Post-Cold War

2002 - 2003


Materials presented chronologically.

Joint Intelligence Committee. Iraq's Weapons of Mass Destruction: The Assessment of the British Government. London: Stationery Office of the United Kingdom, 2002.

The JIC assessment states: "As a result of the intelligence we judge that Iraq has:

"- continued to produce chemical and biological agents;

"- military plans for the use of chemical and biological weapons.... Some of these weapons are deployable within 45 minutes of an order to use them;

"- command and control arrangements in place to use chemical and biological weapons."

Gordievsky, Oleg. "The Woman Who Kept My Secret." telegraph.co.uk, 5 May 2002.

The former KGB officer offers praise for Eliza Manningham-Buller's being named to head MI5 -- "the best news for the service in a decade.... [W]hat will make Eliza such a good head of MI5 isn't that she has a smooth and agreeable exterior; the secret of her success will be that she has been an exceptional operational officer."

Jonkers, Roy K. [COL/USAF (Ret.)] "Britain Names Future MI5 Director." AFIO Weekly Intelligence Notes 19-02 (13 May 2002).

According to a 17 April 2002 Associated Press report, Eliza Manningham-Buller, the current Deputy Director General of MI5, has been "named as the prospective head of MI 5, to be effective next October. The current MI 5 chief, Sir Stephen Lander, will take another government post.... Manningham-Buller, 53, is said to be a counter-terrorism expert . She gained practical experience in counter-terrorism in the fight against the Irish Republican Army's terrorism. She was a senior liaison officer with the CIA during the Gulf War, and was among the senior British intelligence officers who flew to Washington the day after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks."

Norton-Taylor, Richard, and Michael White. "Intelligence Chiefs Tell Blair: No More Spin, No More Stunts; MI5 and MI6 Win Assurances over Spy Reports." The Guardian, 5 Jun. 2003. [http://www.guardian.co.uk] 

The heads of MI5 and MI6 have sought and received "the government's assurance that it will never again pass off as official intelligence information which does not come from them. They are also insisting that any information used by Downing Street claiming to be based on intelligence should be cleared by them first. Their demands ... reflect deep unease in the intelligence community about the government's attempt to use secret information to push its case for military action against Iraq."

Cowell, Alan. "Blair Did Not Knowingly Use False Report, Inquiry Is Told." New York Times, 12 Aug. 2003. [http://www.nytimes.com]

On 11 August 2003, "[s]enior government officials told a high-profile inquiry ... that intelligence officers had registered their concern at the way Prime Minister Tony Blair's government presented the threat from Iraq's weapons systems before going to war. But the officials ... denied that the government knowingly used false information to create a sense of imminent threat from Iraq."

Frankel, Glenn. "Panel Warned Blair of War Risk: British Leader Was Told Terrorists Could Gain Arms." Washington Post, 12 Sep. 2003, A1. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

A House of Commons report released on 11 September 2003 concludes "that an intelligence dossier on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction that the government published a year ago had been potentially misleading in several key points. But the panel cleared [Prime Minister Tony] Blair's office of claims it had purposely exaggerated intelligence claims to justify military action." See also, Warren Hoge, "Parliamentary Panel Faults British Government on Iraq but Clears It of Falsifying Intelligence," New York Times, 12 Sep. 2003.

Rufford, Nicholas. "MI5 Caught Bugging Ally's UK Embassy." Times (London), 2 Nov. 2003. [http://www.timesonline.co.uk]

"A former MI5 agent [codenamed Notation] has exposed a bungled attempt by the security service to bug the London embassy of one of Britain's key allies [unnamed in the story] in the war on terror. MI5 infiltrated the embassy, stole codes used by embassy staff for sending secret messages and planned to plant listening devices and remove documents. The spying operation took place under the cover of restoration work that was carried out at the embassy last year."

See Nicholas Rufford, "Bugs and Nervous Breakdowns in MI5's Bungled Embassy Job," Times (London), 2 Nov. 2003, for some operational details on the MI5 effort.

Tweedie, Neil, and John Steele. "GCHQ Translator 'Revealed Secrets.'" Telegraph (London), 14 Nov. 2003. [http://www.telegraph.co.uk]

Former GCHQ translator Katharine Gun was charged on 13 November 2003 with "passing classified information to an unauthorised person under Section 1 (1) of the Official Secrets Act." The charge follows publication of an article in The Observer in March "disclosing a request from the Americans for GCHQ's help in intercepting diplomatic traffic to help predict the outcome of any vote on Iraq at the UN." It is understood "Gun's lawyers will not dispute that she was the source of the article but will argue that she was justified in disclosing the information."

Tweedie, Neil. "Translator at GCHQ in Court over Press 'Leak.'" Telegraph (London), 28 Nov. 2003. [http://www.telegraph.co.uk]

Katharine Gun, a former GCHQ translator, "appeared in court [on 27 November 2003] charged with leaking details of a proposed Anglo-American operation to eavesdrop on members of the UN Security Council before the war in Iraq.... Gun ... was sacked following the publication of an article in The Observer alleging that the Americans had requested British help in intercepting Security Council communications."

This case concluded in February 2004 with a not guilty verdict by the judge. See Neil Tweedie, "Woman Who Leaked Secret GCHQ Email Escapes Trial," Telegraph (London), 26 Feb. 2004.

Kettell, Steven. "Who's Afraid of Saddam Hussein? Re-examining the 'September Dossier' Affair." Contemporary British History 22, no. 3 (2008): 407-426.

Return to UK Post-Cold War Table of Contents