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Dr Brian Jones "confused" by Prime Minister's evidence to Hutton

Category: News

Date: 11.07.2004
Printable version

Dr Brian Jones, former head of the Ministry of Defence's intelligence branch - Defence Intelligence Staff - tells BBC ONE's Panorama (Sunday 11 July, 10.15pm) that he was "confused" and "couldn't relate to" Tony Blair's response to Lord Hutton, when the Prime Minister told the inquiry that "there was a tremendous amount of information and evidence coming across my desk as to the WMD and programmes associated with it that Saddam had".

Asked by Panorama's John Ware, "What do you think of the Prime Minister's response?" Dr Jones replies: "It confused me at the time."

"Because you couldn't relate to it?" asks John Ware. To which Dr Jones responds: "Because I couldn't relate to it."

John Ware also asks: "Do you know anyone who could relate to it?"

Dr Jones replies: "Certainly no one on my staff had any visibility of large quantities of intelligence of that sort."

Dr Jones also talks of the coverage of intelligence from Iraq before military operations.

"I just want to try and get a snapshot from you of how big the gaps were in the coverage of intelligence from Iraq. Was it known which agents had been produced since Gulf War 1?" asks John Ware.

"No, it wasn't," replies Dr Jones.

"Was it known whether agent had been stockpiled, or consisted only of a small reserve?" questions John Ware.

"It was not known with certainty. There was a reasonable assumption that there may have been some stocks left over from the first Gulf War. If there had been any other production, then we have not identified that it had taken place," replies Dr Jones.

Dr Jones is also asked if he knew where and how the weapons had been filled with agents and if he knew how the weapons and agents had been transported and deployed. On both occasions he replies, "No."

The programme also hears from John Morrison, the former Deputy Chief of Defence Intelligence.

He tells Panorama that he could "almost hear the collective raspberry going up around Whitehall" when he heard the Prime Minister state in the House of Commons and in the dossier that the threat from Iraq was serious and current.

He believes that in his public statements prior to the war the Prime Minister went beyond what a professional analyst would have concluded given the evidence.

John Morrison tells the programme: ".In moving from what the dossier said Saddam had, which was a capability possibly, to asserting that Iraq presented a threat, then the Prime Minister was going way beyond anything any professional analyst would have agreed."

John Morrison also talks for the first time about Operation Desert Fox, the three day bombing campaign on Iraqi targets in December 1998 following a crisis in relations between the UN weapons inspectors and the Iraqi regime.

For the analysts in the MoD this operation provided a foretaste of what was to come in the run up to the Iraq War.

They felt pressured after the operation to sign up to the claim that targets actively involved in the WMD production had been hit in the strikes - when they were not certain that was the case.

He says: "I am sure Number Ten wanted it [Desert Fox] to be a success and I am sure the MoD wanted it to be a success.

"But wanting doesn't make it so. after Desert Fox I actually sent a note round to all the analysts involved congratulating them on standing firm, in the case, in some cases of individual pressure to say things that weren't true. in the sense that they didn't know whether they were true or not."

Notes to Editors

Panorama will be shown at 10.15pm on Sunday 11 July on BBC ONE.

All quotes used must credit the programme.

Transcripts are available, for media use only, on request.




Category: News

Date: 11.07.2004
Printable version


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