UNITED KINGDOM

Post-Cold War

2004

Generally

Materials presented chronologically.

Herman, Michael. "Intelligence's Future: Learning From the Past." Journal of Intelligence History 3, no. 2 (Winter 2003). [http://www.intelligence-history.org/jih/previous.html]

From abstract: "The British political crisis in 2004 over the government's 'dossier' on Iraqi WMD ... illustrates the problems of intelligence's new public profile. It also points to the lessons to be learned from its assessment failures on this subject. These point towards establishing a European assessment machinery, a kind of Brussels Joint Intelligence Committee; and also towards encouraging intelligence professionalism everywhere."

Richissin, Todd. "Blair Facing Pressure over Iraq Intelligence: Investigation Is Sought on Justifications for War." Baltimore Sun, 1 Feb. 2004. [http://www.sunspot.net]

"The warning that Prime Minister Tony Blair gave to the House of Commons and a national television audience before the war with Iraq was stark.... [Now,] there are growing calls in Great Britain -- as there are in the United States -- for an independent inquiry into how apparently false information was used to justify going to war....

"J. Ransom Clark ... said he has little doubt that the intelligence agencies in Britain sent nuanced reports to their superiors, full of caveats explaining the percentage of confidence in their conclusions. The caveats would have been particularly prominent coming from a country such as Iraq, a 'denied area' in intelligence parlance, meaning agents could not work freely and would have tight limitations on the amount of firsthand knowledge they could obtain. 'The information works its way up the bureaucracy, and a caveat is taken out here, another there, and then you have a boss standing in front of the president, and suddenly the answer is, "Yes, Iraq is storing chemical weapons,"' Clark said. 'Presidents want answers, not equivocations, and prime ministers don't want probabilities.'"

Loch K. Johnson, author of several books on intelligence, said that "[a]mong those who should share any blame ... are the British and U.S. intelligence agencies for not going public and explaining that their information was far from certain. And congressional and parliamentary oversight committees should have reviewed the intelligence and then raised questions about whether conjecture was being presented as fact, Johnson said."

Lyall, Sarah. "Soul-Searching and Anxiety After a Report Blames BBC." New York Times, 2 Feb. 2004. [http://www.nytimes.com]

A "devastating outside report" by senior judge Lord Hutton has found that BBC radio reporter Andrew Gilligan "erred by saying last May 29 that the government had inserted information it 'probably knew' was incorrect in an intelligence dossier published in September 2002, to bolster its case for war against Iraq. The BBC itself, the report said, compounded the error by defending the broadcast without properly investigating it." Lord Hutton's report "also exonerated the government, both in its preparation of the dossier and in the death of David Kelly, a government weapons specialist who killed himself last July when he was revealed as the source of Mr. Gilligan's broadcast."

Barbash, Fred. "Short Suggests Britain Eavesdropped on Annan." Washington Post, 26 Feb. 2004. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

Clare Short, the disaffected former secretary for international development, suggested on 26 February 2004 that "intelligence agencies eavesdropped on U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan in the run-up to the war in Iraq." See also, Michael Evans, "Don't Be Surprised by Short Claims." Times (London), 26 Feb. 2004; and Telegraph (London), "Short Adds to Government's Woes," 26 Feb. 2004.

Tweedie, Neil. "Woman Who Leaked Secret GCHQ Email Escapes Trial." Telegraph (London), 26 Feb. 2004. [http://www.telegraph.co.uk]

Katharine Gun, former GCHQ linguist, "escaped prosecution [on 25 February 2004] despite admitting that she leaked a top secret email about an Anglo-American operation to eavesdrop on members of the United Nations Security Council before the Iraq war.... [T]he Crown Prosecution Service offered no evidence against Mrs Gun, despite her contravention of the Official Secrets Act. It gave no explanation and it was left only for the judge to record a not guilty verdict." See also, PA News, "Case against GCHQ Whistleblower Dropped," Times (London), 26 Feb. 2004.

Gordievsky, Oleg. "... but I say he's the best man." Telegraph (London), 9 May 2004.

Reacting to some of the negative commentary garnered by John Scarlett's appointment to head MI6, Gordievsky states "I know John to be a man of the highest personal integrity. He was my case officer when I was [a] secret agent working for MI6 inside the KGB. He was outstandingly good at his job: careful and precise, he never jeopardised my safety -- but he always tried to ensure that I provided the information that would be of most use.... [T]he last three years he has spent as Chairman of the Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC) have given him a unique insight into the intelligence network ... now co-operating across the globe to thwart al-Qaeda."

Intelligence. "Great Britain: John McLeod Scarlett." 440 (17 May 2004): 8.

John McLeod Scarlett, chairman of the Joint Intelligence Committee, "has been appointed director general of Her Majesty's Secret Service, MI6. He will take up the post in July [2004], succeeding Sir Richard Dearlove, who becomes Master at Pembrook College."

West, Nigel. [Rupert Allason] "Commentary: Making War Controversial." International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence 17, no. 2 (Summer 2004): 358-363.

"Whatever the truth behind the elusive Iraqi stockpiles [of WMD], considerable political damage has been done to the Western allies.... [O]ne of the principal casualties of the apparent debacle will be the stature and credibility of Great Britain's Joint Intelligence Committee, and the automatic acceptance of its hitherto unchallenged authority."

Lord Butler. Review of Intelligence on Weapons of Mass Destruction: Report of a Committee of Privy Councillors. House of Commons 898. London: The Stationery Office, 14 Jul. 2004.

The Butler Report is available at: http://www.fas.org/irp/world/uk/butler071404.pdf.

Cowell, Alan. "British Report Faults Prewar Intelligence but Clears Blair." New York Times, 15 Jul. 2004. [http://www.nytimes.com]

The report released by Lord Butler on 14 July 2004 "found extensive failures both in intelligence gathering on illicit weapons and the government's use of that intelligence to justify the Iraq war. But it cleared Prime Minister Tony Blair of accusations that he or his government distorted the evidence to build a case for the war.... [T]he report specifically exonerated one of Britain's top spymasters, John Scarlett," who headed the Joint Intelligence Committee prior to his appointment to head MI6. See also, Glenn Frankel, "Britain's Iraq Data Deemed 'Flawed': Blair Didn't Distort Facts, Inquiry Finds," Washington Post, 15 Jul. 2004, A1.

Norton-Taylor, Richard, and Michael White. "New Intelligence Chief Fails to Meet Butler Guidelines." The Guardian, 17 Jul. 2004. [http://www.guardian.co.uk] 

On appointment of William Ehrman as JIC chairman.

Bennetto, Jason. "Carry On Spying: Russian Agents Flood UK in Revival of Intelligence Cold War." The Independent, 26 Oct. 2004. [http://news.independent.co.uk]

According to senior Whitehall and security sources, "Russia has resumed Cold War levels of spying and intelligence gathering in Britain."

Norton-Taylor, Richard, and Michael White. "Blair Misused Intelligence, Says Ex-Spy Officer." The Guardian, 29 Oct. 2004. [http://www.guardian.co.uk] 

Reports the claims of former senior intelligence official John Morrison.

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