligence and other evidence, and the
assessments made of it, about the strategic intent of the Iraqi regime to
pursue nuclear, biological, chemical or ballistic missile programmes in
contravention of its obligations under United Nations Security Council
Resolution 687?
b.
What was the quality of the intelligence or other evidence, and the assessments
made of it, about Iraq seeking to sustain and develop its indigenous
knowledge, skills and materiel base which would provide it with a ‘break-out’
capability in each of those fields? Was there in particular good intelligence
or other evidence of Iraq pursuing activities to extend and enhance those
capabilities in contravention of its obligations under United Nations Security
Council Resolutions?
c.
What was the quality of the intelligence or other evidence, and the assessments
made of it, about Iraqi production or possession of prohibited chemical
and biological agents and weapons, nuclear materials and ballistic missiles?
We have studied the assessments of the Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC) and the
intelligence reports that underlay them as far back as 1990, for two reasons. First, we have
sought to establish whether there are any detectable systemic issues surrounding the
effective operation of the intelligence process over more than a decade which might have
affected JIC assessments in the period prior to the second Gulf war. Secondly, we have
sought to establish whether assessments made about the scale of Iraq’s nuclear,
biological, chemical and ballistic missile weapons programmes at the time of the first Gulf
war and during the early- and mid-1990s had a lasting impact which was reflected in JIC
assessments made in 2002 and 2003.
41
154.
We have sought in particular to examine whether there is anything in JIC assessments
made over the period from 1990 to 2003 which might illuminate the central conundrum that
underlay the establishment of our Review – the apparent absence, against
expectations, of significant stocks of chemical and biological agents and weapons, and
of longer-range ballistic missiles, when coalition forces entered Iraq in 2003. We
recognise that we have the advantage of hindsight in doing so.
5.2 1990–1998
155.
We looked first at JIC assessments and underpinning intelligence reports in the period
from 1990, prior to the first Gulf war, to the departure of United Nations inspectors in 1998.
We set out the JIC’s judgements in some detail (as we do throughout this Chapter). We
have chosen not to comment in as much detail in this Section on the underpinning
intelligence reports or on the sources. In part, this is because many of the JIC’s
judgements changed in later years as new intelligence was received. In part, it is because
the most authoritative information on the status of Iraq’s nuclear, biological, chemical and
ballistic missile programmes in this period came from reports produced by the United
Nations Special Commission (UNSCOM) and by the International Atomic Energy Agency
(IAEA) derived from their inspection activities on the ground. But it may help in setting the
context for what follows to record that our Review has shown that the intelligence agencies
contributed to a steady flow of intelligence covering Iraqi procurement activities, attempts
to break United Nations sanctions, concealment of prohibited programmes and plans for
handling UNSCOM and IAEA inspections. Intelligence reporting increased in volume as
the dispute between the Iraqi regime and the United Nations developed in 1998.
IRAQ’S NUCLEAR WEAPONS PROGRAMME
156.
A JIC assessment produced in September 1990 noted that:
Our assessment is that, unless it receives significant external assistance, it will
take Iraq:
-
at least three years to establish a production capability for fissile material;
-
one more year before sufficient weapons-grade material would be available for
the production of one nuclear device; and
-
a further year or more (ie 1995 at the earliest) before there would be enough
material for a small stockpile of 3–4 weapons.
[JIC, 27 September 1990]
157.
42
That assessment was based on the Iraqis using only a centrifuge route to the enrichment
of fissile material, an assumption later shown to be incorrect. But it did cover, on the basis
of intelligence, the ability of the Iraqi regime to implement a ‘crash programme’ to acquire
a nuclear device in a considerably shorter time. The JIC noted that doing so would require
Iraq to order diversion to military purposes of nuclear material stored at civil sites, in
breach of the IAEA safeguards regime; to recover unburnt uranium from reactor fuel; and
to have advanced with work on firing systems and high explosive parts to the stage where
they could be incorporated into a nuclear device. The JIC noted that:
If and only if all of these conditions were met, and assuming that reprocessing of
diverted fuel started at the time of the invasion of Kuwait, then it is conceivable that
Iraq could have the capability to make an untested nuclear weapon (though not a
series of weapons) with a yield of approximately 20 kilotonnes by the end of this year.
[JIC, 27 September 1990]
158.
The JIC noted that there were some indications that Saddam Hussein might have
authorised a development project on those lines. It also concluded, however, that those
indications did not lead it to alter its judgement that:
. . . the technical difficulties would be so great as to be virtually insurmountable in
the short time available.
[JIC, 27 September 1990]
159.
In a further assessment in December 1990, produced following an IAEA inspection in
November, the JIC noted that:
We have no intelligence that would cause us to change our assessment of Iraq’s
current nuclear capability. Without significant foreign assistance, Iraq is still at least
three years away from the capability to produce fissile material itself; and at least a
further year away from being able to turn it into a weapon.
[JIC, 4 December 1990]
160.
The JIC also reconsidered its previous judgements on the possibility of Iraq having a
‘crash programme’ to build a nuclear device, concluding that:
We continue to believe that the most obvious short cut for Iraq to produce at least
one nuclear device would be by diverting the material from its civil reactor
programme, which was inspected by the IAEA. We have no reason to believe that
the IAEA inspection was flawed. This means that the material had not been diverted
by 22 November. If, however, material were diverted immediately after the
inspection . . . [Iraq] might, in ideal circumstances, be able to produce a single,
untested device by mid-1991. But we continue to believe that the technical problems
would be so great as to be virtually insurmountable in such a short timescale.
[JIC, 4 December 1990]
161.
Finally, the JIC noted that:
The only other way in which Iraq could have a nuclear weapon within the next few
months would be for it to acquire, or to have acquired, the necessary material, or a
complete weapon, from an outside supplier.
[JIC, 4 December 1990]
162.
The JIC dismissed this option, on the grounds that, of the countries with access to fissile
material, only a few might conceivably have the motivation to supply the necessary
materiel or weapons and that the JIC did not in any case consider such supply likely.
43
163.
The period after the war was marked by periodic reports by the JIC on the progress made
by the IAEA in supervising the dismantlement of Iraq’s nuclear weapons programme, and
re-assessments of Iraq’s indigenous capabilities and the timescales within which it might
be able to build a viable nuclear device. It is clear that two IAEA discoveries in 1991 had
a significant impact on JIC assessments of Iraqi capabilities in the nuclear field.
164.
The first was the discovery that, rather than focusing only on the centrifuge route, Iraq had
been pursuing a number of routes for the production of fissile material. The JIC reported
that, on the basis of post-war intelligence, it now knew that:
. . . in the 1980s Iraq investigated four methods of uranium enrichment, including
the use of centrifuges. But the route that had made most progress was
electromagnetic isotope separation (EMIS).
[JIC, 11 July 1991]
165.
The JIC noted also that, according to the intelligence:
. . . enough fissile material had been produced before the coalition air attacks to
produce one nuclear device.
[JIC, 11 July 1991]
166.
The JIC concluded that, whilst it found the new intelligence generally credible, it did not
believe that Iraq could have obtained enough fissile material for a bomb by the route
described in the new intelligence - a judgement later supported by the IAEA. It
nevertheless cautioned that:
Nonetheless, given our lack of intelligence about the Iraqi nuclear programme, we
cannot exclude the possibility that Iraq might have produced more fissile material
than we have previously believed.
[JIC, 11 July 1991]
167.
The second discovery was that made by an IAEA inspection team in September 1991 of
significant volumes of documents about Iraq’s nuclear weapons programme. The JIC
noted that the inspection had confirmed the existence of a comprehensive Iraqi nuclear
weapons programme. It concluded that:
On the basis of the evidence so far of the programme’s progress before Desert
Storm, Iraq could have made its first nuclear weapon by 1993, had its work not been
interrupted by the war.
[JIC, 3 October 1991]
that is, at least two years earlier than its pre-war assessment.
168.
44
It is clear from the papers we have seen and from oral evidence given by witnesses that
the IAEA’s discovery in 1991 of the full scale of Iraqi capabilities had a significant impact
on JIC assessments thereafter.
169.
A JIC assessment of August 1995 included an assessment of evidence provided by
Saddam Hussein’s son-in-law, Hussein Kamil, after his defection, and of new information
which was drawn out from the Iraqi regime as a result of that defection. The JIC noted that:
Iraq also admits it previously concealed the full extent of its nuclear programme. It
has revealed that in August 1990 it began a crash programme, later abandoned, to
build a nuclear weapon within a year.
[JIC, 24 August 1995]
170.
The JIC also noted that Iraq:
. . . intended to use nuclear material held under IAEA safeguards in Iraq. The Iraqis
claim the plan was abandoned because they concluded that the IAEA would detect
their activities. In fact, they had insufficient fissile material to make a nuclear device.
Hussein Kamil’s reported claim that, at the time of the Gulf conflict, Iraq was only
three months from completing a nuclear weapon probably refers to the ‘crash
programme’. It is very unlikely to be true.
[JIC, 24 August 1995]
171.
JIC assessments in the period after 1995 to the departure of the United Nations inspectors
focussed on continuing IAEA activities, and on Iraq’s residual indigenous capabilities.
They included a consistent JIC assessment that, if all United Nations controls on Iraq’s
nuclear activities were removed, Iraq could possibly develop a nuclear device in around
five years. We have taken as a useful summary of Iraqi capabilities at that time a JIC
assessment in February 1998 that:
UNSCOM and the IAEA have succeeded in destroying or controlling the vast
majority of Saddam’s 1991 weapons of mass destruction (WMD) capability.
[JIC, 4 February 1998]
IRAQ’S CHEMICAL WEAPONS PROGRAMME
172.
In reviewing JIC assessments of Iraq’s chemical weapons programme, we were struck at
the outset by the impact of a single intelligence report received in November 1990 on the
then Iraqi chemical warfare capability. (We cover at Chapter 6 the impact of reporting
from this source on JIC assessments of Iraqi possession and production of plague and
‘dusty mustard’.) The report added new detail to the JIC’s existing body of knowledge,
covering the types of chemical agents held in the Iraqi stockpile; the capabilities of those
agents; their weaponisation into free-fall bombs; the availability of suitable ballistic
missiles for the delivery of particular agents; and the volumes of each type of agent, and
hence of the total chemical agent stockpile. JIC assessments picked up key details from
this report, including putting Iraq’s total chemical agent stocks in the range 15,000–22,000
tonnes - a figure adopted briefly by the JIC.
173.
We can understand how such a detailed report, received only a little before the onset of
hostilities, would have caught the attention of the intelligence community. We can also
understand how, in such circumstances, the JIC might have felt that it needed to present
a worst case assessment, and to let those responsible for operational planning have all
45
available intelligence, even if uncorroborated. But we have noted that the report turned out
to be wrong on several counts: on the total stockpile of chemical agent, on the availability
of particular types of agent and on the ballistic missile systems available for their delivery.
174.
Estimates of the size of the Iraqi chemical agent stockpile were revised radically
downwards in the immediate pre-war period, from the November 1990 estimate described
above to an assessed range of 6,000–10,000 tonnes. This was drawn up to provide
military commanders with an indication of the possible scale of Iraq’s use of chemical
weapons, and of how long such use could be sustained. We questioned the derivation of
the figures. We were told that the calculation started from an estimate of Iraq’s chemical
agent production capacity, derived from past intelligence about production at individual
plants, pieced together to provide a figure for the combined capacity of Iraq’s production
plants of 3,000–5,000 tonnes per annum1. Estimates of the possible size of the stockpile
were derived by assuming two years’ production at full capacity over the period from the
end of the Iran/Iraq war until the start of the first Gulf war. Such estimates assumed that no
chemical agent stocks had been left over from the Iran/Iraq war. The sizeable range given
is a reflection of the uncertainty inherent in this estimate, and especially in the scale of
operation of the production plants. Less agent would have been available had the plants
been operating at less than full capacity; more would have been available had some
stocks remained after the Iran/Iraq war.
175.
We understand why the JIC chose that method of calculation, given the limited evidence
available in the immediate post-war period of residual Iraqi chemical weapons
capabilities. We also noted that the assumptions behind the estimate were clearly spelt
out in the JIC assessment. But we have also concluded that one consequence was to
leave the intelligence community with an estimate for the size of the Iraqi chemical agent
stockpile which was over-cautious, and at its upper end worst case. We have also noted
that, after May 1991, JIC assessments did not spell out that the figures inside them were
calculated on the same worst case basis. There will inevitably have been a risk that that
estimate, shorn of its assumptions, may have become the ‘prevailing wisdom’, with
subsequent Iraqi declarations being tested against it for truthfulness, especially in
circumstances where intelligence was sparse. If so, that process would have tended to
lead to deductions by analysts and policy-makers that there were shortfalls in Iraqi
declarations. Furthermore, suspicions here will have been exacerbated by Iraqi
prevarication, concealment and deception in the early- and mid-1990s, reinforcing any
suspicions that Iraq had substantial stocks to hide.
176.
We have also noted, however, that by 1994/95 the JIC was becoming more sanguine
about the size of the Iraqi chemical agent stockpile and indeed of the value to Iraq of
retaining a stockpile at all. A JIC assessment in September 1994 noted that:
. . . we do not believe the full extent of the CW programme has yet been revealed
but also that:
1
46
Iraq later declared to UNSCOM that, during the entire period of its chemical warfare programme, it produced 3,859
tonnes of chemical agent. Of this quantity, it weaponised 3,315 tonnes, of which about 80% was used during the Iran/
Iraq war. UNSCOM was unable to verify this information fully.
Although UNSCOM has destroyed the large declared stocks of CW agents,
precursors and weapons, Iraq may have retained a secret stockpile but we have no
direct evidence. Hidden stockpiles are probably unnecessary as the Iraqi civil
chemical industry can produce all the precursors needed to make mustard agent
and most of those for nerve agents.
[JIC, 8 September 1994]
177.
In the same vein, in August 1995, drawing on evidence provided by Hussein Kamil after
his defection, the JIC concluded that:
We assess [Iraq] may also have hidden some specialised equipment and stocks of
precursor chemicals but it is unlikely they have a covert stockpile of weapons or
agent in any significant quantity; Hussein Kamil claims there are no remaining
stockpiles of agent.
[JIC, 24 August 1995]
178.
The JIC assessed at the same time that Iraq:
. . .could begin to make chemical weapons within a matter of weeks, and produce
significant quantities within months, if UN constraints were removed.
[JIC, 24 August 1995]
179.
That assessment represented the low point in estimates of the size of Iraqi chemical agent
stocks. Thereafter, the JIC had growing suspicions and concerns. In an assessment in
June 1996, it noted that:
We doubt that all agents, munitions, precursor chemicals and equipment have been
accounted for.
[JIC, 12 June 1996]
180.
In October 1997, the JIC expressed its doubts more strongly:
Iraq nevertheless remains capable of regenerating a CW capability in a matter of
months. We assess that some CW agents, munitions, precursor chemicals and
production equipment remain hidden . . .
[JIC, 8 October 1997]
181.
Notwithstanding its overall assessment in February 1998 that:
UNSCOM and the IAEA have succeeded in destroying or controlling the vast
majority of Saddam’s 1991 weapons of mass destruction (WMD) capability.
[JIC, 4 February 1998]
the JIC also later that year repeated its view that:
. . . some CW agents, munitions, precursor chemicals and production equipment
remain hidden.
[JIC, 24 September 1998]
47
182.
We conclude that the impression left by JIC assessments in the mind of readers at the time
of departure of United Nations inspectors will have been of suspicion and concern about
Iraq’s break-out capability, coupled with possible possession of chemical agent
stockpiles, in breach of its United Nations obligations.
IRAQ’S BIOLOGICAL WEAPONS PROGRAMME
183.
A JIC assessment produced in June 1992 included the JIC’s judgement that:
. . . Iraq retains a potential BW agent production capability and has hidden BW
weapons.
[JIC, 4 June 1992]
184.
The JIC reached broadly the same conclusion in two assessments in 1993. As with
chemical weapons, however, by 1994/95 the JIC was becoming more sanguine about the
size of the biological agent stockpile. In an assessment in September 1994, the JIC
noted that:
There is little need for hidden stockpiles of BW weapons or agents. Small quantities
of agent could be quickly and covertly produced . . .
[JIC, 8 September 1994]
185.
As with JIC assessments on Iraq’s chemical weapons programmes, that judgement
represented the low point in assessments of the status of the Iraqi biological weapons
programme. Thereafter, following the defection of Hussein Kamil and the Iraqi admission
of an extensive biological weapons programme, the JIC had growing concerns that Iraq
was concealing biological agent stocks. Thus, in an assessment in June 1996, the JIC
noted that:
We do not believe Iraqi statements that the BW programme has been destroyed.
Possibly substantial elements, including some production equipment and
weaponised agent, continue to be concealed.
[JIC, 12 June 1996]
186.
We enquired into the reason for this shift in the JIC’s view, in the apparent absence of
underpinning reliable intelligence. We were told that the changed assessment was based
on the impact of Hussein Kamil’s defection, UNSCOM’s inability to reconcile Iraqi claims
for production and destruction, unaccounted-for growth media and a total lack of cooperation from the Iraqis.
187.
The JIC included a similar judgement in an assessment in December 1997, which noted
that Iraq:
. . . may have retained hidden BW production equipment, agent and delivery
systems.
and that it:
. . . could, in any event, regenerate a significant offensive BW capability within
months . . .
[JIC, 4 December 1997]
48
188.
Thus, as with assessments of Iraq’s chemical weapons programme, notwithstanding the
JIC’s assessment in February 1998 that:
UNSCOM and the IAEA have succeeded in destroying or controlling the vast
majority of Saddam’s 1991 weapons of mass destruction (WMD) capability.
[JIC, 4 February 1998]
the JIC concluded later that year that:
Some biological warfare (BW) production equipment, stocks of agents and even
weapons are probably retained by Iraq.
[JIC, 24 September 1998]
189.
We conclude that the impression left by JIC assessments in the mind of readers at the time
of departure of United Nations inspectors will have been of concern about Iraq’s breakout capability, coupled with possible biological agent stockpiles, in breach of its United
Nations obligations.
IRAQ’S BALLISTIC MISSILE PROGRAMME
190.
As with its assessments on Iraq’s chemical weapons programme, JIC assessments on
Iraq’s ballistic missile capabilities in the period before the first Gulf war were done on what
was effectively a worst case basis. The JIC did not make this explicitly clear, although it
did caution that:
There are considerable uncertainties about Iraq’s current ballistic missile capability
and deployments.
[JIC, 20 September 1990]
191.
Given these uncertainties, the JIC could only provide an estimate which, in September
1990, was that Iraq had a stockpile of “about 700” ballistic missiles. The JIC broke down
this figure between the three primary SCUD-based missile systems, concluding that:
. . . there could be about 300 SCUD-B missiles . . .
that:
The Iraqis may have converted some 250 SCUD-B missiles to the longer-range Al
Hussein variant.
and that:
The second SCUD derivative is the Al-Abbas missile, of which the Iraqis could now
have up to 150.
[JIC, 20 September 1990]
192.
In the event, the Al Abbas was probably never deployed operationally, although it
underwent a number of flight tests. No Al Abbas missiles were fired in the first Gulf war,
and UNSCOM made no mention of them in their Final Report of January 1999. At the time
of production of the assessment, there was much uncertainty not only over the number of
ballistic missiles available to Iraq but also over the status of the domestically-modified
49
Scud variants (Al Hussein and Al Abbas). We have been told that Iraq later declared to the
United Nations that it had produced 17 Al Abbas and 387 Al Hussein missiles between
1987 and 1990. Thus, if the Iraqi figures are taken at face value, while the JIC paper was
approximately correct in its estimate of the overall number of about 400 Scud missile
variants produced by Iraq, it was inaccurate in the ratio of production between Al Abbas
and Al Hussein. A possible explanatory factor is that the JIC’s performance estimate for
one of the two versions of the Al Abbas missile was not greatly different from that of the Al
Hussein. The episode illuminates, however, the complexities surrounding estimates of
Iraqi ballistic missile stocks, against which later JIC estimates should be considered.
193.
By contrast to pre-war assessments, JIC assessments prepared in April and May 1991 on
the residual Iraqi ballistic missile stockpile did declare explicitly that they had been
prepared on a worst case basis and in the absence of any direct intelligence. On the basis
of somewhat fewer than 100 Iraqi missile firings during the war, the JIC concluded that Iraq:
. . . may have up to 600 left (but probably less), both standard Scud and extendedrange variants.
[JIC, 17 April 1991]
194.
On that basis, the JIC said that:
We cannot be precise, but we are confident that the Iraqis have substantially underreported the numbers of missiles.
[JIC, 9 May 1991]
195.
As in the chemical and biological weapons fields, we detect a risk here that, by making
comparisons with worst case assessments (especially those not declared as such),
analysts and policy-makers may have come to conclude that there were shortfalls in Iraqi
declarations, with suspicions being exacerbated by Iraqi prevarication, concealment and
deception.
196.
A further JIC assessment in January 1992 described Iraqi declarations and included a
substantial downwards revision in its estimates of Iraq’s ballistic missile stockpile. The JIC
reported that:
Although we do not know the true figure, we assess that around 100 Scud B remain
concealed.
[JIC, 16 January 1992]
197.
The JIC did not show fully the basis on which it derived that calculation. It has not therefore
been possible for us to investigate whether the assumptions that underpinned it might have
had an impact on assessments in later years about whether Iraq was concealing ballistic
missiles and, if so, how many.
198.
The JIC also noted in the same assessment that there might be:
. . . as many as 250 complete Soviet built SCUD B guidance and engine packages
which cannot be accounted for, and would be critical for future production. Provided
the raw material was available, Iraq could build its own replacement mid-body
sections and assemble new missiles from this stockpile.
[JIC, 16 January 1992]
50
The possibility of Iraq reassembling missiles from hidden components was to be a major
feature of JIC estimates of the Iraqi ballistic missile stockpile in the years ahead.
199.
JIC assessments in 1992 and 1993 reported on progress on UNSCOM inspections and
remaining uncertainties; and included judgements on the ability of the Iraqi regime to
resume production of missiles with ranges longer than those permitted under United
Nations Security Council Resolution 687. As in the nuclear, biological and chemical
weapons fields, the JIC assessment of August 1995 included an analysis of Iraq’s residual
ballistic missile capabilities, taking into account information provided by Hussein Kamil
after his defection. We noted in particular that the JIC recorded that:
UNSCOM has verified destruction of the declared Scuds (and the Iraqi derivatives)
and their launchers and believes it has a satisfactory account of what happened to
the rest. UNSCOM has also supervised destruction of components and much of the
missile-related infrastructure . . .
[JIC, 24 August 1995]
200.
In the same reassuring vein, the JIC said that:
We would expect Kamil to know a lot about the missile programme . . . He has also
said that all the Scuds and their components have been destroyed . . .
[JIC, 24 August 1995]
201.
The JIC also noted, however, that:
Iraq will retain a technology and production base because SCR 687 allows it to
continue to develop and manufacture missiles with ranges less than 150 km. But
intelligence reports that some current missile R&D work is being hidden from
UNSCOM inspectors. Iraq has now revealed that it developed domestic Scud-type
missile motors. This re-introduces uncertainty into an area where UNSCOM had
previously expressed itself to be satisfied.
[JIC, 24 August 1995]
202.
This inherent uncertainty was reflected in the next JIC assessment, in June 1996, in which
the JIC said that:
Information obtained in the wake of the August defection has, however, led
UNSCOM to judge that missile components, launchers and possibly complete
SCUD missiles remain hidden. We doubt whether there are any concealed missiles
in Iraq but it is likely that components remain.
[JIC, 12 June 1996]
203.
The JIC also included an assessment of Iraq’s ability to regenerate a longer-range missile
capability:
If all UN controls were to be removed and Iraq could purchase the technology and
expertise required to produce a long-range missile, an accurate 1,000km range
missile could probably be produced within three to five years. A 300–500km range
SCUD type missile could be indigenously manufactured within two years.
[JIC, 12 June 1996]
51
204.
In the period from 1996 to the withdrawal of United Nations inspectors in December 1998,
the JIC continued to assess that, because of the inherent uncertainties, Iraq might retain
variously “a small number”, “a handful” or “some” ballistic missiles. While UNSCOM
concluded in 1997 that all but two Scud missiles acquired by Iraq from the Soviet Union
had been accounted for, this did not cover some other indigenously produced missiles
which Iraq claimed to have destroyed. We have observed in this context remarks
attributed to Ambassador Ekeus (Executive Chairman of UNSCOM, 1991–1997) that a
number of Iraqi missiles, put variously in the range 6–25, remained unaccounted for. We
have also noted information from one intelligence source in 1998 suggesting that Iraq
retained sufficient complete missiles and components to allow it to assemble up to 16
missiles in total.
205.
The JIC’s final assessment before the withdrawal of United Nations inspectors in
December 1998 was that:
We cannot rule out the possibility that Saddam retains a handful of missiles . . .
these could be available for use within a matter of weeks or perhaps even days.
Provided it still has key components - and that is unclear - Iraq could within a few
months build, with little risk of detection, missiles capable of hitting Israel and key
targets in Saudi Arabia. If it needs to make or acquire the components, production
of such missiles could begin within a year . . .
[JIC, 24 September 1998]
206.
We conclude that the impression left by JIC assessments in the mind of readers at the time
of departure of the United Nations inspectors will have been of concern about the ability
of Iraq to regenerate a small number of ballistic missiles, either through bringing back
into use missiles that had been hidden or by re-assembling missiles from hidden
components.
SUMMARY
52
207.
From our analysis of JIC assessments in this period, we are left with four strong
impressions. First, of effective - but not demonstrably complete - work carried out by the
IAEA and UNSCOM to supervise the dismantlement of Iraq’s nuclear, biological and
chemical weapons programmes, together with those missile programmes prohibited
under United Nations Security Council Resolution 687. Secondly, of a progressive
reduction in JIC estimates of Iraq’s indigenous capabilities in the period to 1994/95.
Thirdly, however, of growing suspicions and concerns underlying JIC assessments
between 1995 and 1998 of Iraq’s chemical, biological and ballistic missile capabilities,
which were exacerbated and reinforced by Iraqi prevarication, concealment and
deception. We detect signs that this context led to the JIC making its estimates of Iraqi
capabilities on an over-cautious or worst case basis (not always declared as such).
208.
Our fourth impression is of differences in the quality of the assessments carried out by the
JIC. We have been impressed by intelligence assessments on Iraq’s nuclear capabilities.
They were generally thorough; drew fully on both open and secret material; brought
together human and technical intelligence; offered a view where appropriate on the
quality of the underlying intelligence sources; were balanced and measured; identified
explicitly those areas where previous assessments had been wrong, and the reasons why,
to correct the record; and at each significant stage included consideration of alternative
hypotheses and scenarios, and provided an explanation of the consequences were any
to arise, to aid readers’ understanding.
209.
We recognise that assessments in the chemical and biological weapons fields are
intrinsically more difficult, and that analysis draws on different intelligence techniques. We
are conscious in particular that, because chemical and biological weapons programmes
can draw heavily on ‘dual use’ materials, it is easier for a proliferating state to keep its
programmes covert. The intelligence community will also have had in mind that Iraq had
used its chemical weapons in the past, and was engaged in a sustained programme to try
to deceive United Nations inspectors and to conceal from them evidence of its prohibited
programmes. Even so, we have found JIC assessments in these areas less assured. Our
impression is that they were less complete, especially in their considerations of alternative
hypotheses; used a different ‘burden of proof’ in testing Iraqi declarations; and hence
inclined towards over-cautious or worst case estimates, carrying with them a greater
sense of suspicion and an accompanying propensity to disbelieve. We return to this point
in our Conclusions.
5.3 1998 – MARCH 2002
THE POLICY CONTEXT
210.
In this Section, we consider the intelligence and the use made of it in the period from the
withdrawal of United Nations inspectors in 1998 to early 2002.
211.
1998 was marked by rising tensions between the United Nations and Iraq over the ability
of UNSCOM and IAEA inspectors to carry out their work, in particular their ability to carry
out inspections at presidential compounds and palaces. We judge that this tension had
an impact on the way in which the intelligence community assessed the intelligence
available to it, and in particular contributed to the climate of suspicion on which we have
remarked in the previous Section.
212.
It will also have had an influence on policy-makers, in shaping the overall context within
which they read JIC assessments. The Government’s policy position at that time was
encapsulated in the statement by the Prime Minister to the House of Commons on 24
February 1998 on the most recent crisis over UNSCOM and IAEA inspections. That
provides an insight not only into the way in which the Government viewed events in Iraq
itself but also the broader context within which policy towards Iraq was made, both then
and over the next few years. In his statement in 1998, the Prime Minister said that:
. . . This has not been an artificial argument about some theoretical threat, but a
reflection of real alarm on the part of UN inspectors about the use of [Presidential
compounds] to conceal both evidence and actual weapons . . .
Saddam began by saying that there could be no access to the sites. Then, under
intense pressure, not least from the start of build-up of forces in the Gulf, he
53
eventually agreed that they could be visited once. That was clearly unacceptable,
but he refused to move further. Meanwhile, we and the Americans, together with our
other allies, continued to make it clear that, if he did not back down, we saw no
alternative in the end to the use of force. We made preparations to ensure that we
were ready to use force, if absolutely necessary. . . .
We should never forget that if we do not stop Saddam Hussein acting in breach of
his agreement on weapons of mass destruction, the losers will be not just those
threatened by him, but the authority and standing of the UN itself. . . .
The Saddam Hussein we face today is the same Saddam Hussein we faced
yesterday. He has not changed. He remains an evil, brutal dictator. The only thing
that has changed is that he has changed his mind in the face of effective diplomacy
and firm willingness to use force. . . .
We will not tolerate any repetition of the Iraqi behaviour that has led to this
agreement. We are not going to play more elaborate diplomatic games that allow
Saddam Hussein to thwart the inspections regime that has now been agreed. . . .
Throughout the dispute, our aim has been a peaceful, diplomatic settlement. There
was no desire on either side of the Atlantic to use force, but it was also clear to us
throughout that Saddam Hussein only understands and respects force. . . .
Saddam Hussein has spent seven years playing for time, but has been thwarted by
the resolve of the international community. It is now clearer than ever that his games
have to stop once and for all. If they do not, the consequences should be clear to all.
[Hansard, 24 February 1998, Col 173]
213.
A joint memorandum submitted by the then Foreign and Defence Secretaries to the
Cabinet Ministerial Committee on Defence and Overseas Policy in May 1999 covered
future strategy towards Iraq. That paper set out the Government’s policy objectives
towards Iraq as being:
. . . in the short term, to reduce the threat Saddam poses to the region, including by
eliminating his Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) programmes; and, in the longer
term, to reintegrate a territorially intact Iraq as a law-abiding member of the
international community.
214.
The paper noted that the Government had sought to achieve these aims:
. . . by a policy of containment, through active support of UNSCOM/IAEA efforts to
complete WMD disarmament in Iraq, diplomatic pressure and sanctions, backed by
the threat and, as necessary, use of military force.
215.
The paper made judgements on the success of that policy and its longer-term prospects:
Containment has kept the lid on Saddam. . . . But containment has disadvantages:
it does not produce rapid or decisive results; it is resource-intensive, requiring
constant diplomatic effort and a significant military presence; and it is not always
easy to justify to public opinion, as criticisms of UK/US air strikes and of the
humanitarian impact of sanctions has shown.
54
216.
Following the withdrawal of United Nations inspectors, the paper stressed the importance
of an effective, in-country arms control regime:
An important tool of containment has hitherto been a reasonably effective in-country
arms control regime. . . . External controls and sanctions can constrain, though not
eradicate, the importation of military and dual-use materials . . . external monitoring
has serious limitations . . . and would be less of a constraint on Saddam than an
intrusive in-country regime. Moreover, it would be unable to pursue disarmament,
and thus offer no realistic prospect of being able to give Iraq a clean bill of health as
required by the UNSCRs before sanctions can be lifted.
217.
Finally, the paper, after considering humanitarian and other policy issues, concluded that
the policy of containment should be sustained, on the grounds that:
However difficult it may be to sustain a policy of containment, it is not clear what the
alternatives would be. To simply walk away from the problem would be an admission
of failure, and leave Saddam free to pose once more a major threat to regional
security and British interests. On the other hand, a policy of trying to topple Saddam
would command no useful international support. . . .
Containment, therefore, remains the only usable option for achieving our policy
objectives. If Iraq complied with UNSCRs, we should then lift sanctions. . . . If, on
the other hand, Iraq does not co-operate with the UN (let alone comply with the
UNSCRs), we face the prospect of indefinite containment from outside Iraq, based
on sanctions, external monitoring and control, and the threat of military force if
Saddam seeks to threaten his neighbours or reconstitute his WMD capabilities.
IRAQ’S NUCLEAR WEAPONS PROGRAMME
218.
A substantial JIC assessment on Iraq’s nuclear weapons capabilities in December 2000
sustained the JIC’s prior assessment that:
Iraq still lacks fissile material and the infrastructure to make it. With trade sanctions
but no UN monitoring, we judge that it would be difficult in these circumstances for
Iraq to build a nuclear weapon. It would take at least five years, probably longer, and
only in the context of evading sanctions and foreign assistance, for Iraq to make such
a weapon; . . .
[JIC, 1 December 2000]
219.
The JIC noted, however, that:
Iraqi entities, some formerly associated with its nuclear programme, seek dual use
equipment that could be used in association with a centrifuge programme . . .
and that:
Unconfirmed intelligence indicates Iraqi interest in acquiring uranium . . .
[JIC, 1 December 2000]
55
220.
The intelligence underpinning the latter relates to an Iraqi trade mission to Africa and is
covered at Chapter 6; we judge it to have been represented correctly by the JIC in its
assessment. We are also satisfied that the JIC reflected fairly the intelligence
underpinning its statements about Iraqi attempts at procurement of ‘dual use’ equipment.
The assessment also contained a full options analysis of the impact of the continued
application (or otherwise) of United Nations sanctions, and of any resumption of United
Nations inspections, on the date by which Iraq could acquire a nuclear device.
221.
A further assessment by the JIC of the status of Iraq’s nuclear, biological, chemical and
ballistic missile programmes in May 2001 signalled a clear change in the JIC’s perception.
In the first Key Judgement to its assessment, the JIC noted that:
Our knowledge of developments in Iraq’s WMD and ballistic missile programmes
since Desert Fox air operations in December 1998 is patchy. But intelligence gives
grounds for concern and suggests that Iraq is becoming bolder in conducting
activities prohibited by UNSCR 687.
[JIC, 10 May 2001]
222.
The JIC cautioned that, on Iraq’s nuclear programme:
We have no clear intelligence . . .
[JIC, 10 May 2001]
223.
It did, however, include the Key Judgement that:
There is evidence of increased activity at Iraq’s only remaining nuclear facility and a
growing number of reports on possible nuclear related procurement. We judge but
cannot confirm that Iraq is conducting nuclear related research and development
into the enrichment of uranium and could have longer term plans to produce
enriched uranium for a weapon. If successful, this could reduce the time needed to
develop a nuclear warhead once sanctions were lifted.
[JIC, 10 May 2001]
224.
In support of this Key Judgement, the JIC noted once again Iraqi efforts to acquire items
for possible inclusion in a uranium enrichment programme using centrifuges, including
‘dual use’ items and aluminium tubes. Intelligence and its interpretation on the latter, which
became an issue of some controversy, is covered more fully at Chapter 6. The assessment
also noted that Iraq had
. . . recalled its nuclear scientists in 1998.
[JIC, 10 May 2001]
225.
This judgement was based on two human intelligence reports, both from new sources and
neither speaking from direct, current experience. Unusually in the nuclear field, we
conclude that those reports were given more weight in the JIC assessment than they could
reasonably bear.
IRAQ’S CHEMICAL WEAPONS PROGRAMME
226.
56
The JIC produced a further substantial assessment of Iraq’s chemical (and biological)
weapons programme in April 2000. It started with a warning that:
Our picture is limited.
a warning expanded in the body of the paper:
Since the departure of United Nations Special Commission for Iraq (UNSCOM), in
December 1998, our limited picture of Iraqi chemical and biological warfare
activities has been further reduced.
[JIC, 19 April 2000]
227.
Nevertheless, it included as the first Key Judgement of the assessment:
It is likely that Iraq is continuing to develop its offensive chemical warfare (CW) and
biological warfare (BW) capabilities.
[JIC, 19 April 2000]
228.
Underpinning this judgement, it noted that:
After the Gulf War, we know that a large proportion of Iraq’s CW capability was
destroyed under UNSCOM supervision. But we assess that some was not destroyed.
and that:
Iraq could have hidden dual use precursor chemicals, and production equipment,
since the Gulf War. Using these we continue to assess that, even with UNMOVIC and
other UN controls, Iraq could produce mustard agent within weeks of a decision to do
so. Iraq could produce limited quantities of nerve agent within months of such a
decision.
[JIC, 19 April 2000]
229.
The JIC also noted:
. . . continuing Iraqi procurement activities which could be associated with a chemical
weapons programme . . .
that:
Facilities formerly associated with Iraq’s chemical warfare programme at its
Habbaniyah I and II sites are being reconstructed.
and that:
. . . Iraq is restoring its civil chemical production capability, including pesticides, at
one of its former chemical warfare related facilities. We assess that this would help any
revival of its CW programme.
[JIC, 19 April 2000]
230.
In contrast to its warning about the limited amount of intelligence on Iraq’s nuclear weapons
programme, the JIC’s assessment in May 2001 noted that it had:
. . . good intelligence of Iraq’s former chemical and biological warfare (CBW) facilities,
their limited reconstruction and civil production. Taken together, this suggests a
continuing research and development programme.
[JIC, 10 May 2001]
57
231.
The JIC went on to say:
We believe that Iraq retains some production equipment, stocks of CW precursors,
agent and weapons, . . .
[JIC, 10 May 2001]
232.
It also noted that:
. . . intelligence of other related CW activity, including possible weaponisation, is less
clear.
[JIC, 10 May 2001]
233.
As well as the prior intelligence, described above, these judgements appear to have been
based on three main pieces of evidence:
a.
A single report from a new source who reported details of a project three years
earlier to integrate the nerve agent VX into rocket artillery warheads and the
subsequent filling of 60 warheads.
b.
A further single report from a new source, passing on the comments of a subsource that he had been part of a project to produce the nerve agent VX in the
period to 1998, again three years earlier.
c.
Intelligence pointing to the restoration of a facility formerly used for the
production of chemical agent precursors and on shipments to the plant, although
there was no positive evidence that precursors had been produced.
234.
A further report from a liaison service on the establishment of a group of chemical experts to
work on the production of chemical agent using mobile facilities appears to have been
discounted by the JIC.
235.
We conclude that the JIC reflected these reports fairly in its assessments of the status of
Iraq’s chemical weapons programme, especially those on the production and
weaponisation of the nerve agent VX. The intelligence applied mainly to historical (as
opposed to current) activity and, even so, was by no means conclusive.
IRAQ’S BIOLOGICAL WEAPONS PROGRAMME
236.
In an assessment of January 1999, in the immediate aftermath of Operation Desert Fox, the
JIC reached somewhat firmer judgements than in 1997 on Iraq’s biological weapons
capabilities. On Iraqi possession of biological agents, the JIC concluded that:
Following the 1991 Gulf War, Iraq concealed BW production equipment, stocks of
agents and perhaps even BW weapons; . . .
and on Iraqi production capabilities, that:
. . . Iraq has sufficient expertise, equipment, and materials to produce BW agents
within weeks.
[JIC, 7 January 1999]
58
237.
We were told that the reason for the shortening of timescales in the JIC’s judgements about
likely biological agent production - from months in earlier JIC assessments to weeks - was
intelligence of Iraqi requests for large quantities of growth media. We were told that these
were judged to be greatly in excess of Iraq’s likely legitimate requirements, on which advice
had been sought from medical experts familiar with commercial and hospital requirements
for growth media. It is not known if the growth media were actually obtained by Iraq. If they
had been, this would have decreased the time needed to produce biological warfare
agents.
238.
JIC assessments on Iraq’s biological warfare capabilities changed once again in its
assessment of April 2000. As well as the warning and Key Judgement that:
Our picture is limited. But it is likely that Iraq is continuing to develop its offensive
chemical warfare (CW) and biological warfare (BW) capabilities.
the JIC also concluded as a Key Judgement that:
There is clear evidence of continuing Iraqi biological warfare activity, including BW
related research and the production of BW agent. Iraq seems to be exploring the use
of mobile facilities to give its BW activities greater security. But we have no evidence for
Iraq filling weapons with biological agent since the Gulf War.
and, as before, noted in the main body of the text that:
We continue to assess that, even without procurement from abroad, Iraq has retained
sufficient expertise, equipment and materials to produce BW agents within weeks
using its legitimate biotechnology facilities.
[JIC, 19 April 2000]
239.
This firmer assessment was based on two new strands of evidence. The first was
intelligence reports on aspects of Iraqi research and development activities in 1997/98.
The second, and more significant, was new intelligence from a liaison service2 received
a few days before the production of the JIC assessment on the use by Iraq of mobile
facilities to produce biological agent. This intelligence and the judgements drawn from it
are described more fully at Chapter 6. We note that the JIC confined itself in the main body
of its assessment to saying that:
Iraq seems to be exploring the use of mobile facilities to give its biological warfare
activities greater security.
[JIC, 19 April 2000]
and to an assessment of the technical feasibility of production of the volumes of biological
agent described in the intelligence reporting. We believe that this language was
appropriate for a new source whose reporting had not by then been validated, although
the Key Judgement was somewhat more firmly expressed than the subsequent analysis
in the assessment might bear.
2
During the course of our Review, we were told by SIS that, as a result of their post-war validation of intelligence sources,
they had concluded that important aspects of the intelligence reports received by them on this issue were incorrect. A
fuller description is at Section 5.9.
59
240.
The JIC assessment of May 2001 cautioned that:
Our picture of Iraq’s BW programme is unclear.
[JIC, 10 May 2001]
241.
It went on to record, however, that it had:
. . . good intelligence of one facility that could be used to support BW agent
production.
and that:
Other intelligence which points to the possible research and production of BW agent
is unconfirmed. We believe Iraq retains equipment and materials to produce BW.
...
[JIC, 10 May 2001]
242.
In support of these judgements, the assessment pointed to additional intelligence on:
Iraqi attempts to recruit new scientists by people formerly associated with Iraq’s BW
programme to work on BW related research, including genetic engineering.
and:
Evidence of increased activity at a former BW associated plant in Amiriyah.
[JIC, 10 May 2001]
243.
The new intelligence came from human intelligence and imagery. Although the human
intelligence was recording events that had taken place some time previously, we
conclude that it was fairly reflected by the JIC.
244.
Continuing intelligence reports from the liaison service on Iraqi mobile biological agent
production facilities had a significant impact on the next JIC assessment, produced in
February 2002, which noted that:
Iraq . . . if it has not already done so, could produce significant quantities of BW
agent within days. . . .
[JIC, 27 February 2002]
245.
We were told that this further shortening of production timescales - from weeks to days was based on a more thorough understanding of the capabilities of the mobile production
facilities, and on refurbishment of an Iraqi facility involved in biological agent production
and research before the first Gulf war.
IRAQ’S BALLISTIC MISSILE PROGRAMME
246.
A substantial JIC assessment in December 2000 covered Iraqi ballistic missile stocks and
indigenous research, development and production capabilities. The JIC sustained its
estimate of the late-1990s of the size of residual Iraqi ballistic missile stocks:
. . . a handful of ageing SCUD-derived missiles, with a range of up to 650 km, are
probably disassembled and concealed. These could be re-assembled quickly and
60
used (albeit with little accuracy) against targets in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and even
Israel; . . .
[JIC, 1 December 2000]
247.
On Iraq’s indigenous capabilities, the JIC noted that:
Iraq has increased the pace and scope of its missile research and development
programmes. Series production of the 150 km range Al Samoud could begin within
months. A longer range version (up to 200 km) is being worked on. We have no
evidence of a revival in the 650 km range Al Hussein missile programme. But
according to intelligence, preliminary work is under way on another missile with a
possible range of over 700 km; . . .
[JIC, 1 December 2000]
248.
Intelligence supporting the JIC’s judgements on Iraqi research and development
programmes came from a range of sources, and was in our view substantial.
249.
The JIC produced further assessments of Iraq’s ballistic missile programme in February
2001 and May 2001. That in February 2001 put for the first time an actual number to the
size of the residual Iraqi stockpile of Al Hussein missiles:
We know that Iraq has retained key components of disassembled 650 km range Al
Hussein missiles. Recent intelligence suggests that they may have assembled up to
20 of these missiles.
[JIC, 9 February 2001]
250.
The JIC appears to have based this judgement on its long-standing view, going as far
back as the mid-1990s, that Iraq had concealed missile components; and three pieces of
human intelligence from three separate sources on Iraqi possession of Al Hussein
missiles. One of those sources provided the actual number of “up to 20” missiles being
concealed, which was subsequently reflected in all future JIC assessments (and
Government statements). That source was in our view in a position to comment
authoritatively; and we have established that he reported reliably both before and after
that report. But we note that he was passing on the comments of a sub-source, who
reported only once. SIS had not, by the time we finished our Review, been able to contact
the sub-source to validate the reliability of his reporting.
