Britain and U.S. spying agencies had ignored intelligence before invasion of Iraq that the country had no active weapons of mass destruction (WMDs), it has been revealed.
MI6 and CIA had been told through secret channels by Saddam’s foreign minister and his spy chief that Iraq had no WMDs, media reports said.
This is while that former Prime Minister Tony Blair told parliament in the run-up to the war that intelligence showed Iraq’s nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons programme was “active”, “growing” and “up and running”.
According to a special Panorama programme in the BBC, British and U.S. spying agencies were informed by top sources months before the invasion that Iraq had no active WMD programme, and that the information was not passed to subsequent inquiries.
The programme explains how Naji Sabri, Saddam’s foreign minister, told the CIA’s station chief in Paris at the time, Bill Murray, through an intermediary that Iraq had “virtually nothing” in terms of WMD.
Meanwhile, Panorama confirms that three months before the war an MI6 officer met Iraq’s head of intelligence, Tahir Habbush al-Tikriti, who also said that Saddam had no active WMDs.
The meeting in the Jordanian capital, Amman, took place days before the British regime published its now widely discredited Iraqi weapons dossier in September 2002.
Lord Butler, the former cabinet secretary who led an inquiry into the use of intelligence in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq, tells the programme that he was not told about Sabri’s comments, and that he should have been.
Butler says of the use of intelligence: “There were ways in which people were misled or misled themselves at all stages.”
When it was suggested to him that the body that probably felt most misled of all was the British public, Butler replied: “Yes, I think they’re, they’re, they got every reason think that.”
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