Sept 4 ~ Q. You make the comment about the involvement of the spin merchants of this administration. Who were you referring to?From the transcript of Wednesday afternoon (Sept 3 2003)
"Mr A", the chemical warfare expert, gave this reply : " Well, it is really a general comment from the working level within the DIS about perceived interference and really that --
Q. Sorry to interrupt. What was the perception?
A. The perception was that the dossier had been round the houses several times in order to try to find a form of words which would strengthen certain political objectives...
...David had been in great demand throughout the winter and the spring, by various people, and had done a lot of work and a lot of travelling; and I do not think necessarily that he had the support that he thought was necessary. I say in that that he found it really quite frustrating at times dealing with people who were not fully aware of the issues....."
Dr Brian Francis Gill Jones: ( From 1987 until his retirement was a branch head in the Scientific and Technical Directorate of the Defence Intelligence Analysis Staff, which is in turn part of the Defence Intelligence Staff, the DIS)
"...I think "weapons of mass destruction" has become a convenient catch-all which, in my opinion, can at times confuse discussion of the subject.....
Q. And what was your CW expert's particular concern?
A. Well, at its simplest he was concerned that some of the statements that were in the dossier did not accurately represent his assessment of the intelligence available to him....
Q... concerns had not been accepted?
A. Some had, but there were significant ones that had not been accepted.
Q. And how did your CW expert feel about that?
A. He was very concerned....they were really about a tendency in certain areas, from his point of view, to shall we say over-egg certain assessments in relation particularly to the production of CW agents and weapons since 1998. .. we had problems about the source. Indeed, as you have heard, the primary source was described as reliable and -- who had reported regularly in the past, I think.
Q.....Were you aware of any concerns about the 45 minutes?
A. Yes, I had some concerns about the 45 minute point myself; yes.
...... Q. So why did you have any concerns?
A. Well, our concern was that what we were hearing was second-hand information. ." ..
Q. Was Dr Kelly aware of these concerns at the time?
A. He was certainly aware at that time or shortly afterwards that there were concerns over the 45 minute claim....
Q......Dr Jones, the Inquiry has been shown this intelligence report that a person in Iraq had been told by another person in Iraq that these weapons could be deployed within 45 minutes. Had you, at any time prior to 24th September, actually seen that report, seen its wording or seen a summary of it?
A. Yes, I had seen that report. .......the way in which the information was reported did not give us any real feel that the -- certainly -- and I think there was some acknowledgement of this in the reporting, that the primary source, the source -- the well known source knew very much about the subject he was reporting on and so we were left wondering: well, did the secondary source know these sort of things? .... we even wondered, in discussing the issue, whether he might even have been trying to influence rather than inform.
..... the information did not differentiate between whether these were chemical weapons or whether they were biological weapons; and that is an important matter....because if one is thinking in terms of biological warfare agents that fall into this category of being reasonably described as weapons of mass destruction, then they would have to be live biological warfare agents....we felt that we did in fact lack the collateral intelligence that allowed us to add confidence, if you like, to this single source. I mean, that is part of the analysis process....the absence of CW agent production was -- evidence of that worried us. We had not seen the weapons being produced. We had no evidence of any recent testing or field trials and things like that. So that all cast some doubts in our mind on that particular piece of intelligence....I think we felt that it was reasonable to say that the intelligence indicated that this was the case; and I think I felt it was a reasonable conclusion to draw; but we did not think -- we did not think the intelligence showed it absolutely beyond any shadow of doubt.
Q. And there is a difference, I take it, from your answer between "indicates" and "shows"?
A. Yes. ....it was the impression that I had, at that time, that our reservations about the dossier were not going to be reflected in the final version.
Q. As a result of this, did you take any action?
A. Yes, I wrote a minute to my director making it clear that there were problems with this...
Q...Was there a perception, right or wrong, amongst DIS personnel that spin merchants were involved with the dossier?..were people in the intelligence community happy with that?
No, I do not think... I think the people who had been involved on my staff and possibly others -- I mean, one cannot make a general statement about this. But certainly those people that were working directly with me were concerned and unhappy;..."