Britain admits Iraq intelligence was wrong
British intelligence chiefs have admitted for the first time that claims they made about Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction were wrong.
The admission is in the annual report of Britain's parliamentary intelligence and security committee, which also criticises the lack of communication between ministers and the Secret Intelligence Service, MI6.
It discloses that late last year Britain's joint intelligence committee reviewed key judgements on Iraq's WMD capability and programs behind the Government's now discredited dossier published in September 2002. The committee then claimed that Iraq was pursuing a nuclear weapons program. It now admits this was wrong.
In 2002, it said "Iraq retains up to 20 al-Hussein ballistic missiles" but now admits: "This has not been substantiated."
The committee had also claimed that "Iraq may retain some stocks of chemical agents . . . Iraq could produce significant quantities of mustard (gas) within weeks". It now admits: "Although a capability to produce some agents probably existed, this judgement has not been substantiated."
The committee also said in 2002 that Iraq had biological agents and could produce more within days. It now says that the Iraq Survey Group found Iraq could resume production, "but not within the time frames" and found no evidence that production had started.
The parliamentary committee notes that three MI6 agents were "withdrawn" after the Iraq invasion.
The committee also referred to the Butler inquiry, which described the MI6 agent behind the claim that Iraq could deploy chemical weapons within 45 minutes as "seriously flawed".