251.
The same assessment also commented further on Iraqi research and development
activities, as did the JIC’s further assessment in May 2001 on the status of Iraq’s nuclear,
biological, chemical and ballistic missile programmes. Of those, the JIC clearly felt most
confident about the intelligence on Iraq’s ballistic missile programmes, leading it to say in
a Key Judgement to the assessment that:
We know most about Iraq’s ballistic missile programme. Over the past two years,
there has been a step change in progress. In addition to its permitted programmes
for missile up to 150 km range, we know that Iraq is developing longer range
systems possibly up to 2000km. We have good intelligence on research and
development facilities but we do not know where the longer range missiles will be
built.
[JIC, 10 May 2001]
61
252.
On Iraq’s shorter-range missile programmes, the JIC noted that:
We have reliable intelligence of Iraq’s current short range ballistic missile
programmes . . . there is a growing body of evidence that Iraq intends to develop
missiles well beyond its permitted range of 150km. This would represent a step
change in Saddam Hussein’s military capabilities.
that:
. . . [Iraq] appears to have accelerated progress over the past year. This includes:
...
-
work on extending the range of the Al Samoud missile to 200–300km production could start within the year;
-
work on a further missile engine test stand with the capacity for much larger
engines than the Al Samoud, including SCUD . . .
and that:
We assess that within a year Iraq will begin production of Al Samoud and possibly
its extended range version. Both could deliver a conventional, chemical or biological
warhead.
[JIC, 10 May 2001]
253.
On Iraq’s long-range missile programmes, the JIC cautioned that:
We have intelligence which is less clear on longer term missile objectives.
but reported on:
. . . tests on pairs of solid propellant motor cases. These are at a very early stage of
development, but if combined in a missile, they could have a range of up to 2000km
with a 500kg payload. Developed individually into missiles, using the same payload,
they could achieve a range of between 700–1200km.
although:
We do not know enough about the possible 2000 km range missile to judge a
timescale for its completion.
[JIC, 10 May 2001]
254.
62
We have examined the intelligence to support these statements and consider the JIC’s
judgements to be well-founded and properly expressed.
SUMMARY
255.
By early 2002, therefore, readers of JIC assessments will have had an impression of:
a.
The continuing clear strategic intent on the part of the Iraqi regime to pursue its
nuclear, biological, chemical and ballistic missile programmes.
b.
Continuing efforts by the Iraqi regime to sustain and where possible develop its
indigenous capabilities, including through procurement of necessary materiel.
c.
The development, drawing on those capabilities, of Iraq’s ‘break-out’ potential
in the chemical, biological and ballistic missile fields, coupled with the proven
ability to weaponise onto some delivery systems chemical and biological
agent.
256.
It is right to remember, too, the international context within which those making and
reading the JIC assessments were working. For the small group of policy-makers with
access to the most sensitive JIC assessments, there were increasing concerns about
proliferation elsewhere, including in the countries and through the networks described at
Chapters 2 and 3. Thus, by early 2002, the JIC was concluding that AQ Khan had been
marketing components and expertise related to the production of highly enriched
uranium, suitable for use in nuclear weapons, for more than a decade; and, worse, that
Khan had moved his base outside Pakistan and demand for his products had increased
to the extent that he had now established his own production facilities and a network of
associates and suppliers. It was also reporting on the evidence found, as a result of
military operations in Afghanistan, of Usama bin Laden’s efforts to seek unconventional
weapons. Finally, senior policy-makers were also pre-occupied with the crisis between
India and Pakistan and the nuclear risks which that posed.
257.
All of this will have contributed to a strong sense of what one witness called a “creeping
tide” of proliferation and growth in the nuclear, biological, chemical and ballistic missile
capabilities of countries of concern. The Prime Minister described it to us as follows:
. . . what I was getting was a picture of, not that there were extra States necessarily
coming into the proliferation and WMD business but that those States that were
pushing on this were very determined, they were mainly States that you would not
want to have this type of stuff because of their unstable and repressive nature and
there were certainly suggestions that the potential link with terrorism, and there was
also . . . quite a lot of stuff about Bin Laden and his desire to acquire WMD of one
sort or another and I was quite often saying . . . “what are we actually doing about
this” . . . there was a lot to make me concerned about this and actually at the first
meeting I had with George Bush in February 2001 I raised it with him but . . . after
September 11th it took on a completely different aspect. . . . what changed for me
with September 11th was that I thought then you have to change your mindset . . .
you have to go out and get after the different aspects of this threat . . . you have to
deal with this because otherwise the threat will grow . . . you have to take a stand,
you have to say “Right we are not going to allow the development of WMD in breach
of the will of the international community to continue”.
63
258.
We consider the shift in UK policy towards Iraq in early 2002, and the Government’s
subsequent decision to take stronger action to enforce Iraqi disarmament, against that
background.
5.4 MARCH – SEPTEMBER 2002
THE POLICY CONTEXT
259.
We have described in the previous Section how the Government’s thinking developed in
the period from 1998 to early-2002. President Bush’s ‘Axis of Evil’ speech of 29 January
2002, supplemented by reporting of comments made by a range of US interlocutors of
emerging thinking within the US Administration, and coupled with the sense of a ‘creeping
tide’ of proliferation described at the end of the previous Section, provided the
background to inter-departmental advice to Ministers in early March 2002.
260.
Officials restated the Government’s objectives towards Iraq:
Within our objectives of preserving peace and stability in the Gulf and ensuring
energy security, our current objectives towards Iraq are:
-
the reintegration of a law-abiding Iraq, which does not possess WMD or
threaten its neighbours, into the international community. Implicitly, this cannot
occur with Saddam in power; and
-
hence, as the least worst option, we have supported containment of Iraq, by
constraining Saddam’s ability to re-arm or build up WMD and to threaten his
neighbours.
Subsidiary objectives are:
261.
-
Preserving the territorial integrity of Iraq;
-
improving the humanitarian situation of the Iraqi people;
-
protecting the Kurds in northern Iraq;
-
sustaining UK/US co-operation, including, if necessary, by moderating US
policy; and
-
maintaining the credibility and authority of the Security Council.
They set against those objectives an analysis of whether the policy of containment had
worked, drawing heavily on JIC assessments, concluding that:
Since 1991, the policy of containment has been partially successful:
64
-
Sanctions have effectively frozen Iraq’s nuclear programme;
-
Iraq has been prevented from rebuilding its chemical arsenal to pre-Gulf War
levels;
-
Ballistic missile programmes have been severely restricted;
-
Biological weapons (BW) and Chemical Weapons (CW) programmes have
been hindered;
-
No Fly Zones established over northern and southern Iraq have given some
protection to the Kurds and the Shia. Although subject to continuing political
pressure, the Kurds remain autonomous; and
-
Saddam has not succeeded in seriously threatening his neighbours.
but also that:
Iraq continues to develop weapons of mass destruction, although our intelligence is
poor. Iraq has up to 20 650km range missiles left over from the Gulf War. These are
capable of hitting Israel and the Gulf states. Design work for other ballistic missiles
over the UN limit of 150km continues. Iraq continues with its BW and CW
programmes and, if it has not already done so, could produce significant quantities
of BW agents within days and CW agent within weeks of a decision to do so. We
believe it could deliver CBW by a variety of means, including in ballistic missile
warheads. There are also some indications of a continuing nuclear programme.
Saddam has used WMD in the past and could do so again if his regime were
threatened.
262.
We consider this part of the advice to be a fair and balanced summary of the most recent
JIC assessments.
263.
On the basis of that analysis, officials then considered two broad options for securing the
objectives set out above - a toughening of the existing containment policy; and regime
change by military means. Much of their analysis on those options is not relevant to the
scope of our Review. But two aspects are directly related to Iraqi nuclear, biological,
chemical and ballistic missile programmes and options for dealing with them.
264.
First, in the context of the policy option of toughening containment, the analysis noted
amongst other things:
a.
The need for full implementation of all relevant United Nations Security Council
resolutions, and the introduction in May 2002 of the Goods Review List,
intended to focus sanctions exclusively on preventing shipments of
unconventional weapons and other arms while allowing other business without
scrutiny, in particular facilitating legitimate Iraqi commerce under the Oil for
Food programme.
b.
That unity amongst members, especially Permanent Members, of the United
Nations Security Council would facilitate a specific demand for Iraq to re-admit
United Nations inspectors:
Our aim would be to tell Saddam to admit inspectors or face the risk of
military action.
c.
The need for tougher action against states breaking sanctions.
65
265.
Officials went on to note that:
The return of UN weapons inspectors would allow greater scrutiny of Iraqi WMD
programmes . . . If they found significant evidence of WMD, were expelled or, in
face of an ultimatum, not re-admitted in the first place, then this could provide legal
justification for large-scale military action . . .
but cautioned that:
Saddam is only likely to permit the return of inspectors if he believes the threat of
large-scale US military action is imminent and that such concessions would prevent
the US from acting decisively. Playing for time, he would then embark on a renewed
policy of non co-operation . . .
and that:
. . . although containment has held for the past decade, Iraq has progressively
increased its international engagement. Even if the [Goods Review List] makes
sanctions more sustainable, the sanctions regime could collapse in the long-term.
266.
Secondly, in the context of the policy option of regime change by military means, officials
noted that a full opinion would need to be sought from the Government’s Law Officers if
the policy option were to be taken further. The paper advised that regime change of itself
had no basis in international law. It noted the judgement of the JIC that there was no recent
evidence of Iraqi complicity with international terrorism, and thus no justification for action
against Iraq based on action in self-defence to combat imminent threats of terrorism. It
therefore concluded that offensive military action against Iraq could only be justified if Iraq
were held to be in breach of United Nations Security Council Resolution 687, which
imposed obligations on Iraq in regard to the elimination of its prohibited weapons
programmes. It also noted that Resolution 687 did not terminate the authority to use force
mandated in Security Council Resolution 678, so that a violation of Resolution 687 could
revive the authorisation to use force in Resolution 678.
267.
Officials noted, however, that for the five Permanent Members of the Security Council and
the majority of the 15 members of the Council to take the view that Iraq was in breach of
its obligations under Resolution 687:
-
They would need to be convinced that Iraq was in breach of its obligations
regarding WMD, and ballistic missiles. Such proof would need to be
incontrovertible and of large-scale activity. Current intelligence is insufficiently
robust to meet this criterion . . .
-
If P5 unity could be obtained, Iraq refused to readmit UN inspectors after a clear
ultimatum by the UN Security Council.
-
The UN inspectors were re-admitted to Iraq and found sufficient evidence of
WMD activity or were again expelled trying to do so.
or
or
66
268.
Officials concluded on the basis of this analysis that:
In sum, despite the considerable difficulties, the use of overriding force in a ground
campaign is the only option that we can be confident will remove Saddam and bring
Iraq back into the international community.
269.
We have drawn out from amongst the paper’s conclusions four factors in implementing
this policy relevant to intelligence and its use, to which the policy-making community
returned repeatedly in the following twelve months and to which we therefore return in the
rest of this Chapter:
a.
The value of increasing the pressure on the Iraqi regime, through tougher
containment, stricter implementation of sanctions and a military build-up.
b.
The importance of the United Nations dimension, in particular getting
inspectors back into Iraq, noting that a refusal to admit inspectors, or their
admission and subsequent frustration which resulted in an appropriate finding
by the Security Council, would provide a basis for military action.
c.
In that context, the justification for any military action in terms of international
law. We cover this at Section 5.7.
d.
The importance of presentational activity on Iraq’s breaches (and other issues)
to persuade other members of the United Nations Security Council as well as
domestic audiences of the case for action to enforce disarmament.
IRAQ’S PROHIBITED PROGRAMMES
270.
The JIC produced in parallel a ‘status report’ on Iraq’s nuclear, biological, chemical and
ballistic missile programmes. It warned in the text (although not in the Key Judgements)
that:
Intelligence on Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and ballistic missile
programmes is sporadic and patchy. Iraq is also well practised in the art of
deception, such as concealment and exaggeration. A complete picture of the
various programmes is therefore difficult. But it is clear that Iraq continues to pursue
a policy of acquiring WMD and their delivery means. Intelligence indicates that
planning to reconstitute some of its programmes began in 1995. WMD programmes
were then given a further boost in 1998 with the withdrawal of UNSCOM inspectors.
[JIC, 15 March 2002]
271.
On Iraq’s nuclear weapons programme, the JIC noted that:
Iraq is pursuing a nuclear weapons programme. But it will not be able to indigenously
produce a nuclear weapon while sanctions remain in place, unless suitable fissile
material is purchased from abroad.
[JIC, 15 March 2002]
67
272.
Underpinning this assessment, the JIC noted that:
Although there is very little intelligence we continue to judge that Iraq is pursuing a
nuclear weapons programme. We assess the programme to be based on gas
centrifuge uranium enrichment . . . Recent intelligence indicates that nuclear
scientists were recalled to work on a nuclear programme in the autumn of 1998, but
we do not know if large scale development work has yet recommenced.
Procurement of dual-use items over the past few years could be used in a uranium
enrichment programme.
[JIC, 15 March 2002]
273.
Overall, the JIC judged that:
. . . while sanctions remain effective, Iraq cannot indigenously develop and
produce nuclear weapons; if sanctions were removed or became ineffective, it
would take at least five years to produce a nuclear weapon. This timescale would
shorten if fissile material was acquired from abroad.
[JIC, 15 March 2002]
274.
On Iraq’s chemical weapons programme, the JIC reported in Key Judgements to
its assessment that:
Iraq may retain some stocks of chemical agents.
and that:
Following a decision to do so, Iraq could produce:
-
significant quantities of mustard within weeks;
-
significant quantities of sarin and VX within months, and in the case of VX may
have already done so.
[JIC, 15 March 2002]
275.
Underpinning these judgements, the JIC said that:
We continue to judge that Iraq has an offensive chemical warfare (CW) programme,
although there is very little intelligence relating to it. From the evidence available to
us, we believe Iraq retains some production equipment, and some small stocks of
CW agent precursors, and may have hidden small quantities of agents and
weapons. Anomalies in Iraqi declarations to UNSCOM suggest stocks could be
much larger.
[JIC, 15 March 2002]
276.
68
We conclude that this assessment reflects fairly the intelligence position on Iraq’s
chemical weapons programme prior to the receipt of new intelligence (described below)
in summer 2002, which was considered substantial at the time (although some has
subsequently been withdrawn and doubt cast on some of the rest). We note that the JIC
said that it had very little intelligence in this area. We also note the way in which, through
the use of the word ‘may’, the JIC reflected previous intelligence reports on Iraqi
production and weaponisation of chemical agent, although we believe the position is best
described by a DIS commentary at the time:
Since 1998, there have been numerous claims that Iraq has continued to weaponise
agent, but much of the reporting has come from dubious sources and that worth
closer examination has lacked collateral and remains unsubstantiated.
277.
On Iraq’s biological weapons programme, the JIC sustained its prior judgement
that:
Iraq currently has available, either from pre Gulf War stocks or more recent
production, a number of biological agents. Iraq could produce more of these
biological agents within days.
[JIC, 15 March 2002]
278.
Underpinning this judgement, the JIC reported that:
BW work continued throughout the period of UNSCOM inspections and intelligence
indicates that this programme continues. Key figures from the pre-Gulf War
programme are reported to be involved. Research and development is assessed to
continue under cover of a number of legitimate institutes and possibly in a number
of covert facilities . . . There is no intelligence on any BW agent production facilities
but one source indicates that Iraq may have developed mobile production facilities.
[JIC, 15 March 2002]
279.
On Iraq’s ballistic missile capabilities, the JIC sustained its previous judgement that:
Iraq retains up to 20 Al Hussein ballistic missiles . . .
noting that:
The location and condition of these is unknown, but there is sufficient engineering
expertise to make them operational.
[JIC, 15 March 2002]
280.
The JIC also commented on the programme to extend the range of the Al Samoud missile
beyond limits set by the United Nations:
Iraq has reportedly succeeded in developing a number of 200km range variants of
Al Samoud, although it is unclear if these are for operational use or research and
development for longer-range systems.
[JIC, 15 March 2002]
281.
On the longer-range systems themselves, and Iraq’s indigenous capabilities, the JIC
said that:
Iraq has rebuilt much of the military production infrastructure associated with the
missile programme damaged in the Gulf War and the few high profile sites targeted
in Operation Desert Fox in 1998. New infrastructure is being built, with a particular
focus on improving the support to the solid propellant missile programme.
and that:
69
Iraq is seeking to develop new, larger liquid and solid propellant missiles, contrary
to UN limits. Recent intelligence indicates personnel associated with the Al Samoud
programme have now been tasked to concentrate on designing liquid propellant
systems with ranges of 2000–3000km. New intelligence indicates the main focus
may be on the development of a SCUD derivative, which we judge has an intended
range of around 1200km . . . Providing sanctions remain effective, Iraq is unlikely
to be able to produce a longer-range missile before 2007.
[JIC, 15 March 2002]
We have examined the intelligence underpinning these judgements and on missile
development found it substantial.
POLICY DEVELOPMENT, APRIL-AUGUST 2002
282.
The inter-departmental advice and JIC assessment we have described above formed part
of the background for the Prime Minister’s meeting with President Bush at Crawford on 6–7
April 2002. Policy advice was not influenced so much by changing intelligence on Iraq as
by two other factors which reinforced each other.
283.
One was a general concern about proliferation and the intelligence becoming available
about the AQ Khan network, and what this added to the concerns already felt about North
Korea, Libya and Iran as well as Iraq - the sense of a ‘creeping tide’ we discuss above.
The second was the absence of physical inspection of Iraqi programmes and activities
following the withdrawal of United Nations inspectors in 1998 and fears about what the
Iraqi regime might be able to achieve in terms of building up its prohibited weapons
programmes if left unchecked.
284.
Both those were increased by the heightened sensitivity following the terrorist attack on
the World Trade Center and the changed ‘calculus of threat’ we describe at Chapter 3 the desire of terrorists and extremists to cause casualties on a massive scale, undeterred
by the fear of alienating the public or their supporters, or by considerations of personal
survival. The Prime Minister confirmed to us that his position was accurately represented
by a statement in one of the policy papers that:
What has changed is not the pace of Saddam Hussein’s WMD programmes but our
tolerance of them post 11 September.
285.
We have also noted that departments and agencies saw the direct challenges to British
interests caused by the proliferation activities of states other than Iraq as being more
serious. But it is clear from the papers we have seen and from the evidence we have heard
from witnesses that the Government, as well as being influenced by the concerns of the
US Government, saw a need for immediate action on Iraq because of the wider historical
and international context, especially Iraq’s perceived continuing challenge to the authority
of the United Nations. It also saw in the United Nations and a decade of Security Council
Resolutions calling for Iraqi disarmament a basis for taking action to enforce Iraqi
disarmament. The Prime Minister said to us on this that:
. . . the place to start was Iraq because you have the history of the United Nations
Resolutions and you have the . . . fact that we’d taken action in respect of WMD in
70
the aftermath of the Gulf War, then again in 1998, the fact that he had actually used
chemical weapons . . . my view was and still is that you have to take a stand, you
have to say “Right we are not going to allow the development of WMD in breach of
the will of the international community to continue” . . .
and:
Now you have different strategies for different countries. In respect of Iraq it’s going
back to where we were before the inspectors were kicked out . . .
286.
The papers show that, of the four continuing themes set out at paragraph 269 above,
sustaining the pressure on the Iraqi regime and the need for effective presentational
activity were discussed between the Prime Minister and President Bush at Crawford; and
the Prime Minister reverted to the need to get United Nations inspectors back into Iraq in
his speech on 7 April following those discussions:
. . . the moment for decision on how to act is not yet with us. But to allow WMD to be
developed by a state like Iraq without let or hindrance would be grossly to ignore the
lessons of September 11 and we will not do it. The message to Saddam is clear: he
has to let the inspectors back in, anyone, any time, any place that the international
community demands.
[Prime Minister, George Bush Senior Presidential Library, 7 April 2002]
287.
The next key stage was a meeting on 23 July chaired by the Prime Minister with those
Ministers and officials primarily involved in UK policy formulation and military contingency
planning. This meeting considered, on the basis of a briefing from the Chairman of the JIC,
the current intelligence assessment of Iraq’s nuclear, biological, chemical and ballistic
missile programmes, noting that Iraqi capabilities were smaller in scale than those of other
states of concern. The meeting discussed the re-engagement of United Nations
inspectors, against the background of intelligence advice that the Iraqi regime would
allow inspectors into Iraq only when the threat of military action was thought to be real. It
also commissioned work on legal issues.
288.
The role of the United Nations - in building an international consensus on the need for
action to tackle Iraq’s prohibited weapons programmes; in the re-engagement of
inspectors to investigate the extent and scale of those programmes; and ultimately in
providing legitimacy for any military action to enforce disarmament - was discussed
further at a meeting between the Foreign Secretary and Secretary of State Powell at a
meeting at the Hamptons, New York, on 20 August 2002, and between the Prime Minister
and the President at Camp David on 7 September 2002. It is clear from the departmental
papers we have seen that the UK championed the role of the United Nations at that
meeting.
JIC ASSESSMENTS, AUGUST-SEPTEMBER 2002
289.
It is clear to us from departmental papers and from the evidence we have heard that the
Government became increasingly concerned in August and early September 2002 about
the nature of the media debate in the UK (stimulated by the media debate in the US). The
71
Prime Minister described to us his impression of a growing media picture of military action
being imminent, and of a growing clamour for information from the media and from
Parliamentarians about why the Government thought that military action was necessary.
That led him to conclude that there was a need to put fuller information about Iraq’s
nuclear, biological, chemical and ballistic missile programmes into the public domain:
. . . I remember that during the course . . . of July and August . . . I was increasingly
getting messages saying . . . “are you about to go to war?” and I was thinking “this
is ridiculous” and so I remember towards the end of the holiday actually phoning
Bush and saying that we have got to put this in the right place straight away . . .
we’ve not decided on military action . . . he was in absolute agreement . . . So we
devised the strategy, and this was really the purpose of Camp David . . . where we
would go down the UN route and . . . the purpose of the dossier was simply to say
“this is why we think this is important because here is the intelligence that means that
this is not a fanciful view on our part, there is a real issue here” . . . there was a
tremendous clamour coming for it and I think a clamour to the extent that had we
resisted it would have become completely impossible.
290.
The dossier was commissioned on 3 September. Its preparation was informed by the
existing body of JIC assessments; by drafts covering various aspects of Iraq’s
programmes which had been prepared for possible publication during the Spring and
Summer; by JIC assessments on Iraq’s nuclear, biological, chemical and ballistic missile
programmes produced before the summer break; and also by two further JIC papers
published on 21 August on “Saddam’s Diplomatic and Military Options” and on 9
September on “Iraqi use of Chemical and Biological Weapons – Possible Scenarios”.
291.
The JIC assessment of 21 August was prepared at the request of the Ministry of
Defence, to:
. . . consider what diplomatic options Saddam has to deter, avert or limit the scope
and effectiveness of a US-led attack [and] . . . his military options for facing a USled attack.
[JIC, 21 August 2002]
292.
The Key Judgements of that assessment would rightly have been prepared on a
precautionary basis. Perhaps for that reason, we have observed that, when set against
intelligence on Iraqi programmes contained in advice to Ministers in March, the JIC
assessment reflected more firmly the premise that Iraq had chemical and biological
weapons and would use them in war. Underpinning this must have been a presumption
that, if Iraq did not have stocks of those weapons, it would quickly produce agent,
weaponise it and deploy weapons to units. We have noted, for example, the JIC’s
judgements in this context that:
We judge that Saddam would probably order missile attacks on Israel and the
coalition early on in a conflict in an attempt to attract Israeli retaliation and thus widen
the war, split the coalition and arouse popular opinion in the Arab states. Such
missiles could be armed with chemical or biological warfare (CBW) agents.
that:
72
Although we have little intelligence on Iraq’s CBW doctrine, and know little about
Iraq’s CBW work since late 1998, we judge it likely that Saddam would order the use
of CBW against coalition forces at some point, probably after coalition attacks had
begun. Iraqi CBW use would become increasingly likely the closer coalition forces
came to Baghdad. Military targets might include troop concentrations or important
fixed targets in rear areas such as ports and airfields.
and that:
Should he feel his fate is sealed, Saddam’s judgement might change to ‘bring the
temple down’ on his enemies no matter what the cost to the country as a whole. We
judge that at this stage, Saddam would order the unrestrained use of CBW against
coalition forces, supporting regional states and Israel, although he would face
practical problems of command and control, the loyalty of his commanders, logistics
problems and the availability of chemical or biological agents in sufficient quantities
to be effective and the means to deliver them.
[JIC, 21 August 2002]
293.
We were told that the JIC’s conclusions were based in part on one human intelligence
report from one source, but mainly on the JIC’s own judgements. They thus represent an
insight into the views of JIC members of Iraq’s chemical and biological weapons
capabilities at that time.
294.
The JIC assessment of 9 September also focused on Iraq’s use of chemical and biological
weapons (indeed, although issued later, it was prepared in parallel with the assessment
of 21 August). Its tone was set by its first Key Judgement, which reflected a significant
change from previous JIC judgements on Iraqi possession of chemical and biological
weapons:
Iraq has a chemical and biological weapons capability and Saddam is prepared to
use it.
[JIC, 9 September 2002]
295.
The paper recorded that:
Recent intelligence casts light on Iraq’s holdings of weapons of mass destruction
and on its doctrine for using them.
[JIC, 9 September 2002]
but warned that, nevertheless:
Intelligence remains limited and Saddam’s own unpredictability complicates
judgements about Iraqi use of these weapons. Much of this paper is necessarily
based on judgement and assessment.
[JIC, 9 September 2002]
296.
It then went on to judge that:
Iraq currently has available, either from pre Gulf War stocks or more recent
production, a number of biological warfare (BW) and chemical warfare (CW) agents
and weapons; . . .
73
to note that:
Other recent intelligence indicates that production of chemical and biological
weapons is taking place; . . .
and that:
Iraq may have other toxins, chemical and biological agents that we do not know
about.
[JIC, 9 September 2002]
297.
On Iraq’s chemical weapons capabilities, the JIC sustained its earlier judgement that:
. . . following a decision to do so, Iraq could produce significant quantities of
mustard agent within weeks; significant quantities of the nerve agents sarin and VX
within months (and in the case of VX may already have done so).
[JIC, 9 September 2002]
298.
On Iraq’s biological weapons capabilities, the JIC sustained its earlier judgement that:
Iraq could produce more biological agents within days.
[JIC, 9 September 2002]
299.
On delivery means, the JIC sustained its earlier judgement that:
. . . Iraq retains up to 20 Al Husseins . . .
[JIC, 9 September 2002]
300.
The more definite judgements inside the assessment were based on the receipt of
significant new intelligence in August and September 2002, in response to the routine
requirement on SIS to obtain information to support the drafting of JIC assessments (and
which in this case supported the drafting of the Government’s dossier). Four reports were
received in total, from three sources, which were influential in the JIC’s assessment.
301.
The first provided material from a range of original informants reporting via an intermediary
to the source3. We have noted, however, that the individual items from the informants did
not confirm directly that Iraq had chemical weapons. They came from senior Iraqi officials
who were believed at the time to have direct knowledge of Iraq’s intentions, use,
deployment or concealment of chemical weapons, but were based for most of the
informants on an assumption (not direct knowledge) that Iraq had such weapons.
302.
The second and third were from a source who had previously reported reliably and who
continued to do so in the following months. This source, too, could not confirm from direct
experience that Iraq had chemical weapons, resting on reporting “common knowledge”
within his circle that chemical agent production was taking place. The second report from
this source seems to us to duplicate much of the first.
303.
The fourth was a single report, from a reliable and established source reporting a new subsource who did not subsequently provide any further reporting, which was described as
3
74
We were told by SIS during the course of our Review that there is now doubt about the reliability of this reporting chain
and hence of the reports derived from it. Section 5.9 provides further detail.
“confirming” the intelligence on Iraqi mobile biological agent production facilities received
from the liaison service. Contrary to the JIC view at the time, we believe that this report
would have been more accurately described as “complementary” to, rather than
“confirming”, it4.
304.
The JIC made clear that much of the assessment was based on its own judgement,
drawing on the work done for its assessment of 21 August. But we were struck by the
relative thinness of the intelligence base supporting the greater firmness of the JIC’s
judgements on Iraqi production and possession of chemical and biological weapons,
especially the inferential nature of much of it. We also noted that the JIC did not reflect in
its assessment, even if only to dismiss it, material in one of those reports suggesting that
most members of the Iraqi leadership were not convinced that it would be possible to use
chemical and biological weapons.
305.
One further intelligence report which has been described to us as being significant was
received between the production of the JIC’s assessment of 9 September and the
publication of the Government’s dossier. This source5 reported that production of
biological and chemical agent had been accelerated by the Iraqi regime, including
through the building of further facilities throughout Iraq.
306.
By mid-September 2002, therefore, readers of JIC assessments will have had an
impression of continuity with, but also some change from, the JIC assessment of
15 March:
4
5
a.
The continuing clear strategic intent on the part of the Iraqi regime to pursue its
nuclear, biological, chemical and ballistic missile programmes.
b.
Continuing efforts by the Iraqi regime to sustain and where possible develop its
indigenous capabilities.
c.
The apparent considerable development, drawing on these capabilities, of
Iraq’s ‘break-out’ potential. Although Iraq’s nuclear programme continued to
be constrained, there was strong evidence of continuing work on ballistic
missiles, including the development and production of systems with ranges
in excess of limits set by the United Nations. There was also evidence from
one source, supported by one complementary report, of Iraq having the
ability to produce biological agent in mobile facilities, and additional evidence
of activity at one site formerly associated with Iraq’s biological warfare
programme. Finally, there were recent intelligence reports, albeit mainly
inferential, that Iraq was producing chemical agent. For analysts, intelligence
on Iraqi production of biological and chemical agent would have been put
alongside Iraq’s proven ability to weaponise agent onto at least some delivery
systems, and separate intelligence reports on Saddam Hussein’s intention to
use chemical and biological weapons if attacked.
Chapter 1 sets out our view of the difference.
Reporting from this source was withdrawn by SIS in July 2003 as being unreliable. See Section 5.9.
75
307.
We consider the Government’s dossier against this background.
5.5 THE GOVERNMENT’S DOSSIER OF SEPTEMBER 2002
INTRODUCTION
308.
The Government’s dossier on Iraq’s Weapons of Mass Destruction, published on 24
September 2002, had antecedents, including the information made public6 in October
2001 on Al Qaida’s responsibility for the attacks of 11 September. But it broke new ground
in three ways:
a.
The JIC had never previously produced a public document.
b.
No Government case for any international action had previously been made to
the British public through explicitly drawing on a JIC publication.
c.
The authority of the British intelligence community, and of the JIC in particular,
had never been used in such a public way. As the Prime Minister said in his
Foreword to the dossier:
It is unprecedented for the Government to publish this kind of document.
309.
We return below to the Government’s reasons for publishing the dossier, and for drawing
on intelligence material and the authority of the JIC in doing so, in response to growing
Parliamentary and media debate about the imminence of war and questioning of the
reasons for it.
310.
It is, however, fair to say at the outset that the dossier attracted more attention after the war
than it had done before it. When first published, it was regarded as cautious, and even dull.
Some of the attention that it eventually received was the product of controversy over the
Government’s further dossier of February 2003. Some of it arose over subsequent
allegations that the intelligence in the September dossier had knowingly been
embellished, and hence over the good faith of the Government. Lord Hutton dismissed
those allegations. We should record that we, too, have seen no evidence that would
support any such allegations.
311.
The September dossier also subsequently attracted attention because of the fact that,
contrary to the expectation reflected in it, military forces entering Iraq did not find
significant stocks of chemical or biological weapons or evidence of recent production of
such weapons. We therefore consider here the genesis of the document, the challenge of
presenting intelligence judgements effectively to the general public and the extent to
which intelligence on particular areas of Iraqi activity was accurately reflected in the
dossier.
312.
A number of specific elements in the dossier have subsequently attracted controversy.
We examine the most prominent of these - the ‘45-minute’ claim, uranium procurement
activity in Africa, procurement of aluminium tubes and mobile biological agent production
facilities – in Chapter 6.
6
76
“Responsibility for the Terrorist Atrocities in the United States, 11 September 2001”.
THE GENESIS OF THE DOSSIER
313.
The dossier had its origins early in 2002 in an analysis of the threat posed by Iraq and three
other countries known to be pursuing nuclear, chemical, biological and ballistic missile
programmes. Work on this ‘Four Country’ analysis was dropped in the course of 2002 in
favour of a document dedicated to Iraq alone for which a range of material had been
produced. It was intended to inform public understanding of the case for stronger action
(although not necessarily military action) to enforce Iraqi compliance with its obligations
contained in United Nations Security Council resolutions over more than a decade. The
timing of publication of the dossier was driven by concern within the Government over
increasing media speculation in the UK (stimulated by media debate in the US) during the
summer of 2002 that war was imminent, and growing questioning of the reasons for the
UK going to war, which contributed to the decision to recall Parliament on 24 September
to debate policy towards Iraq. The Prime Minister told us that:
. . . in the course of July and August . . . I was increasingly getting messages
saying . . . “are you about to go to war?” . . . I was thinking this is ridiculous . . .
we’ve not decided on military action, we’ve not decided on what we’re going to do
. . . and the purpose of the dossier was simply to say “this is why we think this is
important . . . here is the intelligence that means that this is not a fanciful view on our
part, there is a real issue here” . . . there was a tremendous clamour coming for it
and I think a clamour to the extent that had we resisted it would have become
completely impossible.
314.
The dossier was commissioned by the Prime Minister on 3 September. The timescale for
its production was accelerated so that it would be ready when Parliament was recalled on
24 September.
315.
We have considered carefully whether the dossier was explicitly intended to make a case
for war. We have seen no evidence that this was the Government’s purpose. The dossier
was a broadly-based document which could support a range of policy options. The
Foreign Secretary told us that:
. . . there was a clear understanding by Government about the purpose of the
document, which is that it was to meet the demand for intelligence-based information
about Iraq and to make a case for the world to recognise the importance of the issue
and hopefully to galvanise the international community into taking it seriously.
316.
The Defence Secretary said in evidence to us:
. . . if we were going to be able to make out a case for war against Iraq, we were
going to have to publish the material. Of course we published the material if you
recall in relation to Afghanistan for the same reason. . . . otherwise we would have
just faced day in and day out a constant complaint that we had no basis, that we had
no proper reason.
317.
When we asked Dr Hans Blix if he saw the dossier as making a case for war, he said:
No it was not. I saw it as a case for inspection . . .
77
318.
Members of the JIC from whom we took evidence consistently told us that they did not see
the dossier as making a case for anything. The Chairman of the JIC (Mr John Scarlett) said
to Lord Hutton’s Inquiry:
As far as I was concerned, this was an objective which was a very worthwhile
objective if quite a difficult one; and it was to put into the public domain and to share,
as far as it could be done safely, the intelligence assessment on this issue which was
being provided to the Prime Minister and the Government. It was no more or less than
that. And in no sense, in my mind, or in the mind of the JIC, was it a document
designed to make a case for anything.
319.
We conclude that the dossier was not intended to make the case for a particular course
of action in relation to Iraq. It was intended by the Government to promote domestic and
international understanding of, and gain support for, the general direction in which
Government policy had been moving since the early months of 2002, away from
containment to a more proactive approach to enforcing Iraqi disarmament.
PRESENTING INTELLIGENCE TO THE PUBLIC
320.
Once a decision had been taken to publish such a document, and to draw on intelligence
in doing so, the question of authorship arose. The Security and Intelligence Co-ordinator
(Sir David Omand) and the Chairman of the JIC took the view that the JIC should be
responsible for the production of the dossier, to ensure that its content properly reflected
the judgements of the intelligence community and did not prejudice national security. This
was agreed at the outset. From then on, the dossier was in the ownership of the JIC
generally and of its Chairman in particular, drawing on the members of the Assessments
Staff and the wider intelligence community who had drafted the classified JIC
assessments on this subject.
321.
Many witnesses, both Ministers and officials, put it to us that there was no real alternative
to the JIC taking on this role. In the view of these witnesses, a Government document that
claimed to be underpinned by intelligence would have been met with immediate
scepticism unless it was evident that the JIC had endorsed its content.
322.
Against this, it may be said that the information published by the Government on
Al Qaida’s responsibility for the attacks of 11 September 2001 was put out without any
public reference to the JIC. There was no conspicuous pressure on that occasion for the
JIC to make its own view public. However, nor was there on that issue as much controversy
and scepticism about the grounds for the Government’s policy.
323.
The advantage to the Government of associating the JIC’s name with the dossier was the
badge of objectivity that it brought with it and the credibility which this would give to the
document. We have noted that Mr Alastair Campbell said in his minute to the Chairman of
the JIC on 9 September, following a meeting to discuss the drafting of the dossier:
The first point is that this must be, and be seen to be, the work of you and your team,
and that its credibility depends fundamentally on that.
324.
78
As the Prime Minister noted in his statement in the House of Commons on 24 September:
The dossier is based on the work of the British Joint Intelligence Committee . . .
Normally, its work is obviously secret. Unusually, because it is important that we
explain our concerns about Saddam to the British people, we have decided to
disclose its assessments.
[Hansard, 24 September 2002, Col 3]
325.
We record above the Foreign Secretary’s evidence to us that the Government’s
understanding of the purpose of the dossier was that it was to:
. . . meet the demand for intelligence-based information about Iraq . . .
and to:
. . . make a case for the world to recognise the importance of the issue and hopefully
to galvanise the international community into taking it seriously.
326.
As we also record above, the Chairman of the JIC, too, saw its purpose as informing public
debate by putting:
. . . into the public domain . . . the intelligence assessment on this issue . . .
but not as making a case:
. . . in no sense, in my mind or that of the JIC, was it a document designed to make
a case for anything.
327.
The Government wanted a document on which it could draw in its advocacy of its policy.
The JIC sought to offer a dispassionate assessment of intelligence and other material on
Iraqi nuclear, biological, chemical and ballistic missile programmes. The JIC, with
commendable motives, took responsibility for the dossier in order that its content should
properly reflect the judgements of the intelligence community. They did their utmost to
ensure that this standard was met. But this will have put strain on them in seeking to
maintain their normal standards of neutral and objective assessment. Intelligence
assessment is necessarily based heavily on judgement, relying on such material as
intelligence has provided. It is not simply a matter of reporting this material but of
presenting the judgements which flow from it to an experienced readership. Explaining
those judgements to a wider public audience is a very different and difficult
presentational task.
THE INTELLIGENCE BEHIND THE DOSSIER
328.
As the Intelligence and Security Committee noted in its report7 in September 2003:
The dossier was founded on the assessments then available.
329.
7
In this Section we examine the way in which judgements in JIC assessments prepared
during 2002 were translated into the dossier. We are acutely aware of the danger of being
unfair through selective quotation. The dossier did not follow the format of JIC
assessments exactly, nor should it have done so. It was written for a different purpose and
“Iraqi Weapons of Mass Destruction - Intelligence and Assessments.” Cm 5972. September 2003.
79
a different audience. Furthermore, to be comprehensive it brought together the key parts
of a number of past JIC assessments, together with some intelligence that had not
featured in JIC assessments, about Iraq’s nuclear, biological, chemical and ballistic
missile programmes. It is as a result difficult to make a direct comparison between
judgements in any one JIC paper and the language in the dossier. We are therefore
publishing, at Annex B, substantial extracts from three key JIC assessments issued in
2002 alongside relevant extracts from the Government’s dossier, the Prime Minister’s
Foreword and his accompanying statement to the House of Commons so that readers can
check our judgements and reach their own conclusions.
330.
80
We have noted that the JIC assessment of 9 September exercised considerable influence
over the dossier, which was being prepared almost in parallel. That assessment was
written to inform military and other contingency planning, and examined a range of
possible scenarios in which chemical and biological weapons might be used by Iraq. But
these precautionary JIC judgements about the scenarios (as was right for a document to
inform military planning) were subsequently taken up into the dossier, and were taken up
in an abbreviated form in which points were run together and caveats on the intelligence
were dropped. The most significant difference was the omission of the warnings included
in JIC assessments about the limited intelligence base on which some aspects of those
assessments were being made. We set out below the warnings on this point from JIC
assessments between March and September 2002 (in the left-hand column) against
extracts from the dossier (in the right-hand column) addressing the size and quality of the
intelligence base:
Quotations from JIC Assessments
Quotations from the dossier
“Iraqi Use of Chemical and Biological
Weapons – Possible Scenarios” (9
September 2002)
Recent intelligence casts light on Iraq’s
holdings of weapons of mass destruction and
on its doctrine for using them. Intelligence
remains limited and Saddam’s own
unpredictability complicates judgements
about Iraqi use of these weapons. Much of
this paper is necessarily based on judgement
and assessment.
“Iraq; Saddam’s Diplomatic and
Military Options” (21 August 2002)
. . . we have little intelligence on Iraq’s CBW
doctrine, and know little about Iraq’s CBW
work since late 1998 . . .
“The Status of Iraqi WMD
Programmes” (15 March 2002)
Intelligence on Iraq’s weapons of mass
destruction (WMD) and ballistic missile
programmes is sporadic and patchy. Iraq is
also well practised in the art of deception,
such as concealment and exaggeration. A
complete picture of the various programmes
is therefore difficult. But it is clear that Iraq
continues to pursue a policy of acquiring
WMD and their delivery means.
As well as the public evidence, however,
significant additional information is available
to the Government from secret intelligence
sources, described in more detail in this
paper. This intelligence cannot tell us about
everything. However, it provides a fuller
picture of Iraqi plans and capabilities.
Intelligence rarely offers a complete account
of activities which are designed to remain
concealed. The nature of Saddam’s regime
makes Iraq a difficult target for the
intelligence services. Intelligence, however,
has provided important insights into Iraqi
programmes and Iraqi military thinking.
Taken together with what is already known
from other sources, this intelligence builds
our understanding of Iraq’s capabilities and
adds significantly to the analysis already in
the public domain. But intelligence sources
need to be protected, and this limits the detail
that can be made available.
Part 1 of this paper includes some of the most
significant views reached by the JIC between
1999 and 2002.
81
331.
The ISC has observed8 that the 9 September assessment:
. . . did not highlight in the key judgements the uncertainties and gaps in the UK’s
knowledge about the Iraqi biological and chemical weapons.
The same was true of the 21 August and 15 March assessments. In each paper, a
description of the limitations of the intelligence underlying some aspects of those
assessments was given in the body of each paper. Experienced readers would have
seen these warnings in the original JIC assessments and taken them into account in
reading them. But the public, through reading the dossier, would not have known of
them. The dossier did include a first chapter on the role of intelligence, as an introduction
for the lay reader. But, rather than illuminating the limitations of intelligence either in the
case of Iraq or more generally9, the language in that Chapter may have had the opposite
effect on readers. Readers may, for example, have read language in the dossier about
the impossibility for security reasons of putting all the detail of the intelligence into the
public domain as implying that there was fuller and firmer intelligence behind the
judgements than was the case: our view, having reviewed all of the material, is that
judgements in the dossier went to (although not beyond) the outer limits of the
intelligence available. The Prime Minister’s description, in his statement to the House of
Commons on the day of publication of the dossier, of the picture painted by the
intelligence services in the dossier as “extensive, detailed and authoritative” may have
reinforced this impression.
332.
We believe that it was a serious weakness that the JIC’s warnings on the limitations of the
intelligence underlying some of its judgements were not made sufficiently clear in the
dossier.
THE ACCURACY OF THE DOSSIER
333.
8
9
82
In general, subject to the points below and others identified in Chapter 6, the statements
in the dossier reflected fairly the judgements of past JIC assessments. In the tables in the
paragraphs below, quotations from JIC assessments are set out in the left-hand column
and from the dossier are set out in the right-hand column.
“Iraqi Weapons of Mass Destruction - Intelligence and Assessments”. Cm 5972. September 2003.
See, for example, the section on this subject at Chapter 1 of this Report.
334.
Regime intent:
Quotations from JIC Assessments
Quotations from the dossier
Saddam attaches great importance to having
CBW, is committed to using CBW if he can and
is aware of the implications of doing so.
Saddam wants it to dominate his neighbours
and deter his enemies who he considers are
unimpressed by his weakened conventional
military capability.
Saddam continues to attach great importance
to the possession of weapons of mass
destruction and ballistic missiles which he
regards as being the basis for Iraq’s regional
power. He is determined to retain these
capabilities.
[Chapter 3, paragraph 1]
[9 September]
Iraq has a chemical and biological weapons It [the intelligence] shows that he does not
capability and Saddam is prepared to use it. regard them only as weapons of last resort.
[9 September]
[Executive Summary, paragraph 4]
Faced with the likelihood of military defeat and
being removed from power, Saddam is
unlikely to be deterred from using chemical
and biological weapons by any diplomatic or
military means.
