The Lincoln Plawg - the blog with footnotes

Politics and law from a British perspective (hence Politics LAW BloG): ''People who like this sort of thing...'' as the Great Man said

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Wednesday, February 11, 2004

The 45 minutes and the scientist: the strange case of Brian Jones

[For a separate collection of the main August-October 2003 Hutton-related pieces, click the link in the left hand column.]

I'm still in a holding pattern on the Hutton Report: as I've said before, the overwhelming feeling one gets is that HMG, having declared victory - and, boy! what a swell party that was! - now want to move on. Other parties (BBC, opposition parties) are in no position to carry on the fight. The public is bored rigid.

There are parliamentary committees re-opening their inquiries, possible long-shot legal actions, and the Vince Foster it wasn't suicide billion-to-one shot to keep the story going.

And there's the different story about Iraqi WMD intel which is still very much alive - on the quality (ha!) of the intelligence: there, one suspects that the action will come from the Congressional committees who are on the case.

I've mentioned the close links between US and UK intelligence before (September 6 2003): the part played by USIC in HMG's evaluation and use of the 45 minute intel was never explored, so far as I can recall. Who knows what will turn up...

Meanwhile, there is Dr Brian Jones, formerly of the Scientific and Technical Directorate of the Defence Intelligence Analysis Staff (DIAS). Jones, you may recall, was the scientist who complained about the use made of the 45 in drafts of the dossier [1].

He's been talking to the Independent about the business (February 10), and the (ab)use of intelligence more generally.

Reading in his evidence of the doubts that there were during the drafting process amongst folk at the DIS - especially the three categories of problems about the 45 he and his colleagues had had (86:19ff) - one may be staggered to read (94:2):
The important point is that we at no stage argued that
3 this intelligence should not be included in the dossier.
4 Q. Right.
5 A. We thought it was important intelligence.

They merely wanted the language toned down.

Whereas, it seems to me that the problems were such as make inclusion of any reference to the 45, however caveated, in a public document unwise, to say the least.

Jones is retired now, and has a dicky heart. He won't be leading any charge on WMD intel, so far as I can see.

  1. Transcripts of his evidence, morning and afternoon.

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