London Evening Standard
Monday, Sept 8, 2008
Secret advice from a foreign power, thought to be America, helped to shape the dossier that said Saddam Hussein could attack within 45 minutes and set out the case for war in Iraq.
MI6 chief John Scarlett, then chairman of the Government’s Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC), turned to the foreign country as final touches were put to the now discredited dossier, it has emerged.
The document, which the Government is accused of ‘sexing up’ in the weeks before it was made public, contained a string of claims that later proved false.
These included the warnings that Saddam could launch weapons of mass destruction ‘within 45 minutes’ and that it was ‘beyond doubt’ that he was developing nuclear weapons.
Both claims were the key to convincing the public and Parliament of the threat posed by Iraq and were essential to putting together the legal case for war.
Now it has been revealed that Mr Scarlett canvassed foreign help – which sources claim came from America’s CIA – in the days before the dossier was published.