[9 September]
The use of chemical and biological weapons
prior to any military attack would boost support
for US-led action and is unlikely.
[9 September]
Intelligence indicates that Saddam has Iraq possesses extended-range versions of
identified Bahrain, Jordan, Qatar, Israel, the SCUD ballistic missile in breach of UNSCR
Kuwait as targets. Turkey could also be at risk. 687 which are capable of reaching Cyprus,
[9 September] Eastern Turkey, Tehran and Israel.
[Chapter 3, paragraph 1]
Saddam is prepared to order missile strikes
against Israel, with chemical or biological
warheads, in order to widen the war once
hostilities begin.
[9 September]
335.
The first extract from the dossier fairly reflects the 9 September JIC assessment. While the
context of the last three extracts from the assessment, that Iraq would use chemical and
biological weapons only in the event of an attack, is not repeated in the dossier, this was
because the dossier was dealing with the overall picture, while the JIC’s assessment of 9
September was only looking at attack scenarios.
83
336.
Chemical and biological agents:
Quotations from JIC Assessments
Quotations from the dossier
Following a decision to do so, Iraq could
produce significant quantities of mustard
agent within weeks; significant quantities of the
nerve agents sarin and VX within months (and
in the case of VX Iraq may already have done
so). Production of sarin and VX would be
heavily dependent on hidden stocks of
precursors
[Iraq has] the capability to produce the
chemical agents mustard gas, tabun, sarin,
cyclosarin, and VX capable of producing mass
casualties.
[Chapter 3, paragraph 16]
[9 September]
Iraq could produce more biological agents Iraq has a biological agent production
within days. At the time of the Gulf War Iraq had capability and can produce at least anthrax,
developed the lethal BW agents anthrax, botulinum toxin, aflatoxin and ricin.
botulinum toxin and aflatoxin.
[Chapter 3, paragraph 16]
[9 September]
Iraq may have other toxins, chemical and
biological agents that we do not know about;
[9 September]
...
the former Habbaniyah chemical
weapons site may provide the base for
producing ricin, although there is no evidence
that Iraq is currently doing so.
[15 March]
Iraq has developed for the military,
fermentation systems which are capable of
being mounted on road-trailers or rail cars.
These could produce BW agents.
[Iraq has] developed mobile laboratories for
military use, corroborating earlier reports
about the mobile production of biological
warfare agents.
[9 September]
[Executive Summary, paragraph 6]
Iraq has a variety of delivery means available
for both chemical and biological weapons,
some of which are very basic. These include
free fall bombs, artillery shells, helicopter and
aircraft borne sprayers and ballistic missile
warheads. Although the exact numbers are
unknown. Iraq is also continuing with the L-29
remotely piloted vehicle programme, which
could have chemical and biological weapons
delivery applications.
[15 March]
84
337.
The dossier did not refer explicitly to the JIC’s uncertainty about the size of stocks of sarin
and VX precursors, and hence Iraq’s ability to produce these agents. Nor did it, like the
JIC assessments, refer explicitly to the lack of intelligence on the location of facilities for
producing biological and chemical agent, although it did draw attention to the difficulty of
assessing the use made of ‘dual use’ facilities.
338.
Delivery systems:
Quotations from JIC Assessments
Quotations from the dossier
Iraq told UNSCOM in the 1990s that it filled 25
warheads with anthrax, bolulinum toxin and
aflatoxin for its Al Hussein ballistic missile
(range 650km). Iraq also admitted it had
developed 50 chemical warheads for Al
Hussein. We judge Iraq retains up to 20 Al
Husseins and a limited number of launchers.
Iraq told UNSCOM that it filled 25 warheads
with anthrax, botulinum toxin and aflatoxin.
Iraq also developed chemical agent warheads
for al-Hussein. Iraq admitted to producing 50
chemical warheads for al-Hussein which were
intended for the delivery of a mixture of sarin
and cyclosarin.
[9 September]
[Chapter 3, paragraph 14]
Iraq is also developing short-range systems Al
Samoud/Ababil 100 ballistic missiles (range
150kms plus) - One intelligence report
suggests that Iraq has “lost” the capability to
develop warheads capable of effectively
disseminating chemical and biological agent
and that it would take six months to overcome
the “technical difficulties”. However, both
these missile systems are currently being
deployed with military units and an emergency
operational capability with conventional
warheads is probably available.
Al-Samoud/Ababil 100 ballistic missiles (range
150kms plus): it is unclear if chemical and
biological warheads have been developed for
these systems, but given the Iraqi experience
on other missile systems, we judge that Iraq
has the technical expertise for doing so.
[Chapter 3, paragraph 14]
[9 September]
Iraq has probably dispersed its special
weapons, including its CBW weapons.
Intelligence also indicates that chemical and
biological munitions could be with military units
and ready for firing within 20–45 minutes.
[The dossier] discloses that his military
planning allows for some of the WMD to be
ready within 45 minutes of an order to use
them.
[Prime Minister’s Foreword]
[9 September]
Iraq has: . . . military plans for the use of
chemical and biological weapons, including
against its own Shia population. Some of these
weapons are deployable within 45 minutes of
an order to use them
[Executive Summary, paragraph 6]
85
Quotations from JIC Assessments
Quotations from the dossier
Iraq’s military forces are able to use chemical
and biological weapons, with command,
control and logistical arrangements in place.
The Iraqi military are able to deploy these
weapons within 45 minutes of a decision to do
so.
[Chapter 3, paragraph 1]
. . . intelligence indicates that as part of Iraq’s
military planning Saddam is willing to use
chemical and biological weapons, including
against his own Shia population. Intelligence
indicates that the Iraqi military are able to
deploy chemical or biological weapons within
45 minutes of an order to do so.
[Chapter 3, paragraph 5]
339.
JIC judgements on Iraq’s ballistic missile capabilities were reflected fairly in the dossier.
The ’45 minute’ issue was, because of the context of the JIC assessment10, run together in
the dossier with statements on Iraqi intentions for use of its capabilities. It was also
included in the Prime Minister’s Foreword.
340.
Nuclear:
Quotations from JIC Assessments
Quotations from the dossier
We judge that Iraq does not possess a nuclear
weapons capability. . . . Although there is very
little intelligence, we continue to judge that Iraq
is pursuing a nuclear weapons programme.
Iraq continues to work on developing nuclear
weapons, in breach of its obligations under the
Non-Proliferation Treaty and in breach of
UNSCR 687.
[15 March]
[Chapter 3, paragraph 1]
We have an unclear picture of the current
status of Iraq’s nuclear programme. There is
intelligence that Iraq continued its nuclear
research after the Gulf War and recalled its
nuclear scientists in 1998.
In mid-2001 the JIC assessed that Iraq had
continued its nuclear research after 1998. The
JIC drew attention to intelligence that Iraq had
recalled its nuclear scientists to the
programme in 1998.
[10 May 2001]
[Chapter 3, paragraph 17]
341.
10
86
The dossier did not repeat the JIC’s warning about the limited intelligence available on
Iraq’s nuclear weapon programme, but it did make clear separately that Iraq would not be
able to develop a nuclear weapon without procuring key equipment and materiel.
See the fuller analysis at Chapter 6.
LESSONS FOR THE FUTURE
342.
Many witnesses have told us that they expect that the nature of the security challenges
faced by the UK in the 21st century, and public expectations of government openness, will
increase the frequency of demands on government to put intelligence into the public
domain when arguing the case for a particular course of action. On this view, the
production of the dossier has set a precedent for openness that the public will wish to see
repeated in future. We recognise this argument. We conclude that, if intelligence is to be
used more widely by governments in public debate in future, those doing so must be
careful to explain its uses and limitations. It will be essential, too, that clearer and more
effective dividing lines between assessment and advocacy are established when doing
so.
5.6 SEPTEMBER 2002 – MARCH 2003
THE SCOPE OF JIC ASSESSMENTS
343.
There was a marked shift in the nature of JIC assessments after the production of the
Government’s dossier. Before 24 September, they had focused on the status of Iraq’s
nuclear, biological, chemical and ballistic missile programmes, and on Iraqi options for
the use of its capabilities. After that date, the JIC and intelligence community turned their
attention to intelligence reporting on and assessments of:
a.
Links between the Iraqi regime, its chemical and biological weapons
capabilities and terrorism (covered more fully at Chapter 6).
b.
The likely nature of Iraq’s dealings with the United Nations, and in particular its
handling of staff of the United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection
Commission (UNMOVIC) and of the IAEA undertaking inspection activities in
Iraq.
c.
Iraqi military preparations and options.
344.
Intelligence was also collected and used to inform contingency planning for a possible
military campaign, especially in the selection of targets that should be attacked.
345.
Apart from an assessment of Iraq’s declaration of 7 December to the United Nations11
(covered further below), Iraq’s nuclear, biological, chemical and ballistic missile
capabilities were covered only tangentially in those assessments. We summarise these
assessments below.
IRAQI CAPABILITIES
346.
11
No new JIC assessment of the status of Iraq’s nuclear weapons programme was
prepared during the period, notwithstanding the findings of the IAEA inspectors. On Iraq’s
chemical weapons programme, the JIC noted in October that:
Security Council Resolution 1441 adopted on 8 November 2002 called for Iraq to provide “a currently accurate, full, and
complete declaration of all aspects of its programme to develop chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons, ballistic
missiles, and other delivery systems . . . ”.
87
We continue to judge . . . that Iraq has an offensive CW programme and intelligence
indicates that it has continued to produce chemical agent.
and that:
Iraq can weaponise CBW agents into missile warheads, bombs, artillery rockets and
shells.
[JIC, 28 October 2002]
347.
The judgement that Iraq was continuing to produce chemical agent was supported by one
new human intelligence report12 received on 30 September.
348.
On Iraq’s biological weapons programme, the JIC concluded in its October
assessment that:
We assess that Iraq has continued with an offensive BW programme. Research,
development and production is assessed to continue under cover of a number of
outwardly legitimate institutes and covert facilities. Confirmed intelligence reveals
that transportable BW production facilities have been constructed. Iraq has possibly
already made significant quantities of BW agents and intelligence indicates it has
continued to produce biological agents. We judge that Iraq is self-sufficient in its BW
programme and currently has available, either from pre-Gulf War stocks or more
recent production, anthrax spores, botulinum toxin, aflatoxin, and possibly plague
and ricin.
[JIC, 28 October 2002]
349.
We cover JIC assessments on Iraqi possession of plague more fully at Chapter 6. The
most significant change in this assessment was in the JIC’s indication to readers of its new
judgement that intelligence on mobile biological agent production facilities had been
“confirmed”. The greater firmness of the JIC’s judgement in this area was based on the
receipt of one intelligence report, from a reliable and established source quoting a new
sub-source. That report reinforced the large volume of reports on those facilities received
from a single source through a liaison service since April 2000, although our view is that
the new report was complementary to rather than confirming those from the liaison
service.
350.
On Iraq’s ballistic missile programme, a JIC assessment of December 2002
sustained the judgement it had made over the past two years that Iraq had: . . .
. . . retained up to 20 Al Hussein missiles . . . though their condition is not
known . . .
[JIC, 6 December 2002]
12
88
This report was withdrawn when all reporting from this source was withdrawn by SIS in July 2003 as being unreliable.
Section 5.9 provides fuller detail.
351.
It also noted that:
Intelligence indicates that the Iraqis may have developed an extended al-Samoud,
which sources claim has a range of over 300 Kms. We judge such ranges are
technically possible, but would result in a significant decrease in payload.
[JIC, 6 December 2002]
DECEPTION AND CONCEALMENT
352.
In contrast to reporting on Iraqi nuclear, biological, chemical and ballistic missile
capabilities, intelligence reporting between mid-October 2002 and March 2003 on Iraqi
deception and concealment activities was voluminous. Reports covered Iraqi
preparations for the arrival of UNMOVIC and IAEA inspectors following the adoption of
United Nations Security Council Resolution 1441, and plans to obstruct their activity once
they had arrived. Human intelligence reports again played an important role in informing
JIC assessments during this period.
353.
Two full JIC assessments addressed Iraqi deception and concealment in depth. The issue
was covered, sometimes extensively, in four Weekly Intelligence Summaries on Iraq, 32
Intelligence Updates and 19 Daily Intelligence Highlights provided to relevant Ministers
and officials.
354.
Those reports, together with the findings of the United Nations inspectors, were available
to the Prime Minister when deciding whether Iraq was in further material breach of its
obligations under United Nations Security Council Resolution 1441, an issue to which we
return in the next Section. We have therefore examined their quality, both in terms of the
reliability of the original sources and by validation against the discoveries made by
UNMOVIC and the IAEA on the basis of the intelligence reports they received from the UK.
Reliability of human intelligence reports
355.
Of the human intelligence reports which had a material influence on JIC assessments on
Iraqi deception and concealment, over four-fifths came from two principal sources, and
two-thirds from one in particular. Both were believed at the time to be reporting reliably13.
There will therefore have been a tendency for the intelligence community to assume that
they were similarly reporting reliably on Iraqi concealment and deception.
Use of the Intelligence
356.
13
The British Government, drawing on intelligence reports, passed leads to UNMOVIC via
the ‘Rockingham’ cell (see box) and SIS to assist them in their search for weapons,
materiel, documents and personnel related to Iraq’s nuclear, biological, chemical and
ballistic missile programmes.
We have, however, been told that post-war validation by SIS of its sources has led to doubts about the reliability of the
reports provided by the source who provided the smaller proportion of the reporting.
89
Operation Rockingham
At the end of the first Gulf war, the United Nations Security Council passed a series of resolutions aimed at eliminating
Iraq’s nuclear, biological and chemical weapons capabilities, and programmes covering ballistic missiles with ranges
in excess of 150 kilometres. These established the United Nations Special Commission (UNSCOM), which worked
closely with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in pursuit of this goal. UK support to UNSCOM and the IAEA
was provided as a cross-departmental initiative through a new organisation within the Defence Intelligence Staff known
as Operation Rockingham.
From 1991 until the end of 1998, Rockingham was responsible for briefing some of the personnel who formed part of
UNSCOM and IAEA inspection teams. It processed information received as a result of the inspections, and acted as
a central source of advice on continuing inspection activity. Rockingham also advised FCO and MOD policy branches
on the provision of UK experts from government and industry to work with UNSCOM and the IAEA as members of
inspection teams. Rockingham included an officer detached to Bahrain to staff an organisation known as GATEWAY
to co-ordinate briefings to, and debriefings of, inspection team members as they deployed to, and returned from, Iraq.
With the withdrawal of UNSCOM from Iraq in December 1998, Rockingham was reduced to a single member of staff.
It continued to maintain a watching brief on matters related to possible future United Nations inspections in Iraq.
GATEWAY was closed.
Rockingham was expanded again to provide UK support to UNMOVIC. Unlike UNSCOM, UNMOVIC inspectors were
United Nations employees, and did not deploy in a national capacity. As a result, no official feedback from UNMOVIC
was offered, nor expected. Rockingham did not brief or debrief individual inspectors. It did, however, continue to
provide UNMOVIC and the IAEA with all-source UK intelligence assessments of the extent of Iraq’s nuclear, biological,
chemical and ballistic missile programmes, and information about sites of potential significance. Rockingham also
assisted in the briefing of senior UNMOVIC staff and responded to a number of requests from UNMOVIC for specific
information to assist its work. It acted as the focus for the work tasked by the JIC on the analysis of the Iraqi declaration
of 7 December 2002.
After the second Gulf war, Rockingham became the UK focal point for intelligence support to the work of the Iraq Survey
Group. In that role, Rockingham receives and distributes reporting from the ISG, and provides additional guidance and
support to the ISG and UK customers, as required.
357.
90
About 30 separate pieces of intelligence from human sources and satellite imagery,
covering 19 sites in all, were involved in the leads provided to the inspectors. UNMOVIC
visited seven of those sites, made a partial examination of one more and subjected one
further site to examination by ground-penetrating radar. In terms of the results:
a.
At two sites, United Nations inspectors found relevant material – 223 Volga
engines for Al Samoud missiles at one, and at the other documents on the Iraqi
nuclear programme dating from 1991.
b.
At one site, inspectors found conventional munitions (they were also aware of
conventional munitions concealed at another site that they did not visit, and
found conventional munitions near a site they planned to visit).
c.
At three sites, inspectors found no evidence of either prohibited or conventional
Iraqi programmes. (The inspection by ground-penetrating radar of one site also
produced no results.) One of these three sites was the Al Kut hospital, where
the first inspection was disrupted by a demonstration; nothing was found when
the inspectors returned (although we note that this was carried out 15 days
later).
d.
At the final site, the inspectors took samples.
358.
We have noted a reasonable correlation between the intelligence provided by one source
and discoveries made by UNMOVIC. Leads provided on the basis of intelligence received
from other sources do not appear to have borne fruit. In the time available UNMOVIC
followed up a little over half of the leads provided by the British Government.
359.
In total, UNMOVIC carried out, in a little under four months, 731 inspections, covering 411
sites, 88 of which had not been inspected before. It found and, where relevant, supervised
the destruction of:
360.
a.
The illegally-imported Volga engines, and historic documents on the Iraqi
nuclear programme, described above, flowing from leads given by the British
Government.
b.
Over 70 illegal Al-Samoud 2 missiles and over 50 warheads. When UNMOVIC’s
operations were suspended in mid-March 2003, 25 more missiles and nearly
40 warheads remained to be destroyed. (As noted above, British intelligence
had led to the discovery of the engines for the missiles.)
c.
Two propellant casting chambers capable of producing rocket motors for
missiles with ranges greater than 150km.
d.
A small number of unfilled chemical munitions (all old).
e.
244.6 kg of declared but expired growth media and 40 vials of expired ‘toxin
standards’.
Dr Blix in early 2003 told the United Nations in addition that:
a.
He had information indicating that Iraq had worked on purifying and stabilising
VX, and had achieved more than it had declared.
b.
UNMOVIC thought that 10,000 litres of anthrax might still exist, and was
concerned generally about biological agent growth media.
c.
Iraq had worked on a possible anthrax simulant (Bacillus thuringiensis).
d.
Of the 157 biological agent-filled munitions which Iraq had declared but
UNSCOM had considered unaccounted for, UNMOVIC, with Iraq’s cooperation, had accounted for 128. Two were found to have definitely contained
anthrax.
e.
UNMOVIC inspections had confirmed that unmanned aerial vehicles capable
of autonomous flight had been developed and produced, but did not know
whether they were intended for chemical and biological warfare use.
91
361.
By the time United Nations inspectors left on 17 March 2003, the IAEA had not found any
evidence or plausible indication of the revival of Iraq’s nuclear programme.
362.
As we have described above, there was throughout this period a substantial volume of
intelligence reports on Iraqi deception and concealment activities, coupled with - as
UNMOVIC reported - a lack of active co-operation with inspectors. There were also the
UNMOVIC discoveries listed above. Even so, we are surprised that neither policy-makers
nor the intelligence community, as the generally negative results of UNMOVIC inspections
became increasingly apparent, conducted a formal re-evaluation of the quality of the
intelligence and hence of the assessments made on it. We have noted in departmental
papers expressions of concern about the impact on public and international opinion of the
lack of strong evidence of Iraqi violation of its disarmament obligations. But those involved
appear to have operated on the presumption that the intelligence was right, and that it was
because of the combination of Iraqi concealment and deception activities and perceived
UNMOVIC weaknesses that such evidence was not found.
363.
We also noted the limited time given to evaluation of the Iraqi declaration of 7 December.
Considerable effort was made by DIS staff immediately on its receipt to sift and analyse
its contents. Their initial findings were reported by the Assessments Staff on 13 December.
Further DIS work on the declaration was captured in a JIC paper on 18 December,
properly described as “An Initial Assessment of Iraq’s WMD Declaration”. Thereafter,
despite its importance to the determination of whether Iraq was in further material breach
of its disarmament obligations under United Nations Security Council Resolution 144114,
the JIC made no further assessment.
364.
The JIC’s attitude will have been shaped by intelligence received in late-November that
Iraq’s declaration would omit references to its prohibited programmes and more generally
would seek to overload the United Nations with information. Predictions on the extreme
length15 and nature of the declaration were subsequently borne out. Even so, we find it odd
that after the ‘Initial Assessment’ of 18 December, the JIC produced no further
assessment.
SUMMARY
365.
We consider in the next Section those legal issues surrounding the decision to take military
action to enforce Iraqi disarmament that fall within our terms of reference. From our
Review, we believe that those involved will, in taking that decision, have had the following
evidence derived from intelligence reports and assessments made by the UK intelligence
community16:
a.
14
Judgements which became increasingly firm during summer 2002 about the
extent of Iraq’s prohibited programmes, drawing in particular on new
intelligence on Iraqi biological and chemical weapons programmes received
from 2000 onwards.
Operative Paragraph 4.
The eventual document was almost 12,000 pages long.
16 They will, of course, also have taken into account the findings of UNMOVIC and the IAEA, and the conclusions of the
United Nations Security Council.
15
92
b.
The initial assessment of the Iraqi declaration of 7 December.
c.
Intelligence reports from September 2002 onwards on the extent of Iraqi
concealment of evidence of prohibited programmes, together with the results
of inspections undertaken on the basis of those reports.
5.7 THE ROLE OF INTELLIGENCE IN ASSESSING THE LEGALITY OF THE
WAR17
366.
We have examined the Attorney General’s advice on the legality of war in Iraq, and taken
oral evidence from him on two occasions.
367.
The Attorney General was briefed on relevant intelligence issues in September 2002 and
February 2003.
368.
At our request, the Legal Secretariat to the Law Officers submitted to us a background
note on the usual procedure by which the Government obtains legal advice from the Law
Officers, who are the Government’s principal legal advisers. In view of the public interest
in this matter, we judge that it may be worth setting this out.
369.
There is no set procedure for seeking the advice of the Law Officers. The usual practice
is for a Government lawyer in the Whitehall department with the lead interest in the issue
to write to the Legal Secretary to the Law Officers, or to one of the officials in the Legal
Secretariat, with a request for Law Officers’ advice. It is not, however, the invariable
practice for advice to be sought in this way. On occasion, Ministers write directly to the
Law Officers to seek their advice. Paragraph 22 of the Ministerial Code describes the type
of case where it will normally be appropriate to consult the Law Officers.
370.
Requests for advice normally set out the background and provide the department’s own
legal analysis of the issue. Depending on the circumstances, a number of things might
happen once the request is received. The lead department might be asked for further
information or further analysis of the legal question if the Legal Secretariat felt that this was
needed; it might be necessary to convene a meeting between the Law Officers and
relevant departmental lawyers to discuss the matter; the Law Officers might ask for the
views of outside counsel on the issue before giving their advice; or the letter might simply
be submitted by the Legal Secretariat to the Law Officers for their views.
371.
Once the Law Officers have formed a view on the matter, officials in the Legal Secretariat
would normally write back to the lead department recording the Law Officers’ advice. In
some cases, the Law Officers may communicate their advice directly to the Minister of the
lead department.
372.
There is a long-standing convention, adhered to by successive Governments (and
reflected in paragraph 24 of the Ministerial Code), that neither the fact that the Law Officers
17
The Government made clear to us that Government legal advice, whether from the Attorney General or from other legal
advisers, was shown to us in confidence and without intending to waive the legal professional privilege to which the advice
is subject. We have therefore referred to legal advice in general terms only and have not disclosed the contents of that
advice in this Report, except to the very limited extent that this is done in this Section. Those limitations are deliberately
constructed in a way which does not give rise to the risk of waiver of legal professional privilege in the underlying advice
which was given, which the Attorney General has made clear to us remains confidential.
93
have been consulted in relation to a particular matter nor the substance of any advice they
may have given is disclosed outside Government. The purpose of the convention is to
enable the Government, like everyone else, to obtain full and frank legal advice in
confidence. There is a strong public interest in the Government seeking legal advice so
that it acts in accordance with the law. If there were a risk that Law Officers’ advice would
be made public, this might inhibit the provision of full and frank legal advice. The rationale
for the convention is the same as that which underpins the doctrine of legal professional
privilege, which also applies to Law Officers’ advice.
94
373.
We have been advised of only three examples in the past 100 years of the actual advice
of the Law Officers being disclosed publicly. Two of those examples relate to the provision
of documents in judicial proceedings, namely the Factortame litigation and the Scott
Inquiry. In both of those cases, the advice given by the Law Officers was central to the
issues in the proceedings. The third example arose from the Westland affair when a letter
from the then Solicitor General to the then Secretary of State for Defence was published
by the Government. This followed, however, the unauthorised disclosure of part of the
Solicitor General’s letter in breach of the convention, which gave rise to serious
consideration of prosecutions under the Officials Secrets Act and led to, or contributed to,
the resignation of two Cabinet Ministers.
374.
In the case of Iraq, the Attorney General offered initial advice to the Government prior to
the adoption of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1441, when consideration was
being given to the enforcement of Iraq’s compliance with its disarmament obligations
under United Nations Security Council Resolution 687 and subsequent relevant
resolutions. That advice mainly concerned legal interpretation of relevant United Nations
Security Council resolutions. But the Attorney General did conclude that, on the basis of
the information he had seen, there would be no justification for the use of force against Iraq
on grounds of self-defence against an imminent threat.
375.
Following the passing of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1441, there was
disagreement inside the FCO on whether a further decision of the Security Council would
be needed before the UK could lawfully use force against Iraq to secure compliance by
Iraq with its disarmament obligations. The Foreign Secretary told us that he took the view
that, particularly in the light of the negotiating history of Security Council Resolution 1441,
such a further decision was not essential but that all concerned in the FCO accepted that
the final word would belong to the Attorney General.
376.
In the ultimate event, a Deputy Legal Adviser in the FCO, Ms Elizabeth Wilmshurst,
disagreed with the Government’s position and felt it necessary to resign. We took
evidence from Ms Wilmshurst and she told us that her view rested on a difference over
legal arguments and was not related to intelligence.
377.
The Attorney General has told us that, during the course of negotiation of Resolution 1441
and in the weeks following the adoption of that resolution, he had a number of discussions
with the Prime Minister, the Foreign Secretary and senior officials from their departments
about what happened during the negotiations, and on the interpretation of Resolution
1441, including whether it was of itself sufficient to authorise the use of force in the event
that Iraq failed to take the ‘final opportunity’ afforded to it by the Security Council to comply
with its disarmament obligations. The Attorney General has also told us that, in order to
assist him in reaching a concluded view of the proper interpretation of the resolution, he
also spoke to Sir Jeremy Greenstock, the UK Permanent Representative to the United
Nations, and in February 2003 met members of the US Administration who as co-sponsors
of the Resolution had detailed knowledge of the negotiation of the resolution.
378.
The Attorney General informed the Prime Minister’s Chief of Staff (Mr Powell), his Foreign
Policy Adviser (Sir David Manning) and Baroness Morgan of his view of the legal position
at a meeting on 28 February 2003. The Prime Minister’s office subsequently asked the
Attorney General to put those views in writing, which he did in a formal minute to the Prime
Minister on 7 March 2003.
379.
We have received an account from the Attorney General of that advice, and have read it.
It was based on the legal interpretation of relevant United Nations Security Council
resolutions and negotiating history in the United Nations, and not on WMD-related
intelligence. It did, however, require the Prime Minister, in the absence of a further United
Nations Security Council resolution, to be satisfied that there were strong factual grounds
for concluding that Iraq had failed to take the final opportunity to comply with its
disarmament obligations under relevant resolutions of the Security Council and that it was
possible to demonstrate hard evidence of non-compliance and non-co-operation with the
requirements of Security Council Resolution 1441, so as to justify the conclusion that Iraq
was in further material breach of its obligations.
380.
On the basis of the Attorney General’s advice, the Government drew up its military
campaign objectives (set out at Annex C) which made it clear that the Government’s
overall objective for the military campaign was to bring about Iraq’s disarmament in
accordance with its obligations under the relevant United Nations Security Council
resolutions and that the obstacle to achieving this was the then current Iraqi regime,
supported by the security forces under its control. The Government therefore concluded
that military action was necessary to remove the Iraqi regime from power, in order to
secure compliance by Iraq with its disarmament obligations. The Attorney General
confirmed to us his view that, while the assessment that it was necessary to remove the
current regime to enforce compliance with its disarmament obligations was not for him, he
saw no reason to regard this as being other than a proper and reasonable political and
military assessment for the Government to make.
381.
The Attorney General decided that it was in the interests of public servants, both military
and civil, who would have to carry through any decision to take military action that a
statement should be made in clear and simple terms as to his view of the legal position.
The Attorney General informed Lord Falconer and Baroness Morgan at a meeting on
13 March of his clear view that it was lawful under Resolution 1441 to use force without a
further United Nations Security Council resolution.
382.
The Legal Secretary to the Law Officers informed the Legal Adviser to the Ministry of
Defence on 14 March of the Attorney General’s view, the Legal Adviser to the Ministry of
Defence having written to the Legal Secretary on 12 March asking for confirmation of the
legal position in order that the Chief of the Defence Staff could issue the order to commit
armed forces to military action.
95
383.
Following the end of negotiations in the United Nations on a further Security Council
resolution, the Legal Secretary to the Attorney General wrote to the Private Secretary to the
Prime Minister on 14 March 2003 seeking confirmation that:
. . . it is unequivocally the Prime Minister’s view that Iraq has committed further
material breaches as specified in paragraph 4 of resolution 1441.
384.
The Prime Minister’s Private Secretary replied to the Legal Secretary on 15 March,
confirming that:
. . . it is indeed the Prime Minister’s unequivocal view that Iraq is in further material
breach of its obligations, as in OP418 of UNSCR 1441, because of ‘false statements
or omissions in the declarations submitted by Iraq pursuant to this resolution and
failure by Iraq to comply with, and co-operate fully in the implementation of, this
resolution’.
385.
We have been told that, in coming to his view that Iraq was in further material breach, the
Prime Minister took account both of the overall intelligence picture and of information from
a wide range of other sources, including especially UNMOVIC information.
386.
The Attorney General set out his view of the legal position to the Cabinet on 17 March, by
producing and speaking to the Written Answer he gave to Parliament on that date:
Baroness Ramsay of Cartvale: What is the Attorney General’s view of the legal
basis for the use of force against Iraq.
The Attorney General: Authority to use force against Iraq exists from the
combined effect of Resolutions 678, 687 and 1441. All of these resolutions were
adopted under Chapter VII of the UN Charter which allows the use of force for the
express purpose of restoring international peace and security:
18
96
1.
In Resolution 678, the Security Council authorised force against Iraq, to eject
it from Kuwait and to restore peace and security in the area.
2.
In Resolution 687, which set out the ceasefire obligations after Operation
Desert Storm, the Security Council imposed continuing obligations on Iraq
to eliminate its weapons of mass destruction in order to restore international
peace and security in the area. Resolution 687 suspended but did not
terminate the authority to use force under Resolution 678.
3.
A material breach of Resolution 687 revives the authority to use force under
Resolution 678.
4.
In Resolution 1441, the Security Council determined that Iraq has been and
remains in material breach of Resolution 687, because it has not fully
complied with its obligations to disarm under that resolution.
5.
The Security Council in Resolution 1441 gave Iraq “a final opportunity to
comply with its disarmament obligations” and warned Iraq of the “serious
consequences” if it did not.
Operative Paragraph 4 of the resolution.
387.
6.
The Security Council also decided in Resolution 1441 that, if Iraq failed at
any time to comply with and co-operate fully in the implementation of
Resolution 1441, that would constitute a further material breach.
7.
It is plain that Iraq has failed so to comply and therefore Iraq was at the time
of Resolution 1441 and continues to be in material breach.
8.
Thus, the authority to use force under Resolution 678 has revived and so
continues today.
9.
Resolution 1441 would in terms have provided that a further decision of the
Security Council to sanction force was required if that had been intended.
Thus, all that Resolution 1441 requires is reporting to and discussion by the
Security Council of Iraq’s failures, but not an express further decision to
authorise force.
On the same date, the Foreign Secretary gave a more detailed statement of the legal
position in his letter to both Houses of Parliament which included a note summarising
Iraq’s record on non-compliance with United Nations Security Council Resolution 1441
(reproduced at Annex D).
5.8 WHAT HAS BEEN FOUND IN IRAQ SINCE THE WAR
INTRODUCTION
388.
In the period immediately following hostilities, there was much disorder and looting in Iraq.
Coalition activities were initially directed to mopping up outlying resistance, establishing
internal security and repairing public utilities. Although the 75th Exploitation Task Force
was set up to find and destroy chemical or biological weapons deployed on the battlefield
or stockpiled in position near Iraqi military units, circumstances on the ground made their
operations very difficult.
389.
During this period, much potential evidence about prohibited Iraqi weapons programmes
may have been destroyed. The systematic destruction of computers and other forms of
records at some sites suggested that it was not the work of looters but was part of a
scheme of orchestrated destruction. There was also evidence of sanitisation of sites which
may have been used for research.
390.
Iraqi concealment activities may also have hidden evidence from Coalition forces. Items
were buried. A complete fighter aircraft was, for example, dug out of the sand by US Air
Force troops after the end of military action. It would not have been difficult to conceal in
this way a complete Al Hussein missile. It would have been even easier to conceal such
missiles if they were broken down into components, as some intelligence suggested.
391.
We were told that the volume of biological and chemical agents unaccounted for at the
time of UNSCOM’s departure, even if they were all held together, would fit into a petrol
tanker. If they were dispersed and hidden in small quantities, they would be even harder
to discover; and they could be concealed in containers bearing an innocent description
which would not raise suspicion if they were standing in the open.
97
392.
We conclude that it would be a rash person who asserted at this stage that evidence of
Iraqi possession of stocks of biological or chemical agents, or even of banned missiles,
does not exist or will never be found.
WHAT THE IRAQ SURVEY GROUP HAS FOUND
393.
In June 2003, the US-led Iraq Survey Group (ISG) was established to investigate ‘weapons
of mass destruction developed by Iraq under the previous regime’ and took over from the
75th Exploitation Task Force.
394.
Following initial investigations, the ISG noted that it was unlikely that the Iraqis had
deployed chemical and biological weapons on the battlefield for use. In March 2004, the
ISG published an interim “Status Report” in which it projected key priorities for future
investigation, including:
395.
396.
a.
Further research into a complex and well-developed procurement system
hidden by an effective denial and deception strategy.
b.
New leads on plans to develop an indigenous capability to produce a range of
chemicals, some of them subject to sanctions.
c.
New information related to potential dual-use facilities.
d.
Information indicating Iraqi interest in maintaining the knowledge needed to
support a potential nuclear programme.
As we note in the introduction to this report, the ISG have not yet produced any publicly
available comprehensive report. But we have been advised that, in their work over the past
year, they have developed the following key concerns:
a.
On Iraq’s nuclear programme, the ISG are continuing to investigate Iraqi
attempts to sustain the necessary intellectual capital, both human and
documentary, to reconstitute such a programme.
b.
On Iraq’s chemical weapons programme, the ISG found a small number of pre1991 weapons.
c.
On Iraq’s biological weapons programme, the ISG are continuing to investigate
the evidence of post-1991 biological research, including potential laboratories
run by the Iraqi Intelligence Service.
d.
On Iraq’s ballistic missile programme, there is evidence of clear decisions by
the Iraqi leadership to proceed with the development and production of ballistic
missiles beyond permitted ranges, but no corroboration that new warheads
capable of chemical and biological payloads were developed for ballistic
missiles.
The ISG are continuing to investigate the decisions and plans of the former Iraqi regime,
and we have been told that the debriefing of detainees has included:
a.
98
Admissions that chemical weapons were used in the Iran-Iraq war, but
assertions that any remaining stocks were destroyed in 1991.
b.
Statements that after 1991 the Iraqi regime was determined to maintain the
intellectual capital necessary for reconstruction of nuclear, biological and
chemical weapons programmes once sanctions were significantly eroded or
lifted.
CONCLUSIONS
397.
For the reasons given above, even now it is premature to reach conclusions about Iraq’s
prohibited weapons. But from the evidence which has been found and de-briefing of Iraqi
personnel it appears that prior to the war the Iraqi regime:
a.
Had the strategic intention of resuming the pursuit of prohibited weapons
programmes, including if possible its nuclear weapons programme, when
United Nations inspection regimes were relaxed and sanctions were eroded
or lifted.
b.
In support of that goal, was carrying out illicit research and development, and
procurement, activities.
c.
Was developing ballistic missiles with a range longer than permitted under
relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions.
d.
Did not, however, have significant - if any - stocks of chemical or biological
weapons in a state fit for deployment, or developed plans for using them.
5.9 VALIDATION OF HUMAN INTELLIGENCE SOURCES
INTRODUCTION
398.
During the course of our Review, SIS provided a series of commentaries on the results of
their post-war validation of the main sources of human intelligence in the run-up to the war
on Iraqi chemical and biological weapons, their use and their concealment. The good faith
and reliability of some of those sources have been verified. But doubts - and in some cases
serious doubts - have emerged about the reliability of intelligence from three sources
whose intelligence helped to underpin JIC assessments and the Government’s dossier of
September 2002. We set out below the position at the time of conclusion of our Review.
CONTEXT
399.
Before doing so, however, we believe that it would be helpful to set in context the relative
influence of each of the main SIS sources whose reporting underpinned JIC assessments.
We cannot here set out in full the analysis we made; doing so would present an
unacceptable risk to the continued security of sources and to the confidence of other
current and potential SIS sources that their secrets will remain safe with SIS. But we can
provide a description both of the subjects on which SIS’s main sources reported and of the
volume of their reporting. We are also able to include our conclusions on their validation.
400.
SIS’s main sources reported on the production and possession of stocks of chemical and
biological agents; on the weaponisation and deployment of those agents; on the use by
99
the Iraqi regime of chemical and biological weapons; and on the concealment of evidence
of prohibited programmes from United Nations inspectors. One main source reported only
on the mobile biological agent production facilities. Reporting from SIS’s main sources
represented in total some three-quarters of all SIS intelligence reports on those subjects
circulated during 2002.
401.
Two of the main sources were dominant, in terms of both the number of reports and
influence on JIC assessments. During 2002, they provided some two-thirds of all
intelligence reports that were circulated; and from summer 2002 onwards their reporting
had a significant influence on intelligence assessments on Iraqi use of chemical and
biological weapons. As noted in Chapter 1, however, volume is not necessarily a measure
of influence; even single intelligence reports can have a significant impact. That was
certainly the case with one report from one of these sources which had a major effect on
the certainty of statements in the Government’s dossier of September 2002 that Iraq
possessed and was producing chemical and biological weapons. (This report was
subsequently withdrawn.)
SIS MAIN SOURCES
100
402.
Of the two dominant sources, the first reported accurately and authoritatively on some key
issues. On production and stocks of chemical and biological weapons and agents, he
could only report what he learned from others in his circle of high-level contacts in
Baghdad.
403.
The second dominant source remains the subject of continuing SIS validation. In 2002, SIS
considered him to be an established and reliable source. His intelligence on other
subjects had previously been corroborated. We therefore understand why SIS decided
that it should issue a number of reports from him quoting a new sub-source on Iraqi
chemical and biological programmes and intentions. Even then, they properly included a
caution about the sub-source’s links to opposition groups and the possibility that his
reports would be affected by that. We have been told that post-war validation by SIS has
raised serious doubts about the reliability of reporting from this new sub-source. We
conclude that this stream of reporting that underpinned JIC assessments on Iraqi
production and possession of chemical and biological weapons must be open to
serious doubt.
404.
In addition to these two dominant sources, SIS’s post-war validation has led them to
conclude that two further main sources should continue to be regarded as reliable. We
have, however, noted that reports from those sources tended to present a less worrying
view of Iraqi chemical and biological weapons capability than that from the sources whose
reporting is now subject to doubt.
405.
Finally, in mid-September 2002 SIS issued a report, described as being from ‘a new
source on trial’, on Iraqi production of chemical and biological agent. Although this report
was received too late for inclusion in the JIC assessment of 9 September, it did provide
significant assurance to those drafting the Government’s dossier that active, current
production of chemical and biological agent was taking place. A second report from the
new source, about the production of a particular chemical agent, was received later in
September 2002. In July 2003, however, SIS withdrew the two reports because the
sourcing chain had by then been discredited. SIS also interviewed the alleged sub-source
for the intelligence after the war, who denied ever having provided the information in the
reports. We note, therefore, that the two reports from this source, including one which was
important in the closing stages of production of the Government’s September dossier,
must now be treated as unsafe.
LIAISON SERVICE SOURCES
406.
As noted above, one source provided the vast majority of the intelligence that suggested
that Iraq had developed mobile facilities for the production of biological agent. In oral
evidence to our Review in May, the Chief of SIS said that this source’s reports had been
received through a liaison service and that he had not therefore been under the control of
SIS. SIS had been able to verify that he had worked in an area which would have meant
that he would have had access to the sort of information he claimed to have. But they had
not been able to question him directly until after the war.
407.
Following this initial post-war debrief of the source, SIS told us that:
It has become apparent that significant detail did not appear in the original liaison
reports . . . But based on the information derived from the limited access to [the
source] to date we continue to judge that it is premature to conclude . . . that all the
intelligence from the source must be discounted.
408.
SIS also noted, however, that their own debriefing of the source had led them to conclude
that the product from the mobile facilities would have been in slurry form, which would
have had a shorter life than would dried agent. As a result, SIS concluded that:
This indicates that the concept for use of the [mobile facilities] was not to produce
material to stockpile . . . Whilst further work needs to be done, at the moment it
appears that the most likely function of the trailers was to provide a breakout
production capability and not the continued production of material for stockpiling.
409.
SIS have informed us that they will continue to debrief the source. But, for the purposes of
our Review, we conclude that there must be some doubts about the reliability of all the
reports received from this source via the liaison service. We also conclude that
intelligence reports received in 2000 which suggested that Iraq had recently-produced
biological agent were seriously flawed. We therefore also conclude that the grounds for
the JIC assessments drawing on those reports that Iraq had recently-produced stocks of
biological agent no longer exist.
SUMMARY OF MAIN SOURCES
410.
The overall picture therefore is that, of the main human intelligence sources described
above:
a.
One SIS main source reported authoritatively on some issues, but on others
was passing on what he had heard within his circle.
101
b.
Reporting from a sub-source to a second main SIS source that was important
to JIC assessments on Iraqi possession of chemical and biological weapons
must be open to serious doubt.
c.
Reports from a third SIS main source have been withdrawn as unreliable.
d.
Reports from two further main SIS sources continue to be regarded as reliable,
although it is notable that their reports were less worrying than the rest about
Iraqi chemical and biological weapons capabilities.
e.
Reports received from the liaison service on Iraqi production of biological agent
were seriously flawed, so that the grounds for JIC assessments drawing on
those reports that Iraq had recently-produced stocks of biological agent no
longer exist.
OTHER SOURCES
411.
A handful of other sources, and liaison reporting, comprised the remaining quarter of the
human intelligence base reporting on Iraqi nuclear, biological, chemical and ballistic
missile programmes in 2002. Very few of their reports were judged by the JIC to be
material to the judgements reached in its assessments, although some were seen as
providing some additional confidence to reporting from the sources described above,
including a single report received from a reliable and established source quoting a new
sub-source on the mobile biological agent production facilities.
412.
In addition to seeking to validate after the war the sources described above, SIS told us
that they had planned to interview scientists associated with Iraqi chemical and biological
weapons programmes but that this operation had had to be suspended because of
practical and legal difficulties in Iraq. We understand those constraints.
SIS VALIDATION PROCEDURES
102
413.
We commend SIS for the thoroughness with which they have sought to validate their
sources after the war and for the frankness they have shown in sharing with us on a
continuing basis the results of their investigations. Nevertheless, the fact that reporting
from one of their important pre-war sources has been withdrawn, and that from two other
main sources is open to doubt, led us to question the standard procedures adopted by
SIS to ensure that their sources are valid and that their reporting is subjected to quality
control, and to ask whether these procedures were followed in the case of Iraq.
414.
Two witnesses made contributions on this process. The first said that, in areas relevant to
our Review, SIS’s organisational structure changed in the mid-1990s in a way that
unintentionally undermined the effectiveness of the quality assurance process. Before the
re-organisation, the ‘Requirements’ function, which was responsible for quality assurance
in respect of agents’ reporting, was independent of the ‘Production’ function responsible
for producing reports. There was also a separation between UK-based case officers and
their ‘Production’ team. According to this witness, in order to make overall staff savings
and, within the staff that remained, to free resources for operational work, SIS brought
together the different functions of running sources and controlling their reporting into one
unified team, whose leader was responsible for the total output. The consequence of this
was thought by the witness to be that the quality assurance function of the SIS
‘Requirements’ officer, responsible for checking the validity and quality of source
reporting, became subjected to the operational imperative of the team leader to produce
results. At the same time, we were told, ‘Requirements’ posts were increasingly staffed by
more junior officers as experienced staff were put into improving the operational teeth of
the Service. Their ability to challenge the validity of cases and their reporting was
correspondingly reduced.
415.
