Select Committee on Foreign Affairs Written Evidence

Supplementary memorandum from Alastair Campbell


  I understand the Foreign Secretary has been discussing the basis of the uranium from Africa point made in the September 2002 dossier with you during your private session.


  On the subject of the meetings of the Iraq communication group to discuss the February paper, you asked who represented the Cabinet Office at those meetings. As I indicated to the Committee, John Scarlett attended the four meetings at which the issue of Iraq's infrastructure of concealment was one of several items discussed. He was not consulted on the paper, and nor did he see it in draft or final form. He was aware of the fact that SIS had authorised the use of the intelligence material in the public domain in accordance with the procedures as they existed at that time. Other more junior representatives of the Cabinet Office were also present.


  As I have already made clear to the Committee the new intelligence material was provided by SIS and authorised by them for use in the public domain. This was in accordance with the rules as they existed at the time.

  4.  I have discussed with SIS your request to identify the intelligence material in the February briefing paper. They would like me to tell the Committee that the first and third parts of the February briefing paper were based on information provided by SIS from a range of sources.

  5.  I indicated during my session with you that there may be reasons why SIS would not want me to say in every circumstance which piece of information came from intelligence material. Aware that I was likely be asked about this when I appeared before you, I had already asked SIS whether there were any specific examples I could refer to. The Committee will recall, for example, that I spoke of Iraqi issues of bugging, the following of inspectors, organising car crashes and I discussed this when questioned by the Committee. The reason I hesitated in going further was that these were specifics I was authorised to mention. That is why I felt the need to go back to them to discuss your questions. SIS have asked me not to go beyond these examples for on-going operational security reasons, but to confirm that Sections 1 and 3 were based on information provided by them.

  6.  A few parts of Section 2 of the briefing paper were also based on intelligence information. SIS have authorised me to indicate that these are:

  From page 9:

    "It has long been known that Al-Mukhabarat uses intelligence to target Iraqis. It forces Iraqis living abroad to work for Saddam by threatening dire consequences for relatives still inside Iraq.

    It is reported that an Iraqi cannot work for a foreign firm inside Iraq without also working for Al-Mukhabarat directly or as an informant. This includes those allowed to work with foreign media organisations.

    All Iraqis working with foreigners have to have a special permit which is not granted unless they work for Al-Mukhabarat.

    They carry out tests which include approaches to Iraqi officials with false information to see whether they report it to Baghdad or foreigners."

  From page 10:

    "Each neighbourhood, every office and school, every hotel and coffee shop has an officer assigned to cover it and one or more agents in it who report what is said and what is seen.

    Al-Amn Al-Aam runs a programme of provocation where their agent in a coffee house or work place will voice dissident views and report on anyone who agrees with those views."

  From page 11:

    "An Al-Amn Al-Aam agent or officer will sometimes approach an Iraqi official pretending to recruit him for some opposition or espionage purpose, and then arrest him if he does not report it.

    They also look for foreigners who might be breaking Iraqi law or seeking to stir up anti-regime feelings among native Iraqis.

    Technically, it is illegal for an Iraqi official or military officer to talk to a foreigner without permission from a security officer."

  For ongoing operational reasons, SIS has asked me not to break down the sourcing of their contribution.


  The JIC Chairman and I believe that the following is an accurate reflection of my requests for changes to the text of the WMD dossier. In addition to the points below, I made a small number of style points, checked that the text was consistent throughout and avoided unnecessary repetitions.

  8.  First, I would like to draw your attention to a meeting I chaired on 9 September 2002, which was the planning meeting for the WMD dossier. The records show that I made the following points.

  I said the dossier must be, and be seen to be, the work of the JIC Chairman and his team, and "its credibility depends fundamentally upon that".

  I emphasised "it goes without saying that there should be nothing published that you (the JIC Chairman and the Intelligence Agencies) are not 100% happy with".

  The JIC Chairman first sent me a draft of the dossier on 10 September.

  To the best of my recollection, and that of Chairman of the JIC, I did not make any comments on the text of the draft at that stage.

  On 17 September, he sent me a further draft.

  As far as we recall, our discussions on the text took place over 17 and 18 September. The following are the changes I requested, and the responses of the JIC Chairman.

  As I told the committee on Wednesday, I suggested the use of "vivid and horrifying" in the human rights section was unnecessary. It was removed.

  I suggested that in the light of Iraq's agreement on 16 September to allow UN inspectors to return to Iraq, we should further address the issue of Iraq's current concealment plans as assessed by the JIC. This was agreed.

  On Saddam's sons, the draft said they "may have" the authority to launch CW/BW attacks. I asked why it said "may have" rather than "have". "May have" was retained because it was the best assessment of all the information, human and technical, that was available to the JIC.

  As I told the committee on Wednesday, the draft said Iraq had sought to secure uranium. I asked if any had been secured. I was told that the intelligence did not lead to that conclusion.

  I asked if the issue of the aluminium tubes could be put in the executive summary. It was concluded that it should not form part of the executive summary, but remain in the body of the text where it explained that there was no definitive intelligence that the tubes were destined for a nuclear programme.

  I asked if it was possible to include the range of extended range missiles in the executive summary. It was included.

  As I told the committee, I made a suggestion about the passage on illicit earnings. This was included.

  I asked if it was possible to list the numbers of shells and sprays in the Iraqi armour. It was not.

  In a passage dealing with dual use facilities, I suggested the phrase "could be used" might be replaced by "(are) capable of being used". This was agreed.

  I felt that a passage on how long it might take for Iraq to develop nuclear weapons should be explained more clearly. This was done.

  I asked if it could be made clearer at what stage of the process different JIC assessments were being put to Prime Minister and other ministers. I was told this was already being addressed in the opening chapter.

  The JIC chairman circulated a further draft, including to JIC members, on 19 September. He asked for any final comments by 3 pm that day. Neither of us can recall that I made any further points thereafter.

  The following day the TIC Chairman sent the final version. He said he was content that the dossier reflected as fully and accurately as it could the intelligence at that time.

  9.  As so many of the allegations have been made in the media, there is a further point I would like to make. The Sunday Times reported on 1 June that I pressured John Scarlett to write a conclusion and he refused. The reality is that John Scarlett drafted a conclusion and asked for my view. I said I did not think it added anything. John Scarlett said this confirmed him in the view he was already developing that it was not necessary to have a conclusion to the dossier.

  10.  Finally, concerning the most serious allegation against me, that I inserted the 45 minute intelligence whilst knowing it to be untrue, the Chairman of the JIC has confirmed that this was already included in the first draft that he sent me (10 September). It was not inserted at my request. The Chairman of the JIC has also confirmed, and authorised me to say, that it reflected recent intelligence incorporated already in the JIC's classified assessment and that I played no part in the decision to include the intelligence in the dossier. The full text of the dossier, including the executive summary, was signed off by the Chairman with the full agreement of the JIC.

  I hope this is helpful and that you feel it deals with all the points you asked me to address.

Alastair Campbell

Director of Communications and Strategy, 10 Downing Street

24 June 2003

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