Friday | July 11, 2003
The ball is in your court , Mr. Blair
By Steve Gilliard
George Tenet is a very, very clever man.
He gave the illusion of taking the blame, blame he cannot take, and thus questions are now exploding and they go both ways.
And now the Independent is claiming the first dossier, issued in September, 2002, was also culled from the Internet. This is the dossier which included the claims about uranium from Niger
Tony Blair's first Iraq weapons dossier used material culled from the internet to buttress the Government's case for war - exactly as the now-discredited second, so-called dodgy dossier did.
The document, released last September, shows at least six separate items on Saddam Hussein's alleged weapons of mass destruction were lifted from reports up to 21 months old. The revelation will be acutely embarrassing to the Prime Minister who, only this week, defended the first dossier robustly, and insisted it supported the need for action.
The Foreign Affairs Select Committee has already criticised the second dossier, produced in February, in which intelligence was mixed with other material, including a student's PhD thesis.
Although the action may be unprecedented, much of the information was freely available on the internet.
The dossier appears to have drawn heavily from three sources in the public domain. They are a briefing paper by William Cohen, US Defence Secretary in the Clinton administration, from January 2001; the appearance before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence by George Tenet, the CIA director, the following month; an unclassified CIA report to Congress covering the period 1 July to 31 December 2000; and a report on Iraq by the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) published in London in September.
The African uranium claim, since rejected by the UN International Atomic Energy Agency, is not in the other documents. Mr Cohen's report says: "Although Iraq claims it destroyed all the specific equipment and facilities for developing nuclear weapons, it retains sufficient skilled and experienced scientists as well as weapons design information that could allow it to restart a weapons programme."
Question for Bush:
Who pushed for this stuff to be in the speech in the first place? Why was it used when so many questions were tossed up about it from so many sources?
Question for Blair:
Even though the CIA warned MI6 that this data was, at best, questionable, why was it still included in the first dossier.
This is turning into a real scandal. The whole dossier was collected from public sources and was nearly two years old?
I think this is going to be a problem for both Blair and Bush, but now, Blair will be fighting for his job.Posted July 11, 2003 10:27 PM