The second witness commented in a similar manner to the first on the impact of the
organisational changes described above for the effectiveness of the quality assurance
process carried out by ‘Requirements’ officers. The witness also said that staff effort
overall, and the number of experienced case officers in particular, applied to both the
geographical (Near and Middle East) and functional (counter-proliferation) areas covered
by our Review, were too thin to support SIS’s responsibilities. Source validation, especially
that on Iraq, had suffered as a consequence of both problems, with what were in the
witness’s view sources with dubious motivation being over-graded for reliability.
416.
The Chief of SIS commented to us that the aim of these changes had been to make:
. . . people that run the operations responsible not just for operational activity but for
delivery and to give them a much, much more clear cut responsibility for the
requirement side . . . The primary reason for bringing together operational units into
teams was to make delivery of intelligence (and part of the delivery is the ability to
assess and evaluate it in terms of its accuracy), as important as operational
performance.
417.
In terms of their application to sources of intelligence on Iraq, he added:
I would say now we’re a victim of a lack of experience and a lack of sufficiently expert
resources to apply to [one] case . . . had it been under more day to day scrutiny than
it was at the time. And then, of course, there is pressure on the Service to produce
. . . and what you have to bear in mind in the period from about the middle of 2002
is that we were trying to ramp up our coverage of Iraq.
418.
He added, however, that:
The Service has a very tough source evaluation process which was completely
revised in the period late 1999 to 2001. It was a long exercise and we introduced new
processes and systems. Now they, for resource reasons, obviously couldn’t be
immediately applied, because they are heavy duty, to every case but . . . it’s
something that we take incredibly seriously, where we have a highly developed
process.
419.
The Chief of SIS agreed that these tightened up procedures had obviously not been
applied fully in one case. But he also pointed out that in other cases, including the two main
sources described above whose reporting is still viewed as reliable, they had worked well.
420.
On the level of seniority of officers staffing the ‘Requirements’ desks, the Chief of SIS
commented that:
103
. . . it’s very, very difficult particularly when the pressure on the Service is to produce
good intelligence, to put your officers who are the only ones that can do production
as well into the Requirements tasks. I accept problems and the fact that in an ideal
world you would only staff your Requirements desks with very experienced
operational officers. In practice that is not possible.
421.
He added, however, that SIS had nevertheless:
. . . managed to keep significant experience in each Requirement bit and we don’t
allow a situation where raw recruits without experience are putting out intelligence
without reference to more experienced officers who can check the process.
422.
In conclusion, the Chief of SIS said that:
We look very hard at the health of the Requirements function and one of the exercises
we did post-Iraq was to look at this very carefully and try to work out whether anything
remedial needed to be done . . . where we need to run more training courses for
Requirements officers, whether we need to reinforce the Requirements sections with
more area expertise, whether we need more operational expertise. I don’t think the
Requirements function in SIS is in any way diminished.
423.
Our experience of SIS reporting on other countries of concern and the AQ Khan network,
described at Chapter 2, gives us assurance that these procedures work, when applied
properly. But there were clearly failures in the case of intelligence on Iraq. We return to this
issue in our Conclusions.
5.10 CONCLUSIONS ON IRAQ
THE POLICY CONTEXT
104
424.
We have deliberately started our description of the policy context in 1998. It was clear to
us, especially from the evidence we heard from the Prime Minister, that the challenge
posed by the Iraqi regime in 1998 to the United Nations inspections regime and the
Government’s response to it had a significant influence on policy towards Iraq in later
years. Thus, the Prime Minister’s statement in the House of Commons in February 1998
contained themes that would be equally applicable four years later – the need to preserve
the authority and standing of the United Nations; the need in particular to prevent the Iraqi
government thwarting the United Nations inspection regime; and in that context the need
to back United Nations’ demands that Iraq meet its obligations with the threat of force.
425.
A review of Government policy towards Iraq in 1999 noted that the policy of containment
had “kept the lid on” Saddam Hussein. In the absence of internationally acceptable
alternative options, it recommended continuation of the policy of containment, despite its
disadvantages. In parallel, however, key policy-makers were receiving increasing
intelligence on the developing nuclear, chemical and biological programmes of other
states of concern and the proliferation activities of the AQ Khan network, described more
fully at Chapter 2. They also had intelligence, described at Chapter 3, of efforts by Usama
bin Laden to seek unconventional weapons. The Prime Minister described to us his
perception of the longer-term risks to international security and stability posed by such
programmes and activities. Other witnesses spoke of a sense of a ‘creeping tide’ of
proliferation and growth in the nuclear, biological, chemical and ballistic missile
capabilities of states of concern.
426.
The Prime Minister told us that, even before the attacks of 11 September 2001, his concern
in this area was increasingly causing him to examine more proactive policy options. He
also described to us the way in which the events of 11 September 2001 led him to
conclude that policy had to change. He and other witnesses told us of the impact on
policy-making of the changed calculus of threat that emerged from those attacks - of the
risk of unconventional weapons in due course becoming available to terrorists and
extremists seeking to cause mass casualties unconstrained by the fear of alienating their
supporters or the public, or by considerations of personal safety. The Prime Minister’s view
was that a stand had to be taken, and a more active policy put in place to prevent the
continuing development and proliferation of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons
and technology in breach of the will of the international community. We describe at
Chapter 4 the new counter-proliferation machinery put in place in summer 2002 to
implement that policy.
427.
The developing policy context of the previous four years, and especially
the impact of the events of 11 September 2001, formed the backdrop for
changes in policy towards Iraq in early 2002. The Government’s
conclusion in the spring of 2002 that stronger action (although not
necessarily military action) needed to be taken to enforce Iraqi
disarmament was not based on any new development in the current
intelligence picture on Iraq. In his evidence to us, the Prime Minister endorsed the
view expressed at the time that what had changed was not the pace of Iraq’s prohibited
weapons programmes, which had not been dramatically stepped up, but tolerance of
them following the attacks of 11 September 2001. When the Government
concluded that action going beyond the previous policy of containment
needed to be taken, there were many grounds for concern arising from
Iraq’s past record and behaviour. There was a clear view that, to be
successful, any new action to enforce Iraqi compliance with its
disarmament obligations would need to be backed with the credible
threat of force. But there was no recent intelligence that would itself have
given rise to a conclusion that Iraq was of more immediate concern than
the activities of some other countries.
428.
Other factors clearly influenced the decision to focus on Iraq. The Prime Minister told us
that, whilst on some perspectives the activities of other states might be seen as posing
more direct challenges to British interests, the Government, as well as being
influenced by the concerns of the US Government, saw a need for
immediate action on Iraq because of the wider historical and international
context, especially Iraq’s perceived continuing challenge to the authority
of the United Nations. The Government also saw in the United Nations and
a decade of Security Council Resolutions a basis for action through the
United Nations to enforce Iraqi compliance with its disarmament
obligations.
105
429.
The Government considered in March 2002 two options for achieving the
goal of Iraqi disarmament – a toughening of the existing containment
policy; and regime change by military means. Ministers were advised
that, if regime change was the chosen policy, only the use of overriding
force in a ground campaign would achieve the removal of Saddam Hussein
and Iraq’s re-integration with the international community. Officials noted
that regime change of itself had no basis in international law; and that any
offensive military action against Iraq could only be justified if Iraq were
held to be in breach of its disarmament obligations under United Nations
Security Council Resolution 687 or some new resolution. Officials also
noted that for the five Permanent Members of the Security Council and the
majority of the 15 members of the Council to take the view that Iraq was
in breach of its obligations under Resolution 687, they would need to be
convinced that Iraq was in breach of its obligations; that such proof would
need to be incontrovertible and of large-scale activity; but that the
intelligence then available was insufficiently robust to meet that
criterion.
430.
This advice, and a parallel JIC assessment, formed part of the background for the Prime
Minister’s meeting with President Bush at Crawford on 6–7 April 2002. The themes of the
British Government’s policy framework established as a result of that meeting and work in
subsequent months echoed those of 1998 - the importance of the United Nations; the
need to get United Nations inspectors back into Iraq; and the value of increasing pressure
on the Iraqi regime, including through military action.
431.
Intelligence on Iraqi nuclear, biological, chemical and ballistic missile
programmes was used in support of the execution of this policy, for three
main purposes:
432.
106
a.
To inform planning for a military campaign if that should be necessary, in
particular, in relation to unconventional weapons, for providing the necessary
safeguards for coalition troops, diplomatic personnel and others; and for targeting.
b.
To inform domestic and international opinion of the UK’s assessment of
Iraq’s holdings, programmes and intentions, in support of the Government’s
advocacy of its changing policy towards Iraq.
c.
To obtain and provide information to United Nations inspectors about
the likely locations of weapons and programmes which contravened the terms of
United Nations Security Council resolutions.
We draw our Conclusions on the sources, assessment and use of intelligence in the
following paragraphs against that policy background. In doing so, we are conscious that
Iraq was not the only issue on which the intelligence agencies, the JIC and
the departments concerned were working during this period. It is a common
temptation for reviews of this nature to comment as if those concerned were doing nothing
else and should have had their attention concentrated full-time on the subject under
review. In this case, for much of the period up to mid-2002, many other issues were more
demanding of the intelligence community’s and policy-makers’ time and attention. Iraq
loomed large from mid-2002 onwards. But even then other matters, including
terrorism and the activities of other countries of concern, were requiring
intensive day-to-day observation and action, including continuing operations in
Afghanistan and the crisis between India and Pakistan.
THE SOURCES OF INTELLIGENCE
433.
Iraq was a very difficult intelligence target. Between 1991 and 1998, the bulk of
information used in assessing the status of Iraq’s biological, chemical and
ballistic missile programmes was derived from UNSCOM reports. In 1995,
knowledge was significantly boosted by the defection of Hussein Kamil. But, after the
departure of United Nations inspectors in December 1998, information
sources were sparse, particularly on Iraq’s chemical and biological
weapons programmes.
434.
In Spring 2000, intelligence was obtained from a significant new source via a liaison
service on mobile biological agent production facilities. During 2002, additional human
intelligence reporting was obtained by the UK. Nevertheless the number of primary
human intelligence sources remained few (although they drew on a wider
number of sub-sources and sub-sub-sources). As Section 5.9 explains, SIS had five main
sources. Two of those were dominant, in terms of both the number of reports and influence
on JIC assessments.
435.
Furthermore, SIS did not generally have agents with first-hand, inside knowledge of Iraq’s
nuclear, chemical, biological or ballistic missile programmes. As a result, intelligence
reports were mainly inferential. Other intelligence sources provided valuable
information on other activity, including overseas procurement activity.
They did not generally provide confirmation of the intelligence received
from human sources, but did contribute to the picture of the continuing
intention of the Iraqi regime to pursue its prohibited weapons
programmes.
436.
Validation of human intelligence sources after the war has thrown doubt
on a high proportion of those sources and of their reports, and hence on
the quality of the intelligence assessments received by Ministers and
officials in the period from summer 2002 to the outbreak of hostilities. Of
the main human intelligence sources described above:
a.
One SIS main source reported authoritatively on some issues,
but on others was passing on what he had heard within his circle.
b.
Reporting from a sub-source to a second SIS main source that
was important to JIC assessments on Iraqi possession of
chemical and biological weapons must be open to doubt.
c.
Reports from a third SIS main source have been withdrawn as
unreliable.
107
108
d.
Reports from two further SIS main sources continue to be
regarded as reliable, although it is notable that their reports were
less worrying than the rest about Iraqi chemical and biological
weapons capabilities.
e.
Reports received from a liaison service on Iraqi production of
biological agent were seriously flawed, so that the grounds for
JIC assessments drawing on those reports that Iraq had
recently-produced stocks of biological agent no longer exist.
437.
We have considered why such a high proportion of human intelligence reports should
have been withdrawn or subsequently be subject to doubt.
438.
One reason which is frequently suggested is that, in the case of Iraq, there was overreliance on emigré and dissident sources, who had their own motives for exaggerating the
dangers presented by the Iraq regime. But, after examination, we do not believe that
over-reliance on dissident and emigré sources was a major cause of
subsequent weaknesses in the human intelligence relied on by the UK. The
important source on Iraqi biological agent production capabilities was a refugee. But his
reporting was treated with some caution by the JIC until it appeared to be confirmed by
other human intelligence. The subsequent need to withdraw a key part of the reporting
received through the liaison service arose as a result of misunderstandings, not because
of the source’s status.
439.
A new sub-source to another main source, who provided a significant proportion of
influential human intelligence reporting, turned out to have links to opposition groups of
which SIS only later became aware. But SIS, once they knew of those links, warned
readers in their reports of the risk of embellishment. And the serious doubts that have
subsequently arisen on the quality of his reporting do not arise from issues connected with
his dissident status.
440.
One reason for the number of agents whose reports turned out to be
unreliable or questionable may be the length of the reporting chains. Even
when there were sources who were shown to be reliable in some areas of reporting, they
had in other areas of intelligence concern where they did not have direct knowledge to
draw on sub-sources or sub-sub-sources. This was the case with the first of the two
dominant sources.
441.
Another reason may be that agents who were known to be reliable were
asked to report on issues going well beyond their usual territory, leading to
intelligence reports which were more speculative than they would have provided on their
own specialisms. We believe this to have been the case with some aspects of the reporting
of the second of the two dominant sources.
442.
A third reason may be that, because of the scarcity of sources and the
urgent requirement for intelligence, more credence was given to untried
agents than would normally be the case. This was the case with the report
received between the JIC assessment of 9 September 2002 and the publication of the
Government’s dossier in September 2002.
443.
We believe that a major underlying reason for the problems that have arisen
was the difficulty of achieving reliable human intelligence on Iraq. Part of
the difficulty faced by SIS in recruiting and running reliable agents came from the nature
and brutality of the Iraqi regime. The nature of Iraq after the war might also have had its
own effect, with the risk that some of the informants may have reported reliably but had
reasons after the war to deny having provided information.
444.
However, even taking into account the difficulty of recruiting and running
reliable agents on Iraqi issues, we conclude that part of the reason for the
serious doubt being cast over a high proportion of human intelligence
reports on Iraq arises from weaknesses in the effective application by SIS
of its validation procedures and in their proper resourcing. We received
evidence from two witnesses about the impact of organisational changes in parts of SIS
relevant to our Review. Following reductions in SIS’s budget in the mid-1990s, these were
made with the goal of making overall staff savings and freeing experienced case officers
for operational work. This weakened SIS’s internal processes for the quality assurance of
agents. One of those witnesses also noted that the level of staff effort applied to
geographical and functional tasks relevant to our Review was too thin to support SIS’s
responsibilities. We believe that the validation of some sources on Iraq suffered as a
consequence of both problems.
445.
The Chief of SIS acknowledged to us that a problem had arisen. He attributed it primarily
to the shortage of experienced case officers following the rundown of the size of SIS in the
1990s. Our Review has shown the vital importance of effective scrutiny and
validation of human intelligence sources and of their reporting to the
preparation of accurate JIC assessments and high-quality advice to
Ministers. We urge the Chief of SIS to ensure that this task is properly
resourced and organised to achieve that result, and we think that it would
be appropriate if the Intelligence and Security Committee were to
monitor this.
ASSESSMENT
446.
447.
We have examined the way in which raw intelligence was analysed and assessed over the
period and then incorporated into JIC assessments for Ministers and other senior readers.
In particular, we have looked at whether:
a.
The material in intelligence reports was correctly treated as it passed along the
chain from agent reports through analysis into JIC assessments, and that it did
not suffer as a result of compression or incorrect translation from one stage to
the next.
b.
Analysis or assessment appears to have been coloured by departmental policy
or other agendas.
c.
Assessment had access to and made full use of available technical expertise.
Drawing on our conclusions on these issues, we have then examined and drawn
conclusions on the quality of the JIC assessments we read on Iraq’s nuclear, biological,
109
chemical and ballistic missile programmes. We have looked in particular at the degree of
analytical rigour applied across the range of assessments we have read, especially to see
whether there developed within the intelligence community over a decade of analysis and
assessment ‘Group Think’ or a ‘prevailing wisdom’. That has led us to look at whether
sufficient challenge was applied to analysis and assessment, and whether readers of JIC
assessments and the JIC itself were sufficiently alerted to the existence of dissenting or
alternative views.
448.
In doing so, we decided to study JIC assessments and the intelligence reports that
underlay them as far back as 1990, to seek to establish in particular:
a.
Whether there were any issues surrounding the operation of the intelligence
assessment process over more than a decade which might have affected JIC
assessments in the period prior to the second Gulf war.
b.
Whether assessments made about the scale of Iraq’s nuclear, biological,
chemical and ballistic missile programmes at the time of the first Gulf war and
during the early- and mid-1990s had an impact which was still reflected in JIC
assessments made in 2002 and 2003.
The treatment of intelligence material
449.
In general, we found that the original intelligence material was correctly
reported in JIC assessments. An exception was the ’45 minute’ report.
But this sort of example was rare in the several hundred JIC assessments we read
on Iraq. In general, we also found that the reliability of the original intelligence reports was
fairly represented by the use of accompanying qualifications. We should record in
particular that we have found no evidence of deliberate distortion or of
culpable negligence.
The effect of departmental policy agendas
450.
We examined JIC assessments to see whether there was evidence that the judgements
inside them were systematically distorted by non-intelligence factors, in particular the
influence of the policy positions of departments. We found no evidence of JIC
assessments and the judgements inside them being pulled in any
particular direction to meet the policy concerns of senior officials on the
JIC.
Access to technical and other expertise
451.
110
We conclude in general that the intelligence community made good use of
the technical expertise available to the Government, for example in the DIS or
from the Atomic Weapons Establishment at Aldermaston and the Defence Science and
Technology Laboratory: Porton Down, both through consultation and secondments. An
example of the strength of this network of expertise came in the assurances we were given
that technical experts both in the DIS and elsewhere were consulted on the question of
whether the aluminium tubes were likely to have been intended for a centrifuge facility for
nuclear enrichment.
452.
We accept the need for careful handling of human intelligence reports to
sustain the security of sources. We have, however, seen evidence of
difficulties that arose from the unduly strict ‘compartmentalisation’ of
intelligence which meant that experts in DIS did not have access to an intelligence
report which became available in September 2002 and played a major role for the JIC in
confirming previous intelligence reports that Iraq was producing chemical and biological
weapons. The report was later withdrawn in July 2003. We accept that this report was from
a new source who was thought to be of great potential value and was therefore of extreme
sensitivity. Nevertheless, it was wrong that a report which was of significance
in the drafting of a document of the importance of the dossier was not
shown to key experts in the DIS who could have commented on the validity
and credibility of the report. We conclude that arrangements should
always be sought to ensure that the need for protection of sources should
not prevent the exposure of reports on technical matters to the most
expert available analysis.
The quality of JIC assessments
453.
We were impressed by the quality of intelligence assessments on Iraq’s
nuclear capabilities. They were in our view thorough, balanced and measured;
brought together effectively human and technical intelligence information; included
information on the perceived quality of the underlying intelligence sources to help readers
in interpreting the material; identified explicitly those areas where previous assessments
were wrong, and the reasons why; and at each significant stage included consideration of
alternative hypotheses and scenarios, and provided an explanation of the consequences
were any one to arise, to aid readers’ understanding.
454.
Partly because of inherent difficulties in assessing chemical and
biological programmes, JIC assessments on Iraq’s chemical and
biological weapons programmes were less assured. In our view, assessments
in those areas tended to be over-cautious and in some areas worst case. Where there was
a balance of inference to be drawn, it tended to go in the direction of inferring the existence
of banned weapons programmes. Assessments were as a consequence less complete,
especially in their considerations of alternative hypotheses, and used a different burden
of proof.
455.
There are some general factors which will always complicate assessments of chemical
and biological weapons programmes. In our review of intelligence on the nuclear,
biological and chemical programmes of other states, we saw an equivalent complexity in
making judgements on their status. The most significant is the ‘dual use’ issue because chemical and biological weapons programmes can draw heavily
on ‘dual use’ materials, it is easier for a proliferating state to keep its
programmes covert.
111
456.
There were also Iraq-specific factors. The intelligence community will
have had in mind that Iraq had not only owned but used its chemical
weapons in the past. It will inevitably have been influenced by the way in
which the Iraqi regime was engaged in a sustained programme to try to
deceive United Nations inspectors and to conceal from them evidence of its
prohibited programmes. Furthermore, because SIS did not have agents with first-hand
knowledge of Iraq’s nuclear, chemical, biological or ballistic missile programmes, most
of the intelligence reports on which assessments were being made were
inferential. The Assessments Staff and JIC were not fully aware of the
access and background of key informants, and could not therefore read
their material against the background of an understanding of their
motivations for passing on information.
457.
We have also noted in the papers we have read that the broad conclusions of the UK
intelligence community (although not some particular details) were
widely-shared by other countries, especially the assessment that it was likely that
Iraq had, or could produce, chemical and biological weapons which it might use in
circumstances of extremity. We note that Dr Blix, Executive Chairman of UNMOVIC, has
said19 that:
My gut feelings, which I kept to myself, suggested to me that Iraq still engaged in
prohibited activities and retained prohibited items, and that it had the documents to
prove it.
Where doubts existed, they were about the extent to which the intelligence amounted to
proof, as opposed to balance of probability.
458.
However, we detected a tendency for assessments to be coloured by overreaction to previous errors. Past under-estimates had a more lasting impact on the
assessment process than past over-estimates, when both should have been as deserving
of attention. We have also noted that where for good reasons20 the JIC chose to adopt a
worst case estimate (which in most cases it described as such) there was a tendency for
that basis of calculation not to be made clear in later assessments. As a result, there
was a risk of over-cautious or worst case estimates, shorn of their
caveats, becoming the ‘prevailing wisdom’. Subsequent Iraqi declarations
being tested against such estimates for truthfulness would have been seen as falling
short - a view that will have been reinforced by proven shortfalls in Iraqi declarations
during the early- and mid-1990s and by Iraqi prevarication, concealment and deception.
459.
The JIC may, in some assessments, also have misread the nature of Iraqi
governmental and social structures. The absence of intelligence in this area may
also have hampered planning for the post-war phase on which departments did a great
deal of work. We note that the collection of intelligence on Iraq’s prohibited weapons
programmes was designated as being a JIC First Order of Priority whereas intelligence
19
20
112
Dr Hans Blix, “Disarming Iraq” (Bloomsbury, London, 2004), page 112.
In particular, in relation to chemical and biological weapons it would have been irresponsible in the highest degree to
send armed forces into battle on the assumption that Iraq did not have chemical or biological weapons and would not
use them.
on Iraqi political issues was designated as being Third Order. The membership of the
JIC is broad enough to allow such wider evidence to be brought to bear. We
emphasise the importance of the Assessments Staff and the JIC having
access to a wide range of information, especially in circumstances (e.g.
where the UK is likely to become involved in national reconstruction and
institution-building) where information on political and social issues will
be vital.
THE USE OF INTELLIGENCE
The Government’s dossiers
460.
The main vehicle for the Government’s use of intelligence in the public
presentation of policy was the dossier of September 2002 and
accompanying Ministerial statements. (The dossier of February 2003 has been
fully dealt with in the ISC Report and we make no further comment on it here, except to
endorse the conclusion accepted by the Government that the procedures followed in
producing it were unsatisfactory and should not be repeated.)
461.
The dossier broke new ground in three ways: the JIC had never previously
produced a public document; no Government case for any international
action had previously been made to the British public through explicitly
drawing on a JIC publication; and the authority of the British intelligence
community, and the JIC in particular, had never been used in such a
public way.
462.
The dossier was not intended to make the case for a particular course of
action in relation to Iraq. It was intended by the Government to inform
domestic and international understanding of the need for stronger action
(though not necessarily military action) - the general direction in which
Government policy had been moving since the early months of 2002, away
from containment to a more proactive approach to enforcing Iraqi
disarmament. The Government’s wish to give its case greater objectivity and credibility
led to the Government’s decision to commission the JIC to produce the dossier and to
make public the JIC’s authorship of it. The Chairman of the JIC accepted responsibility for
its production with the intention of ensuring that it did not go beyond the judgements which
the JIC had reached. He and the JIC therefore took on the ownership of it.
463.
The Government wanted an unclassified document on which it could draw
in its advocacy of its policy. The JIC sought to offer a dispassionate
assessment of intelligence and other material on Iraqi nuclear, biological,
chemical and ballistic missile programmes. The JIC, with commendable
motives, took responsibility for the dossier, in order that its content
should properly reflect the judgements of the intelligence community.
They did their utmost to ensure this standard was met. But this will have
put a strain on them in seeking to maintain their normal standards of
neutral and objective assessment.
113
114
464.
Strenuous efforts were made to ensure that no individual statements
were made in the dossier which went beyond the judgements of the JIC.
But, in translating material from JIC assessments into the dossier,
warnings were lost about the limited intelligence base on which some
aspects of these assessments were being made. The Government would have
seen these warnings in the original JIC assessments and taken them into account in
reading them. But the public, through reading the dossier, would not have known of them.
The dossier did contain a chapter on the role of intelligence. But the language in the
dossier may have left with readers the impression that there was fuller
and firmer intelligence behind the judgements than was the case: our
view, having reviewed all of the material, is that judgements in the dossier
went to (although not beyond) the outer limits of the intelligence
available. The Prime Minister’s description, in his statement to the House of Commons
on the day of publication of the dossier, of the picture painted by the intelligence services
in the dossier as “extensive, detailed and authoritative” may have reinforced this
impression.
465.
We conclude that it was a serious weakness that the JIC’s warnings on the
limitations of the intelligence underlying its judgements were not made
sufficiently clear in the dossier.
466.
We understand why the Government felt it had to meet the mounting
public and Parliamentary demand for information. We also recognise that
there is a real dilemma between giving the public an authoritative account
of the intelligence picture and protecting the objectivity of the JIC from
the pressures imposed by providing information for public debate. It is
difficult to resolve these requirements. We conclude, with the benefit of
hindsight, that making public that the JIC had authorship of the dossier
was a mistaken judgement, though we do not criticise the JIC for taking
responsibility for clearance of the intelligence content of the document.
However, in the particular circumstances, the publication of such a
document in the name and with the authority of the JIC had the result that
more weight was placed on the intelligence than it could bear. The
consequence also was to put the JIC and its Chairman into an area of
public controversy and arrangements must be made for the future which
avoid putting the JIC and its Chairman in a similar position.
467.
We recognise that there will be a dilemma if intelligence-derived material is in future to be
put into the public domain. If future documents are published solely in the name of the
Government, it is inevitable that Ministers will be asked if the JIC has endorsed the
intelligence assessments inside them. But we believe that there are other options
that should be examined for the ownership of drafting, for gaining the
JIC’s endorsement of the intelligence material and assessments that are
quoted and for subsequent ‘branding’. One is for the government of the
day to draft a document, to gain the JIC’s endorsement of the intelligence
material inside it and then to publish it acknowledging that it draws on
intelligence but without ascribing it to the JIC. Or the Government, if it
wishes to seek the JIC’s credibility and authority, could publish a
document with intelligence material and the JIC’s endorsement of it
shown separately. Or the JIC could prepare and publish itself a selfstanding assessment, incorporating all of its normal caveats and
warnings, leaving it to others to place that document within a broader
policy context. This may make such documents less persuasive in
making a policy case; but that is the price of using a JIC assessment. Our
conclusion is that, between these options, the first is greatly preferable.
Whichever route is chosen, JIC clearance of the intelligence content of
any similar document will be essential.
468.
Furthermore, we conclude that, if intelligence is to be used more widely by
governments in public debate in future, those doing so must be careful to
explain its uses and limitations. It will be essential, too, that clearer and
more effective dividing lines between assessment and advocacy are
established when doing so.
469.
In reaching these conclusions, we realise that our conclusions may provoke
calls for the current Chairman of the JIC, Mr Scarlett, to withdraw from his
appointment as the next Chief of SIS. We greatly hope that he will not do
so. We have a high regard for his abilities and his record. Once the
Government had decided to produce a dossier based on intelligence, he and the JIC took
on ownership of it with the excellent motive of ensuring that everything it said was
consistent with JIC judgements. We have said above that it was a mistaken judgement for
the dossier to be so closely associated with the JIC but it was a collective one for which
the Chairman of the JIC should not bear personal responsibility.
Intelligence and the legality of the use of military force
470.
As described in Section 5.7, the part played by intelligence in determining the
legality of the use of force was limited. The criterion which the Attorney General
advised the Government to apply was the degree of Iraq’s compliance and co-operation
with United Nations Security Council Resolution 1441.
471.
The Government received on 18 December the JIC’s initial assessment on the quality of
Iraq’s declaration of 7 December, called for under Resolution 1441, on the status of its
prohibited programmes. The Government also received in the period between September
2002 and March 2003 a significant stream of intelligence reports about attempts by the
Iraqi regime at concealment, as well as information about the results of UNMOVIC and
IAEA inspections inside Iraq, captured in the reports provided to the United Nations
Security Council.
115
472.
Even so we have noted that, despite its importance to the determination of
whether Iraq was in further material breach of its obligations under
Resolution 1441, the JIC made no further assessment of the Iraqi
declaration beyond its ‘Initial Assessment’. We have also recorded our
surprise that policy-makers and the intelligence community did not, as
the generally negative results of UNMOVIC inspections became
increasingly apparent, re-evaluate in early-2003 the quality of the
intelligence.
VALIDATION OF THE INTELLIGENCE
473.
474.
As we set out at the start of this Chapter, we sought in our Review to assess the intelligence
on Iraqi capabilities to enable us to answer three broad questions:
a.
What was the quality of the intelligence and other evidence, and the assessments
made of it, about the strategic intent of the Iraqi regime to pursue nuclear,
biological, chemical or ballistic missile programmes in contravention of its
obligations under United Nations Security Council Resolution 687?
b.
What was the quality of the intelligence or other evidence, and the assessments
made of it, about Iraq seeking to sustain and develop its indigenous knowledge,
skills and materiel base which would provide it with a ‘break-out’ capability in
each of those fields? Was there in particular good intelligence or other evidence of
Iraq pursuing activities to extend and enhance those capabilities in contravention of
its obligations under United Nations Security Council Resolutions?
c.
What was the quality of the intelligence or other evidence, and the assessments
made of it, about Iraqi production or possession of prohibited chemical and
biological agents and weapons, nuclear materials and ballistic missiles?
Even now it would be premature to reach conclusions about Iraq’s
prohibited weapons. Much potential evidence may have been destroyed
in the looting and disorder that followed the cessation of hostilities. Other
material may be hidden in the sand, including stocks of agent or weapons.
We believe that it would be a rash person who asserted at this stage that
evidence of Iraqi possession of stocks of biological or chemical agents, or
even of banned missiles, does not exist or will never be found. But as a
result of our Review, and taking into account the evidence which has been
found by the ISG and de-briefing of Iraqi personnel, we have reached the
conclusion that prior to the war the Iraqi regime:
a.
116
Had the strategic intention of resuming the pursuit of prohibited
weapons programmes, including if possible its nuclear weapons
programme, when United Nations inspection regimes were
relaxed and sanctions were eroded or lifted.
b.
In support of that goal, was carrying out illicit research and
development, and procurement, activities, to seek to sustain its
indigenous capabilities.
c.
Was developing ballistic missiles with a range longer than
permitted under relevant United Nations Security Council
resolutions; but did not have significant - if any - stocks of
chemical or biological weapons in a state fit for deployment, or
developed plans for using them.
117
CHAPTER 6
IRAQ: SPECIFIC ISSUES
6.1 INTRODUCTION
475.
In this Chapter, we consider a number of detailed issues arising from the intelligence on
Iraq’s nuclear, biological, chemical and ballistic missile programmes that have attracted
particular controversy or which illuminate our analysis of the quality of the intelligence and
the effectiveness of the way in which it was handled.
6.2 LINKS BETWEEN AL QAIDA AND THE IRAQI REGIME
476.
We start with the intelligence available to the Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC), and the
assessments made of it, on links between Al Qaida and the Iraqi regime, and of the
availability to Al Qaida of chemical and biological weapons as a possible consequence.
THE ‘POISON CELL’ IN KURDISH NORTHERN IRAQ
477.
In the wake of the overthrow of the Taliban in Afghanistan, a number of Al Qaida refugees
arrived in the Kurdish Autonomous Zone (KAZ) outside Baghdad’s control.
478.
Between October 2002 and February 2003, the JIC described their presence and
operations1, including the production of various poisons, in three assessments.
479.
We conclude having read these assessments that the JIC made it clear that the Al
Qaida-linked facilities in the Kurdish Ansar al Islam area were involved in
the production of chemical and biological agents, but that they were
beyond the control of the Iraqi regime.
480.
Fixed installations associated with Ansar al Islam were destroyed by air strikes in March
2003.
CO-OPERATION BETWEEN THE IRAQI REGIME AND AL QAIDA
481.
There was, however, other evidence of an association between the Iraqi regime and Al
Qaida. Contacts between Al Qaida and the Iraqi Directorate General of Intelligence had
dated back over four years. “Fragmentary and uncorroborated” intelligence reports
suggested that in 1998 there were contacts between Al Qaida and Iraqi intelligence.
Those reports described Al Qaida seeking toxic chemicals as well as other conventional
terrorist equipment. Some accounts suggested that Iraqi chemical experts may have
been in Afghanistan during 2000. But in November 2001, the JIC concluded that:
. . . there is no evidence that these contacts led to practical co-operation; we judge
it unlikely because of mutual mistrust.
[JIC, 28 November 2001]
1
A photograph of one of their facilities was used to illustrate Secretary of State Powell’s speech to the United Nations
Security Council on 5 February 2003.
119
482.
Following the expulsion of Al Qaida from Afghanistan and their arrival in northern Iraq, Abu
Musab al Zarqawi (a senior Al Qaida figure) was relatively free to travel within Iraq proper
and to stay in Baghdad for some time. Several of his colleagues visited him there. In
October 2002, the JIC said that:
Although Saddam’s attitude to Al Qaida has not always been consistent, he has
generally rejected suggestions of cooperation. Intelligence nonetheless indicates
that . . . meetings have taken place between senior Iraqi representatives and senior
Al Qaida operatives. Some reports also suggest that Iraq may have trained some Al
Qaida terrorists since 1998. Al Qaida has shown interest in gaining chemical and
biological (CB) expertise from Iraq, but we do not know whether any such training
was provided. We have no intelligence of current cooperation between Iraq and Al
Qaida and do not believe that Al Qaida plans to conduct terrorist attacks under Iraqi
direction.
[JIC, 10 October 2002]
483.
By March 2003, the JIC was able to add further information that al Zarqawi’s activities
might be of military significance:
Reporting since [February] suggests that senior Al Qaida associate Abu Musab al
Zarqawi has established sleeper cells in Baghdad, to be activated during a US
occupation of the city. These cells apparently intend to attack US targets using car
bombs and other weapons. (It is also possible that they have received CB materials
from terrorists in the KAZ.) Al Qaida-associated terrorists continued to arrive in
Baghdad in early March.
[JIC, 12 March 2003]
484.
We conclude that the JIC made clear that, although there were contacts
between the Iraqi regime and Al Qaida, there was no evidence of cooperation. It did warn of the possibility of terrorist attacks on coalition forces in
Baghdad.
6.3 OPERATION MASS APPEAL
485.
In November 2003, the former United Nations weapons inspector Scott Ritter was
reported to have told journalists that, in the late-1990s, the Secret Intelligence Service
(SIS) ran “Operation Mass Appeal” – an alleged disinformation campaign to disseminate
“single source data of dubious quality” about Iraq, in order to “shake up public opinion”.
486.
Mr Ritter was quoted as follows:
I was brought into the operation in 1997 because at the UN . . . I sat on a body of data
which was not actionable, but was sufficiently sexy that if it could appear in the press
could make Iraq look like in a bad way.
I was approached by MI6 to provide that data, I met with the Mass Appeal operatives
both in New York and London on several occasions. This data was provided and this
data did find its way into the international media.
120
It was intelligence data that dealt with Iraq’s efforts to procure WMDs, with Iraq’s
efforts to conceal WMDs. It was all single source data of dubious quality, which
lacked veracity.
They took this information and peddled it off to the media, internationally and
domestically, allowing inaccurate intelligence data to appear on the front pages.
The government, both here in the UK and the US, would feed off these media reports,
continuing the perception that Iraq was a nation ruled by a leader with an addiction
to WMDs.
[BBC News, 12 November 2003]
487.
Mr Ritter was reported as saying that he was prepared to reveal details before a public
inquiry.
488.
We took evidence from Mr Ritter, including on Operation Mass Appeal. Mr Ritter said that
Operation Mass Appeal was already up and running when SIS approached him in
December 1997. He was asked if there was material on Iraq’s weapons programmes on
which the United Nations Special Commission (UNSCOM) could not act, but which might
be made public through media outlets in a range of countries. Mr Ritter said that Mr
Richard Butler, the then Executive Chairman of UNSCOM, agreed that UNSCOM should
co-operate with the UK in this way and that two reports relating to prohibited trade
between Iraq and two other countries were passed to the UK the same month. UNSCOM’s
involvement then fell into abeyance until May 1998 when contact resumed. Mr Ritter said
that he met SIS officers again in June 1998 to discuss Operation Mass Appeal for the last
time. He resigned from UNSCOM soon after that.
489.
We have examined relevant SIS papers. These confirm that there were two
meetings between British Government officials and UNSCOM
representatives, including Mr Ritter, in May and June 1998 at which there
were discussions about how to make public the discovery of traces of the
nerve agent VX on missile warheads after this fact had been reported to
the United Nations Security Council. (Iraq had previously denied
weaponising VX.) Operation Mass Appeal was set up for this specific
purpose and did not exist before May 1998. In the event, before Operation
Mass Appeal could proceed, the UNSCOM report was leaked to the press
in Washington. Because of this, Operation Mass Appeal was abandoned.
6.4 URANIUM FROM AFRICA
490.
There has been significant controversy surrounding the reliability of Government
statements about Iraqi attempts to buy uranium from Africa. We have therefore studied
this issue in detail.
491.
Natural uranium is the necessary starting point for all nuclear developments (whether for
weapons or civil power). In the late 1970s, Iraq obtained large quantities of uranium ore
from Niger, Portugal and Brazil. By the mid-1980s, however, Iraq had become selfsufficient in uranium ore, which was a by-product of indigenous phosphate mines at
121
Akashat and purifying plants at Al Qaim and Al Jazira which extracted and purified the
uranium ore for subsequent use in nuclear enrichment processes.
492.
In the course of the first Gulf war, the facilities involved in this indigenous route were
severely damaged. Subsequently, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
supervised the dismantlement of all the facilities that Iraq had built to process, enrich and
fabricate uranium, and removed all potentially fissile material. Some unprocessed
uranium ore was left in country, but under IAEA safeguards and subject to regular
inspections. Iraq would therefore have had to seek imports of uranium or uranium ore if it
wished to restart its nuclear programme covertly.
493.
In early 1999, Iraqi officials visited a number of African countries, including Niger. The
visit2 was detected by intelligence, and some details were subsequently confirmed by
Iraq. The purpose of the visit was not immediately known. But uranium ore accounts for
almost three-quarters of Niger’s exports. Putting this together with past Iraqi purchases
of uranium ore from Niger, the limitations faced by the Iraq regime on access to indigenous
uranium ore and other evidence of Iraq seeking to restart its nuclear programme, the JIC
judged that Iraqi purchase of uranium ore could have been the subject of discussions and
noted in an assessment in December 2000 that:
. . . unconfirmed intelligence indicates Iraqi interest in acquiring uranium.
[JIC, 1 December 2000]
494.
There was further and separate intelligence that in 1999 the Iraqi regime had also made
inquiries about the purchase of uranium ore in the Democratic Republic of Congo. In this
case, there was some evidence that by 2002 an agreement for a sale had been reached.
495.
During 2002, the UK received further intelligence from additional sources which identified
the purpose of the visit to Niger as having been to negotiate the purchase of uranium ore,
though there was disagreement as to whether a sale had been agreed and uranium
shipped.
496.
This evidence underlay the statement in the Executive Summary of the Government’s
dossier of September 2002 that:
As a result of the intelligence we judge that Iraq has:
...
-
tried covertly to acquire technology and materials which could be used in the
production of nuclear weapons;
-
sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa, despite having no active
civil nuclear power programme that could require it . . .
and in Chapter 3 of Part 1 of the Government’s dossier that:
The main conclusions are that:
2
122
This visit was separate from the Iraqi-Nigerien discussions, in the margins of the mid-1999 Organisation of African Unity
meeting in Algiers, attested to by Ambassador Wilson in his book “The Politics of Truth” (Carroll & Graf, NY 2004, p28).
...
-
Saddam continues to attach great importance to the possession of weapons of
mass destruction and ballistic missiles which he regards as being the basis for
Iraq’s regional power. He is determined to retain these capabilities;
...
-
Iraq continues to work on developing nuclear weapons, in breach of its
obligations under the Non-Proliferation Treaty and in breach of UNSCR 687.
Uranium has been sought from Africa that has no civil nuclear application in
Iraq.
and:
Iraq’s known holdings of processed uranium are under IAEA supervision. But there
is intelligence that Iraq has sought the supply of significant quantities of uranium
from Africa. Iraq has no active civil nuclear power programme or nuclear power
plants and therefore has no legitimate reason to acquire uranium.
497.
In preparing the dossier, the UK consulted the US. The CIA advised caution about any
suggestion that Iraq had succeeded in acquiring uranium from Africa, but agreed that
there was evidence that it had been sought.
498.
The range of evidence described above underlay the relevant passage in the Prime
Minister’s statement in the House of Commons on 24 September 2002 that:
In addition, we know that Saddam has been trying to buy significant quantities of
uranium from Africa, although we do not know whether he has been successful.
499.
We conclude that, on the basis of the intelligence assessments at the time, covering both
Niger and the Democratic Republic of Congo, the statements on Iraqi attempts to buy
uranium from Africa in the Government’s dossier, and by the Prime Minister in the House
of Commons, were well-founded. By extension, we conclude also that the statement in
President Bush’s State of the Union Address of 28 January 2003 that:
The British Government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought
significant quantities of uranium from Africa.
was well-founded.
500.
We also note that, because the intelligence evidence was inconclusive, neither the
Government’s dossier nor the Prime Minister went on to say that a deal between the
Governments of Iraq and Niger for the supply of uranium had been signed, or uranium
shipped.
501.
We have been told that it was not until early 2003 that the British Government became
aware that the US (and other states) had received from a journalistic source a number of
documents alleged to cover the Iraqi procurement of uranium from Niger. Those
documents were passed to the IAEA, which in its update report to the United Nations
Security Council in March 2003 determined that the papers were forgeries:
123
The investigation was centred on documents provided by a number of States that
pointed to an agreement between Niger and Iraq for the sale of uranium to Iraq
between 1999 and 2001. The IAEA has discussed these reports with the
Governments of Iraq and Niger, both of which have denied that any such activity took
place. For its part, Iraq has provided the IAEA with a comprehensive explanation of
its relations with Niger, and has described a visit by an Iraqi official to a number of
African countries, including Niger, in February 1999, which Iraq thought might have
given rise to the reports. The IAEA was able to review correspondence coming from
various bodies of the Government of Niger, and to compare the form, format,
contents and signatures of that correspondence with those of the alleged
procurement-related documentation. Based on thorough analysis, the IAEA has
concluded, with the concurrence of outside experts, that these documents, which
formed the basis for the reports of recent uranium transactions between Iraq and
Niger, are in fact not authentic. We have therefore concluded that these specific
allegations are unfounded.
[IAEA GOV/INF/2003/10 Annex of 7 March 2003]
502.
We have asked the IAEA what were their grounds for concluding that the visit paid by an
Iraqi official to Africa was not for the purpose of acquiring uranium. The IAEA said:
. . . the Director General explained in his report dated 7 March 2004 [sic] to the UN
Security Council that Iraq ”described the visit by an Iraqi official to a number of
African countries, including Niger, in February 1999, which Iraq thought might have
given rise to the reports”. On a number of occasions in early 2003, including in a
letter dated 1 February 2003, the IAEA requested Iraq to provide details of all
meetings held between Iraqi officials and officials from Niger around the year 2000.
The Director of Iraq’s National Monitoring Directorate responded in a letter of 7
February 2003 to the Director of the IAEA’s Iraq Nuclear Verification Office. (It should
be noted that at the time of Iraq’s response Iraq had not been provided by the IAEA
with any details contained in documents alleging the existence of a uranium
contract.)
The Iraqi response referred to above explained that, on 8 February 1999, Mr. Wissam
Al Zahawie, Iraq’s then Ambassador to the Holy See, as part of a trip to four African
countries, visited Niger as an envoy of the then President of Iraq to Mr. Ibrahim Bare,
the then President of Niger, in order to deliver an official invitation for a visit to Iraq,
planned for 20 to 30 April 1999. (N.B. Mr. Bare passed away on 9 April 1999.)
According to the Iraqi information, no such presidential visit from Niger to Iraq took
place before 2003.
The Iraqi authorities provided the IAEA with excerpts from Mr. Al Zahawie’s travel
report to Niger. These excerpts support the above explanation by the Ambassador
regarding the purpose of his visit to Niger and do not contain any references to
discussions about uranium supply from Niger.
