Supplementary memorandum from Alastair
1. URANIUM IN
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.
2. IRAQ COMMUNICATION
2003 BRIEFING PAPER
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.
2003 BRIEFING PAPER
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
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
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
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
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
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.
Director of Communications and Strategy, 10 Downing
24 June 2003