Posted by Sadie from ? (184.108.40.206) on Friday, July 18, 2003 at 11:01AM :
In Reply to: even more posted by Sadie from ? (220.127.116.11) on Friday, July 18, 2003 at 10:57AM :
Full transcript of Gilligan's 'sexed up' broadcast
A complete transcript of Andrew Gilligan's claims against the government on Radio 4's Today programme.
Wednesday July 9, 2003
Today Programme, May 29
Are you suggesting [the dossier] was not the work of the intelligence agencies?
Andrew Gilligan The information which I'm told was dubious did come from the information agencies, but they were unhappy about it because they didn't think it should have been in there. They thought it was not corroborated sufficiently and they actually thought it was wrong. They thought the informant concerned had got it wrong. They thought he'd misunderstood what was happening. Let's go throughout this. This is the dossier that was published in September last year, probably the most substantial statement of the government's case against Iraq. You'll remember that the Commons was recalled to debate it, Tony Blair made the opening speech. It is not the same as the famous dodgy dossier, the one that was copied off the internet, that came later. It was quite a serious document that dominated the news agenda that day, and you open up the dossier and the first thing you see is a preface by Tony Blair that includes the following words:
"Saddam's military planning allows for some WMDs to be ready within 45 minutes of an order to deploy them."
Now, that claim has come back to haunt Mr Blair because, if the weapons had been that readily to hand, they probably would have been found by now. But you know, it could have been an honest mistake. But what I have been told is that the government knew that claim was questionable even before the war, even before they wrote it in their dossier.
I've spoken to a British official who was involved in the preparation of the dossier and he told me that in the week before it was published, the draft dossier produced by the intelligence services added little to what was already publicly known. He said:
"It was transformed in the week before it was published to make it sexier. The classic example was the claim that weapons of mass destruction were ready for use within 45 minutes. That information was not in the original draft. It was included in the dossier against our wishes, because it wasn't reliable. Most of the things in the dossier were double-sourced, but that was single sourced, and we believe that the source was wrong."
Now this official told me the dossier was transformed at the behest of Downing Street, and he added:
"Most people in intelligence were unhappy with the dossier because it didn't reflect the considered view they were putting forward."
Now I want to stress that this official, and others I've spoken to, do still believe Iraq did have had some sort of weapons of mass destruction programmes.
"I believe it is about 30% likely there was a chemical weapons programme in the six months before the war, and considerably more likely there was a biological weapons programme. We think Blix downplayed a couple of potentially interesting pieces of evidence. But the weapons programmes were quite small. Sanctions did limit the programme."
The official also added quite an interesting note about the result, since the war, of the capture of some of the Iraqi WMD scientists.
"We don't have a great deal more information yet than we had before. We have not got a great deal out of the detainees yet."
Now the 45-minute issue is not just a detail. It did go to the heart of the government's case that Saddam was an imminent threat, and it was repeated a further three times in the body of the dossier. And I understand that the parliamentary intelligence and security committee is going to conduct an inquiry into the claims made by the British government about Iraq and it is obviously exactly this kind of issue that will be at the heart of their investigation.
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