In order to further clarify the matter, the IAEA interviewed Mr. Al Zahawie on 12
February 2003. The information provided by the Ambassador about details about
his 1999 trip to Africa also supported the information obtained previously by the
124
Agency on this visit. The demeanour of the Ambassador and the general tone of the
interview did not suggest that he was under particular pressure to hide or fabricate
information.
Notwithstanding the information summarized above, and in view of the fact that the
IAEA so far has not obtained any other related information than the forged
documents, the IAEA is not in the position to demonstrate that Iraq never sought to
import uranium in the past. This is the reason why the IAEA only concluded that it
had ”no indication that Iraq attempted to import uranium since 1990” but it would
”follow up any additional evidence, if it emerges, relevant to efforts by Iraq to illicitly
import nuclear materials”. So far no such additional information has been obtained
by the Agency.
503.
From our examination of the intelligence and other material on Iraqi
attempts to buy uranium from Africa, we have concluded that:
a. It is accepted by all parties that Iraqi officials visited Niger in
1999.
b.
The British Government had intelligence from several different
sources indicating that this visit was for the purpose of acquiring
uranium. Since uranium constitutes almost three-quarters of
Niger’s exports, the intelligence was credible.
c. The evidence was not conclusive that Iraq actually purchased, as
opposed to having sought, uranium and the British Government
did not claim this.
d.
The forged documents were not available to the British
Government at the time its assessment was made, and so the fact
of the forgery does not undermine it.
6.5 THE 45-MINUTE CLAIM
504.
The Government’s dossier of September 2002 contained the claim based on an
intelligence report that some chemical and biological weapons could be deployed by Iraq
within 45 minutes of an order to use them. Much public attention has been given to the
Prime Minister’s statement that he was not aware until after the war that this report should
have been interpreted as referring to battlefield weapons.
505.
If this report was regarded as having operational significance, and if in particular it had
been regarded as covering ballistic missiles (as was reported in some newspapers), this
would indeed have been surprising. If, however, it referred to forward-deployed
battlefield munitions, the time period given would not have been surprising or worth
drawing to the Prime Minister’s attention. But it was unclear, both in the JIC assessment
of 9 September and in the Government’s dossier, which of the two it was.
125
Attention has also focused on the alleged scepticism of the then US Director of Central Intelligence, Mr George Tenet,
about the report, which he is quoted in Mr Bob Woodward’s book, “Plan of Attack3”, as calling the “they-can-attack-in45-minutes shit”.
We asked the Chief of SIS, if Mr Tenet had ever mentioned his scepticism to him. He said:
There’s no record of them having commented negatively on the report and nor does the desk officer at the time
recall any come-back from the CIA.
We asked Mr Tenet directly for a comment but no reply had been received by the time that he resigned from office.
506.
As the Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC) have already reported4, the underlying
intelligence report referred to an average period of 20 minutes, with a maximum of 45
minutes, for ‘BCW munitions’ to be moved into place for an attack. It was taken into the
JIC assessment of 9 September through the inclusion of a sentence which noted that:
Intelligence also indicates that chemical and biological munitions could be with
military units and ready for firing within 20-45 minutes.
[JIC, 9 September 2002]
507.
The intelligence report itself was vague and ambiguous. The time period given was the
sort of period which a military expert would expect; in fact it is somewhat longer than a wellorganised military unit might aspire to. For those who interpreted it as referring to
battlefield munitions, therefore, its significance was that it appeared to confirm that Iraq
had both forward-deployed chemical and biological munitions and the necessary
command and control arrangements in place to use them, rather than the period of time
within which they could be deployed.
508.
The ISC commented in their report that members of the Assessments Staff stated in
evidence to that Committee that they, and the people they had consulted, did not know
what munitions the report was referring to or their status, nor did they know from where
and to where the munitions might be moved. But they also noted that they had reached
a judgement that the report was referring to the time needed to move chemical and
biological battlefield munitions from where they were held in forward-deployed storage
sites to pre-designated military units. The Committee went on to say that the omission from
the dossier of that judgement and the context it provided allowed speculation as to the
exact meaning of the report and was unhelpful to an understanding of the issue.
509.
We agree with this comment. We take the view that, in this instance, the JIC should have
included that judgement in its assessment of 9 September 2002 and in the dossier.
Alternatively, and as suggested by one witness who gave evidence to us, a more accurate
representation by the Assessments Staff of the report would have highlighted the
uncertainties in the intelligence by saying:
A source has claimed some weapons may be deployable within 45 minutes of an
order to use them, but the exact nature of the weapons, the agents involved and the
context of their use is not clear.
510.
3
4
126
The first media report of the ’45 minute’ story was carried in an exchange on the BBC
Today programme about the dossier on the morning of its publication:
Simon & Schuster, London, 2004, page 190.
“Iraqi Weapons of Mass Destruction – Intelligence and Assessments.” Cm 5972. September 2003.
Q. . . . if you were to choose a paragraph as the most dramatic that you’ve read this
morning what is it?
A. Well to be honest it’s not that kind of document. It’s, it’s actually rather sensibly
cautious and measured in tone on the whole. There are, as I say a couple of, of sexy
lines designed to make headlines for the tabloids like the fact that he can deploy
within 45 minutes if the weapons were ready and that he could reach the British
bases on Cyprus . . .
[BBC Today programme, 0855, 24 September 2002]
It was followed by stories in London and regional newspapers during the day, and by
national newspapers the next day5.
511.
We conclude that the JIC should not have included the ’45 minute’ report in
its assessment and in the Government’s dossier without stating what it
was believed to refer to. The fact that the reference in the classified
assessment was repeated in the dossier later led to suspicions that it had
been included because of its eye-catching character.
512.
We have been informed by SIS that the validity of the intelligence report on which the 45minute claim was based has come into question. Post-war source validation by SIS,
described more fully at Chapter 5, has thrown doubt on the reliability of one of the links in
the reporting chain affecting this intelligence report.
6.6 MOBILE BIOLOGICAL WEAPONS LABORATORIES
513.
There are two strands to this story. The first concerns intelligence about mobile equipment
that, if it exists, has not yet been found. The intelligence on which this strand is based is
being validated; some aspects of it are now unsafe. The second relates to trailers
discovered by US forces post-war. We cover both strands below.
INTELLIGENCE ON MOBILE BIOLOGICAL AGENT PRODUCTION FACILITIES
514.
In January 1999, UNSCOM’s final report noted that Iraq had “once considered” mobile
biological agent production facilities. In early 2000, on the basis of intelligence from a new
source, received via a liaison service, the JIC reported that:
Iraq seems to be exploring the use of mobile facilities to give its BW activities greater
security.
and that, according to the source:
. . . Iraq had started to produce biological agent in ’mobile production centres’.
[JIC, 19 April 2000]
5
We wrote to some 60 Editors of national and regional print and broadcast media to ask them if they had been briefed by
representatives of the Government about the dossier immediately prior to its publication or whether, post-publication,
they were guided to report particular aspects, such as the ‘45 minute’ story. All of those who replied said that they had
not been guided to particular parts of the dossier prior to its publication. There was some evidence from the replies that
some journalists had had their attention drawn after its publication to passages in the Prime Minister’s Foreword. Some
Editors noted that the ‘45 minute’ story attracted attention because it was of itself an eyecatching item in a document
containing much that was either not new or rather technical in nature.
127
515.
The JIC continued:
There are reportedly 6 mobile production centres, with one under construction. As
of March 1999, three of these were fully functional and work was under way to enable
the production of 5 unspecified BW agents. At one of these sites, some 20-30 tonnes
of BW primary product were reportedly manufactured over four months.
[JIC, 19 April 2000]
516.
This picture remained essentially constant for the next two years. By March 2002, the JIC
was recording that the source had described seven such facilities in total, six road-based
and one rail-based. The JIC continued to note that the intelligence was uncorroborated
but did record that it was technically credible.
517.
In September 2002, new intelligence from a reliable and established source quoting a new
sub-source provided a degree of corroboration for the original source’s reporting. The
new informant reported on the existence of mobile fermentation systems, designed for the
military and allegedly for the production of single cell protein (a dietary supplement
suitable for animal feed as well as human consumption) but having characteristics
consistent with the production of biological agents. The informant was suspicious about
the true purpose of the systems, although he did not connect them with biological warfare.
518.
In its assessment in September 2002, the JIC noted that intelligence indicated that:
. . . Iraq has developed for the military, fermentation systems which are capable of
being mounted on road-trailers or rail cars. These could produce BW agent.
[JIC, 9 September 2002]
519.
This was the background to the account of mobile biological agent production facilities in
the Government’s dossier. The dossier said in the Executive Summary:
As a result of the intelligence we judge that Iraq has:
-
developed mobile laboratories for military use, corroborating earlier reports
about the mobile production of biological warfare agents.
and in Part 1 Chapter 3:
There was intelligence that Iraq was starting to produce biological warfare agents in
mobile production facilities. Planning for the project had begun in 1995 under Dr
Rihab Taha, known to have been a central player in the pre-Gulf War
programme. . . .
UNSCOM established that Iraq considered the use of mobile biological agent
production facilities. In the past two years evidence from defectors has indicated the
existence of such facilities. Recent intelligence confirms that the Iraqi military have
developed mobile facilities. These would help Iraq conceal and protect biological
agent production from military attack or UN inspection.
520.
128
In the subsequent debate in the House of Commons on 24 September 2002, the Prime
Minister said:
. . . the UN inspection regime discovered that Iraq was trying to acquire mobile
biological weapons facilities, which of course are easier to conceal. Present
intelligence confirms that it has now got such facilities.
521.
The United States National Intelligence Estimate issued in October 2002 drew similar
conclusions about Iraqi ownership of mobile biological agent production facilities, as did
Secretary of State Powell in his presentation to the United Nations Security Council on 5
February 2003. It subsequently emerged that the intelligence from one of the US sources,
a defector associated with the Iraqi National Congress, had already been retracted by the
time the National Intelligence Estimate was issued. This source was not, however, relied
on by the UK.
522.
Separately, Iraq made two declarations to UNMOVIC of a number of mobile facilities, none
of which was judged by UNMOVIC to be related to the production of biological agent.
523.
Although there was evidence of increased activity at facilities formerly associated with
Iraq’s biological warfare programme, there was no reliable intelligence during this period
of an Iraqi biological agent production capability other than the mobile facilities. All JIC
assessments about the actual production of biological warfare agents were based on
intelligence about the mobile facilities.
VALIDATION
524.
No evidence has been found to support the existence of the mobile facilities described by
the liaison source. Some of the sites identified in the source’s intelligence as being
connected with the mobile facilities have been investigated. In May 2003, UNMOVIC’s
Thirteenth Quarterly Report to the UN Security Council contained the following paragraph
on “Information provided by supporting Governments on mobile facilities”:
UNMOVIC inspected a number of sites throughout Iraq based on intelligence
information made available to it. In addition, other sites were inspected as a result
of follow-up actions. Site inspections were aimed to investigate in detail the
infrastructural signature necessary for the alleged function of such sites, eg, the
presence of suitable support services for chemical and biological weapons mobile
production facilities during production runs. Inspection results and analysis of
detailed forensic sampling of the facilities did not reveal evidence of any past
involvement of those sites in proscribed chemical and biological weapons mobile
production activities.
[UNMOVIC Quarterly Report to the Security Council, 30 May 2003]
525.
UNMOVIC also noted that:
No evidence of proscribed activities was observed during random checks of
transport trucks.
[UNMOVIC Quarterly Report to the Security Council, 30 May 2003]
526.
We were told that the ISG visited nearly all sites in the Baghdad area said to be associated
with a mobile biological agent production programme, as well as all existing reported hide
sites outside Baghdad. In addition, they conducted debriefings of the majority of
129
personnel that had either been directly named in refugees’ reporting, had been
associated with the source or were linked to sites that became part of the investigation.
The information they gathered differs from the original reporting passed to SIS. This
includes denials of the existence of the programme from personnel allegedly involved and
discrepancies between the source’s description of two of the sites and that observed by
inspection by the ISG.
527.
SIS did not have direct access to the main source of this intelligence until well after the war.
We describe at Chapter 5 the doubts which have arisen about the reliability of some
aspects of the reporting received by SIS. We have been told in particular that an important
technical detail was incorrect in the reports passed to SIS. If correctly reported, these
would have shown that the product of the mobile laboratories would have been in a slurry
form which has a shorter storage life than dried agent and would not have been suitable
for stockpiling. The conclusion must be that the main grounds for the assessment that Iraq
held recently-produced stocks of biological agent no longer exist.
MOBILE FACILITIES DISCOVERED POST-WAR
528.
In April 2003, US forces recovered two trailers, which are being examined by the ISG.
529.
We have been told that the current view of the UK intelligence community is that the trailers
could be used as an inefficient system for either hydrogen or biological agent production
and that there is insufficient evidence to draw any firm conclusions. It is generally
accepted, however, that they are not the subjects of the intelligence provided by the
liaison source.
530.
We consider that it was reasonable for the JIC to include in its
assessments of March and September 2002 a reference to intelligence
reports on Iraq’s seeking mobile biological agent production facilities.
But it has emerged that the intelligence from the source, if it had been
correctly reported, would not have been consistent with a judgement that
Iraq had, on the basis of recent production, stocks of biological agent. If
SIS had had direct access to the source from 2000 onwards, and hence
correct intelligence reporting, the main evidence for JIC judgements on
Iraq’s stocks of recently-produced biological agent, as opposed to a
break-out capacity, would not have existed.
6.7 ALUMINIUM TUBES
531.
From the late 1990s onwards, the British Government had intelligence that Iraq was
seeking to procure aluminium tubes. This intelligence was validated by the seizure of a
shipment of Chinese-origin tubes destined for Iraq in June 2001. It has been a matter of
uncertainty whether the tubes were evidence of Iraq’s attempts to re-constitute a nuclear
programme.
BACKGROUND
532.
130
Of the two fissile materials suitable for the production of a nuclear weapon, plutonium and
highly enriched uranium (HEU), Iraq had no access to plutonium after the bombing in 1981
by Israel of the Osirak reactor. Thereafter, Iraq’s efforts to create a nuclear weapon
focused on HEU. HEU can be derived from natural uranium by enriching it in gas
centrifuges, which contain rotor tubes spun at high speeds.
533.
After the first Gulf war, inspections by the IAEA revealed that Iraq was closer to the
development of a nuclear weapon than either the IAEA or western intelligence had
suspected. Following its activities in Iraq in the 1990s, however, the IAEA concluded in
October 1997 that:
. . . there were no indications of Iraq having:
-
produced a nuclear weapon;
-
produced more than a few grams of weapon-usable nuclear material (HEU or
separated plutonium) through its indigenous processes;
-
otherwise acquired weapons-usable nuclear material; or
-
retained any physical capability for the production of amounts of weaponsusable nuclear material of any practical significance.
[IAEA Bulletin, 44/2/2002, summarising 5/1997/779]
THE EMERGING INTELLIGENCE PICTURE
534.
In May 2001, the JIC reported:
More recent intelligence indicates efforts by Iraq since 1998 to procure items that
could be used in a uranium enrichment programme using centrifuges. These
include:
-
attempts to procure production scale quantities of aluminium pipes of
specifications similar to those that can be used for a first generation
centrifuge; . . .
[JIC, 10 May 2001]
535.
The intelligence on Iraq’s efforts to procure aluminium tubes was substantial. A series of
reports in mid-2001 described the progress of the particular shipment of Chinese-origin
tubes that was eventually seized, in part, in Jordan. The seizure did not deter the Iraqis
who, if anything, increased their efforts to acquire the tubes from a wider network of
potential suppliers and intermediaries around the world. By November 2001, there was
intelligence that their requirement had increased to 100,000 tubes.
536.
That Iraq wanted aluminium tubes was therefore never in doubt. Nor was it in doubt that
they were made of a proscribed material. But the purpose for which the tubes were sought
was not established. We were assured that advice was obtained not only from the
Defence Intelligence Staff (DIS) but also from a world expert on nuclear technology who
had formerly worked at British Nuclear Fuels Limited. Even so, this did not solve the
puzzle. It was clear from an early date that, on the basis of the specifications of the tubes
Iraq was seeking to acquire, they would have required substantial re-engineering to make
them suitable for gas centrifuge use, including reducing them in length, and machining
131
metal off the inside and outside. This was paradoxical, since Iraq had laid down very fine
tolerances for the tubes.
537.
The JIC, in March 2002, was careful in its description of the seized tubes:
A shipment stopped in Jordan was inspected by the IAEA, who accepted, that with
some modifications, the aluminium would be suitable for use in centrifuges. But we
have no definitive intelligence that the aluminium was destined for a nuclear
programme.
[JIC, 15 March 2002]
538.
The Government’s dossier of September 2002 said:
Intelligence shows that the present Iraqi programme is almost certainly seeking an
indigenous ability to enrich uranium to the level needed for a nuclear weapon. It
indicates that the approach is based on gas centrifuge uranium enrichment, one of
the routes Iraq was following for producing fissile material before the Gulf War . . .
Iraq has also made repeated attempts covertly to acquire a very large quantity
(60,000 or more) of specialised aluminium tubes. The specialised aluminium in
question is subject to international export controls because of its potential
application in the construction of gas centrifuges used to enrich uranium, although
there is no definitive intelligence that it is destined for a nuclear programme.
539.
The JIC both reported the IAEA’s caution on the need for modifications and reflected the
uncertainty about the purpose to which the tubes might be put. The dossier repeated the
JIC’s language on this latter point. But we consider that the omission from the dossier of
the fact that the tubes would need substantial re-engineering before they could be used
materially strengthened the impression that they were suitable for gas centrifuge use.
540.
There was, from the outset, an alternative explanation available for the aluminium tubes.
Their potential for use as rocket motor casings was mentioned in intelligence reporting as
early as summer 2001. One of the earliest intelligence reports recorded that Iraq had been
seeking tubes of the same precise specification from Switzerland “probably for the Iraqi
Air Force”. Other reports also suggested possible conventional military uses for the tubes.
Combined with the known engineering obstacles to the use of the tubes as centrifuge
rotors, this uncertainty contributed to the JIC’s unwillingness to conclude that the tubes
had a definite nuclear application.
541.
On 11 April 2003, the IAEA reported to the Security Council as follows:
The IAEA conducted a thorough investigation of Iraq’s attempts to purchase large
quantities of [high-strength aluminium] tubes. As previously reported, Iraq has
maintained that these aluminium tubes were sought for rocket production. Extensive
field investigation and document analysis have failed to uncover any evidence that
Iraq intended to use these tubes for any project other than the reverse engineering
of rockets.
[Fifteenth Consolidated Report of the Director General of the IAEA, 11 April 2003]
132
542.
Earlier, it had reported that:
. . . the IAEA has learned that the original tolerances for the 81 mm tubes were set
prior to 1987, and were based on physical measurements taken from a small number
of imported rockets in Iraq’s possession. . . .
Based on available evidence, the IAEA team has concluded that Iraq’s efforts to
import these aluminium tubes were not likely to have been related to the manufacture
of centrifuges and, moreover, that it was highly unlikely that Iraq could have
achieved the considerable re-design needed to use them in a revived centrifuge
programme. However, this issue will continue to be scrutinised and investigated.
[IAEA, ’The Status of Nuclear Inspections in Iraq: An Update’, 7 March 2003]
The IAEA summarised these findings as follows:
There is no indication that Iraq has attempted to import aluminium tubes for use in
centrifuge enrichment. Moreover, even had Iraq pursued such a plan, it would have
encountered practical difficulties in manufacturing centrifuges out of the aluminium
tubes in question.
[IAEA, ‘The Status of Nuclear Inspections in Iraq: An Update’, 7 March 2003]
543.
We have heard from the ISG that they have “found no indications that the high-strength 81
mm aluminium tubes Iraq has sought since 1999 were intended as gas centrifuge rotors
in a uranium enrichment programme”. The ISG has not uncovered design drawings for
a gas centrifuge with an 81 mm rotor nor procurement or production of other necessary
equipment, material, machinery, or centrifuge parts - such as end caps, magnetic
suspension bearings, motor stators, and vacuum casings. Captured documents and
interviews with Iraqi scientists and engineers have all indicated that the aluminium tubes
were used to make 81 mm tactical battlefield rockets. The ISG is continuing to investigate
whether there was high-level Iraqi intent to divert post-1999 tubes from the rocket
programme to gas centrifuge use.
544.
Nevertheless, there remain unanswered questions about the use of the aluminium tubes
for rocket casings. There is consensus among rocket experts that steel would be a more
suitable material for such casings and that the manufacturing tolerances are far more
precise than would be justified for such a use. But we were informed that at least one US
rocket uses casings made from the same high-strength aluminium. The tubes are of the
same dimensions and material as a stockpile of well over 50,000 tubes declared by Iraq
to the United Nations and the IAEA in 1996 and connected to production of Iraq’s 81 mm
Nasser multiple rocket launcher (which appears to have been based on the Italian 81 mm
Medusa rocket system). Iraq’s rocket production plant had, according to Iraqi records,
used almost twice as many such tubes between 1989 and 1996.
545.
The evidence we received on aluminium tubes was overwhelmingly that
they were intended for rockets rather than a centrifuge. We found this
convincing. Despite this, we conclude that the JIC was right to consider
carefully the possibility that the tubes were evidence of a resumed
nuclear programme, and that it properly reflected the doubts about the
use of the tubes in the caution of its assessments. But in transferring its
133
judgements to the dossier, the JIC omitted the important information
about the need for substantial re-engineering of the aluminium tubes to
make them suitable for use as gas centrifuge rotors. This omission had
the effect of materially strengthening the impression that they may have
been intended for a gas centrifuge and hence for a nuclear programme.
6.8 PLAGUE AND DUSTY MUSTARD
PLAGUE
546.
In November 1990, the JIC reported that:
According to the new intelligence, Iraq possesses the BW agents pneumonic plague
and anthrax and has weaponised them . . . Weapons are ready for immediate
use. . . .
The report that Iraq has weaponised anthrax is consistent with our earlier
assessment that it might have done so. But we have no collateral for the claim that it
has developed plague to a similar extent. Plague was, however, one of the agents
included in the list of those that Iraq had studied or on which it had
information. . . . We believe that Iraq has the facilities to produce plague in sufficient
quantities for weaponisation.
[JIC, 9 November 1990]
547.
Slightly later in November 1990, the DIS said that plague seedstock was now “probably
available” to Iraq.
548.
These judgements were based on several intelligence reports from a single informant
described as “a new source of unestablished reliability”. In the heightened state of
concern pre-war, and because the source was felt to be in a position to comment
authoritatively, the British Government decided to inoculate UK forces against plague.
549.
After the first Gulf war, some apparently corroborative intelligence was obtained from two
further sources. There were inconsistencies in the knowledge of one of these and of the
original source that could have led to questioning of their access to information on the
subject. But, in August 1993 the JIC said:
Iraq has admitted to the UN that it conducted research into BW agents from 1986 to
1990, but claims never to have produced agent in quantity nor to have possessed
biological weapons. We have information that this claim is untrue and assess that
Iraq produced BW weapons containing anthrax and plague . . . Stocks of agents
and weapons have probably been hidden, together with key items of equipment.
[JIC, 25 August 1993]
550.
In August 1995, after Iraq had finally admitted weaponisation of some biological agents
following the defection of Hussein Kamil, the JIC noted that:
We have convincing intelligence of a BW programme which started in the 1970s and
strong indications that it produced and weaponised anthrax, botulinum toxin, and
134
probably plague. With the exception of plague, Iraq previously admitted doing
research on these and other agents but steadfastly denied the work was for an
offensive programme. UNSCOM, although suspicious, could find no clear evidence
to the contrary. . . . In a ’full, final and complete declaration’ given to UNSCOM in
August 1995, Iraq admitted to a major BW programme under which it had produced
huge quantities of anthrax and botulinum toxin, but implausibly denied it had ever
considered weaponisation. . . . In the last few days Iraq has admitted to UNSCOM
that agent was produced at additional sites, field-testing of weapons took place in
1989, and that bombs and missile warheads were filled with anthrax and botulinum
toxin in December 1990. . . . Many questions remain on the BW programme; Iraq has
not, for example, admitted any work on plague.
[JIC, 24 August 1995]
551.
In June 1996, the JIC said:
Iraq has not yet admitted to work on plague and has played down its success in
developing BW aerosol delivery systems.
[JIC, 12 June 1996]
552.
In September 1997, the JIC commented:
Iraq claimed, however, that it had terminated the [BW] programme and destroyed its
arsenal before UN inspections began in 1991. These admissions, while assessed to
be largely accurate, are incomplete. We assess that Iraq has withheld information
on key elements of its programme: reliable intelligence has described work on
plague and suspicions persist of work on other pox viruses.
[JIC, 3 September 1997]
553.
In March 2002, the JIC reported as follows:
We . . . judge that Iraq currently has available, either from pre Gulf war stocks or
more recent production, anthrax spores, botulinum toxin, aflatoxin and possibly
plague . . .
The following biological agents could be produced within days, if not already:
Anthrax spores, botulinum toxin, aflatoxin and possibly plague.
[JIC, 15 March 2002]
554.
Plague seems to have been included in this list mainly on the basis of reporting from a
much earlier period. The judgement that Iraq could “possibly” produce plague within
days was stronger than was justified by more recent intelligence. UNSCOM’s final report
in January 1999 made no mention of plague. One intelligence report, issued in 1999 and
re-issued in 2003, commented that cats, reportedly being used by Iraq in animal
experiments, exhibited a susceptibility to plague that was similar to humans. But the
report also noted that the informant was unaware of any Iraqi work on plague as a
biological warfare agent. Comments on the report itself concluded prudently:
We do not currently have any evidence that plague forms part of the Iraq BW
programme.
135
555.
In August 2002 and again in March 2003, the DIS assessed that plague was “probably
available” to Iraq. We note that this judgement was stronger than that of the JIC. It is
understandable that intelligence assessments made in the period immediately before a
conflict should reflect worst case assumptions, but we have seen no intelligence that
would support this stronger judgement. We were told that, in the absence of new and
plausible information categorically ruling out the original 1990 reporting, it was not
possible to exclude plague from Iraq’s biological warfare inventory.
556.
In October 2002, the JIC said:
We judge that Iraq is self-sufficient in its BW programme and currently has available,
either from pre-Gulf War stocks or more recent production, anthrax spores,
botulinum toxin, aflatoxin, and possibly plague and ricin.
[JIC, 28 October 2002]
557.
The Government’s dossier of September 2002 mentioned plague only once, in an
historical context:
Iraq created forged documents to account for bacterial growth media, imported in
the late 1980s, specifically for the production of anthrax, botulinum toxin and
probably plague.
558.
We note that the dossier did not mention a current threat from plague, because the JIC
concluded that the intelligence on plague was not sufficiently firm.
559.
No evidence of Iraqi possession or production of plague has been found since the war.
DUSTY MUSTARD
560.
In the approach to the first Gulf war, several JIC assessments noted that Iraq had
developed and used, in the Iran-Iraq war, a mustard agent in ‘dusty’ form. UK experts
were able to examine a munition filled with ’dusty mustard’ from the Iran/Iraq war.
561.
Over the following two years, JIC assessments mentioned ‘dusty mustard’ four times,
usually in the context of Iraqi failure to declare the agent or failure by UNSCOM inspectors
to find it. After February 1993, the subject disappeared from JIC history. As far as we can
determine, UNSCOM did not find any evidence of ‘dusty mustard’, although in April 2002
Robert D Walpole, Special Assistant to the US Director of Central Intelligence for Persian
Gulf War Illnesses, reported that:
UNSCOM information shows no research or production of dusty agents in the years
prior to the war, although a hand-written note found by UNSCOM inspectors
indicated that an Iraqi was considering the idea in the late 1980s.
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562.
Plague and ’dusty mustard’ were just two of the many biological and
chemical threats on which the intelligence community had to keep watch
in the period before the first Gulf war, and subsequently.
563.
The intelligence on their availability to Iraq in 1990 and 1991 rested on a
small number of reports and the evidence derived from examination of a
munition. There were grounds for scepticism both about the reports’
sources and their quality. Nevertheless, we conclude that the
Government was right in 1990 and 1991 to act on a precautionary basis.
564.
We find it harder to understand the treatment of the intelligence in the
ensuing period. Dusty mustard disappears from JIC assessments from
1993 onwards. By contrast, although little new intelligence was received,
and most of that was historical or unconvincing, plague continued to be
mentioned in JIC assessments up to March 2003. Those fluctuated in the
certainty of judgements about Iraqi possession of plague between
“possibly” and “probably”.
565.
We conclude that, in the case of plague, JIC assessments reflected
historic evidence, and intelligence of dubious reliability, reinforced by
suspicion of Iraq, rather than up-to-date evidence.
6.9 DR JONES’S DISSENT
566.
Dr Brian Jones, the then Head of the Nuclear, Biological, Chemical Technical Intelligence
branch in the DIS, was on leave when the process of drafting the Government’s dossier
began. On his return to work on 18 September (that is, six days before publication of the
dossier), his staff expressed to him a range of concerns about the strength of the
judgements being made in the dossier, some of which they believed were not supported
by the intelligence. Dr Jones shared a number of his staffs’ concerns and recorded his
concerns in a minute to his management on 19 September6.
567.
It is clear that Dr Jones saw the action that he had taken in registering his dissent as being
unusual. We heard from the then Chief of Defence Intelligence, however, that:
I saw it as part of the day-to-day process.
568.
It is not our intention in this report to revisit issues already addressed by Lord Hutton. But
we believe that the episode raises three broader issues about the use of the available
intelligence material in the Government’s dossier, and about the handling of sensitive
intelligence more generally, which merit consideration here.
USE OF THE AVAILABLE INTELLIGENCE MATERIAL
569.
Dr Jones raised concerns about the treatment of the intelligence containing the ’45 minute’
report. In his minute, Dr Jones said that:
We have a number of questions in our minds relating to the intelligence on the military
plans for the use of chemical and biological weapons, particularly about the times
mentioned7 and the failure to differentiate between the two types of weapons.
570.
6
7
We conclude that Dr Jones was right to raise concerns about the manner of
expression of the ‘45 minute’ report in the dossier given the vagueness of
the underlying intelligence.
Submitted to Lord Hutton’s Inquiry as MOD/22/0001.
Dr Jones told us that he used guarded language in his minute because of its low classification.
137
571.
Dr Jones also raised concerns about the certainty of language used in the dossier on Iraqi
production and possession of chemical agents. In his minute, Dr Jones said that:
We have not seen intelligence which we believe ’shows’ that Iraq has continued to
produce CW agent in 1998-2002, although our judgement is that it has probably
done so.
572.
We have commented separately in Chapter 5 on the way in which the dossier did not
reflect the limitations of some aspects of the intelligence on which it drew. We conclude
that Dr Jones was right to raise concerns about the certainty of language
used in the dossier on Iraqi production and possession of chemical
agents.
THE HANDLING OF INTELLIGENCE
138
573.
Dr Jones was not shown one particularly sensitive human intelligence report which said
that production of biological and chemical agent had been accelerated by the Iraqi
Government, including through the building of further facilities throughout Iraq. Dr Jones’s
managers told him that they regarded this report as justifying the certainty of language in
the dossier about Iraqi production of chemical weapons. We have looked into this point
in some detail.
574.
The intelligence report came from a new source on trial. It was issued on 11 September
2002. SIS had what at the time appeared to be well-founded hopes that this source would
become a major asset. In particular, the source had indicated to SIS that he would be able
to provide substantial and critical additional intelligence in the near future. The Chief of
SIS has told us that SIS were concerned to minimise knowledge of the existence of the
source during what they expected to be an initial, very sensitive, period of development.
The source’s intelligence about chemical weapons production was therefore distributed
to an extremely limited circle of senior readers.
575.
We understand SIS’s concern to give maximum protection to their source in those
particular, and transitional, circumstances. We were told that in-house SIS technical
experts took a preliminary and provisional view that the report should be issued, as being
from “A new source on trial”. But the exclusion of Dr Jones and his staff from readership
of the original report meant that this intelligence was not seen by the few people in the UK
intelligence community able to form all-round, professional technical judgements on its
reliability and significance. In the event, SIS withdrew the intelligence from this source as
being unreliable in July 2003.
576.
We recognise that circumstances arise in which it is right for senior
officials to take a broad view that differs from the opinions of those with
expertise on points of detail. We do not, however, consider that the report
held back from Dr Jones and his staff (which Dr Jones’ superiors regarded
as justifying the certainty of the language in the dossier) was one to which
such considerations should have applied. The judgement reached by the JIC in
this case should have been able to depend on detailed, expert analysis of the intelligence.
In the event, the JIC had no reason to know that that had not happened.
577.
It was understandable that SIS should have wanted to give greater than
normal protection to the human intelligence source on this occasion. But
a problem arose because it was kept from the relevant DIS analysts who
had a wider perspective. It would have been more appropriate for senior
managers in the DIS and SIS to have made arrangements for the
intelligence to be shown to DIS experts rather than their making their own
judgements on its significance. The fact that it was not shown to them resulted in
a stronger assessment in the dossier in relation to Iraqi chemical weapons production than
was justified by the available intelligence. It also deprived SIS of key expertise that would
have helped them to assess the reliability of their new source. We have not been
presented with any evidence that persuades us that there was an insuperable obstacle to
allowing expert-level DIS access to the intelligence.
578.
The Chief of SIS told us that, because he had been aware of the report on 10 September,
he had mentioned it to the Prime Minister’s Foreign Affairs Adviser (Sir David Manning) at
a meeting on 10 September and followed this up by arranging for the report to be sent to
Sir David. As it happened, the Chief of SIS had a meeting with the Prime Minister on 12
September to brief him on SIS operations in respect of Iraq. At this meeting, he briefed
the Prime Minister on each of SIS’s main sources including the new source on trial. He told
us that he had underlined to the Prime Minister the potential importance of the new source
and what SIS understood his access to be; but also said that the case was developmental
and that the source remained unproven. Nevertheless, it may be that, in the context of the
intense interest at that moment in the status of Iraq’s prohibited weapons programmes,
and in particular continuing work on the dossier, this concurrence of events caused more
weight to be given to this unvalidated new source than would normally have been the
case.
6.10 OIL SUPPLIES
579.
It has frequently been alleged that the real motivation behind the decision to go to war in
Iraq was a desire to control Iraq’s oil supplies. This issue does not fall within our terms of
reference and we did not take evidence specifically on it. We did, however, review JIC
assessments on the security of oil supplies issued in the period 2000-2003, in which such
a motivation did not feature. We also think it improbable that such an objective or
motivation, if it existed, would not have been apparent in the large volume and wide range
of policy and intelligence papers that we examined. We saw no evidence that a
motive of the British Government for initiating military action was
securing continuing access to oil supplies.
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140
CHAPTER 7
CONCLUSIONS ON BROADER ISSUES
7.1 GENERAL CONCLUSIONS ABOUT INTELLIGENCE AND ITS USE
580.
In this Chapter, we set out some general conclusions about the gathering, evaluation and
use of intelligence, in the light of our examination of the material in preceding Chapters.
OTHER CASES
581.
As the Intelligence and Security Committee have observed1:
Most of the hard work that the Agencies do every year will never be made public.
582.
Much that is in Chapter 2 can be told only because the outcomes described there are now
publicly known. Nevertheless, the material we have published for the first time in this
Report illustrates the contribution of intelligence reports and assessments to the handling
of each of these cases over recent years. Intelligence has been validated to an impressive
extent by what has been subsequently revealed and has played a crucial part in enabling
developing threats to international security and stability to be identified and countered.
For obvious reasons, we have not discussed the sources of the intelligence but we have
examined them. The cases demonstrate a high degree of co-operation not only between
the agencies but also with liaison services, and with the departments who have been
enabled to act effectively on the intelligence.
INTERNATIONAL CO-OPERATION
583.
We believe it to be right, therefore, to start this Chapter with our views on the importance
of international co-operation in this field. While there may be differences between
countries over policy issues, not least towards the Middle East, there is agreement among
the great majority of countries over the need to tackle the risks posed by destabilising
nuclear, biological and chemical weapons programmes, to limit proliferation and to
prevent terrorists from increasing their arsenal of destruction by the acquisition of vastly
more powerful weapons.
584.
We note that much of what was reliably known about Iraq’s
unconventional weapons programmes in the mid- and late-1990s was
obtained through the reports of the UN Special Commission (UNSCOM)
and of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). These
international agencies now appear to have been more effective than was
realised at the time in dismantling and inhibiting Iraq’s prohibited
weapons programmes. The value of such international organisations
needs to be recognised and built on for the future, supported by the
contribution of intelligence from national agencies.
1
Intelligence and Security Committee Annual Report 2003-2004. Cm 6240. June 2004.
141
CO-ORDINATION OF COUNTER-PROLIFERATION ACTIVITY
585.
It is clear that, in the continuing struggle against proliferation, it will be essential to continue
to bring to bear all sources of intelligence in a co-ordinated way. We have noted in our
general Conclusions on Chapter 2 that success in the cases we studied came through
close collaboration between all involved to piece together the intelligence picture, with
teams able to have shared access to all available intelligence. We welcome the
arrangements for bringing together all sources of expertise on terrorism into the Joint
Terrorism Analysis Centre. We have considered whether to recommend a similar
organisation to deal with counter-proliferation. The difference between counter-terrorism
and counter-proliferation is that a large part of the former is a problem of analysing and
dealing with day-to-day threats while the latter is longer-term. We do not therefore
consider that it would be justified or helpful to bring experts out of their parent
organisations and to co-locate them. Moreover, we are impressed with the growing cooperation between departments and agencies and the exploitation of technical expertise
through cross-postings and secondments. However, we consider that it would be
helpful through day-to-day processes and the use of new information
systems to create a ‘virtual’ network bringing together the various
sources of expertise in Government on proliferation and on activity to
tackle it, who would be known to each other and could consult each
other easily.
7.2 INTELLIGENCE MACHINERY
THE DEFENCE INTELLIGENCE STAFF
142
586.
Much of the Government’s expertise on technical issues relating to nuclear, biological and
chemical weapons and ballistic missiles rests in the Defence Intelligence Staff (DIS). This
expertise is used to produce all-source analysis which underpins the intelligence
community’s understanding on weapons programmes. Unlike the agencies, the DIS is not
free-standing and, because its focus must be concentrated on the department it serves,
it has in the past perhaps been seen as rather separate from the rest of the intelligence
community, although it would be wrong to exaggerate this. We have considered whether
to recommend that the DIS should be brought out of the Ministry of Defence (MOD) and
become a separate agency with a similar relationship to the MOD as the Secret
Intelligence Service (SIS) have to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO).
587.
Because the DIS is so crucial to the MOD in everything from strategic planning through
equipment acquisition to the conduct of military operations, we do not believe that this
would be helpful. But we consider that further steps are needed to integrate
the relevant work of the DIS more closely with the rest of the intelligence
community. We welcome the arrangements now being made to give the
Joint Intelligence Committee more leverage through the Intelligence
Requirements process to ensure that the DIS serves wider national
priorities as well as it does defence priorities and has the resources which
the rest of the intelligence community needs to support its activities. If
that involved increasing the Secret Intelligence Account by a sum to be at
the Security and Intelligence Co-ordinator’s disposal to commission such
resources, we would support that.
588.
The question of whether there should have been better machinery for bringing to the
attention of the Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC) dissenting opinions in the DIS arose in
relation to the Government’s dossier of September 2002. But the same point applies to JIC
assessments. The Intelligence and Security Committee have recommended that if
individuals in the intelligence community formally record concerns in relation to
assessments these concerns should be brought to the attention of the JIC Chairman.
589.
The Government has said that it is keeping the situation under review, and that DIS
standing instructions exist for the notification to the Chief of Defence Intelligence and his
deputy of dissenting views on JIC issues. We recommend consideration of the
provision of proper channels for the expression of dissent within the DIS
through the extension of the remit of the Staff Counsellor, who provides a
confidential outlet for conscientious objection or dissent within the
intelligence agencies, to cover DIS civilian staff and the Assessments
Staff.
590.
We have another recommendation in relation to the DIS. During the lead-up to the Iraq war,
neither the Chief of Defence Intelligence nor his deputy were intelligence specialists. We
recognise the case for the Chief of Defence Intelligence to be a serving
officer so that he is fully meshed into military planning. But we consider
that the Deputy should, unless there are good reasons to the contrary at
the time when a particular appointment is made, be an intelligence
specialist.
THE JOINT INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE
591.
A good deal of our attention has inevitably been focussed on the JIC and its operations.
Its role in co-ordinating the intelligence community and producing objective intelligence
assessments is widely admired, including by all members of our Committee. We conclude
that it is vital to maintain and reinforce its independence.
592.
As regards the JIC itself, two questions we have asked ourselves are whether, as a result
of the additions to its membership described in Chapter 1, it has become too big, and
whether its objectivity is in danger of being compromised by the presence of more policy
heavy-weights than in the past.
593.
On the first question, the changed nature of the security challenges faced by the UK in the
21st century has inevitably led to intelligence having a wider application in policy-making.
That in turn has resulted in more departments with only an occasional interest in the JIC’s
work being added to its membership. If all those members were to attend on each
occasion, JIC meetings would certainly become unwieldy. But we understand that they do
not. Provided that this is the case, it seems desirable that those departments which may
have an interest in, and use for, intelligence should attend as necessary when items
affecting their business are discussed.
143
594.
The policy presence on the JIC has been increased in recent years. The posts of Director
General (Defence and Intelligence) in the FCO and Policy Director in the MOD are
members and it is desirable that they should remain so that the JIC can be well-informed
about the policy interests of those departments.
595.
The Intelligence Co-ordinator, the Prime Minister’s Foreign Affairs Adviser and the head
of the Cabinet Office Defence and Overseas Secretariat have also been members, and in
fact all have chaired the JIC at various times. The posts of Prime Minister’s Foreign Affairs
Adviser and Head of the Defence and Overseas Secretariat have now been combined into
a single post which is held at Permanent Secretary level. So, now, is the post of Security
and Intelligence Co-ordinator.
596.
These are two of the leading policy advisers in the field covered by the JIC. Nevertheless,
since we have been assured by all witnesses that the tradition of the JIC has prevented
policy imperatives from dominating objective assessment in the JIC’s deliberations, we
recommend no change in the JIC’s membership on this account.
597.
That brings us to the Chairmanship. We welcome the fact that the Chairmanship is now a
single, independent post, not combined with other posts as sometimes in the past.
Nevertheless, without any implied criticism of the present or past Chairmen, it seems
wrong in principle that the Chairman of the JIC should be outranked not only by the heads
of the agencies but also by two other heavyweight Permanent Secretaries on his
Committee. Lord Franks stressed the need for the Chairman to be both full-time and
independent. We see a strong case for the post of Chairman of the JIC being
held by someone with experience of dealing with Ministers in a very senior
role, and who is demonstrably beyond influence, and thus probably in his
last post.
THE ASSESSMENTS STAFF
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598.
We have noted in Chapters 2, 3 and 5 the skill and objectivity of the Assessments Staff.
But we are conscious that the resources of the Assessments Staff are very slight in relation
to those of the collecting agencies. Moreover, for the most part the Assessments Staff is
made up of officials from departments on short-term secondments. When the
Assessments Staff were set up in 1968, it was envisaged that they would have a
permanent staff but the shortage of opportunities for advancement has made that
impracticable.
599.
The Assessments Staff do a remarkable job, given their limited role, in pulling together
objective assessments. But they have limited scope for employing formal techniques of
challenge. These would clearly not be appropriate in every case but might well be
desirable for major issues when the ‘prevailing wisdom’ risks becoming too conventional.
Their limited role also means that much of the task of assessing the influence of informants’
circumstances on the nature and quality of their reporting falls to the intelligence
agencies, and is vulnerable to agencies championing their own sources.
600.
The cost of the Assessments Staff is minimal in relation to the amounts the nation spends
on the collection of intelligence. It is a false economy to skimp on the machinery through
which expensively-collected intelligence passes to decision-makers. We recommend
that the Security and Intelligence Co-ordinator reviews the size of the
Assessments Staff, and in particular considers whether they have
available the volume and range of resources to ask the questions which
need to be asked in fully assessing intelligence reports and in thinking
radically. We recommend also that this review should include considering
whether there should be a specialism of analysis with a career structure
and room for advancement, allowing the Assessments Staff to include
some career members. We understand that the Intelligence and Security
Committee are planning to look at this issue.
601.
In that connection, we note that the Cabinet Office used to have high-powered, though
part-time, scientific advice available, for example through Lord Cherwell,
Lord Zuckerman and Dr Frank Panton. Several witnesses told us that, in their view, this
is no longer necessary because there are arrangements for close co-operation with the
Government’s Chief Scientific Adviser. We welcome this but note that the advantage of the
former arrangement was that the individuals were on the spot and could, when necessary,
challenge conventional wisdom. We conclude that it may be worth considering the
appointment of a distinguished scientist to undertake a part-time role as
adviser to the Cabinet Office.
7.3 INTELLIGENCE ASSESSMENTS
THE LANGUAGE OF JIC ASSESSMENTS
602.
