Select Committee on Defence Minutes of Evidence

Examination of witnesses (Questions 340 - 359)



  340. You were a bit disturbed by that, Mr Hatfield?
  (Mr Hatfield) No. I think your question is far more precise, as I think the Admiral was just pointing out. That was not the sort of thing that we were looking at.

  341. Did not your intelligence tell you then that, if it was not for that reason, why were they going to then clear all the Albanians out of Kosovo? Did you think that was the purpose of these men being there?
  (Vice-Admiral Sir Alan West) No.

  342. Even then you did not think that was the aim of putting more troops in?
  (Mr Hatfield) I think you need to be very clear about your timings here.

  343. When the bombing started.
  (Mr Hatfield) When the bombing had started we saw within a few days large numbers of people being moved out. It does not matter what his move was meant for. We actually could see it happening at that point. There was no debate.

  344. You had not foreseen that?
  (Mr Hatfield) We had not predicted that sort of movement, which is actually what I suspect my Permanent Secretary was talking about. As a particular type of act we had not predicted that huge movement of people consciously, not refugees fleeing, outside the borders of Kosovo.
  (Vice-Admiral Sir Alan West) We knew that the VJ, the Serbs, intended to conduct a major offensive operation against the UCK starting March/April time. We knew that from intelligence. Any extra forces they had, it was hardly surprising that they were going to do that major offensive. That major offensive, if it was anything like what we had seen the previous autumn, was going to result in a large number of Kosovo Albanian deaths and a huge displacement of people. We had seen 250,000 the previous autumn. This was going to be worse. For example, we had seen Raak and had seen how they responded to that. Every indication we had was that there was going to be a major offensive, and when we saw the Third Army being reinforced, when we saw the MUP being reinforced, all of that fitted in with what we predicted, which was a major Serb offensive against the UCK and KLA.

  345. Bearing in mind that you had all this intelligence information, what does your intelligence now tell you about when did they decide that they would clear all these people out?
  (Vice-Admiral Sir Alan West) I think that is very difficult to pinpoint. In amongst the whole mass of intelligence we had received we had had the odd piece of reporting, talking about ***. We had seen the odd strands talking about perhaps ***. We had bits of reporting like that, but we had counter bits of reporting as well. The first time I ever saw any reporting like that would have been probably ***. Whether there was anything earlier than that I cannot remember.

  346. You do not think then that there was any real thought that if you pushed all these people into Macedonia this would prevent or make it more difficult for NATO to attack through Macedonia?
  (Vice-Admiral Sir Alan West) We had no intelligence, or intelligence that I would have said, "Right, this is what he is positively going to do" that said that. I am now speculating but one could argue that the worst possible thing you could do was expel the entire population if you want to make 19 nations refocus on staying together to fight. I am speculating rather than saying, "Gosh, does this not achieve a lot in blocking up Macedonia?" I had no intelligence that told me that there was an intention to try and stop our operations by expelling the Kosovo Albanian population.

  347. It turned out to be a very good ploy, did it not?
  (Mr Hatfield) No.

  348. You do not think so?
  (Mr Hatfield) No. I think exactly the opposite. I agree with what the Admiral says about whether you could have speculated in advance. One of the major things he achieved by expelling them out of the borders was to ensure that NATO hung together and stuck it through.

  349. Unless he did not know that it was going to take us so long to get a land force together, and he thought he would have to buy some time. When we started bombing his capital I think he was pretty sure that he would have to do something decisive to stop it, and he was not actually prepared to stop it for several weeks, during which time he had expelled the best part of a million people into the path of an advancing army.
  (Mr Hatfield) We are just speculating about motives here.

  350. I am asking you if your intelligence told you that.
  (Mr Hatfield) We have answered that. We had no intelligence to suggest that—

  351. Subsequently you have not been able to get anything out of Serbia which tells you what motivated that move?
  (Mr Hatfield) Not part from his general behaviour and his racism.
  (Vice-Admiral Sir Alan West) On the 9 April we were exposed to a piece of information about a thing called Operation Horseshoe and ***. We did not quite know what it was. Operation Horseshoe was to do with clearing the Kosovo Albanians out of Kosovo, so we know that there was that plan called Operation Horseshoe.
  (Mr Hatfield) But we had no intelligence to suggest at all, as far as I am aware, that his motive was to put refugees in our way, none whatsoever.

Mr Cohen

  352. Can I ask about the strategy, particularly for the air campaign? Did Defence Intelligence do any detailed work on the targeting strategy of that campaign? I am not talking about necessarily individual targets. What assessment was made of the range of targets which were likely to have the most important political effect on the Serbian leadership?
  (Vice-Admiral Sir Alan West) We did intelligence work to start producing targets that would fit in with certain target sets that were asked for by the operations people. There were specifics that were seen as like enablers, ***, and my people did work on looking at specific targets to assist in taking those down. *** They were then given across to NATO to be taken as part of the target plan.

  353. I will come on to that. That is purely though a military effect which you would expect in terms of defence intelligence. Were you not asked to look at targeting strategy, what would have the political effect that we would want?
  (Vice Admiral Sir Alan West) We were not asked it in those terms. We were asked really to look at things and everything we looked at had to have an impact on its military capability. We were not asked it in those terms. Now that does not mean that there were not some people thinking about what levers do we pull having looked at his psychological record, what things were likely to have an impact on him, there were people doing that work. I was not asked specifically to look at the targets of that type.

  354. Okay, that is interesting. Now, the task was given in the air campaign to the UK by NATO, how did that interplay with defence intelligence, with the target impact?
  (Vice Admiral Sir Alan West) As I say, what we did was provide the targets we had come up with, they were given to as I say NATO ***.
  (Mr Hatfield) You must remember, the strategy was quite rightly being run from NATO. We were contributing to it and we were checking that we were comfortable but there were not 19 or even five nations trying to produce competing strategies.

  355. Yes. What I am trying to elicit here is you did your targets, you had your strategy, presumably you fed them into NATO but maybe you got something completely different back from NATO, is that the case?
  (Vice Admiral Sir Alan West) No. What happened was there was then a master target list, a great big long target list. I am slightly straying beyond my area, this is really a J3 function. This is an operations function run by DCDS(C) more than me. There was a complete master target list produced. From that, target packages were selected by SACEUR having spoken with the NAC and then he selected the packages that were going to be taken. ***

  356. I want to move on. You moved away from that initial strategy which had been fed into NATO to support the day to day targeting so the strategy was lost.
  (Vice Admiral Sir Alan West) Yes. The DIS does not produce a strategy really.

  357. No.
  (Vice Admiral Sir Alan West) We act to provide what we are told to provide.

  358. Yes.
  (Vice Admiral Sir Alan West) We were providing that. My people could come up with something and say ***. They were looking at that sort of thing to help it out. The actual target groups were decided, the NAC gave overall blocks of what the targets were and there was a big target list produced within NATO by SACEUR and his people, ***.

  359. Okay. Now clearly there was an expectation that the air campaign would only need to be a short one. Was that the assessment of your defence intelligence?
  (Vice Admiral Sir Alan West) It was interesting, ***. I do not think we believed necessarily that would be the case. Within the DIS I set up a structure so that my people could run through to August in terms of turnover and things like that at that higher rate. I think across the board, there were a lot of people who were not convinced that would be the case but one hoped it might be the case. It would be rather nice if that had happened.

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