Examination of Witnesses (Questions 1200-1219)|
MP, MR PETER
RICKETTS, CMG AND
27 JUNE 2003
Q1200 Mr Maples: That is not answering
Mr Straw: With great respect,
Chairman, it may be that Mr Maples thinks I should not be allowed
to answer it, but I will answer it.
Q1201 Chairman: I am allowing you
to answer, but briefly.
Mr Straw: What I noted was that
Mr Sambrook did not repeat the charges made by Mr Gilligan, which
were very specific, all he said was: "There was disquiet
within the intelligence service about one piece of evidence, that
one 45 minute claim". Mr Gilligan did not say there was "disquiet",
he made very specific charges, which are wrong, and that is one
reason why the BBC does need to apologise.
Q1202 Richard Ottaway: On this point
about when the 45 minute claim first appeared Mr Campbell told
us not once but twice on Wednesday that it appeared in the first
draft of the report, do you agree with that?
Mr Straw: The first draft of?
The one produced in September, yes I think so, because we had
the JIC report in early September. Mr Ottaway, the crucial point
about the 45 minute claim is that it came from intelligence through
the JIC, which was assessed to be credible.
Q1203 Richard Ottaway: That is not
the question, there are two points here: When did it go in? Was
Mr Straw: We will deal with the
narrative in the private session.
Chairman: The question put by Mr Ottaway
was rather different, Mr Ottaway would you repeat it?
Q1204 Richard Ottaway: I am asking
when it appeared in the draft of the September document.
Mr Straw: I can give you the date.
Q1205 Richard Ottaway: Was it in
the first draft?
Mr Ricketts: It was as soon as
it was received and assessed.
Q1206 Richard Ottaway: Was it in
the first draft?
Mr Straw: As we will explain in
the private session the drafts of information to be made publicly
available of some kind about Iraq went back to the early side
of the summer, we have already made this clear. Then drafts of
the document that was being published were being prepared. This
information came to the attention of the JIC, as I recall, in
early September and from that date and the assessment by the JIC
that intelligence was accurately reflected in the dossier.
Q1207 Richard Ottaway: It was added
Mr Straw: That is what I am trying
to tell you.
Q1208 Richard Ottaway: The answer
is that it was added later and it was not in the first draft.
Mr Straw: Again we can go into
Q1209 Richard Ottaway: This is a
Mr Straw: Mr Ottaway, it is a
completely trivial point, with great respect to you.
Q1210 Richard Ottaway: It is one
you have spent the last 30 minutes refuting.
Mr Straw: It is not remotely material.
The allegation was not that it appeared in the first draft rather
than the second draft, let us be clear about that, the allegation
was that the 45 minute claims was not properly sourced or corroborated
and was then "sexed-up" in the final document.
Q1211 Richard Ottaway: We will come
to that. I am asking a totally different line of questioning here;
did it appear in the first draft?
Mr Straw: What I am saying to
Q1212 Richard Ottaway: You can cut
right through this by saying yes or no?
Mr Straw: It appeared in the first
draft after the intelligence was received.
Q1213 Richard Ottaway: It was not
in the first draft it was in a subsequent draft, so it was added
Mr Straw: That is a ludicrous
way of describing it, Mr Ottaway.
Q1214 Richard Ottaway: It seems pretty
reasonable; people of basic intelligence can understand it.
Mr Straw: We did not get the intelligence
and it was not assessed until early September, palpably it could
not have been included in earlier drafts if we did not know about
Q1215 Richard Ottaway: It was not
in the first draft?
Mr Straw: I have answered the
question, Mr Ottaway. I have given you a perfectly satisfactory
answer to the question.
Q1216 Richard Ottaway: I will repeat
it, was it in the first draft?
Mr Straw: I answered you; it was
in the first draft after the intelligence was received, by definition
it could not have been in any earlier draft.
Q1217 Richard Ottaway: Was it in
one of the subsequent drafts?
Mr Straw: I have given you an
Q1218 Chairman: Mr Ottaway was talking
about the first draft, when was that first draft prepared by the
Chairman of the JIC?
Mr Ricketts: If we go back to
the beginning there were drafts discussed in March and obviously
by definition there was no reference to the 45 minute in the first
draft because it had not been received or assessed. The Prime
Minister announced on 3 September an intention to produce a more
detailed dossier drawing more fully on intelligence. The Joint
Intelligence Committee then discussed drafts twice in the course
of September. As far as I am aware that material was already included
in those drafts because it had figured in a Joint Intelligence
Committee report of 9 September.
Q1219 Richard Ottaway: Mr Campbell
told us it was in the first draft, you just seem to be contradicting
Mr Ricketts: It does depend on
your definition of first draft. If you mean March then clearly