A recurring issue – but one which the experience of intelligence on Iraq raises again – is
whether JIC assessments are drafted and presented in a way which best helps readers
to pick up the range of uncertainty attaching to intelligence assessments.
603.
Over the years, various approaches have been taken to this problem. The view currently
taken by the witnesses we interviewed is that Ministers and other readers are not helped
by assessments which are expressed in language of “on the one hand” and “on the other”,
and which thus leave the reader with no conclusion. So the general convention is that the
JIC should produce its best assessment in the form of ‘Key Judgements’ drawn up in the
light of the evidence. Such assessments often include warnings that the evidence is thin
(and the word ‘Judgement’ is itself a signal to the reader that it is not a statement of fact).
But it is not the current JIC convention to express degrees of confidence in the judgement
or to include alternative or minority hypotheses. The consequence is that the need to reach
consensus may result in nuanced language. Subtleties such as “the intelligence
indicates” rather than “the intelligence shows” may escape the untutored or busy reader.
We also came across instances where Key Judgements unhelpfully omitted qualifications
about the limitations of the intelligence which were elsewhere in the text.
604.
We would not think it desirable that any convention should be binding, and different
treatments may be suitable for different subjects. But we note that the US Government
does from time to time attach degrees of confidence and notes of dissent to its National
Intelligence Estimates. These may help to prevent readers from attaching more certainty
145
to judgements than is justified and intended. We conclude that the JIC has been right
not to reach a judgement when the evidence is insubstantial. We believe
that the JIC should, where there are significant limitations in the
intelligence, state these clearly alongside its Key Judgements. While not
arguing for a particular approach to the language of JIC assessments and
the way in which alternative or minority hypotheses, or uncertainty, are
expressed, we recommend that the intelligence community review their
conventions again to see if there would be advantage in refreshing them.
JIC ASSESSMENTS
605.
There are other aspects of JIC assessments on which our Review causes us to offer
observations:
a.
It should continue to be made clear on the face of the circulated document for
what purpose an assessment is being produced.
b.
It is reasonable for assessments requested by the MOD for planning purposes
relating to potential military activity to consider worst case scenarios. The
burden of proof in such cases may reasonably be lower than in normal
circumstances and assessments may reasonably be made on a more
precautionary basis. But JIC assessments that take this approach should state
that fact explicitly. So should assessments and analysis derived from them,
then and subsequently. Care should be taken to ensure that worst case
analysis is not carried forward into assessments except those (like
assessments of enemy capabilities) which warrant such an approach.
c.
JIC assessments should make clear what the JIC does not know in areas where
gaps and uncertainties are material to the assessment.
d.
Assessments should not give undue weight to intelligence reports over wider
analysis of historical, psychological or geopolitical factors.
e.
All reasonably sustainable hypotheses should not be dismissed finally until
there is sufficient information to do so.
f.
Challenge should be an accepted and routine part of the assessment process
as well as an occasional formal exercise, built into the system.
g.
Consideration should be given from time to time to occasional external peer
review, particularly on technical issues.
h.
The JIC should continue to conduct regular lessons-learned processes. We
have observed in the context of Iraq the truism that under-estimates of a
problem tend to get highlighted and over-estimates forgotten on the basis that
the latter are less damaging. Attention needs to be paid to misjudgements in
both directions.
7.4 MACHINERY OF GOVERNMENT
606.
146
We received evidence from two former Cabinet members, one of the present and one of
a previous administration, who expressed their concern about the informal nature of much
of the Government’s decision-making process, and the relative lack of use of established
Cabinet Committee machinery.
607.
Two changes which occurred over this period had implications for the application of
intelligence to collective ministerial decision-making. One was the splitting of the Cabinet
Secretary’s responsibilities through the creation of the post of Security and Intelligence
Co-ordinator. The latter is able to devote the majority of his time to security and intelligence
issues in a way that the Cabinet Secretary, with all the many other calls on his time, could
not. It was represented to us that this change was particularly necessary after the terrorist
attacks of 11 September 2001. However, the effect is that the Cabinet Secretary is no
longer so directly involved in the chain through which intelligence reaches the Prime
Minister. It follows that the Cabinet Secretary, who attends the Cabinet and maintains the
machinery to support their decision-making, is less directly involved personally in
advising the Prime Minister on security and intelligence issues. By the same token, the
Security and Intelligence Co-ordinator does not attend Cabinet and is not part of the
Cabinet Secretariat supporting Cabinet Ministers in discharging their collective
responsibilities in defence and overseas policy matters. We understand that the
Intelligence and Security Committee will shortly review how this arrangement has worked.
608.
The second change was that two key posts at the top of the Cabinet Secretariat, those of
Head of the Defence and Overseas Secretariat and Head of the European Affairs
Secretariat, were combined with the posts of the Prime Minister’s advisers on Foreign
Affairs and on European Affairs respectively. We believe that the effect of the changes has
been to weight their responsibility to the Prime Minister more heavily than their
responsibility through the Cabinet Secretary to the Cabinet as a whole. It is right to
acknowledge that the view of the present post-holders is that the arrangement works well,
in particular in connecting the work of the Cabinet Secretariat to that of the Prime Minister’s
office. We should also record that it was clear from the departmental policy papers we
read that there was very close co-operation between officials in the Prime Minister’s office
and in the FCO in policy-making on Iraq. It is nonetheless a shift which acts to concentrate
detailed knowledge and effective decision-making in fewer minds at the top.
609.
In the year before the war, the Cabinet discussed policy towards Iraq as a specific agenda
item 24 times. It also arose in the course of discussions on other business. Cabinet
members were offered and many received briefings on the intelligence picture on Iraq.
There was therefore no lack of discussion on Iraq; and we have been informed that it was
substantive. The Ministerial Committee on Defence and Overseas Policy did not meet. By
contrast, over the period from April 2002 to the start of military action, some 25 meetings
attended by the small number of key Ministers, officials and military officers most closely
involved provided the framework of discussion and decision-making within Government.
610.
One inescapable consequence of this was to limit wider collective discussion and
consideration by the Cabinet to the frequent but unscripted occasions when the Prime
Minister, Foreign Secretary and Defence Secretary briefed the Cabinet orally. Excellent
quality papers were written by officials, but these were not discussed in Cabinet or in
Cabinet Committee. Without papers circulated in advance, it remains possible but is
obviously much more difficult for members of the Cabinet outside the small circle directly
147
involved to bring their political judgement and experience to bear on the major decisions
for which the Cabinet as a whole must carry responsibility. The absence of papers on the
Cabinet agenda so that Ministers could obtain briefings in advance from the Cabinet
Office, their own departments or from the intelligence agencies plainly reduced their
ability to prepare properly for such discussions, while the changes to key posts at the head
of the Cabinet Secretariat lessened the support of the machinery of government for the
collective responsibility of the Cabinet in the vital matter of war and peace.
611.
148
We do not suggest that there is or should be an ideal or unchangeable
system of collective Government, still less that procedures are in
aggregate any less effective now than in earlier times. However, we are
concerned that the informality and circumscribed character of the
Government’s procedures which we saw in the context of policy-making
towards Iraq risks reducing the scope for informed collective political
judgement. Such risks are particularly significant in a field like the subject
of our Review, where hard facts are inherently difficult to come by and the
quality of judgement is accordingly all the more important.
CHAPTER 8
SUMMARY OF CONCLUSIONS
This summary follows the order of the Chapters of our Report. It comprises the passages
we have highlighted in each Section and is intended to convey the gist of our Conclusions.
However, we emphasise the importance of reading the Sections of the Report in full since
the picture of the sources, assessment and use of intelligence is necessarily complicated
and our Conclusions need to be read in context in order to be fully understood.
CHAPTER 2 – COUNTRIES OF CONCERN OTHER THAN IRAQ AND GLOBAL
TRADE
1.
All four of the case studies we discuss (AQ Khan, Libya, Iran, North Korea) were to a
greater or lesser extent success stories. To a degree, that was inevitable – we chose those
cases where intelligence about nuclear, biological, chemical and ballistic missile
programmes and proliferation activities can be discussed precisely because it has
contributed to disclosure of those activities. But that should not detract from what has
clearly been an impressive performance by the intelligence community and policy-makers
in each case, and overall. (Paragraph 107)
2.
A number of common threads have become clear from our examination of each case. The
first and most obvious is the powerful effect of exploiting the linkages where they exist
between suppliers (AQ Khan; North Korea) and buyers (Iran; Libya; others) for counterproliferation activity. It is in the nature of proliferation that what can be discovered about
a supplier leads to information about the customer, and vice versa. The second thread
flows from this – the powerful multiplier effect of effective international (in many cases,
multinational) collaboration. Third, this is painstaking work, involving the piecing together
over extended timescales of often fragmentary information. There are the surprises and
‘lucky breaks’. But they often come from the foundation of knowledge developed over
several years. It requires close collaboration between all involved, in agencies and
departments, to build the jigsaw, with teams able to have access to available intelligence
and to make the most of each clue. It also depends on continuity of shared purpose
amongst collectors and analysts, and between the intelligence and policy communities,
in gathering, assessing and using intelligence in tackling proliferation and nuclear,
biological and chemical weapons programmes which are destabilising in security terms.
(Paragraphs 108/109)
CHAPTER 3 – TERRORISM
3.
All of the UK intelligence agencies are developing new techniques, and we have seen
clear evidence that they are co-operating at all levels. (Paragraph 133)
4.
JTAC has now been operating for over a year and has proved a success. (Paragraph 134)
5.
International counter-terrorism collaboration has also been significantly enhanced in the
past six or seven years. Though we understand that other countries have not yet achieved
149
the same level of inter-departmental synthesis, considerable developments have taken
place. Staff of the UK intelligence and security agencies are today in much wider contact
with their opposite numbers throughout the world. We note these initiatives, but remain
concerned that the procedures of the international community are still not sufficiently
aligned to match the threat. (Paragraph 136)
CHAPTER 4 – COUNTER-PROLIFERATION MACHINERY
6.
Intelligence performs an important role in many aspects of the Government’s counterproliferation work. It helps to identify proliferating countries, organisations and individuals
through JIC assessments, DIS proliferation studies and operational intelligence. It can
help to interdict or disrupt the activities of proliferators either nationally or in co-operation
with other countries. It can support diplomatic activity by revealing states’ attitudes to
counter-proliferation or by informing the assessments of international partners. It can also
support inspection, monitoring and verification regimes and on occasions military action.
Intelligence can play an important part in enforcing export controls, particularly in relation
to ‘dual-use’ goods and technologies. (Paragraphs 149/150)
CHAPTER 5 – IRAQ
THE POLICY CONTEXT
150
7.
The developing policy context of the previous four years [see paragraphs 210–217] and
especially the impact of the events of 11 September 2001, formed the backdrop for
changes in policy towards Iraq in early 2002. The Government’s conclusion in the spring
of 2002 that stronger action (although not necessarily military action) needed to be taken
to enforce Iraqi disarmament was not based on any new development in the current
intelligence picture on Iraq. (Paragraph 427)
8.
When the Government concluded that action going beyond the previous policy of
containment needed to be taken, there were many grounds for concern arising from Iraq’s
past record and behaviour. There was a clear view that, to be successful, any new action
to enforce Iraqi compliance with its disarmament obligations would need to be backed
with the credible threat of force. But there was no recent intelligence that would itself have
given rise to a conclusion that Iraq was of more immediate concern than the activities of
some other countries. (Paragraph 427)
9.
The Government, as well as being influenced by the concerns of the US Government, saw
a need for immediate action on Iraq because of the wider historical and international
context, especially Iraq’s perceived continuing challenge to the authority of the United
Nations. The Government also saw in the United Nations and a decade of Security Council
Resolutions a basis for action through the United Nations to enforce Iraqi compliance with
its disarmament obligations. (Paragraph 428)
10.
The Government considered in March 2002 two options for achieving the goal of Iraqi
disarmament - a toughening of the existing containment policy; and regime change by
military means. Ministers were advised that, if regime change was the chosen policy, only
the use of overriding force in a ground campaign would achieve the removal of Saddam
Hussein and Iraq’s re-integration with the international community. Officials noted that
regime change of itself had no basis in international law; and that any offensive military
action against Iraq could only be justified if Iraq were held to be in breach of its
disarmament obligations under United Nations Security Council Resolution 687 or some
new resolution. Officials also noted that for the five Permanent Members of the Security
Council and the majority of the 15 members of the Council to take the view that Iraq was
in breach of its obligations under Resolution 687, they would need to be convinced that
Iraq was in breach of its obligations; that such proof would need to be incontrovertible and
of large-scale activity; but that the intelligence then available was insufficiently robust to
meet that criterion. (Paragraph 429)
11.
Intelligence on Iraqi nuclear, biological, chemical and ballistic missile programmes was
used in support of the execution of this policy to inform planning for a military campaign;
to inform domestic and international opinion, in support of the Government’s advocacy of
its changing policy towards Iraq; and to obtain and provide information to United Nations
inspectors. (Paragraph 431)
12.
Iraq was not the only issue on which the intelligence agencies, the JIC and the
departments concerned were working during this period. Other matters, including
terrorism and the activities of other countries of concern, were requiring intensive day-today observation and action. (Paragraph 432)
THE SOURCES OF INTELLIGENCE
13.
Between 1991 and 1998, the bulk of information used in assessing the status of Iraq’s
biological, chemical and ballistic missile programmes was derived from UNSCOM
reports. (Paragraph 433)
14.
After the departure of the United Nations inspectors in December 1998, information
sources were sparse, particularly on Iraq’s chemical and biological weapons
programmes. (Paragraph 433)
15.
The number of primary human intelligence sources remained few. Other intelligence
sources provided valuable information on other activity, including overseas procurement
activity. They did not generally provide confirmation of the intelligence received from
human sources, but did contribute to the picture of the continuing intention of the Iraqi
regime to pursue its prohibited weapons programmes. (Paragraphs 434/435)
16.
Validation of human intelligence sources after the war has thrown doubt on a high
proportion of those sources and of their reports, and hence on the quality of the
intelligence assessments received by Ministers and officials in the period from summer
2002 to the outbreak of hostilities. Of the main human intelligence sources:
a.
One SIS main source reported authoritatively on some issues, but on others
was passing on what he had heard within his circle.
b.
Reporting from a sub-source to a second SIS main source that was important
to JIC assessments on Iraqi possession of chemical and biological weapons
must be open to doubt.
151
c.
Reports from a third SIS main source have been withdrawn as unreliable.
d.
Reports from two further SIS main sources continue to be regarded as reliable,
although it is notable that their reports were less worrying than the rest about
Iraqi chemical and biological weapons capabilities.
e.
Reports received from a liaison service on Iraqi production of biological agent
were seriously flawed, so that the grounds for JIC assessments drawing on
those reports that Iraq had recently-produced stocks of biological agent no
longer exist. (Paragraph 436)
17.
We do not believe that over-reliance on dissident and emigré sources was a major cause
of subsequent weaknesses in the human intelligence relied on by the UK. (Paragraph 438)
18.
One reason for the number of agents whose reports turned out to be unreliable or
questionable may be the length of the reporting chains. Another reason may be that
agents who were known to be reliable were asked to report on issues going well beyond
their usual territory. A third reason may be that, because of the scarcity of sources and the
urgent requirement for intelligence, more credence was given to untried agents than
would normally be the case. (Paragraphs 440–442)
19.
A major underlying reason for the problems that have arisen was the difficulty of achieving
reliable human intelligence on Iraq. However, even taking into account the difficulty of
recruiting and running reliable agents on Iraqi issues, we conclude that part of the reason
for the serious doubt being cast over a high proportion of human intelligence reports on
Iraq arises from weaknesses in the effective application by SIS of its validation procedures
and in their proper resourcing. Our Review has shown the vital importance of effective
scrutiny and validation of human intelligence sources and of their reporting to the
preparation of accurate JIC assessments and high-quality advice to Ministers. We urge
the Chief of SIS to ensure that this task is properly resourced and organised to achieve
that result, and we think that it would be appropriate if the Intelligence and Security
Committee were to monitor this. (Paragraphs 443–445)
ASSESSMENT
152
20.
In general, we found that the original intelligence material was correctly reported in JIC
assessments. An exception was the ’45 minute’ report. But this sort of example was rare.
(Paragraph 449)
21.
We should record in particular that we have found no evidence of deliberate distortion or
of culpable negligence. (Paragraph 449)
22.
We found no evidence of JIC assessments and the judgements inside them being pulled
in any particular direction to meet the policy concerns of senior officials on the JIC.
(Paragraph 450)
23.
We conclude in general that the intelligence community made good use of the technical
expertise available to the Government. (Paragraph 451)
24.
We accept the need for careful handling of human intelligence reports to sustain the
security of sources. We have, however, seen evidence of difficulties that arose from the
unduly strict ‘compartmentalisation’ of intelligence. It was wrong that a report which was
of significance in the drafting of a document of the importance of the dossier was not
shown to key experts in the DIS who could have commented on the validity and credibility
of the report. We conclude that arrangements should always be sought to ensure that the
need for protection of sources should not prevent the exposure of reports on technical
matters to the most expert available analysis. (Paragraphs 452)
25.
We were impressed by the quality of intelligence assessments on Iraq’s nuclear
capabilities. (Paragraphs 453)
26.
Partly because of inherent difficulties in assessing chemical and biological programmes,
JIC assessments on Iraq’s chemical and biological weapons programmes were less
assured. The most significant is the ‘dual use’ issue – because chemical and biological
weapons programmes can draw heavily on ‘dual use’ materials, it is easier for a
proliferating state to keep its programmes covert. (Paragraph 454/455)
27.
There were also Iraq-specific factors. The intelligence community will have had in mind
that Iraq had not only owned but used its chemical weapons in the past. It will inevitably
have been influenced by the way in which the Iraqi regime was engaged in a sustained
programme to try to deceive United Nations inspectors. Most of the intelligence reports
on which assessments were being made were inferential. The Assessments Staff and JIC
were not fully aware of the access and background of key informants, and could not
therefore read their material against the background of an understanding of their
motivations. The broad conclusions of the UK intelligence community (although not some
particular details) were widely-shared by other countries. (Paragraphs 456/457)
28.
We detected a tendency for assessments to be coloured by over-reaction to previous
errors. As a result, there was a risk of over-cautious or worst case estimates, shorn of their
caveats, becoming the ‘prevailing wisdom’. The JIC may, in some assessments, also have
misread the nature of Iraqi governmental and social structures. (Paragraph 458/459)
29.
We emphasise the importance of the Assessments Staff and the JIC having access to a
wide range of information, especially in circumstances (e.g. where the UK is likely to
become involved in national reconstruction and institution-building) where information on
political and social issues will be vital. (Paragraph 459)
THE USE OF INTELLIGENCE
30.
The main vehicle for the Government’s use of intelligence in the public presentation of
policy was the dossier of September 2002 and accompanying Ministerial statements. The
dossier broke new ground in three ways: the JIC had never previously produced a public
document; no Government case for any international action had previously been made to
the British public through explicitly drawing on a JIC publication; and the authority of the
British intelligence community, and the JIC in particular, had never been used in such a
public way. (Paragraph 460/461)
31.
The dossier was not intended to make the case for a particular course of action in relation
to Iraq. It was intended by the Government to inform domestic and international
understanding of the need for stronger action (though not necessarily military action) – the
153
general direction in which Government policy had been moving since the early months of
2002, away from containment to a more proactive approach to enforcing Iraqi
disarmament. (Paragraph 462)
154
32.
The Government wanted an unclassified document on which it could draw in its advocacy
of its policy. The JIC sought to offer a dispassionate assessment of intelligence and other
material on Iraqi nuclear, biological, chemical and ballistic missile programmes. The JIC,
with commendable motives, took responsibility for the dossier, in order that its content
should properly reflect the judgements of the intelligence community. They did their
utmost to ensure this standard was met. But this will have put a strain on them in seeking
to maintain their normal standards of neutral and objective assessment. (Paragraph 463)
33.
Strenuous efforts were made to ensure that no individual statements were made in the
dossier which went beyond the judgements of the JIC. But, in translating material from JIC
assessments into the dossier, warnings were lost about the limited intelligence base on
which some aspects of these assessments were being made. Language in the dossier
may have left with readers the impression that there was fuller and firmer intelligence
behind the judgements than was the case: our view, having reviewed all of the material,
is that judgements in the dossier went to (although not beyond) the outer limits of the
intelligence available. (Paragraph 464)
34.
We conclude that it was a serious weakness that the JIC’s warnings on the limitations of
the intelligence underlying its judgements were not made sufficiently clear in the dossier.
(Paragraph 465)
35.
We understand why the Government felt it had to meet the mounting public and
Parliamentary demand for information. We also recognise that there is a real dilemma
between giving the public an authoritative account of the intelligence picture and
protecting the objectivity of the JIC from the pressures imposed by providing information
for public debate. It is difficult to resolve these requirements. We conclude, with the benefit
of hindsight, that making public that the JIC had authorship of the dossier was a mistaken
judgement, though we do not criticise the JIC for taking responsibility for clearance of the
intelligence content of the document. However, in the particular circumstances, the
publication of such a document in the name and with the authority of the JIC had the result
that more weight was placed on the intelligence than it could bear. The consequence also
was to put the JIC and its Chairman into an area of public controversy and arrangements
must be made for the future which avoid putting the JIC and its Chairman in a similar
position. (Paragraph 466)
36.
We believe that there are other options that should be examined for the ownership of
drafting, for gaining the JIC’s endorsement of the intelligence material and assessments
that are quoted and for subsequent ‘branding’. One is for the government of the day to
draft a document, to gain the JIC’s endorsement of the intelligence material inside it and
then to publish it acknowledging that it draws on intelligence but without ascribing it to the
JIC. Or the Government, if it wishes to seek the JIC’s credibility and authority, could
publish a document with intelligence material and the JIC’s endorsement of it shown
separately. Or the JIC could prepare and publish itself a self-standing assessment,
incorporating all of its normal caveats and warnings, leaving it to others to place that
document within a broader policy context. This may make such documents less
persuasive in making a policy case; but that is the price of using a JIC assessment. Our
conclusion is that, between these options, the first is greatly preferable. Whichever route is
chosen, JIC clearance of the intelligence content of any similar document will be essential.
(Paragraph 467)
37.
We conclude that, if intelligence is to be used more widely by governments in public
debate in future, those doing so must be careful to explain its uses and limitations. It will
be essential, too, that clearer and more effective dividing lines between assessment and
advocacy are established when doing so. (Paragraph 468)
38.
We realise that our conclusions may provoke calls for the current Chairman of the JIC, Mr
Scarlett, to withdraw from his appointment as the next Chief of SIS. We greatly hope that
he will not do so. We have a high regard for his abilities and his record. (Paragraph 469)
39.
The part played by intelligence in determining the legality of the use of force was limited.
(Paragraph 470)
40.
We have noted that, despite its importance to the determination of whether Iraq was in
further material breach of its obligations under Resolution 1441, the JIC made no further
assessment of the Iraqi declaration beyond its ‘Initial Assessment’ provided on 18
December. We have also recorded our surprise that policy-makers and the intelligence
community did not, as the generally negative results of UNMOVIC inspections became
increasingly apparent, re-evaluate in early 2003 the quality of the intelligence.
(Paragraph 472)
VALIDATION OF THE INTELLIGENCE
41.
Even now it would be premature to reach conclusions about Iraq’s prohibited weapons.
Much potential evidence may have been destroyed in the looting and disorder that
followed the cessation of hostilities. Other material may be hidden in the sand, including
stocks of agent or weapons. We believe that it would be a rash person who asserted at
this stage that evidence of Iraqi possession of stocks of biological or chemical agents, or
even of banned missiles, does not exist or will never be found. But as a result of our
Review, and taking into account the evidence which has been found by the ISG and debriefing of Iraqi personnel, we have reached the conclusion that prior to the war the
Iraqi regime:
a.
Had the strategic intention of resuming the pursuit of prohibited weapons
programmes, including if possible its nuclear weapons programme, when
United Nations inspection regimes were relaxed and sanctions were eroded
or lifted.
b.
In support of that goal, was carrying out illicit research and development, and
procurement, activities, to seek to sustain its indigenous capabilities.
c.
Was developing ballistic missiles with a range longer than permitted under
relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions; but did not have
155
significant – if any – stocks of chemical or biological weapons in a state fit for
deployment, or developed plans for using them. (Paragraph 474)
CHAPTER 6 – IRAQ: SPECIFIC ISSUES
LINKS BETWEEN AL QAIDA AND THE IRAQI REGIME
42.
The JIC made it clear that the Al Qaida-linked facilities in the Kurdish Ansar al Islam area
were involved in the production of chemical and biological agents, but that they were
beyond the control of the Iraqi regime. (Paragraph 479)
43.
The JIC made clear that, although there were contacts between the Iraqi regime and Al
Qaida, there was no evidence of co-operation. (Paragraph 484)
OPERATION MASS APPEAL
44.
There were two meetings between British Government officials and UNSCOM
representatives, including Mr Ritter, in May and June 1998 at which there were
discussions about how to make public the discovery of traces of the nerve agent VX on
missile warheads after this fact had been reported to the United Nations Security Council.
(Iraq had previously denied weaponising VX.) Operation Mass Appeal was set up for this
specific purpose and did not exist before May 1998. In the event, before Operation Mass
Appeal could proceed, the UNSCOM report was leaked to the press in Washington.
Because of this, Operation Mass Appeal was abandoned. (Paragraph 489)
URANIUM FROM AFRICA
45.
From our examination of the intelligence and other material on Iraqi attempts to buy
uranium from Africa, we have concluded that:
a.
It is accepted by all parties that Iraqi officials visited Niger in 1999.
b.
The British Government had intelligence from several different sources
indicating that this visit was for the purpose of acquiring uranium. Since
uranium constitutes almost three-quarters of Niger’s exports, the intelligence
was credible.
c.
The evidence was not conclusive that Iraq actually purchased, as opposed to
having sought, uranium and the British Government did not claim this.
d.
The forged documents were not available to the British Government at the time
its assessment was made, and so the fact of the forgery does not undermine it.
(Paragraph 503)
THE ‘45 MINUTE’ CLAIM
46.
156
The JIC should not have included the ‘45 minute’ report in its assessment and in the
Government’s dossier without stating what it was believed to refer to. The fact that the
reference in the classified assessment was repeated in the dossier later led to suspicions
that it had been included because of its eye-catching character. (Paragraph 511)
MOBILE BIOLOGICAL WEAPONS LABORATORIES
47.
We consider that it was reasonable for the JIC to include in its assessments of March and
September 2002 a reference to intelligence reports on Iraq’s seeking mobile biological
agent production facilities. But it has emerged that the intelligence from the source, if it
had been correctly reported, would not have been consistent with a judgement that Iraq
had, on the basis of recent production, stocks of biological agent. If SIS had had direct
access to the source from 2000 onwards, and hence correct intelligence reporting, the
main evidence for JIC judgements on Iraq’s stocks of recently-produced biological agent,
as opposed to a break-out capacity, would not have existed. (Paragraph 530)
ALUMINIUM TUBES
48.
The evidence we received on aluminium tubes was overwhelmingly that they were
intended for rockets rather than a centrifuge. We found this convincing. Despite this, we
conclude that the JIC was right to consider carefully the possibility that the tubes were
evidence of a resumed nuclear programme, and that it properly reflected the doubts
about the use of the tubes in the caution of its assessments. But in transferring its
judgements to the dossier, the JIC omitted the important information about the need for
substantial re-engineering of the aluminium tubes to make them suitable for use as gas
centrifuge rotors. This omission had the effect of materially strengthening the impression
that they may have been intended for a gas centrifuge and hence for a nuclear
programme. (Paragraph 545)
PLAGUE AND DUSTY MUSTARD
49.
Plague and ‘dusty mustard’ were just two of the many biological and chemical threats on
which the intelligence community had to keep watch in the period before the first Gulf war,
and subsequently. (Paragraph 562)
50.
The intelligence on their availability to Iraq in 1990 and 1991 rested on a small number of
reports and the evidence derived from examination of a munition. There were grounds for
scepticism both about the reports’ sources and their quality. Nevertheless, we conclude
that the Government was right in 1990 and 1991 to act on a precautionary basis.
(Paragraph 563)
51.
We find it harder to understand the treatment of the intelligence in the ensuing period.
‘Dusty mustard’ disappears from JIC assessments from 1993 onwards. By contrast,
although little new intelligence was received, and most of that was historical or
unconvincing, plague continued to be mentioned in JIC assessments up to March 2003.
Those fluctuated in the certainty of judgements about Iraqi possession of plague between
“possibly” and “probably”. (Paragraph 564)
52.
We conclude that, in the case of plague, JIC assessments reflected historic evidence, and
intelligence of dubious reliability, reinforced by suspicion of Iraq, rather than up-to-date
evidence. (Paragraph 565)
157
DR JONES’S DISSENT
53.
Dr Jones was right to raise concerns about the manner of expression of the ‘45 minute’
report in the dossier given the vagueness of the underlying intelligence. (Paragraph 570)
54.
Dr Jones was right to raise concerns about the certainty of language used in the dossier
on Iraqi production and possession of chemical agents. (Paragraph 572)
55.
We recognise that circumstances arise in which it is right for senior officials to take a broad
view that differs from the opinions of those with expertise on points of detail. We do not,
however, consider that the report held back from Dr Jones and his staff (which Dr Jones’
superiors regarded as justifying the certainty of the language in the dossier) was one to
which such considerations should have applied. It was understandable that SIS should
have wanted to give greater than normal protection to the human intelligence source on
this occasion. But a problem arose because it was kept from the relevant DIS analysts who
had a wider perspective. It would have been more appropriate for senior managers in the
DIS and SIS to have made arrangements for the intelligence to be shown to DIS experts
rather than their making their own judgements on its significance. (Paragraph 576/577)
OIL SUPPLIES
56.
We saw no evidence that a motive of the British Government for initiating military action
was securing continuing access to oil supplies. (Paragraph 579)
CHAPTER 7 – CONCLUSIONS ON BROADER ISSUES
INTERNATIONAL CO-OPERATION
57.
We note that much of what was reliably known about Iraq’s unconventional weapons
programmes in the mid- and late-1990s was obtained through the reports of the UN
Special Commission (UNSCOM) and of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
These international agencies now appear to have been more effective than was realised
at the time in dismantling and inhibiting Iraq’s prohibited weapons programmes. The value
of such international organisations needs to be recognised and built on for the future,
supported by the contribution of intelligence from national agencies. (Paragraph 584)
CO-ORDINATION OF COUNTER-PROLIFERATION ACTIVITY
58.
We consider that it would be helpful through day-to-day processes and the use of new
information systems to create a ‘virtual’ network bringing together the various sources of
expertise in Government on proliferation and on activity to tackle it, who would be known
to each other and could consult each other easily. (Paragraph 585)
THE DEFENCE INTELLIGENCE STAFF
59.
158
We consider that further steps are needed to integrate the relevant work of the DIS more
closely with the rest of the intelligence community. We welcome the arrangements now
being made to give the Joint Intelligence Committee more leverage through the
Intelligence Requirements process to ensure that the DIS serves wider national priorities
as well as it does defence priorities and has the resources which the rest of the intelligence
community needs to support its activities. If that involved increasing the Secret
Intelligence Account by a sum to be at the Security and Intelligence Co-ordinator’s
disposal to commission such resources, we would support that. (Paragraph 587)
60.
We recommend consideration of the provision of proper channels for the expression of
dissent within the DIS through the extension of the remit of the Staff Counsellor, who
provides a confidential outlet for conscientious objection or dissent within the intelligence
agencies, to cover DIS civilian staff and the Assessments Staff. (Paragraph 589)
61.
We recognise the case for the Chief of Defence Intelligence to be a serving officer so that
he is fully meshed into military planning. But we consider that the Deputy should, unless
there are good reasons to the contrary at the time when a particular appointment is made,
be an intelligence specialist. (Paragraph 590)
THE JOINT INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE
62.
We recommend no change in the JIC’s membership. (Paragraph 596)
63.
We see a strong case for the post of Chairman of the JIC being held by someone with
experience of dealing with Ministers in a very senior role, and who is demonstrably beyond
influence, and thus probably in his last post. (Paragraph 597)
THE ASSESSMENTS STAFF
64.
We recommend that the Security and Intelligence Co-ordinator reviews the size of the
Assessments Staff, and in particular considers whether they have available the volume
and range of resources to ask the questions which need to be asked in fully assessing
intelligence reports and in thinking radically. We recommend also that this review should
include considering whether there should be a specialism of analysis with a career
structure and room for advancement, allowing the Assessments Staff to include some
career members. We understand that the Intelligence and Security Committee are
planning to look at this issue. (Paragraph 600)
65
It may be worth considering the appointment of a distinguished scientist to undertake a
part-time role as adviser to the Cabinet Office. (Paragraph 601)
THE LANGUAGE OF JIC ASSESSMENTS
66.
The JIC has been right not to reach a judgement when the evidence is insubstantial. We
believe that the JIC should, where there are significant limitations in the intelligence, state
these clearly alongside its Key Judgements. While not arguing for a particular approach
to the language of JIC assessments and the way in which alternative or minority
hypotheses, or uncertainty, are expressed, we recommend that the intelligence
community review their conventions again to see if there would be advantage in refreshing
them. (Paragraph 604)
159
MACHINERY OF GOVERNMENT
67.
160
We do not suggest that there is or should be an ideal or unchangeable system of collective
Government, still less that procedures are in aggregate any less effective now than in
earlier times. However, we are concerned that the informality and circumscribed
character of the Government’s procedures which we saw in the context of policy-making
towards Iraq risks reducing the scope for informed collective political judgement. Such
risks are particularly significant in a field like the subject of our Review, where hard facts
are inherently difficult to come by and the quality of judgement is accordingly all the more
important. (Paragraph 611)
ANNEX A
LIST OF WITNESSES
Ministers
Rt Hon Tony Blair MP - Prime Minister
Rt Hon Jack Straw MP - Foreign Secretary
Rt Hon Geoff Hoon MP - Defence Secretary
Rt Hon Lord Goldsmith, QC - Attorney General
Officials
(i)
10 Downing Street and the Cabinet Office
Jonathan Powell
Tim Dowse
Sir David Omand
John Scarlett
Sir Andrew Turnbull
(ii)
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
William Ehrman
Sir Jeremy Greenstock
Sir David Manning
Sir Peter Ricketts
Stephen Wright
(iii) Ministry of Defence
Admiral Lord Michael Boyce
Air Marshal Joe French
Julian Miller
Lieutenant General Andrew Ridgway
Sir Kevin Tebbit
Simon Webb
and four members of the Defence Intelligence Staff
(iv) Members of the intelligence community
Sir Richard Dearlove
Eliza Manningham-Buller
Dr David Pepper
and one member of GCHQ, and two members of the Secret Intelligence Service
International Organisations
Dr Hans Blix
161
Former Chairs of the Joint Intelligence Committee
Sir Roderic Braithwaite
Sir Colin Budd
Rt Hon Sir Percy Cradock
Sir Paul Lever
Dame Pauline Neville Jones
The Hon Sir Michael Pakenham
Other witnesses
Dr John Chipman
Michael Herman
Dr Brian Jones
John Kampfner
Dr David Kay
Rt Hon Lord Owen
Dr Gary Samore
Elizabeth Wilmshurst
and two further witnesses who asked for their identities to be protected.
We also had meetings with Rt Hon Lord Hutton, Rt Hon David Blunkett MP, Rt Hon Michael Howard
MP, Rt Hon Robin Cook MP, Rt Hon Clare Short MP, Sir Michael Jay and Sir Nigel Sheinwald.
162
21 August 2002
JIC(02)181: IRAQ:
SADDAM'S
DIPLOMATIC AND
MILITARY
OPTIONS (21
August 2002)
(relevant
extracts)
9 September 2002
JIC(02)202: IRAQI USE OF
CHEMICAL AND
BIOLOGICAL WEAPONS –
POSSIBLE SCENARIOS (9
September 2002)
(substantial extracts)
Executive Summary
1. Under Saddam Hussein Iraq developed chemical and biological
weapons, acquired missiles allowing it to attack neighbouring countries
with these weapons and persistently tried to develop a nuclear bomb.
Saddam has used chemical weapons, both against Iran and against his
own people. Following the Gulf War, Iraq had to admit to all this. And in
the ceasefire of 1991 Saddam agreed unconditionally to give up his
weapons of mass destruction.
24 September 2002
EXTRACTS FROM THE GOVERNMENT DOSSIER (24 September
2002)
24 September 2002
FOREWORD TO THE
GOVERNMENT DOSSIER (signed
by the Prime Minister)
ANNEX B
NOTE: Redactions are not indicated
Key Judgements
I. Iraq retains up to 20 Al Hussein
ballistic missiles, produced prior
to the Gulf War, with a range of
650km and capable of hitting Israel.
The location and condition of these
is unknown, but there is sufficient
engineering expertise to make them
operational.
163
The document published today is
based, in large part, on the work of
the Joint Intelligence Committee
Key Judgements
(JIC). The JIC is at the heart of the
I. Iraq has a chemical and
British intelligence machinery. It is
biological weapons
Key Judgements
chaired by the Cabinet Office and
capability and Saddam is
V. Early on in any
made up of the heads of the UK's
prepared to use it.
conflict Saddam
three Intelligence and Security
II. Faced with the likelihood
would order
2. Much information about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction is
Agencies, the Chief of Defence
of military defeat and
missile attacks
already in the public domain from UN reports and from Iraqi defectors.
Intelligence, and senior officials from
being removed from
on Israel,
This points clearly to Iraq's continuing possession, after 1991, of
key government departments. For
power, Saddam is unlikely chemical and biological agents and weapons produced before the Gulf
coalition forces
II. Iraq has begun development of
over 60 years the JIC has provided
to be deterred from using
and regional
medium range ballistic missiles
War. It shows that Iraq has refurbished sites formerly associated with the regular assessments to successive
chemical and biological
States providing
over 1000km that could target
production of chemical and biological agents. And it indicates that Iraq
Prime Ministers and senior
weapons by any
the US with
countries throughout the Middle
remains able to manufacture these agents, and to use bombs, shells,
colleagues on a wide range of foreign
diplomatic or military
bases.
East and Gulf Region, but will not
artillery rockets and ballistic missiles to deliver them.
policy and international security
means.
be able to produce such a missile
issues.
III. The use of chemical and
before 2007 provided sanctions
VI. Saddam would
3. An independent and well-researched overview of this public evidence
biological weapons prior to was provided by the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) on Its work, like the material it analyses,
remain effective.
order the use of
any military attack would
CBW against
9 September. The IISS report also suggested that Iraq could assemble
is largely secret. It is unprecedented
boost support for US-led
coalition forces
III. Iraq is pursuing a nuclear
nuclear weapons within months of obtaining fissile material from foreign
for the Government to publish this
action and is unlikely.
at some point,
weapons programme. But it will
sources.
kind of document. But in light of the
IV. Saddam is prepared to
probably after a
not be able to indigenously
debate about Iraq and Weapons of
order missile strikes
coalition attack
produce a nuclear weapon while
4. As well as the public evidence, however, significant additional
Mass Destruction (WMD), I wanted to
against Israel, with
had begun. Once
sanctions remain in place, unless
information is available to the Government from secret intelligence
share with the British public the
chemical or biological
Saddam was
suitable fissile material is purchased
sources, described in more detail in this paper. This intelligence cannot
reasons why I believe this issue to be
warheads, in order to
convinced that
from abroad.
tell us about everything. However, it provides a fuller picture of Iraqi
a current and serious threat to the UK
widen the war once
his f a t e was
plans and capabilities. It shows that Saddam Hussein attaches great
national interest.
hostilities begin.
sealed, he would
IV. Iraq may retain some stocks of
importance to possessing weapons of mass destruction which he
V. Saddam could order the
order the
chemical agents. Following a
regards as the basis for Iraq's regional power. It shows that he does not In recent months, I have been
use of CBW weapons in
unrestrained use
decision to do so, Iraq could
regard them only as weapons of last resort. He is ready to use them,
increasingly alarmed by the evidence
order to deny space and
of CBW against
produce:
including against his own population, and is determined to retain them, in from inside Iraq that despite
territory to Coalition
coalition forces,
breach of United Nations Security Council Resolutions (UNSCR).
sanctions, despite the damage done
x significant quantities of mustard
forces, or to cause
supporting
to his capability in the past, despite
within weeks;
regional states
casualties, slow any
the UN Security Council Resolutions
5. Intelligence also shows that Iraq is preparing plans to conceal
x significant quantities of sarin and
advance, and sap US
and Israel.
expressly outlawing it, and despite his
evidence of these weapons, including incriminating documents, from
VX within months, and in the case
morale.
denials, Saddam Hussein is
renewed inspections. And it confirms that despite sanctions and the
of VX may have already done so.
... Secondary goals VI. If not previously
policy of containment, Saddam has continued to make progress with his continuing to develop WMD, and with
employed, Saddam will
will be to preserve
them the ability to inflict real damage
illicit weapons programmes.
V. Iraq currently has available, either
order the indiscriminate
and enhance his
upon the region, and the stability of
from pre Gulf War stocks or more
use of whatever CBW
WMD capability.
the world.
6. As a result of the intelligence we judge that Iraq has:
recent production, a number of
weapons remain available
biological agents. Iraq could
late in a ground campaign x Continued to produce chemical and biological agents;
… As we have
Gathering intelligence inside Iraq is
15 March 2002
JIC(02)059: THE STATUS OF IRAQI
WMD PROGRAMMES (15 March
2002)
(substantial extracts)
INTELLIGENCE ASSESSMENT AND PRESENTATION: FROM MARCH TO SEPTEMBER 2002
A decision to begin CBW
production would probably go
undetected.
21 August 2002
previously judged,
even if inspectors
were allowed to
return, Iraq would
embark on a
renewed policy of
frustration, involving
denial, deception,
obstruction and
delay.
9 September 2002
or as a final act of
vengeance. But such an
order would depend on
the availability of delivery
means and the willingness
of commanders to obey.
x Military plans for the use of chemical and biological weapons,
including against its own Shia population. Some of these weapons
are deployable within 45 minutes of an order to use them;
24 September 2002
NOTE: Redactions are not indicated
x Command and control arrangements in place to use chemical and
biological weapons. Authority ultimately resides with Saddam
VII. Iraq can deliver CBW weapons
Recent intelligence casts light
Hussein. (There is intelligence that he may have delegated this
by a variety of means including
on Iraq’s holdings of weapons
authority to his son Qusai);
ballistic missiles. Iraq's CBW
of mass destruction and on
production capability is designed
its doctrine for using them.
x Developed mobile laboratories for military use, corroborating earlier
to survive a military attack and UN … Saddam could:
Intelligence remains limited
reports about the mobile production of biological warfare agents;
inspections.
and Saddam’s own
x Threaten the use unpredictability complicates
x Pursued illegal programmes to procure controlled materials of
Intelligence on Iraq’s weapons of mass
judgements about Iraqi use of
of WMD against
potential use in the production of chemical and biological weapons
destruction (WMD) and ballistic missile
these weapons. Much of this
regional states.
programmes;
programmes is sporadic and patchy.
paper is necessarily based on
Iraq is also well practised in the art of
Missiles and WMD judgement and assessment.
x Tried covertly to acquire technology and materials which could be
deception, such as concealment and
We judge that
used in the production of nuclear weapons;
exaggeration. A complete picture of the Saddam would
Iraq used chemical weapons
various programmes is therefore
on a large scale during the
probably order
x Sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa, despite having
difficult. But it is clear that Iraq
missile attacks on Iran/Iraq War. Use on the
no active civil nuclear power programme that could require it;
continues to pursue a policy of
same scale now would
Israel and the
x Recalled specialists to work on its nuclear programme;
acquiring WMD and their delivery
coalition early on in require large quantities of
means. Intelligence indicates that
chemical weapons and
a conflict in an
x Illegally retained up to 20 al-Hussein missiles, with a range of 650km,
planning to reconstitute some of its
survivable delivery means in
attempt to attract
capable of carrying chemical or biological warheads;
programmes began in 1995. WMD
the face of overwhelming US
Israeli retaliation
programmes were then given a further and thus widen the air superiority. Iraq did not
x Started deploying its al-Samoud liquid propellant missile, and has
boost in 1998 with the withdrawal of
use chemical weapons during
war, split the
used the absence of weapons inspectors to work on extending its
UNSCOM inspectors.
the Gulf War. Intelligence
coalition and
range to at least 200km, which is beyond the limit of 150km imposed
suggests
that
Iraq
may
have
arouse popular
by the United Nations;
Ballistic Missiles
opinion in the Arab used the biological agent,
Iraq has rebuilt much of the military
aflatoxin, against the Shia
States. Such
x Started producing the solid-propellant Ababil-100, and is making
production infrastructure associated
population in 1991. We do
missiles could be
efforts to extend its range to at least 200km, which is beyond the limit
with the missile programme damaged
not believe that Iraq
armed with
of 150km imposed by the United Nations;
in the Gulf War and the few high profile chemical o r
possesses nuclear weapons
sites targeted in Operation Desert Fox biological warfare
and there is no intelligence
x Constructed a new engine test stand for the development of missiles
in 1998. New infrastructure is being
that Iraq is currently
(CBW) agents.
capable of reaching the UK Sovereign Base Areas in Cyprus and
built, with a particular focus on
interested in radiological
Saddam might be
NATO members (Greece and Turkey), as well as all Iraq's Gulf
improving the support to the solid
dispersal
devices.
deterred, at least
neighbours and Israel;
propellant missile programme.
initially, by the
Chemical and biological
threat of Israeli
x Pursued illegal programmes to procure materials for use in its illegal
Since the Gulf War, Iraq has been
nuclear retaliation. capabilities
development of long range missiles;
openly developing short-range
Based on intelligence on the
Other factors
ballistic missiles (SRBM) up to a
nature of Iraqi CBW
would be the
x Learnt lessons from previous UN weapons inspections and has
range of 150km, which are permitted
weapons, known delivery
limited number of
already begun to conceal sensitive equipment and documentation in
under UN Security Council Resolution
means,
continuing
long range missiles
advance of the return of inspectors.
