Tags: Blair | Defends | Against | Intel | Spinning | Charges

Blair Defends Against Intel Spinning Charges

Friday, 06 June 2003 12:00 AM

The latest charge follows another recent BBC radio story that intelligence services were told by No 10 to “sex up” the WMD dossier to boost support for the war. The final version reportedly claimed among other things that Iraq could launch chemical or biological weapons within 45 minutes of President Saddam Hussein giving the order.

The current BBC blitz includes a report from an unnamed British intelligence official that on one occasion Blair had a personal say in sending the dossier back for further editing.

No chemical or biological agents were used against coalition troops during the active war and none have thus far been found. President Bush has suffered little fallout from the lack of a ‘smoking gun,’ – not so Mr. Blair.

In a recent British YouGov poll cited by the London Times, 63 percent of respondents said they believed Blair had misled them over whether Iraq had chemical and biological weapons, with 27 percent saying he deliberately lied. Only 29 percent of people believe Blair did not mislead the country over the weapons.

Perhaps most telling as to Blair’s political future -- in that same poll 23 percent of those responding to the YouGov survey said that Blair would lose credibility on other political issues if no WMDs were found in Iraq, while 18 per cent said that they could change the way they vote as a direct result.

Also getting big play in the British media is Vince Cannistraro, former chief of the CIA’s counterterrorism operations, who has gone public saying agency officers blamed the Pentagon for playing up “fradulent” intelligence, “a lot of it sourced from the Iraqi National Congress,” the anti-Saddam faction that is headed by Ahmed Chalabi, still favored by some in the U.S. to be the next leader of Iraq.

Cannistraro’s revelations were of particular interest to Britons since the British media has reported that unreliable information had been passed to London as part of intelligence-sharing by American officials who had interviewed a defector recruited by the INC.

Despite the British media’s fascination with such charges, however, some British intelligence officers considered the claim that unreliable defector information tainted the Iraq dossier as unreliable and uncorroborated, according to the Times report.

Meanwhile, Hans Blix, chief U.N. weapons inspector, has been making the BBC rounds telling British listeners and viewers that he was “disappointed” at the quality of the intelligence he received from the U.S. and Britain before the war, according to the Times report.

“We went to a great many sites that were given to us by intelligence, and only in three cases did we find anything - and they did not relate to weapons of mass destruction. That shook me a bit, I must say. I was impressed by that because we had been told that they would give the best intelligence they had, so I thought: ‘My God, if this is the best intelligence they had and we find nothing, what about the rest?’”

As for Blair, he is pulling no punches and making no apologies: “I stand absolutely 100 per cent behind the evidence based on intelligence that we presented to people. And let me just make one or two things clear. Firstly, the idea that we doctored intelligence reports in order to invent some notion about a 45-minute capability of delivering weapons of mass destruction, the idea that we doctored such intelligence is completely and totally false."

Meanwhile, a U.S.-operated radio station in Baghdad has appealed for help from Iraqi citizens across the country: “Everybody who has taken part in developing, storing, moving and acquiring weapons of mass destruction should provide coalition forces with information.”

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said recently that the Parliamentary Intelligence and Security Committee would look into the issue of the quality of the intelligence that led the U.K. to war. But the ISC reports directly to the Prime Minister rather than to the House of Commons -- a problem for some MPs.

Charles Kennedy, the Liberal Democrat leader, has called for the enpanelment of a special Commons select committee to independently investigate. “Here is probably the biggest issue for almost a generation where Parliament must be seen to be asserting itself,” Kennedy told BBC Radio.

© 2020 Newsmax. All rights reserved.


   
1Like our page
2Share
Pre-2008
The latest charge follows another recent BBC radio story that intelligence services were told by No 10 to "sex up" the WMD dossier to boost support for the war. The final version reportedly claimed among other things that Iraq could launch chemical or biological weapons...
Blair,Defends,Against,Intel,Spinning,Charges
703
2003-00-06
Friday, 06 June 2003 12:00 AM
Newsmax Media, Inc.
 

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
© Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved