Select Committee on Foreign Affairs Written Evidence

Further supplementary memorandum from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office


  The evidence submitted by the Government to your Committee including that provided in confidence has set out the position on the central allegation that intelligence was improperly inserted into the assessment on Iraqi WMD published on 24 September 2002. The allegation has clearly been shown to be untrue. It is important that we have been able to establish this since it was potentially so damaging not only to the Government but to the reputation of the Joint Intelligence Committee and the Intelligence Agencies who were, in effect, being accused of succumbing to political pressure.

  In case there is any continuing misunderstanding about the inclusion of intelligence material in the briefing paper, "Iraq, its Infrastructure of Concealment, Deception and Intimidation" (February 2003), I am taking the opportunity of this letter to supplement written and oral evidence already given on this point.

  The Chairman of the JIC and `C' have confirmed that the intelligence material described in Alastair Campbell's memorandum of 27 June was provided by the SIS. It came from a range of sources. Much of the intelligence was recent. It was regarded by the Service as reliable and significant. Its release to the CIC for public use was authorised by `C', which was fully in accordance with longstanding instructions for the use of intelligence. The JIC Chairman was aware that the information had been released with `C''s authority and regarded this as consistent with established procedures. On this point the correct arrangements were followed. The references to the intelligence material in the final document were accurate.

  The problems arose in the drafting of Section 2 of the paper as Alastair Campbell has acknowledged and new procedures to deal with these problems have been put in place.

  You may like to know that the contents of this letter have been agreed by `C' and the Chairman of the JIC.

Secretary of State

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

July 2003

previous page contents

House of Commons home page Parliament home page House of Lords home page search page enquiries index

© Parliamentary copyright 2003
Prepared 7 July 2003