687. Intelligence indicates that:
procurement activity, and
Iraq would have
experience from previous
available (we
VI.
15 March 2002
produce more of these biological
agents within days.
ANNEX B
164
Saddam has used chemical
weapons, not only against an enemy
state, but against his own people.
Intelligence reports make clear that
he sees the building up of his WMD
capability, and the belief overseas
I am in no doubt that the threat is
serious and current, that he has
made progress on WMD, and that he
has to be stopped.
The picture presented to me by the
JIC in recent months has become
more not less worrying. It is clear
that, despite sanctions, the policy of
containment has not worked
sufficiently well to prevent Saddam
from developing these weapons.
What I believe the assessed
intelligence has established beyond
doubt is that Saddam has continued
to produce chemical and biological
weapons, that he continues in his
efforts to develop nuclear weapons,
and that he has been able to extend
the range of his ballistic missile
programme. I also believe that, as
stated in the document, Saddam will
now do his utmost to try to conceal
his weapons from UN inspectors.
24 September 2002
not easy. Saddam's is one of the
most secretive and dictatorial regimes
in the world. So I believe people will
understand why the Agencies cannot
be specific about the sources, which
have formed the judgements in this
document, and why we cannot
publish everything we know. We
cannot, of course, publish the
detailed raw intelligence. I and other
Ministers have been briefed in detail
on the intelligence and are satisfied
as to its authority. I also want to pay
tribute to our Intelligence and Security
Services for the often extraordinary
work that they do.
Although we have
little intelligence on
Iraq’s CBW
doctrine, and know
little about Iraq’s
CBW work since
late 1998, we
judge it likely that
Saddam would
order the use of
CBW against
21 August 2002
assess he has
retained 12-20
650km range Al
Hussein missiles)
and the need, in
the case of
attacking coalition
forces in Kuwait, to
deploy short
range missiles
(we assessed in
March that at least
50 150km r a n g e
al-Samoud missiles
had been
produced; more
will have been
produced since
then) into the ‘no
drive zone’.
Although a preemptive missile
attack on Israel
would offer many
of the same
advantages, we
judge this would be
less likely because
it would show Iraq
had been lying
about its retention
of long range
missiles prohibited
by the UN,
providing a
justification for US
action.
NOTE: Redactions are not indicated
We judge Iraq has also retained some
20 Al Hussein missiles (650km range
stretched SCUD), the type fired at
Israel and Saudi Arabia during the Gulf
War. We do not know the location of
these missiles or their state of
readiness, but judge that the
engineering expertise available would
Immediate missile capability
We judge that Iraq has the following
missiles available for immediate use:
Some Al Samoud (up to 150km)
Up to 20 Al Hussein (650km)
There are a limited number of
launchers available.
Both missiles could deliver basic
chemical and biological warheads.
x the solid propellant Ababil-100 has
also been tested, and has reached
ranges up to 150km. We judge that
this system is likely to become
operational as an SRBM within 2
years. It might enter service earlier
as an artillery rocket. Intelligence
indicates that Iraq has plans to
extend the range of the Ababil-100
to 250km.
15 March 2002
x the 150km range liquid propellant
Al Samoud missile has been
extensively flight-tested.
Intelligence indicates that Iraq has
produced at least 50 Al Samouds,
including those test fired, and
preparations are underway to
deploy some of these to military
units. Iraq has reportedly
succeeded in developing a number
of 200km range variants of Al
Samoud, although it is unclear if
these are for operational use or
research and development for
longer-range systems. A small
number of transporter-erectorlaunchers (TELs) have been seen,
although others may exist;
9 September 2002
conflicts, we judge that:
x Iraq currently has
available, either from pre
Gulf War stocks or more
recent production, a
number of biological
warfare (BW) and
chemical warfare (CW)
agents and weapons;
x following a decision to do
so, Iraq could produce
significant quantities of
mustard agent within
weeks; significant
quantities of the nerve
agents sarin and VX
within months (and in the
case of VX Iraq may have
already done so).
Production of sarin and
VX would be heavily
dependent on hidden
stocks of precursors, the
size of which are
unknown;
x Iraq could produce more
biological agents within
days. At the time of the
Gulf War Iraq had
developed the lethal BW
agents anthrax, botulinum
toxin and aflatoxin. Iraq
was also researching a
number of other agents
including some non-lethal
(incapacitating) agents;
x even if stocks of chemical
and biological weapons
are limited, they would
allow for focused strikes
against key military
targets or for strategic
purposes (such as a strike
against Israel or Kuwait);
x Iraq could deliver CW and
BW agents by a variety of
means including free fall
bombs, airborne sprays,
artillery shells, mortar
[This historical chapter covers past Iraqi research into chemical and
biological warfare; what quantities of agent Iraq had produced by the
early 1990s; its use of chemical weapons during the Iran/Iraq war,
CHAPTER 2: Iraq’s Programmes, 1971–1998 (extract)
3. Iraq’s capabilities have been regularly reviewed by the Joint
Intelligence Committee (JIC), which has provided advice to the Prime
Minister and his senior colleagues on the developing assessment,
drawing on all available sources. Part 1 of this paper includes some of
the most significant views reached by the JIC between 1999 and 2002.
2. Intelligence rarely offers a complete account of activities which are
designed to remain concealed. The nature of Saddam’s regime makes
Iraq a difficult target for the intelligence services. Intelligence, however,
has provided important insights into Iraqi programmes and Iraqi military
thinking. Taken together with what is already known from other sources,
this intelligence builds our understanding of Iraq’s capabilities and adds
significantly to the analysis already in the public domain. But intelligence
sources need to be protected, and this limits the detail that can be made
available.
1. Since UN inspectors were withdrawn from Iraq in 1998, there has
been little overt information on Iraq’s chemical, biological, nuclear and
ballistic missile programmes. Much of the publicly available information
about Iraqi capabilities and intentions is dated. But we also have
available a range of secret intelligence about these programmes and
Saddam Hussein’s intentions. This comes principally from the United
Kingdom’s intelligence and analysis agencies – the Secret Intelligence
Service (SIS), the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ),
the Security Service, and the Defence Intelligence Staff (DIS). We also
have access to intelligence from close allies.
CHAPTER 1: The Role of Intelligence (extract)
IRAQ'S CHEMICAL, BIOLOGICAL, NUCLEAR AND BALLISTIC
MISSILE PROGRAMMES
PART 1
24 September 2002
7. These judgements reflect the views of the Joint Intelligence
Committee (JIC). More details on the judgements and on the
development of the JIC’s assessments since 1998 are set out in Part 1
of this paper.
ANNEX B
I believe that faced with the
165
The case I make is that the UN
Resolutions demanding he stops his
WMD programme are being flouted;
that since the inspectors left four
years ago he has continued with this
programme; that the inspectors must
be allowed back in to do their job
properly; and that if he refuses, or if
he makes it impossible for them to do
their job, as he has done in the past,
the international community will have
to act.
The threat posed to international
peace and security, when WMD are
in the hands of a brutal and
aggressive regime like Saddam's, is
real. Unless we face up to the threat,
not only do we risk undermining the
authority of the UN, whose
resolutions he defies, but more
importantly and in the longer term, we
place at risk the lives and prosperity
of our own people.
In today's inter-dependent world, a
major regional conflict does not stay
confined to the region in question.
Faced with someone who has shown
himself capable of using WMD, I
believe the international community
has to stand up for itself and ensure
its authority is upheld.
I am quite clear that Saddam will go
to extreme lengths, indeed has
already done so, to hide these
weapons and avoid giving them up.
24 September 2002
that he would use these weapons, as
vital to his strategic interests, and in
particular his goal of regional
domination. And the document
discloses that his military planning
allows for some of the WMD to be
ready within 45 minutes of an order to
use them.
x The early or preemptive use of
CBW- Because
of the time lag
between
infection and
incapacitation,
there is some
incentive to use
biological
weapons early.
Coalition forces
would also be
most
geographically
concentrated
Alternative
scenarios and at
the death
It is also possible
that Saddam might
pursue an extreme
course of action at
an earlier stage
than we have
envisaged . . . In
particular,
unorthodox options
might include:
21 August 2002
coalition forces at
some point,
probably after
coalition attacks
had begun. Iraqi
CBW use would
become
increasingly likely
the closer coalition
forces came to
Baghdad. Military
targets might
include troop
concentrations or
important fixed
targets in rear
areas such as ports
and airfields.
NOTE: Redactions are not indicated
Despite retaining engineers with
expertise in missile design and
production, UN sanctions and the
work of the inspectors have caused
significant problems for Iraq’s missile
industry in acquiring components and
production technology, in particular for
improving guidance and control
systems and therefore missile
accuracy. Iraq is actively seeking to
procure materials for its missile
programme.
Iraq is seeking to develop new, larger
liquid and solid propellant missiles,
contrary to UN limits. Recent
intelligence indicates personnel
associated with the Al Samoud
programme have now been tasked to
concentrate on designing liquid
propellant systems with ranges of
2000-3000km. New intelligence
indicates the main focus may be on the
development of a SCUD derivative,
which we judge has an intended range
of around 1200km. Work on an engine
for this system began in 1998,
involving personnel who had been
reviewing the details of previous Al
Hussein production since 1995,
although by the end of the year 2000
they were still experiencing technical
problems. Additional personnel were
probably assigned to other parts of the
programme during 2000. A large static
test stand capable of testing liquid
propellant engines bigger than the
SCUD engine has been under
construction since mid-2000, probably
in support of this programme. Work on
large motor cases for longer-range
solid propellant systems has been
noted over the last 2-3 years. Providing
sanctions remain effective, Iraq is
unlikely to be able to produce a
longer-range missile before 2007.
15 March 2002
allow these missiles to be effectively
maintained.
9 September 2002
bombs and battlefield
rockets;
x Iraq told UNSCOM in the
1990s that it filled 25
warheads with anthrax,
botulinum toxin and
aflatoxin for its Al Hussein
ballistic missile (range
650km). Iraq also
admitted it had developed
50 chemical warheads for
Al Hussein. We judge Iraq
retains up to 20 Al
Husseins and a limited
number of launchers;
x Iraq is also developing
short-range systems Al
Samoud/Ababil 100
ballistic missiles (range
150km plus) – One
intelligence report
suggests that Iraq has
“lost” the capability to
develop warheads
capable of effectively
disseminating chemical
and biological agent and
that it would take six
months to overcome the
“technical difficulties”.
However, both these
missile systems are
currently being deployed
with military units and an
emergency operational
capability with
conventional warheads is
probably available;
x Iraq may have other
toxins, chemical and
biological agents that we
do not know about;
x the effectiveness of any
CBW attack would
depend on the method of
delivery, concentration of
the target, dissemination
efficiency, meteorological
conditions and the
x Iraq can deliver chemical and biological agents using an extensive
range of artillery shells, free-fall bombs, sprayers and ballistic
missiles;
x Saddam continues to attach great importance to the possession of
weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles which he regards
as being the basis for Iraq's regional power. He is determined to
retain these capabilities;
x Iraq has a useable chemical and biological weapons capability, in
breach of UNSCR 687, which has included recent production of
chemical and biological agents;
1. This chapter sets out what we know of Saddam Hussein’s chemical,
biological, nuclear and ballistic missile programmes, drawing on all the
available evidence. While it takes account of the results from UN
inspections and other publicly available information, it also draws heavily
on the latest intelligence about Iraqi efforts to develop their programmes
and capabilities since 1998. The main conclusions are that:
CHAPTER 3: The Current Position: 1998–2002 (extract)
14. The departure of UNSCOM meant that the international community
was unable to establish the truth behind these large discrepancies and
greatly diminished its ability to monitor and assess Iraq’s continuing
attempts to reconstitute its programmes.
166
All this is accepted fact. In addition, it
is fact, documented by UN
inspectors, that Iraq almost
immediately began to obstruct the
inspections. Visits were delayed; on
occasions, inspectors threatened;
matériel was moved; special sites,
shut to the inspectors, were
unilaterally designated by Iraq. The
work of the inspectors continued, but
against a background of increasing
obstruction and non-compliance.
At the end of the Gulf war, the full
extent of Saddam’s chemical,
biological and nuclear weapons
programmes became clear. As a
result, the United Nations passed a
series of resolutions, demanding that
Iraq disarm itself of such weapons
and establishing a regime of weapons
inspections and monitoring to do the
task. The inspectors were to be given
unconditional and unrestricted access
to all and any Iraqi sites.
Today we published a 50-page
dossier, detailing the history of Iraq’s
weapons of mass destruction
programme, its breach of United
Nations resolutions, and its attempts
to rebuild that illegal programme. I
have placed a copy in the Library.
The Prime Minister: Mr Speaker,
thank you for recalling Parliament to
debate the best way to deal with the
issue of the present leadership of Iraq
and weapons of mass destruction.
13. Based on the UNSCOM report to the UN Security Council in
January 1999 and earlier UNSCOM reports, we assess that when the
UN inspectors left Iraq they were unable to account for:
x up to 360 tonnes of bulk chemical warfare agent, including 1.5 tonnes
of VX nerve agent;
x up to 3,000 tonnes of precursor chemicals, including approximately
300 tonnes which, in the Iraqi chemical warfare programme, were
unique to the production of VX;
x growth media procured for biological agent production (enough to
produce over three times the 8,500 litres of anthrax spores Iraq
admits to having manufactured);
x over 30,000 special munitions for delivery of chemical and biological
agents.
ANNEX B
24 September 2002
information available to me, the UK
Government has been right to
support the demands that this issue
be confronted and dealt with. We
must ensure that he does not get to
use the weapons he has, or get hold
of the weapons he wants.
HOUSE OF COMMONS, TUESDAY
24 SEPTEMBER 2002
24 September 2002
including against its own (Kurdish) citizens; the progress of its nuclear
programme by 1991; its ballistic missile programmes; its use of such
missiles during the first Gulf war; and Iraq’s admission to UNSCOM of
having had chemical and biological warheads available for its ballistic
missiles.]
21 August 2002
directly before or
at the onset of a
military
campaign. He
might also
consider:
9 September 2002
availability of suitable
defensive counter
measures.
NOTE: Redactions are not indicated
Other recent intelligence
indicates that:
x production of chemical
and biological weapons is
x CBW
taking place;
terrorism:
although
x Saddam attaches great
Saddam
importance to having
probably lacks
CBW, is committed to
the capability to
using CBW if he can and
deploy a
is aware of the
sophisticated
implications of doing so.
device, he could
Saddam wants it to
cause
dominate his neighbours
widespread
and deter his enemies
panic.
who he considers are
unimpressed by his
Should he feel his
weakened conventional
fate is sealed,
military capability;
Saddam’s
x Iraq has learned from the
judgement might
Gulf War the importance
change to ‘bring the
of mobile systems that are
temple down’ on his
much harder to hit than
enemies no matter
large static sites.
what the cost to the
Consequently Iraq has
country as a whole,
developed for the military,
We judge that at this
fermentation systems
stage, Saddam
which are capable of
would order the
being mounted on roadunrestrained use of
trailers or rail cars. These
CBW against
could produce BW agent;
coalition forces,
x Iraq has probably
supporting regional
dispersed its special
states and Israel,
weapons, including its
x Significant quantities of mustard although he would
CBW weapons.
within weeks, using hidden stocks face practical
Intelligence also indicates
of precursors and with support from problems of
that chemical and
command and
Iraq’s chemical industry;
biological munitions could
control, the loyalty
x Significant quantities of nerve
be with military units and
agent within months, mainly sarin of his commanders,
ready for firing within 20logistics problems
and VX. This would be heavily
45 minutes.
and the availability
dependent on hidden stocks of
of chemical or
precursors. There has been one
Intentions for use
uncorroborated report that Iraq filled biological agents in Intelligence indicates that
some artillery rocket munitions with sufficient
Saddam has already taken
quantities to be
VX in the period 1996-1998, and
the decision that all
15 March 2002
Chemical and Biological Warfare
(CBW)
We continue to judge that Iraq has an
offensive chemical warfare (CW)
programme, although there is very little
intelligence relating to it. From the
evidence available to us, we believe
Iraq retains some production
equipment, and some small stocks of
CW agent precursors, and may have
hidden small quantities of agents and
weapons. Anomalies in Iraqi
declarations to UNSCOM suggest
stocks could be much larger. Given the
size and scope of Iraq’s pre Gulf War
programme, little or no research and
development work would need to be
carried out. Intelligence on production
facilities is scarce; the reconstructed
former precursor production facility
near Habbaniyah in itself is insufficient
to support large-scale CW agent
production. Other industrial chemical
facilities could be used in support of a
chemical weapons programme, but we
have no intelligence to suggest that
they are currently being used in that
role. Intelligence has indicated an Iraqi
interest in transportable production
facilities for chemical weapons, but
these could produce only small
amounts of agent and we judge it more
likely that the mobile units are for filling
munitions rather than producing agent.
We assess that following a decision to
do so, Iraq could produce:
x Confirmation that chemical and biological weapons play an
important role in Iraqi military thinking: intelligence shows that
Saddam attaches great importance to the possession of chemical
and biological weapons which he regards as being the basis for Iraqi
regional power. He believes that respect for Iraq rests on its
possession of these weapons and the missiles capable of delivering
them. Intelligence indicates that Saddam is determined to retain this
capability and recognises that Iraqi political weight would be
diminished if Iraq's military power rested solely on its conventional
military forces.
Recent intelligence
5. Subsequently, intelligence has become available from reliable
sources which complements and adds to previous intelligence and
confirms the JIC assessment that Iraq has chemical and biological
weapons. The intelligence also shows that the Iraqi leadership has been
discussing a number of issues related to these weapons. This
intelligence covers:
4. In the last six months the JIC has confirmed its earlier judgements on
Iraqi chemical and biological warfare capabilities and assessed that Iraq
has the means to deliver chemical and biological weapons.
CHEMICAL AND BIOLOGICAL WEAPONS
x Iraq’s chemical, biological, nuclear and ballistic missiles programmes
are well-funded.
x Iraq has learnt lessons from previous UN weapons inspections and is
already taking steps to conceal and disperse sensitive equipment
and documentation in advance of the return of inspectors;
x Iraq’s military forces are able to use chemical and biological
weapons, with command, control and logistical arrangements in
place. The Iraqi military are able to deploy these weapons within 45
minutes of a decision to do so;
x Iraq’s current military planning specifically envisages the use of
chemical and biological weapons;
x Iraq possesses extended-range versions of the SCUD ballistic
missile in breach of UNSCR 687 which are capable of reaching
Cyprus, Eastern Turkey, Tehran and Israel. It is also developing
longer-range ballistic missiles;
24 September 2002
x Iraq continues to work on developing nuclear weapons, in breach of
its obligations under the Non-Proliferation Treaty and in breach of
UNSCR 687. Uranium has been sought from Africa that has no civil
nuclear application in Iraq;
ANNEX B
167
From late 1998 onwards, therefore,
the sole inhibition on Saddam’s WMD
programme was the sanctions
regime. Iraq was forbidden to use the
revenue from its oil except for certain
specified non-military purposes. The
sanctions regime, however, was also
subject to illegal trading and abuse.
Because of concerns about its
inadequacy—and the impact on the
Iraqi people—we made several
attempts to refine it, culminating in a
new UN resolution in May of this
year. But it was only partially
effective. Around $3 billion of money
is illegally taken by Saddam every
Military action by the United States
and United Kingdom followed and a
certain amount of infrastructure for
Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction
and missile capability was destroyed,
setting the Iraqi programme back, but
not ending it.
As the dossier sets out, we estimate
on the basis of the UN’s work that
there were up to 360 tonnes of bulk
chemical warfare agents, including
1.5 tonnes of VX nerve agent; up to
3,000 tonnes of precursor chemicals;
growth media sufficient to produce
26,000 litres of anthrax spores; and
over 30,000 special munitions for
delivery of chemical and biological
agents. All of this was missing and
unaccounted for.
Eventually, in 1997, the UN
inspectors declared that they were
unable to fulfil their task. A year of
negotiation and further obstruction
occurred until finally, in late 1998, the
UN team was forced to withdraw.
24 September 2002
Indeed, Iraq denied that its biological
weapons programme existed until
forced to acknowledge it after highranking defectors disclosed its
existence in 1995.
21 August 2002
effective and the
means to deliver
them.
NOTE: Redactions are not indicated
We judge that Iraq could produce
significant quantities of BW agents
within days of a decision to do so.
There is no intelligence on any BW
agent production facilities, but one
source indicates that Iraq may have
Iraq was forced by UNSCOM
discoveries and the defection of
Hussein Kamil to admit to having had a
biological warfare (BW) programme
at the time of the Gulf War. BW work
continued throughout the period of
UNSCOM inspections and intelligence
indicates that this programme
continues. Key figures from the preGulf War programme are reported to
be involved. Research and
development is assessed to continue
under cover of a number of legitimate
institutes and possibly in a number of
covert facilities.
Immediate CBW capability
The following chemical agents could be
produced within weeks, if not already:
Mustard, sarin and VX;
The following biological agents could
be produced within days, if not already:
Anthrax spores, botulinum toxin,
aflatoxin and possibly plague
These could be delivered by a variety
of means, including ballistic missiles
and special forces.
Iraq’s military forces used chemical
weapons during the Iran-Iraq War.
Intelligence indicates command,
control and logistical arrangements are
in place.
15 March 2002
another that a team of chemists
was formed in 1998 to produce 5
tons of VX. The source was told this
had been completed by the end of
1998;
x Incapacitants including the mental
incapacitant Agent 15.
24 September 2002
ANNEX B
168
24 September 2002
year now, double the figure for the
year 2000. Self-evidently, there is no
x Iraqi attempts to retain its existing banned weapons systems:
Iraq is already taking steps to prevent UN weapons inspectors finding proper accounting for this money.
evidence of its chemical and biological weapons programme.
Because of concerns that a
Intelligence indicates that Saddam has learnt lessons from previous
containment policy based on
weapons inspections, has identified possible weak points in the
sanctions alone could not sufficiently
inspections process and knows how to exploit them. Sensitive
inhibit Saddam’s weapons
equipment and papers can easily be concealed and in some cases
this is already happening. The possession of mobile biological agent programme, negotiations continued,
even after 1998, to gain readmission
production facilities will also aid concealment efforts. Saddam is
for the UN inspectors. In 1999, a new
determined not to lose the capabilities that he has been able to
UN resolution demanding their redevelop further in the four years since inspectors left.
entry was passed and ignored.
Further negotiations continued.
x Saddam's willingness to use chemical and biological weapons:
Finally, after several months of
intelligence indicates that as part of Iraq’s military planning Saddam
discussion with Saddam’s regime, in
is willing to use chemical and biological weapons, including against
July this year, Kofi Annan, the UN
his own Shia population. Intelligence indicates that the Iraqi military
We judge that several factors
Secretary-General, concluded that
are able to deploy chemical or biological weapons within 45 minutes
could influence the timing of a
Saddam was not serious about
of an order to do so.
decision by Saddam to
readmitting the inspectors and ended
authorise the use of CBW
the negotiations.
Chemical and biological agents: surviving stocks
weapons;
All this is established fact. I set out
x the availability of stocks of 6. When confronted with questions about the unaccounted stocks, Iraq
the history in some detail because
CW and BW agents;
has claimed repeatedly that if it had retained any chemical agents from
occasionally debate on this issue
before the Gulf War they would have deteriorated sufficiently to render
x the survivability of his
seems to treat it almost as it if had
delivery means. Many are them harmless. But Iraq has admitted to UNSCOM to having the
suddenly arisen, coming out of
vulnerable. Once a
knowledge and capability to add stabiliser to nerve agent and other
nowhere on a whim in the last few
military campaign is
chemical warfare agents which would prevent such decomposition. In
months of 2002. It is actually an 11underway the pressure
1997 UNSCOM also examined some munitions which had been filled
year history: a history of UN will
will increase to use certain with mustard gas prior to 1991 and found that they remained very toxic
flouted, of lies told by Saddam about
assets before they are
and showed little sign of deterioration.
the existence of his chemical,
destroyed;
7. Iraq has claimed that all its biological agents and weapons have been biological and nuclear weapons
x the survivability of
programmes, and of obstruction,
destroyed. No convincing proof of any kind has been produced to
command and control
defiance and denial.
mechanisms. The method support this claim. In particular, Iraq could not explain large
discrepancies between the amount of growth media (nutrients required
and timing of such
There is one common, consistent
for the specialised growth of agent) it procured before 1991 and the
decision making is
theme, however: the total
amounts of agent it admits to having manufactured. The discrepancy is
unknown. Intelligence
determination of Saddam to maintain
enough to produce more than three times the amount of anthrax
indicates that Saddam’s
that programme; to risk war,
allegedly manufactured.
son Qusai may already
international ostracism, sanctions and
have been given authority
the isolation of the Iraqi economy to
Chemical agent: production capabilities
to order the use of CBW.
keep it. At any time, he could have let
Authorising front line units
the inspectors back in and put the
8. Intelligence shows that Iraq has continued to produce chemical
to use chemical and
world to proof. At any time, he could
agent.
biological weapons could
have co-operated with the United
become more difficult
Nations. Ten days ago, he made the
9. Other dual-use facilities, which are capable of being used to support
once fighting begins.
offer unconditionally under threat of
the production of chemical agent and precursors, have been rebuilt and
Saddam may therefore
war. He could have done it at any
re-equipped. New chemical facilities have been built, some with illegal
specify in advance of a
9 September 2002
resources, including CBW, be
used to defend the regime
from attack. One report
states that Saddam would not
use CBW during the initial air
phase of any military
campaign but would use
CBW once a ground invasion
of Iraq has begun. Faced with
the likelihood of military
defeat and being removed
from power, we judge that it
is unlikely there would be any
way to deter Saddam from
using CBW.
21 August 2002
NOTE: Redactions are not indicated
Iraq has a variety of delivery means
available for both chemical and
biological weapons, some of which are
We do not know which types of agents
are produced by these facilities, but
judge that Iraq currently has
available, either from pre Gulf War
stocks or more recent production,
anthrax spores, botulinum toxin,
aflatoxin and possibly plague. The
continued operation of the castor oil
extraction plant at the former
Habbaniyah chemical weapons site
may provide the base for producing
ricin, although there is no evidence that
Iraq is currently doing so. Iraq’s
declarations to UNSCOM
acknowledged that it worked on a
number of other BW agents including
agents which would incapacitate,
rather than kill, humans and on anticrop and anti-livestock agents. Iraq
almost certainly retains the capability to
produce such agents. Iraq is judged
to be self-sufficient in the
production of biological weapons.
Though not corroborated, we judge the
reporting is technically credible.
x the facilities were capable of
making 5 different
(unspecified/unknown) biological
agents. Between November 1998
and March 1999 20-30 tons of BW
agent was produced.
x 6 road based facilities, on trailers,
and 1 rail based facility, on railway
carriages, were constructed and by
March 1999; three were
operational;
x the transportable production
programme began in 1995;
15 March 2002
developed mobile production
facilities. A liaison source reports that:
Possible scenarios: preemptive use before a
conflict begins
The aim of a pre-emptive
strike would be to
incapacitate or kill Coalition
troops in their concentration
areas. Intelligence indicates
that Saddam has identified
Bahrain, Jordan, Qatar, Israel
and Kuwait as targets.
Turkey could also be at risk.
Both chemical and biological
weapons could be used;
biological agents could be
particularly effective against
such force concentrations.
But the use of CBW weapons
carries serious risks and
Saddam will weigh up their
military utility against the
political costs. Use of CBW
weapons would expose the
lies and deception about
Iraq’s WMD capabilities,
undermining Iraqi diplomatic
efforts and helping build
support for rapid and effective
US action. Saddam might
also consider using non-lethal
agents in a deniable manner;
whilst it would be difficult to
quickly establish a clear
attribution of responsibility,
9 September 2002
war the specific conditions
in which unit commanders
should use these
weapons e.g. once
coalition forces have
crossed a particular
geographical line;
x the reliability of the units
in question. Late in any
military campaign
commanders may not be
prepared to use CBW
weapons if they judge that
Saddam is about to fall.
For example, Iraq has built a large new chemical complex, Project Baiji,
in the desert in north west Iraq at al-Sharquat. This site is a former
uranium enrichment facility which was damaged during the Gulf War and
rendered harmless under supervision of the IAEA. Part of the site has
been rebuilt, with work starting in 1992, as a chemical production
complex. Despite the site being far away from populated areas it is
surrounded by a high wall with watch towers and guarded by armed
guards. Intelligence reports indicate that it will produce nitric acid which
can be used in explosives, missile fuel and in the purification of uranium.
Almost all components and supplies used in weapons of mass
destruction and ballistic missile programmes are dual-use. For example,
any major petrochemical or biotech industry, as well as public health
organisations, will have legitimate need for most materials and
equipment required to manufacture chemical and biological weapons.
Without UN weapons inspectors it is very difficult therefore to be sure
about the true nature of many of Iraq’s facilities.
The Problem of Dual-Use Facilities
11. Iraq has retained the expertise for chemical warfare research, agent
production and weaponisation. Most of the personnel previously involved
in the programme remain in country. While UNSCOM found a number of
technical manuals (so called ‘cook books’) for the production of chemical
agents and critical precursors, Iraq’s claim to have unilaterally destroyed
the bulk of the documentation cannot be confirmed and is almost
certainly untrue. Recent intelligence indicates that Iraq is still discussing
methods of concealing such documentation in order to ensure that it is
not discovered by any future UN inspections.
10. Parts of the al-Qa'qa' chemical complex damaged in the Gulf War
have also been repaired and are operational. Of particular concern are
elements of the phosgene production plant at al-Qa'qa'. These were
severely damaged during the Gulf War, and dismantled under UNSCOM
supervision, but have since been rebuilt. While phosgene does have
industrial uses it can also be used by itself as a chemical agent or as a
precursor for nerve agent.
24 September 2002
foreign assistance, and are probably fully operational or ready for
production. These include the Ibn Sina Company at Tarmiyah, which is a
chemical research centre. It undertakes research, development and
production of chemicals previously imported but not now available and
which are needed for Iraq's civil industry. The Director General of the
research centre is Hikmat Na'im al-Jalu who prior to the Gulf War worked
in Iraq's nuclear weapons programme and after the war was responsible
for preserving Iraq's chemical expertise.
ANNEX B
169
I am aware, of course, that people will
have to take elements of this on the
good faith of our intelligence services,
but this is what they are telling me,
the British Prime Minister, and my
senior colleagues. The intelligence
picture that they paint is one
accumulated over the last four years.
It is extensive, detailed and
authoritative. It concludes that Iraq
has chemical and biological weapons,
that Saddam has continued to
produce them, that he has existing
and active military plans for the use of
chemical and biological weapons,
which could be activated within 45
minutes, including against his own
Shia population, and that he is
actively trying to acquire nuclear
The dossier is based on the work of
the British Joint Intelligence
Committee. For over 60 years,
beginning just before world war two,
the JIC has provided intelligence
assessments to British Prime
Ministers. Normally, its work is
obviously secret. Unusually, because
it is important that we explain our
concerns about Saddam to the British
people, we have decided to disclose
its assessments.
The dossier that we publish gives the
answer. The reason is that his
chemical, biological and nuclear
weapons programme is not an
historic left-over from 1998. The
inspectors are not needed to clean up
the old remains. His weapons of
mass destruction programme is
active, detailed and growing. The
policy of containment is not working.
The weapons of mass destruction
programme is not shut down; it is up
and running now.
24 September 2002
time in the last 11 years, but he did
not. Why?
NOTE: Redactions are not indicated
Possible scenarios: use
during the ground phase of
a conflict
There is no intelligence on
specific Iraqi plans for how
CBW would be used in a
conflict. Large numbers of
chemical munitions would
need to be used to make a
major battlefield impact. BW
could also be used although it
is less effective as a tactical
weapon against Coalition
units than CW. But the use
of even small quantities of
chemical weapons would
cause significant degradation
in Coalition progress and
might contribute to redressing
Coalition conventional
superiority on the battlefield.
Iraq could make effective use
of persistent chemical agents
to shape the battlefield to
Iraq’s advantage by denying
space and territory to
Coalition forces. Booby-traps
and improvised explosive
devices could be used as
Nuclear Weapons Programme
We judge that Iraq does not possess
a nuclear weapons capability. We
previously assessed that Iraq was
within three years of producing a
weapon when the Gulf War intervened.
Its programme was effectively
dismantled by the IAEA and subject to
the monitoring process subsequently
installed. Although there is very little
intelligence we continue to judge that
Iraq is pursuing a nuclear weapons
programme. We assess the
programme to be based on gas
centrifuge uranium enrichment, which
was the route Iraq was following for
producing fissile material prior to the
Gulf War. Recent intelligence indicates
that nuclear scientists were recalled to
work on a nuclear programme in the
autumn of 1998, but we do not know if
large scale development work has yet
recommenced. Procurement of dualuse items over the last few years could
be used in a uranium enrichment
programme. There have been
determined efforts to purchase high
strength aluminium alloy, prohibited
under the Nuclear Suppliers Group
9 September 2002
Saddam could not be sure of
the US reaction to an
outbreak of a non-lethal
disease.
The early, widespread use of
CBW or non-lethal agents
would affect Coalition military
planning; disruption of the
build-up of personnel and
material could delay
operations. On balance
however we judge that the
political cost of using CBW
weapons would outweigh the
military advantages and that
Saddam would probably not
use CBW weapons preemptively.
21 August 2002
15 March 2002
very basic. These include, free fall
bombs, artillery shells, helicopter and
aircraft borne sprayers and ballistic
missile warheads, although the exact
numbers are unknown. Iraq is also
continuing with the L-29 remotely
piloted vehicle programme, which
could have chemical and biological
weapons delivery applications. Covert
delivery also remains an option.
Because of the shortage of some
platforms, such as aircraft and
helicopters, we judge that Iraq would
not be able to conduct a sustained
CBW campaign in the manner of the
Iran-Iraq War, even if Iraq could
produce enough CBW agents to do so.
But a single major attack or a number
of small attacks would be feasible.
x free-fall bombs: Iraq acknowledged to UNSCOM the deployment to
two sites of free-fall bombs filled with biological agent during 1990–
91. These bombs were filled with anthrax, botulinum toxin and
aflatoxin. Iraq also acknowledged possession of four types of aerial
bomb with various chemical agent fills including sulphur mustard,
tabun, sarin and cyclosarin;
14. Iraq has a variety of delivery means available for both chemical and
biological agents. These include:
Chemical and biological agents: delivery means
13. UNSCOM established that Iraq considered the use of mobile
biological agent production facilities. In the past two years evidence from
defectors has indicated the existence of such facilities. Recent
intelligence confirms that the Iraqi military have developed mobile
facilities. These would help Iraq conceal and protect biological agent
production from military attack or UN inspection.
x the Amariyah Sera and Vaccine Plant at Abu Ghraib: UNSCOM
established that this facility was used to store biological agents, seed
stocks and conduct biological warfare associated genetic research
prior to the Gulf War. It has now expanded its storage capacity.
x the al-Dawrah Foot and Mouth Disease Vaccine Institute: which was
involved in biological agent production and research before the Gulf
War;
x the Castor Oil Production Plant at Fallujah: this was damaged in
UK/US air attacks in 1998 (Operation Desert Fox) but has been
rebuilt. The residue from the castor bean pulp can be used in the
production of the biological agent ricin;
12. We know from intelligence that Iraq has continued to produce
biological warfare agents. As with some chemical equipment, UNSCOM
only destroyed equipment that could be directly linked to biological
weapons production. Iraq also has its own engineering capability to
design and construct biological agent associated fermenters,
centrifuges, sprayer dryers and other equipment and is judged to be selfsufficient in the technology required to produce biological weapons. The
experienced personnel who were active in the programme have largely
remained in the country. Some dual-use equipment has also been
purchased, but without monitoring by UN inspectors Iraq could have
diverted it to their biological weapons programme. This newly purchased
equipment and other equipment previously subject to monitoring could
be used in a resurgent biological warfare programme. Facilities of
concern include:
Biological agent: production capabilities
24 September 2002
ANNEX B
170
But we now know the following: since
As for nuclear weapons, Saddam’s
previous nuclear weapons
programme was shut down by the
inspectors, following disclosure by
defectors of the full, but hidden,
nature of it. The programme was
based on gas centrifuge uranium
enrichment. The known remaining
stocks of uranium are now held under
supervision by the International
Atomic Energy Agency.
In respect of biological weapons,
again, production of biological agents
has continued; facilities formerly used
for biological weapons have been
rebuilt; equipment has been
purchased for such a programme;
and again, Saddam has retained the
personnel who worked on it prior to
1991. In particular, the UN inspection
regime discovered that Iraq was
trying to acquire mobile biological
weapons facilities, which of course
are easier to conceal. Present
intelligence confirms that it has now
got such facilities. The biological
agents that we believe Iraq can
produce include anthrax, botulinum
toxin, aflatoxin and ricin—all
eventually result in excruciatingly
painful death.
On chemical weapons, the dossier
shows that Iraq continues to produce
chemical agents for chemical
weapons; has rebuilt previously
destroyed production plants across
Iraq; has bought dual-use chemical
facilities; has retained the key
personnel formerly engaged in the
chemical weapons programme; and
has a serious ongoing research
programme into weapons production,
all of it well funded.
24 September 2002
weapons capability.
21 August 2002
NOTE: Redactions are not indicated
Dispersal of key equipment
Following 11 September 2001 Iraq
temporarily dispersed key equipment
from its missile production facilities,
and is likely to do so again if it believes
an attack is imminent. Recent
intelligence indicates that Qusai
Saddam Hussain has directed the
Military Industrialisation Commission to
ensure that all sensitive weapons and
chemical technology was well hidden in
case of further UN inspections.
Dispersal makes the targeting of
production equipment very difficult, but
it also prevents any surge in production
while dispersed.
Iraq is capable of producing an
improvised nuclear device, but it
lacks suitable fissile material.
x if sanctions were removed or
became ineffective, it would take
at least five years to produce a
nuclear weapon. This timescale
would shorten if fissile material was
acquired from abroad.
x while sanctions remain effective,
Iraq cannot indigenously develop
and produce nuclear weapons;
15 March 2002
because of its application in uranium
enrichment. A shipment stopped in
Jordan was inspected by the IAEA,
who accepted that, with some
modifications, the aluminium would be
suitable for use in centrifuges. But we
have no definitive intelligence that the
aluminium was destined for a nuclear
programme. We continue to judge that:
Unconventional use of
CBW
Although there is no
intelligence to indicate that
Iraq has considered using
chemical and biological
agents in terrorist attacks, we
cannot rule out the possibility.
Saddam could also remove
his existing constraints on
Drawing Israel into the
conflict
Launching a CBW attack
against Israel could allow
Saddam to present Iraq as
the champion of the
Palestinian cause and to
undermine Arab support for
the Coalition by sowing a
wider Middle East conflict.
One intelligence report
suggests that if Saddam were
to use CBW, his first target
would be Israel. Another
intelligence report suggests
that Iraq believes Israel will
respond with nuclear
weapons if attacked with
CBW or conventional
warheads. It is not clear if
Saddam is deterred by this
threat or judges it to be
unlikely.
9 September 2002
chemical and biological
weapons to inflict local losses
in urban areas. It is also
possible that Saddam would
seek to use chemical and
biological munitions against
any internal uprising;
intelligence indicates that he
is prepared to deliberately
target the Shia population.
One report indicates that he
would be more likely to use
CBW against Western forces
than on Arab countries.
16. Intelligence shows that Iraq has covert chemical and biological
weapons programmes, in breach of UN Security Council Resolution 687
Chemical and biological weapons: summary
15. The authority to use chemical and biological weapons ultimately
resides with Saddam but intelligence indicates that he may have also
delegated this authority to his son Qusai. Special Security Organisation
(SSO) and Special Republican Guard (SRG) units would be involved in
the movement of any chemical and biological weapons to military units.
The Iraqi military holds artillery and missile systems at Corps level
throughout the Armed Forces and conducts regular training with them.
The Directorate of Rocket Forces has operational control of strategic
missile systems and some Multiple Launcher Rocket Systems.
Chemical and biological warfare: command and control
x L-29 remotely piloted vehicle programme (see figure 3): we know
from intelligence that Iraq has attempted to modify the L-29 jet trainer
to allow it to be used as an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) which is
potentially capable of delivering chemical and biological agents over
a large area.
x al-Samoud/Ababil-100 ballistic missiles (range 150km plus): it is
unclear if chemical and biological warheads have been developed for
these systems, but given the Iraqi experience on other missile
systems, we judge that Iraq has the technical expertise for doing so;
x al-Hussein ballistic missiles (range 650km): Iraq told UNSCOM that it
filled 25 warheads with anthrax, botulinum toxin and aflatoxin. Iraq
also developed chemical agent warheads for al-Hussein. Iraq
admitted to producing 50 chemical warheads for al-Hussein which
were intended for the delivery of a mixture of sarin and cyclosarin.
However, technical analysis of warhead remnants has shown traces
of VX degradation product which indicate that some additional
warheads were made and filled with VX;
x helicopter and aircraft borne sprayers: Iraq carried out studies into
aerosol dissemination of biological agent using these platforms prior
to 1991. UNSCOM was unable to account for many of these devices.
It is probable that Iraq retains a capability for aerosol dispersal of
both chemical and biological agent over a large area;
24 September 2002
x artillery shells and rockets: Iraq made extensive use of artillery
munitions filled with chemical agents during the Iran-Iraq War.
Mortars can also be used for chemical agent delivery. Iraq is known
to have tested the use of shells and rockets filled with biological
agents. Over 20,000 artillery munitions remain unaccounted for by
UNSCOM;
ANNEX B
171
So that is the position in respect of
the weapons — but of course, the
weapons require ballistic missile
capability. That, again, is subject to
UN resolutions. Iraq is supposed only
to have missile capability up to 150
km for conventional weaponry. Pages
27 to 31 of the dossier detail the
evidence on that issue. It is clear that
a significant number of longer-range
missiles were effectively concealed
from the previous inspectors and
remain, including up to 20 extendedrange Scud missiles; that in mid-2001
there was a step change in the
In addition, we know that Saddam
has been trying to buy significant
quantities of uranium from Africa,
although we do not know whether he
has been successful. Again, key
personnel who used to work on the
nuclear weapons programme are
back in harness. Iraq may claim that
this is for a civil nuclear power
programme, but I would point out that
it has no nuclear power plants.
24 September 2002
the departure of the inspectors in
1998, Saddam has bought or
attempted to buy specialised vacuum
pumps of the design needed for the
gas centrifuge cascade to enrich
uranium; an entire magnet production
line of the specification for use in the
motors and top bearings of gas
centrifuges; dual-use products, such
as anhydrous hydrogen fluoride and
fluoride gas, which can be used both
in petrochemicals but also in gas
centrifuge cascades; a filament
winding machine, which can be used
to manufacture carbon fibre gas
centrifuge rotors; and he has
attempted, covertly, to acquire 60,000
or more specialised aluminium tubes,
which are subject to strict controls
owing to their potential use in the
construction of gas centrifuges.
21 August 2002
NOTE: Redactions are not indicated
15 March 2002
Possible scenarios: at the
death
In the last resort Saddam is
likely to order the
indiscriminate use of
whatever chemical and
biological weapons remain
available to him, in a last
attempt to cling on to power
or to cause as much damage
as possible in a final act of
vengeance. If he has not
already done so by this stage
Saddam will launch CBW
attacks on Israel.
Implementation of such
orders would depend on the
delivery means still
remaining, the survivability of
the command chain and the
willingness of commanders to
obey.
9 September 2002
dealing with Al Qaida
(extremists are conducting
low-level work on toxins in an
area of northern Iraq outside
Saddam’s control). Al Qaida
could carry out proxy attacks
and would require little
encouragement to do so.
Saddam’s intelligence
agencies have some
experience in the use of
poisons and even small-scale
attacks could have a
significant psychological
impact. Intelligence indicates
that Saddam has specifically
commissioned a team of
scientists to devise novel
means of deploying CBW.
