Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Lord Butler's report . . . so far

X spoke of this last night and now we know. From the BBC via Sadly, No!:

Lord Butler's main findings were:

  • The limitations of the intelligence in the September 2002 dossier were not "made sufficiently clear," with important caveats removed

  • The 45 minutes claim was "unsubstantiated" and it should not have been included without clarification - doing so led to suspicions it was there because of its "eye-catching character"

  • Intelligence was pushed to its "outer limits" but not beyond - and there was no deliberate distortion by politicians, any blame was "collective"

  • JIC chairman John Scarlett should still take up post of MI6 chief - but future intelligence chiefs should be "demonstrably beyond influence"

  • Since the war key claims based on intelligence from agents in Iraq, including claims the Iraqis had recently produced biological agents, had had to be withdrawn because they were "unreliable"

  • There had been an "over-reliance" on dissident Iraqi sources and human intelligence in general

  • The report said "more weight was placed on the intelligence than it could bear," and Lord Butler criticised the government for publicly stating the JIC had "ownership" of the dossier, lending it more credibility than it might otherwise have had.

    He added: "Language in the dossier and used by the prime minister may have left readers with the impression that there was fuller and firmer intelligence than was the case.

    [. . .]

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