Thursday :: Jul 3, 2003

Dodgy Dossier Update

by Mary

Posted by Mary

Meanwhile, in the United Kingdom the war over whether Alistair Campbell "sexed up" the February dossier continues to be a hot topic. Mr. Campbell released a letter to the select committee investigating this affair that documents eleven changes he suggested to the dossier. Mr. Campbell had to provide something because it has been proven that No 10 Downing Street had edited the document, and now inquiring minds wanted to know what those edits were. In his letter, Mr. Campbell asserted that the 45 minute charge was in the original document before he got it.

In the letter, Mr Campbell repeated his insistence that the dossier's reference to weapons being deployed "within 45 minutes" was present in the first draft sent to him on 10 September 10. He wrote: "The chairman of the JIC has also confirmed and authorised me to say that it reflected recent intelligence already in the JIC's classified assessment and that I played no part in the decision to include the intelligence in the dossier."

Whether this clears Mr. Campbell of the charge that he was responsible for adding the 45-minute claim is still up in the air, but it does look more likely now. However, that still leaves an open question about who did add that charge.

Mr. Campbell's micromanaging the creation of the dossier will certainly continue to be a point of discussion. The letter shows how he tried to shape the dossier and had made suggestions that would strengthen its claims. One suggestion that Mr. Campbell made concerned Saddam's attempts to acquire nuclear material:

But Mr Campbell’s suggestions were turned down in a number of other areas. For instance, a request for the executive summary to list the allegation Iraq had imported aluminum tubes for its nuclear programme was rejected as there was no firm intelligence this was the case.

In another passage, he questioned why the report said that Iraq had "sought" to require uranium rather than had done so.

Perhaps Mr. Campbell hadn't realized that the Niger documents were a forgery? And hadn't President Bush included the Niger charge in the SOTU saying it was evidence that he got from the British?

One of the more silly things about this whole affair built on lies is how the British evidence was held up by the White House as exquisite, when the evidence was definitely bogus. Now it turns out that the British dossier was relying on American evidence that was equally false. And neither side saw fit to tell the other that they were building their castles on sand.


Mary :: 3:46 PM :: Comments (11) :: Digg It!