20. Following the departure of weapons inspectors in 1998 there has
19. Intelligence shows that the present Iraqi programme is almost
certainly seeking an indigenous ability to enrich uranium to the level
needed for a nuclear weapon. It indicates that the approach is based on
gas centrifuge uranium enrichment, one of the routes Iraq was following
for producing fissile material before the Gulf War. But Iraq needs certain
key equipment, including gas centrifuge components and components
for the production of fissile material before a nuclear bomb could be
developed.
18. The IAEA dismantled the physical infrastructure of the Iraqi nuclear
weapons programme, including the dedicated facilities and equipment
for uranium separation and enrichment, and for weapon development
and production, and removed the remaining highly enriched uranium.
But Iraq retained, and retains, many of its experienced nuclear scientists
and technicians who are specialised in the production of fissile material
and weapons design. Intelligence indicates that Iraq also retains the
accompanying programme documentation and data.
Iraqi nuclear weapons expertise
17. Since 1999 the JIC has monitored Iraq's attempts to reconstitute its
nuclear weapons programme. In mid-2001 the JIC assessed that Iraq
had continued its nuclear research after 1998. The JIC drew attention to
intelligence that Iraq had recalled its nuclear scientists to the programme
in 1998. Since 1998 Iraq had been trying to procure items that could be
for use in the construction of centrifuges for the enrichment of uranium.
Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC) Assessments: 1999–2001
NUCLEAR WEAPONS
x military forces, which maintain the capability to use these weapons
with command, control and logistical arrangements in place.
x a variety of delivery means available;
x a biological agent production capability and can produce at least
anthrax, botulinum toxin, aflatoxin and ricin. Iraq has also developed
mobile facilities to produce biological agents;
x the capability to produce the chemical agents mustard gas, tabun,
sarin, cyclosarin, and VX capable of producing mass casualties;
x chemical and biological agents and weapons available, both from
pre-Gulf War stocks and more recent production;
24 September 2002
and has continued to produce chemical and biological agents. Iraq has:
ANNEX B
172
There will be some who will dismiss
all this. Intelligence is not always
right. For some of the material, there
might be innocent explanations.
There will be others who say rightly
that, for example, on present going, it
could be several years before
Saddam acquires a usable nuclear
weapon—though if he were able to
purchase fissile matériel illegally, it
would be only a year or two. But let
me put it at its simplest: on this 11year history, with this man Saddam;
with this accumulated, detailed
intelligence available; with what we
know and what we can reasonably
speculate, would the world be wise to
leave the present situation
undisturbed—to say that, despite 14
separate UN demands on the issue,
all of which Saddam is in breach of,
we should do nothing, and to
conclude that we should trust, not to
the good faith of the UN weapons
inspectors, but to the good faith of the
current Iraqi regime? I do not believe
That is the assessment, given to me,
of the Joint Intelligence Committee. In
addition, we have well founded
intelligence to tell us that Saddam
sees his WMD programme as vital to
his survival and as a demonstration of
his power and influence in the region.
24 September 2002
programme and, by this year, Iraq’s
development of weapons with a
range of more than 1,000 km was
well under way; and that hundreds of
people are employed in that
programme, facilities are being built
and equipment procured—usually
clandestinely. Sanctions and import
controls have hindered the
programme, but only slowed its
progress. The capability being
developed, incidentally, is for multipurpose use, including with WMD
warheads.
21 August 2002
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15 March 2002
9 September 2002
ANNEX B
People say, “But why Saddam?” I do
not in the least dispute that there are
other causes of concern on weapons
of mass destruction. I said as much in
this House on 14 September last
year. However, two things about
Saddam stand out. He has used
these weapons in Iraq itself—
thousands dying in those chemical
weapons attacks—and in the IranIraq war, started by him, in which 1
million people died; and his is a
regime with no moderate elements to
appeal to.
Our case is simply this: not that we
take military action come what may,
but that the case for ensuring Iraqi
disarmament, as the UN itself has
stipulated, is overwhelming. I defy
anyone, on the basis of this evidence,
to say that that is an unreasonable
demand for the international
community to make when, after all, it
is only the same demand that we
have made for 11 years and that
Saddam has rejected.
24 September 2002
that that would be a responsible
course to follow.
22. Iraq has also made repeated attempts covertly to acquire a very
large quantity (60,000 or more) of specialised aluminium tubes. The
specialised aluminium in question is subject to international export
controls because of its potential application in the construction of gas
centrifuges used to enrich uranium, although there is no definitive
intelligence that it is destined for a nuclear programme.
173
Read the chapter on Saddam and
human rights in this dossier. Read not
just about the 1 million dead in the
war with Iran, not just about the
100,000 Kurds brutally murdered in
northern Iraq, not just about the
200,000 Shia Muslims driven from the
marshlands in southern Iraq, and not
Nuclear weapons: timelines
just about the attempt to subjugate
and brutalise the Kuwaitis in 1990
23. In early 2002, the JIC assessed that UN sanctions on Iraq were
hindering the import of crucial goods for the production of fissile material. that led to the Gulf war. I say, “Read
also about the routine butchering of
The JIC judged that while sanctions remain effective Iraq would not be
political opponents, the prison
able to produce a nuclear weapon. If they were removed or prove
‘cleansing’ regimes in which
ineffective, it would take Iraq at least five years to produce sufficient
thousands die, the torture chambers
fissile material for a weapon indigenously. However, we know that Iraq
and the hideous penalties supervised
retains expertise and design data relating to nuclear weapons. We
by him and his family and detailed by
therefore judge that if Iraq obtained fissile material and other essential
components from foreign sources the timeline for production of a nuclear Amnesty International.” Read it all
x a large balancing machine which could be used in initial centrifuge
balancing work.
x one large filament winding machine which could be used to
manufacture carbon fibre gas centrifuge rotors;
x Anhydrous Hydrogen Fluoride (AHF) and fluorine gas. AHF is
commonly used in the petrochemical industry and Iraq frequently
imports significant amounts, but it is also used in the process of
converting uranium into uranium hexafluoride for use in gas
centrifuge cascades;
x an entire magnet production line of the correct specification for use in
the motors and top bearings of gas centrifuges. It appears that Iraq is
attempting to acquire a capability to produce them on its own rather
than rely on foreign procurement;
x vacuum pumps which could be used to create and maintain
pressures in a gas centrifuge cascade needed to enrich uranium;
21. Intelligence shows that other important procurement activity since
1998 has included attempts to purchase:
24 September 2002
been an accumulation of intelligence indicating that Iraq is making
concerted covert efforts to acquire dual-use technology and materials
with nuclear applications. Iraq’s known holdings of processed uranium
are under IAEA supervision. But there is intelligence that Iraq has sought
the supply of significant quantities of uranium from Africa. Iraq has no
active civil nuclear power programme or nuclear power plants and
therefore has no legitimate reason to acquire uranium.
21 August 2002
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15 March 2002
9 September 2002
ANNEX B
174
If we take this course and if we refuse
to implement the will of the
26. Since the Gulf War, Iraq has been openly developing two shortinternational community, Saddam will
range missiles up to a range of 150km, which are permitted under UN
carry on, his efforts will intensify, his
Security Council Resolution 687. The al-Samoud liquid propellant missile confidence will grow and, at some
point in a future not too distant, the
has been extensively tested and is being deployed to military units.
threat will turn into reality. The threat
Intelligence indicates that at least 50 have been produced. Intelligence
therefore is not imagined. The history
also indicates that Iraq has worked on extending its range to at least
of Saddam and weapons of mass
200km in breach of UN Security Resolution 687. Production of the solid
destruction is not American or British
propellant Ababil-100 is also underway, probably as an
unguided rocket at this stage. There are also plans to extend its range to propaganda. The history and the
present threat are real.
at least 200km. Compared to liquid propellant missiles, those powered
by solid propellant offer greater ease of storage, handling and mobility.
If people say, “Why should Britain
They are also quicker to take into and out of action and can stay at a
care?”, I answer, “Because there is
high state of readiness for longer periods.
no way this man, in this region above
all regions, could begin a conflict
27. According to intelligence, Iraq has retained up to 20 al-Hussein
using such weapons and the
missiles, in breach of UN Security Council Resolution 687. These
consequences not engulf the whole
missiles were either hidden from the UN as complete systems, or reworld, including this country.” That,
assembled using illegally retained engines and other components. We
judge that the engineering expertise available would allow these missiles after all, is the reason the UN passed
its resolutions. That is why it is right
to be maintained effectively, although the fact that at least some require
that the UN Security Council again
re-assembly makes it difficult to judge exactly how many could be
makes its will and its unity clear and
available for use. They could be used with conventional, chemical or
biological warheads and, with a range of up to 650km, are capable of
lays down a strong new UN resolution
The Iraqi ballistic missile programme since 1998
24 September 2002
24 September 2002
weapon would be shortened and Iraq could produce a nuclear weapon in and, again, I defy anyone to say that
between one and two years.
this cruel and sadistic dictator should
be allowed any possibility of getting
BALLISTIC MISSILES
his hands on chemical, biological and
nuclear weapons of mass destruction.
Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC) Assessment: 1999–2002
“Why now?” people ask. I agree that I
24. In mid-2001 the JIC drew attention to what it described as a "stepcannot say that this month or next,
change" in progress on the Iraqi missile programme over the previous
even this year or next, Saddam will
two years. It was clear from intelligence that the range of Iraqi missiles
use his weapons. But I can say that if
which was permitted by the UN and supposedly limited to 150kms was
the international community, having
being extended and that work was under way on larger engines for
made the call for disarmament, now,
longer-range missiles.
at this moment, at the point of
decision, shrugs its shoulders and
25. In early 2002 the JIC concluded that Iraq had begun to develop
walks away, he will draw the
missiles with a range of over 1,000kms. The JIC assessed that if
conclusion that dictators faced with a
sanctions remained effective the Iraqis would not be able to produce
weakening will always draw: that the
such a missile before 2007. Sanctions and the earlier work of the
international community will talk but
inspectors had caused significant problems for Iraqi missile
not act, will use diplomacy but not
development. In the previous six months Iraqi foreign procurement
force. We know, again from our
efforts for the missile programme had been bolder. The JIC also
history, that diplomacy not backed by
assessed that Iraq retained up to 20 al-Hussein missiles from before the the threat of force has never worked
Gulf War.
with dictators and never will.
21 August 2002
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15 March 2002
9 September 2002
ANNEX B
24 September 2002
and mandate. Then Saddam will have
the choice: comply willingly or be
forced to comply. That is why,
alongside the diplomacy, there must
be genuine preparedness and
planning to take action if diplomacy
fails.
175
Let me be plain about our purpose.
Of course there is no doubt that Iraq,
the region and the whole world would
be better off without Saddam. Iraq
deserves to be led by someone who
can abide by international law, not a
murderous dictator; by someone who
can bring Iraq back into the
international community where it
belongs, not leave it languishing as a
pariah; by someone who can make
29. The success of UN restrictions means the development of new
the country rich and successful, not
longer-range missiles is likely to be a slow process. These restrictions
impoverished by Saddam’s personal
impact particularly on the:
greed; and by someone who can lead
a Government more representative of
the country as a whole while
x availability of foreign expertise;
maintaining absolutely Iraq’s territorial
integrity.
x conduct of test flights to ranges above 150km;
We have no quarrel with the Iraqi
people. Indeed, liberated from
x acquisition of guidance and control technology.
Saddam, they could make Iraq
prosperous and a force for good in
30. Saddam remains committed to developing longer-range missiles.
Even if sanctions remain effective, Iraq might achieve a missile capability the middle east. So the ending of this
regime would be the cause of regret
of over 1000km within 5 years.
for no one other than Saddam. But
our purpose is disarmament. No one
31. Iraq has managed to rebuild much of the missile production
wants military conflict. The whole
infrastructure destroyed in the Gulf War and in Operation Desert Fox in
purpose of putting this before the UN
1998. New missile-related infrastructure is also under construction.
is to demonstrate the united
Some aspects of this, including rocket propellant mixing and casting
determination of the international
facilities at the al-Mamoun Plant, appear to replicate those linked to the
prohibited Badr-2000 programme (with a planned range of 700–1000km) community to resolve this in the way
it should have been resolved years
which were destroyed in the Gulf War or dismantled by UNSCOM. A
ago: through a proper process of
new plant at al-Mamoun for indigenously producing ammonium
perchlorate, which is a key ingredient in the production of solid propellant disarmament under the UN.
rocket motors, has also been constructed. This has been provided illicitly Disarmament of all weapons of mass
destruction is the demand. One way
by NEC Engineers Private Limited, an Indian chemical engineering firm
or another, it must be acceded to.
with extensive links in Iraq, including to other suspect facilities such as
the Fallujah 2 chlorine plant. After an extensive investigation, the Indian
authorities have recently suspended its export licence, although other
individuals and companies are still illicitly procuring for Iraq.
28. Intelligence has confirmed that Iraq wants to extend the range of its
missile systems to over 1000km, enabling it to threaten other regional
neighbours. This work began in 1998, although efforts to regenerate the
long-range ballistic missile programme probably began in 1995. Iraq’s
missile programmes employ hundreds of people. Satellite imagery has
shown a new engine test stand being constructed, which is larger than
the current one used for al-Samoud, and that formerly used for testing
SCUD engines which was dismantled under UNSCOM supervision. This
new stand will be capable of testing engines for medium range ballistic
missiles (MRBMs) with ranges over 1000km, which are not permitted
under UN Security Council Resolution 687. Such a facility would not be
needed for systems that fall within the UN permitted range of 150km.
The Iraqis have recently taken measures to conceal activities at this site.
Iraq is also working to obtain improved guidance technology to increase
missile accuracy.
24 September 2002
reaching a number of countries in the region including Cyprus, Turkey,
Saudi Arabia, Iran and Israel.
21 August 2002
NOTE: Redactions are not indicated
15 March 2002
9 September 2002
ANNEX B
24 September 2002
24 September 2002
32. Despite a UN embargo, Iraq has also made concerted efforts to
acquire additional production technology, including machine tools and
raw materials, in breach of UN Security Council Resolution 1051. The
embargo has succeeded in blocking many of these attempts, such as
requests to buy magnesium powder and ammonium chloride. But we
know from intelligence that some items have found their way to the Iraqi
ballistic missile programme. More will inevitably continue to do so.
Intelligence makes it clear that Iraqi procurement agents and front
companies in third countries are seeking illicitly to acquire propellant
chemicals for Iraq's ballistic missiles. This includes production level
quantities of near complete sets of solid propellant rocket motor
ingredients such as aluminium powder, ammonium perchlorate and
hydroxyl terminated polybutadiene. There have also been attempts to
acquire large quantities of liquid propellant chemicals such as
Unsymmetrical Dimethylhydrazine (UDMH) and diethylenetriamene. We
judge these are intended to support production and deployment of the alSamoud and development of longer-range systems.
176
ANNEX C
IRAQ: MILITARY CAMPAIGN OBJECTIVES
1.
Our policy objectives were set out in Parliament on 7 January 2003. The prime objective
remains to rid Iraq of its weapons of mass destruction and their associated programmes
and means of delivery, including prohibited ballistic missiles, as set out in relevant United
Nations Security Council Resolutions (UNSCRs).
2.
In UNSCR 1441, the Security Council decided that Iraq was in material breach of its
obligations under UNSCR 687 and other relevant resolutions. The Council gave Iraq a final
opportunity to comply by co-operating with the enhanced inspection regime established
by UNSCR 1441, but warned of the serious consequences of failing to do so. The evidence
shows that Iraq has failed to comply with the terms of UNSCR 1441 and is now in further
material breach of its obligations. In these circumstances, UNSCR 678 authorises the use
of force to enforce Iraq’s compliance with its disarmament obligations.
3.
The obstacle to Iraq’s compliance with its disarmament obligations under relevant
UNSCRs is the current Iraqi regime, supported by the security forces under its control. The
British Government has therefore concluded that military action is necessary to enforce
Iraqi compliance and that it is therefore necessary that the current Iraqi regime be
removed from power. All military action must be limited to what is necessary to achieve
that end. The UK is contributing maritime, land and air forces as part of a US-led coalition.
4.
The UK’s overall objective for the military campaign is to create the
conditions in which Iraq disarms in accordance with its obligations under
UNSCRs and remains so disarmed in the long term. Tasks which flow from this
objective are set out below.
5.
In aiming to achieve this objective as swiftly as possible, every effort will be made to
minimise civilian casualties and damage to essential economic infrastructure, and to
minimise and address adverse humanitarian consequences. The main tasks of the
coalition are to:
a.
overcome the resistance of Iraqi security forces;
b.
deny the Iraqi regime the use of weapons of mass destruction now and in the
future;
c.
remove the Iraqi regime, given its clear and unyielding refusal to comply with
the UN Security Council’s demands;
d.
identify and secure the sites where weapons of mass destruction and their
means of delivery are located;
e.
secure essential economic infrastructure, including for utilities and transport,
from sabotage and wilful destruction by Iraq; and
f.
deter wider conflict both inside Iraq and in the region.
177
Military action will be conducted in conformity with international law, including the UN Charter and
international humanitarian law.
6.
7.
Our wider political objectives in support of the military campaign are to:
a.
demonstrate to the Iraqi people that our quarrel is not with them and that their
security and well-being is our concern;
b.
work with the United Nations to lift sanctions affecting the supply of
humanitarian and reconstruction goods, and to enable Iraq’s own resources,
including oil, to be available to meet the needs of the Iraqi people;
c.
sustain the widest possible international and regional coalition in support of
military action;
d.
preserve wider regional security, including by maintaining the territorial
integrity of Iraq and mitigating the humanitarian and other consequences of
conflict for Iraq’s neighbours;
e.
help create conditions for a future, stable and law-abiding government of
Iraq; and
f.
further our policy of eliminating terrorism as a force in international affairs.
In the wake of hostilities, the immediate military priorities for the coalition are to:
a.
provide for the security of friendly forces;
b.
contribute to the creation of a secure environment so that normal life can be
restored;
c.
work in support of humanitarian organisations to mitigate the consequences of
hostilities and, in the absence of such civilian humanitarian capacity, provide
relief where it is needed;
d.
work with UNMOVIC/IAEA to rid Iraq of its weapons of mass destruction and
their means of delivery;
e.
facilitate remedial action where environmental damage has occurred;
f.
enable the reconstruction and recommissioning of essential infrastructure for
the political and economic development of Iraq, and the immediate benefit of
the Iraqi people; and
g.
lay plans for the reform of Iraq’s security forces.
Wherever possible, these tasks will be carried out in cooperation with the United Nations.
8.
178
British military forces will withdraw as soon as practicable. We hope to see the early
establishment of a transitional civilian administration. We will work with the international
community to build the widest possible international and regional support for the
reconstruction of Iraq and the move to representative government.
9.
It remains our wish to see Iraq become a stable, united and law abiding state, within its
present borders, cooperating with the international community, no longer posing a threat
to its neighbours or to international security, abiding by all its international obligations and
providing effective representative government for its own people.
March 2003
179
180
ANNEX D
17 March 2003
Foreign &
Commonwealth
Office
London SW1A 2AH
from The Foreign Secretary
Iraq: Legal Position Concerning the Use of Force
As you may be aware, the Attorney General, Lord Goldsmith, has this
morning answered a Question in the Lords setting out his views of the legal
basis for the use of force against Iraq.
I now enclose a copy of his Answer, together with a paper which
gives the legal background in more detail, for the information of your
Committee.
You will also wish to be aware that I am this morning publishing a
Command Paper (CM5785) "Iraq - UN Documents of early March 2003".
This supplements the Command Paper I published last month.
I am placing a copy of this letter and enclosures in the Library.
JACK STRAW
The Rt Hon Donald Anderson MP
181
Question: To ask HMG what is the Attorney General's view of the legal basis for
the use of force against Iraq
Answer: The Attorney General (Lord Goldsmith):
Authority to use force against Iraq exists from the combined effect of resolutions 678, 687
and 1441. All of these resolutions were adopted under Chapter VII of the UN Charter
which allows the use of force for the express purpose of restoring international peace and
security:
1.
In resolution 678 the Security Council authorised force against Iraq, to eject it from
Kuwait and to restore peace and security in the area.
2.
In resolution 687, which set out the ceasefire conditions after Operation Desert
Storm, the Security Council imposed continuing obligations on Iraq to eliminate its
weapons of mass destruction in order to restore international peace and security in
the area. Resolution 687 suspended but did not terminate the authority to use force
under resolution 678.
3.
A material breach of resolution 687 revives the authority to use force under
resolution 678.
4.
In resolution 1441 the Security Council determined that Iraq has been and remains
in material breach of resolution 687, because it has not fully complied with its
obligations to disarm under that resolution.
5.
The Security Council in resolution 1441 gave Iraq "a final opportunity to comply with
its disarmament obligations" and warned Iraq of the "serious consequences" if it did
not.
6.
The Security Council also decided in resolution 1441 that, if Iraq failed at any time to
comply with and cooperate fully in the implementation of resolution 1441, that would
constitute a further material breach.
7.
It is plain that Iraq has failed so to comply and therefore Iraq was at the time of
resolution 1441 and continues to be in material breach.
8.
Thus, the authority to use force under resolution 678 has revived and so continues
today.
9.
Resolution 1441 would in terms have provided that a further decision of the Security
Council to sanction force was required if that had been intended. Thus, all that
resolution 1441 requires is reporting to and discussion by the Security Council of
Iraq's failures, but not an express further decision to authorise force.
I have lodged a copy of this answer, together with resolutions 678, 687 and 1441 in the
Library of both Houses.
182
IRAQ: LEGAL BASIS FOR THE USE OF FORCE
Summary
1.
The legal basis for any military action against Iraq would be the authorisation
which the Security Council, by its resolution 678 (1990), gave to Member States to
use all necessary means to restore international peace and security in the area. That
authorisation was suspended but not terminated by Security Council resolution
(SCR) 687 (1991), and revived by SCR 1441 (2002). In SCR 1441, the Security
Council has determined (1) that Iraq's possession of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) constitutes
a threat to international peace and security;
(2) that Iraq has failed - in clear violation of its legal obligations - to disarm;
and
(3) that, in consequence, Iraq is in material breach of the conditions for the
ceasefire laid down by the Council in SCR 687 at the end of the
hostilities in 1991, thus reviving the authorisation in SCR 678.
The extent of the authority to use force contained in SCR 678
2.
Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter gives the Security Council the power to
authorise States to take such military action as may be necessary to maintain or
restore international peace and security.
3.
In the case of Iraq, the Security Council took such a step following the Iraqi
invasion of Kuwait. Paragraph 2 of SCR 678 authorised "Member States cooperating with the Government of Kuwait ... to use all necessary means to uphold
and implement resolution 660 (1990) and all subsequent relevant resolutions and
to restore international peace and security in the area." The phrase "all necessary
means" was understood then (as it is now) as including the use of force.
4.
Following the liberation of Kuwait, the Security Council adopted SCR 687. This
resolution set out the steps which the Council required Iraq to take in order
183
to restore international peace and security in the area. Iraq's acceptance of those
requirements was the condition for the declaration of a formal ceasefire. Those
steps included the destruction of all WMD under international supervision and the
requirement that Iraq should not attempt to acquire such weapons or the means of
their manufacture. As a means to achieving the disarmament required by the
Security Council, SCR 687 also required Iraq to submit to extensive weapons
inspection by UNSCOM (now UNMOVIC) and the IAEA. The Security Council
was quite clear that these steps were essential to the restoration of international
peace and security in the area.
5.
SCR 687 did not repeal the authorisation to use force in paragraph 2 of SCR 678.
On the contrary, it confirmed that SCR 678 remained in force. The authorisation
was suspended for so long as Iraq complied with the conditions of the ceasefire.
But the authorisation could be revived if the Council determined that Iraq was
acting in material breach of the requirements of SCR 687. Although almost twelve
years have elapsed since SCR 687 was adopted, Iraq has never taken the steps
required of it by the Council. Throughout that period the Council has repeatedly
condemned Iraq for violations of SCR 687 and has adopted numerous resolutions
on the subject. In 1993 and again in 1998 the coalition took military action under
the revived authority of SCR 678 to deal with the threat to international peace and
security posed by those violations.
6.
In relation to the action in 1993, the Minister of State at the Foreign and
Commonwealth Office wrote: "The Security Council determined in its statements
of 8 and 11 January that Iraq was in material breach of resolutions 687 and its
related resolutions, and warned Iraq that serious consequences would ensue from
continued failure to comply with its obligations. Resolution 687 lays down the
terms for the formal ceasefire between the coalition states and Iraq at the end of
the hostilities mandated by the Security Council in resolution 678. These terms are
binding in themselves but have also been specifically accepted by Iraq as a
condition for the formal ceasefire to come into effect. In the light of Iraq's
continued breaches of Security Council resolution 687 and thus of the ceasefire
terms, and the repeated warnings given by the Security Council and members of
the coalition, their forces were entitled to take
184
necessary and proportionate action in order to ensure that Iraq complies with those
terms."
7.
On 14 January 1993, in relation to the UK/US military action the previous day, the
then UN Secretary-General said: "The raid yesterday, and the forces which carried
out the raid, have received a mandate from the Security Council, according to
resolution 678, and the cause of the raid was the violation by Iraq of resolution 687
concerning the ceasefire. So, as Secretary-General of the United Nations, I can say
that this action was taken and conforms to the resolutions of the Security Council
and conforms to the Charter of the United Nations."
8.
In relation to the military action undertaken in 1998, the then Parliamentary UnderSecretary of State (now Minister of State) at the Foreign and Commonwealth
Office, Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean stated: "In our previous discussions in
this House some of your Lordships asked about the legality of our action. Any
action involving UK forces would be based on international law. The Charter of
the United Nations allows for the use of force under the authority of the Security
Council. The Security Council resolution adopted before the Gulf conflict
authorised the use of force in order to restore international peace and security in
the region. Iraq is in clear breach of Security Council resolution 687 which laid
down the conditions for the ceasefire at the end of the conflict. Those conditions
included a requirement on Iraq to eliminate its weapons of mass destruction under
international supervision. Those conditions have been broken."
Security Council Resolution 1441 (2002)
9.
It is against that legal background that United Kingdom and the United States
brought to the Council the draft resolution which was eventually adopted
unanimously as SCR 1441 on 8 November 2002. The preamble to that resolution
again expressly referred to SCR 678, confirming once more that that resolution
was still in force. It also recognised the threat that Iraq's non-compliance with
Council resolutions posed to international peace and security; and it recalled that
SCR 687 imposed obligations on Iraq as a necessary step for the achievement of its
objective of restoring international peace and security. In paragraph 1 the Council
went on to decide that Iraq "has been and remains in material breach" of its
obligations under SCR 687 and other relevant resolutions. The use of the term
"material breach" is of the utmost importance because the practice of the Security
185
Council during the 1990's shows that it was just such a finding of material breach
by Iraq which served to revive the authorisation of force in SCR 678.
10. On this occasion, however, the Council decided (in paragraph 2 of SCR 1441) to
offer Iraq "a final opportunity to comply with its disarmament obligations." Iraq
was required to produce an accurate, full and complete declaration of all aspects of
its prohibited programmes (paragraph 3), and to provide immediate and
unrestricted access to UNMOVIC and IAEA (paragraph 5). Failure by Iraq to
comply with the requirements of SCR 1441 was declared to be a further material
breach of Iraq's obligations (paragraph 4), in addition to the continuing breach
already identified in paragraph 1. In the event of a further breach (paragraph 4), or
interference by Iraq with the inspectors or failure to comply with any of the
disarmament obligations under any of the relevant resolutions (paragraph 11), the
matter was to be reported to the Security Council. The Security Council was then
to convene "to consider the situation and the need for full compliance with all of
the relevant Council resolutions in order to secure international peace and security"
(paragraph 12). The Council warned Iraq (paragraph 13) that "it will face serious
consequences as a result of its continued violations of its obligations".
11.
It is important to stress that SCR 1441 did not revive the 678 authorisation
immediately on its adoption. There was no "automaticity". The resolution afforded
Iraq a final opportunity to comply and it provided for any failure by Iraq to be
"considered" by the Security Council (under paragraph 12 of the resolution). That
paragraph does not, however, mean that no further action can be taken without a
new resolution of the Council. Had that been the intention, it would have provided
that the Council would decide what needed to be done to restore international
peace and security, not that it would consider the matter. The choice of words was
deliberate; a proposal that there should be a requirement for a decision by the
Council, a position maintained by several Council members, was not adopted.
Instead the members of the Council opted for the formula that the Council must
consider the matter before any action is taken.
12.
That consideration has taken place regularly since the adoption of SCR 1441. It is
plain, including from UNMOVIC's statements to the Security Council, its Twelfth
Quarterly Report and the so-called "Clusters Document", that Iraq has not
complied as required with its disarmament obligations. Whatever other
186
differences there may have been in the Security Council, no member of the
Council has questioned this conclusion. It therefore follows that Iraq has not taken
the final opportunity offered to it and remains in material breach of the
disarmament obligations which, for twelve years, the Council has insisted are
essential for the restoration of peace and security. In these circumstances, the
authorisation to use force contained in SCR 678 revives.
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
17 March 2003
187
IRAQI NON-COMPLIANCE WITH UNSCR 1441
15 March 2003
Background
Iraq has failed to comply fully with 14 previous UN resolutions related to WMD.
UNSCR 1441 is unambiguous:
x
"Recognising the threat Iraq's non-compliance with Council resolutions and
proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and long-range missiles poses to
international peace and security" (PP3)
x "Decides that Iraq has been and remains in material breach of its obligations
under relevant resolutions" (OP1).
"Decides... to afford Iraq, by this resolution, a final opportunity to comply with its
disarmament obligations under relevant resolutions of the Council" (OP2).
x "Decides that false statements or omissions in the declarations submitted by
Iraq... and failure by Iraq at any time to comply with, and co-operate fully in the
implementation of, this resolution shall constitute a further material breach of Iraq's
obligations" (OP4)
The attached material assesses Iraqi progress in complying with relevant
provisions of UNSCR 1441 with illustrative examples.
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The Government of Iraq shall provide to UNMOVIC, the IAEA, and the Council,
not later than 30 days from the date of this resolution, a currently accurate,
full, and complete declaration of all aspects of its programmes to develop
chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons, ballistic missiles, and other
delivery systems...as well as all other chemical, biological, and nuclear
programmes, including any which it claims are for purposes not related to
weapon production or material" (OP3)
Not met. Although a 12,000-page document was submitted on 7 December, it did not
contain new information to answer any of the outstanding questions relating to Iraqi
disarmament. None of the issues identified in the UN's Butler or Amorim reports (1999)
have been resolved.
Dr Blix, 27 January "Regrettably, the 12,000 page declaration, most of which is a reprint
of earlier documents, does not seem to contain any new evidence that would eliminate the
questions or reduce their number".
Dr Blix, 14 February "The declaration submitted by Iraq on 7 December, despite its large
volume, missed the opportunity to provide the fresh material and evidence needed to
respond to the open questions"
IAEA written report, 27 January "The Declaration contains numerous clarifications. It
does not include, however, additional information related to the questions and concerns",
outstanding since 1998.
Outstanding issues that were not resolved in Iraq's 7-8 December Declaration include:
x Failure to account adequately for SCUD-type missiles and components "suggests
that these items may have been retained for a prohibited missile force" (UNMOVIC
document, Unresolved Disarmament Issues, 6 March)
x Failure to explain why Iraq has built a missile test stand at Al Rafah that can
accommodate missiles with over 4 times the thrust of the (prohibited) Al-Samoud 2
missile.
x Amount of mustard gas unaccounted for is at least 80 tonnes (in 550 shells and 450
aerial bombs) - but "based on a document recently received from Iraq, this quantity
could be substantially higher" (Unresolved Disarmament issues, 6 March)
x "Given Iraq's history of concealment with respect to its VX programme, it cannot be
excluded that it has retained some capability with regard to VX" that could still be
viable today. There are significant discrepancies in accounting for all key VX
precursors. Iraq said it never weaponised VX - but UNSCOM found evidence to
contradict this. (Unresolved Disarmament Issues, 6 March) It was not until 15
March - over three months after the specified date for the Declaration - that Iraq
189
provided a further document which it claimed contained additional information
(although this remains unconfirmed).
x "It seems highly probable that destruction of bulk agent, including anthrax, stated by
Iraq to be at AI Hakam in July/August 1991, did not occur. Based on all the available
evidence, the strong presumption is that about 10,000 litres of anthrax was not
destroyed and may still exist". (Unresolved Disarmament Issues, 6 March)
x Failure to account for all of the aircraft associated with the L-29/Al-Bai'aa remotely
piloted vehicle (RPV) programme. Furthermore, there is no explanation of 27 June
2002 RPV flight of 500kms ( the proscribed limit is 150kms).
x Failure to account for material unaccounted for when UNSCOM were forced to
withdraw from Iraq in 1998: for example, what happened to up to 3,000 tonnes of
precursor chemicals, including 300 tonnes unique (in the Iraqi programme) to the
production of VX nerve agent? UNSCOM estimated that quantities of undeclared
growth media could have produced: 3-11,000 litres of botulinum toxin; 6-16,000 litres of
anthrax, and 5,600 litres of clostridium perfringens. (Amorim and Butler reports, 1999)
x
According to Dr El-Baradei (IAEA written report, 27 January) the Declaration "does
not include, however, additional information related to the questions and concerns"
outstanding since 1998. These were:
-
the uncertainty about the progress made in weapons design and
centrifuge development due to the lack of relevant documentation
-
the extent of external assistance from which Iraq benefited
-
the lack of evidence that Iraq had abandoned definitively its nuclear programme.
Apart from failing to answer unresolved questions, the Declaration also contained
some significant falsehoods:
x
190
Dr Blix, 27 January. "Iraq did not declare a significant quantity, some 650 kg, of
bacterial growth media, which was acknowledged as imported in Iraq's submission to
the Amorim panel in February 1999. As part of its 7 December 2002 Declaration, Iraq
resubmitted the Amorim panel document, but the table showing this particular import of
media was not included. The absence of this table would appear to be deliberate as the
pages of the resubmitted document were renumbered."
x The 7 December Declaration maintains that the Al-Samoud 2 missile has a
maximum range of 150kms. UNMOVIC and a panel of international experts have
established that the Al-Samoud 2 is a prohibited system, designed to have a range
beyond the 150 kms limit imposed by the UN in 1991 - one variant having a range
(based on separate Iraqi data) of just under 200kms. In addition, Iraq declared that
the missile was still under development - however, as of February 2003 63 missiles
had already been deployed with the Iraqi armed forces.
x The Declaration admits that 131 Volga missile engines had been imported, in
contravention of sanctions. However, according to UNMOVIC Iraq actually imported at
least 380 engines.
x The Declaration claims that its UAVs and cruise missiles adhere to UN restrictions.
However, recent inspections have revealed a type of unmanned drone that was not
referred to in the Declaration, and its range easily exceeds the UN proscribed limit of
150kms. There has never been full Iraqi disclosure on any of its UAVs.
x The Declaration also fails to account property for work on aircraft fuel drop tanks that
were converted to deliver CBW agent. The UN found modified aircraft fuel tanks at the
Khan Bani Sa'ad Airfield in December 2002. These tanks were stated to have been
part of an indigenously manufactured agricultural spray system that was said to have
been produced by the Iraqi Air Force (Unresolved Disarmament Issues, 6 March)
x According to an Iraqi document that UNMOVIC obtained separately from the
Declaration, "13,000 chemical bombs were dropped by the Iraqi Air Force between
1983 and 1988, while Iraq has declared that 19,500 bombs were consumed during this
period. Thus, there is a discrepancy of 6,500 bombs. The amount of chemical agent in
these bombs would be in the order of about 1,000 tonnes. In the absence of evidence
to the contrary, we must assume that these quantities are now unaccounted for." (Dr
Blix, 27 January)
Iraq shall provide UNMOVIC and the IAEA "immediate, unimpeded.
unrestricted, and private access to all officials and other persons whom
UNMOVIC or the IAEA wish to interview in the mode or location of
UNMOVIC's or the IAEA's choice pursuant to any aspect of their mandates"
(OP5)
Not met. At first, none of the Iraqi personnel requested for interview by UNMOVIC agreed
to be interviewed in private. At a meeting in Baghdad on 19-20 January, the Iraqi side
committed itself to "encourage" private interviews. However, it was not until 6-7 February
(i.e. just before Dr Blix and Dr El-Baradei's last visit to Baghdad) that three people agreed to
be interviewed in private. But these interviews were with personnel volunteered by the
Iraqi authorities, not with Scientists requested by UNMOVIC.
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On 28 February, a further two scientists were interviewed in private. As of 14 March,
UNMOVIC had asked 41 people to be interviewed, but only 12 had agreed to
UNMOVIC's terms. The remainder of the interviews could not be carried out because of
unacceptable restrictions (e.g. insistence on the presence of official Iraqi minders, or that
the interviews be tape-recorded).
It was not until 26 February that the IAEA carried out its first private interview; as of 14
March, IAEA had only been able to carry out 3 private interviews.
We have reason to believe that the Iraqi authorities have intimidated interviewees; that
rooms have been bugged; and that some potential interviewees have been kept away
from the inspectors by the Iraqi authorities.
x UNMOVIC written report, 28 February.. "the reality is that, so far, no persons not
nominated by the Iraqi side have been willing to be interviewed without a tape
recorder running or an Iraqi witness present"
x
Dr El-Baradei, 7 March: "When we first began to request private, unescorted
interviews, the Iraqi interviewees insisted on taping the interviews and keeping the
recorded tapes"
"UNMOVIC and the IAEA may at their discretion conduct interviews inside
or outside of Iraq, may facilitate the travel of those interviewed and family
members outside of Iraq, and that, at the sole discretion of UNMOVIC
and the IAEA, such interviews may occur without the presence of
observers
from the Iraqi Government" (OP5)
Not met. No interviews have taken placed outside Iraq.
There is evidence that Iraqi scientists have been intimidated into refusing interviews
outside Iraq. They - and their families - have been threatened with execution if they
deviate from the official line.
"UNMOVIC and the IAEA shall have the right to be provided by Iraq the
names of all personnel currently and formerly associated with Iraq's
chemical, biological, nuclear, and ballistic missile programmes and the
associated research, development, and production facilities" (OP7)
Not met. Dr Blix, 27 January. "Some 400 names for all biological and chemical
weapons programmes as well as their missile programmes were provided by the
Iraqi side. This can be compared to over 3,500 names of people associated with
those past weapons programmes that UNSCOM either interviewed in the 1990s or
knew from documents and other sources".
192
During February, Iraq supplied some additional names. However, the information provided
is still inadequate. For example, according to UNMOVIC's document on Unresolved
Disarmament Issues, 6 March, Iraq provided a list of people who worked in the entire
chemical weapons programme - but Iraq's 132 names contrast with UNMOVIC's records,
which show that "over 325 people were involved in chemical weapons research" at one
establishment alone.
"UNMOVIC and the IAEA shall have the free and unrestricted use and landing
of fixed- and rotary-winged aircraft, including manned and unmanned
reconnaissance vehicles" (OP7)
Partially met - belatedly, and under pressure. Iraq initially hindered UNMOVIC
helicopter flights. Dr Blix, 27 January: "Iraq had insisted on sending helicopters of their
own to accompany ours. This would have raised a safety problem." The matter was
resolved when UNMOVIC agreed to take Iraqi escorts in UNMOVIC's own helicopters.
Iraq also obstructed U2 reconnaissance flights over Iraq, placing unacceptable pre-conditions
on the flights. Almost three months after inspections began, just before Dr Blix presented
a report on Iraqi co-operation to the Security Council, Iraq finally relented. The first U2
flight took place on 17 February.
"UNMOVIC and the IAEA shall have the right at their sole discretion
verifiably to remove. destroy. or render harmless all prohibited weapons,
subsystems, components, records, materials, and other related items, and
the right to impound or close any facilities or equipment for the production
thereof" (OP7)
Not yet met. UNMOVIC has determined that the Al-Samoud 2 missile programme, as
well as rocket motor casting chambers at Al-Mamoun, are prohibited under SCR687.
This assessment has been confirmed by a panel of independent experts, who concluded
that the (light) Al-Samoud 2 was designed to fly just under 200kms. In the case of the
casting chambers, this equipment was previously destroyed by UNSCOM as being partof a prohibited weapons programme - but was subsequently rebuilt by Iraq.
UNMOVIC gave Iraq a deadline of 1 March to begin the destruction of these
prohibited systems (missiles plus associated components/infrastructure, and casting
chamber). At first, Iraq said that the Iraqi authorities intended "to study" the demand.
Then the Iraqi authorities said that they agreed "in principle" to the destruction of the
missiles, "despite our belief that the decision to destroy was unjust... and the timing
of this request seems to us to be one with political aims" (letter to Dr Blix from Dr AlSaadi, 27 January).
193
Destruction began on 1 March, but Iraq has threatened that it may stop the
destruction process at any time. As of 14 March, Iraq had destroyed:
-
65 missiles (Iraq has declared production of 76 missiles, but UNMOVIC estimate there
are around 120 missiles)
-
42 warheads (out of 118)
-
5 engines (out of an estimated 380)
-
2 missile launchers (out of 9)
"Decides further that Iraq shall not take or threaten hostile acts directed
against any representative or personnel of the United Nations" (OP8)
Partially met. Inspections have largely been incident-free. However, UNMOVIC has
noted some "friction" during inspections, and occasional harassment. On several
occasions inspectors have been met with demonstrations. Dr Blix, 27 January.
"Demonstrations and outbursts of this kind are unlikely to occur in Iraq without initiative or
encouragement from the authorities."
On several occasions Iraqi authorities have claimed that inspectors were spying.
"Demands further that Iraq cooperate immediately. unconditionally, and
actively with UNMOVIC and the IAEA" (OP9).
Not met. The questions outstanding since UNSCOM was forced to withdraw in 1998
have still not been answered. Nor have those issues raised by the Amorim panel, a
group of international experts convened under UN auspices to identify outstanding Iraqi
disarmament issues. Although Iraq has provided some documents, it is not answering
any substantive questions.
On 6 March, UNMOVIC released a paper on Unresolved Disarmament Issues - Iraq's
Proscribed Weapons Programmes. The paper is a 173 page-long catalogue of Iraqi
intransigence since 1991, detailing
194
-
Some 29 occasions when Iraq failed, despite repeated requests, to provide
credible evidence to substantiate claims
-
Some 17 separate instances when UNSCOM/UNMOVIC uncovered
information that directly contradicted the official Iraqi account
-
128 actions Iraq should now take to help resolve the outstanding issues
Dr Blix, 14 January. "Although I can understand that it may not be easy for Iraq in all
cases to provide the evidence needed, it is not the task of the inspectors to find it.
Iraq itself must squarely tackle this task and avoid belittling the questions."
x Dr Blix 27 January "It is not enough to open doors. Inspection is not a game of 'catch
as catch can'"
x UNMOVIC written report, 28 February. ''During the period of time covered by the
present report, Iraq could have made greater efforts to find any remaining proscribed
items or provide credible evidence showing the absence of such items. The results in
terms of disarmament have been very limited so far"
x Dr Blix, 7 March. "With such detailed information regarding those who took part in
the unilateral destruction, surely there must also remain records regarding the
quantities and other data concerning the various items destroyed"
x Dr El-Baradei, 27 January. "Iraq's co-operation with the IAEA should be full and
active, as required by the relevant Security Council resolutions."
There are a number of examples of Iraqi gestures which have been a
pretence of co-operation.
Of papers handed over by the Iraqis in early February:
x Dr Blix: "No new evidence was provided in the papers and no open issues were
closed"
x Dr EI-Baradei: "Iraq has provided documents on the concerns outstanding since
1998, but no new information was contained"
Of legislation on Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)
UNSCOM - and now UNMOVIC - requested that the Government of Iraq pass
legislation prohibiting the manufacturing or importing of WMD and associated material.
Draft legislation was provided. On 14 February - the day of Dr Blix's last update to the
Security Council - Iraq announced that it had passed a Presidential Decree to this effect
In fact, the decree is totally inadequate: its scope is very limited, and it does not even
suggest any penalties for offenders.
195
x UNMOVIC written report 28 February. "The presidential decree, which was issued
on 14 February and which prohibits private Iraqi citizens and mixed companies from
engaging in work relating to weapons of mass destruction, standing alone, is not
adequate to meet the United Nations requirements. UNMOVIC has enquired whether
a comprehensive regulation is being prepared in line with several years of
discussions between Iraq and UNSCOM/UNMOVIC"
Of Iraqi excavation of some R-400 bombs and bomb fragments
In February, Iraq notified UNMOVIC that it had uncovered some R-400 bombs
(indigenously produced, filled with chemical or biological agent). However, Iraq's
declarations on R-400 bombs have been inconsistent and contradictory, leaving
UNMOVIC with little confidence in the numbers produced or types of agents filled".
Photographic evidence contradicts Iraqi claims that all R-400A bombs (marked as filled
with botulinum toxin and anthrax) were destroyed in July or August 2001. It is unlikely that
the results of the ongoing Iraqi excavation will resolve this issue.
x
"UNMOVIC cannot discount the possibility that some CW and BW filled R-400
bombs remain in Iraq" (Unresolved Disarmament Issues, 6 March)
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