Monday, February 02, 2004

spook revenge in backlash whitewash probe bombshell shock:
As the UK government looks set to follow the US lead and declare an inquiry into the absense of WMD in Iraq, Peter Hain sets up the party line

But Commons leader Peter Hain said he had seen "categoric evidence" that Saddam Hussein had chemical and biological WMD.

"I saw that intelligence, so did the prime minister, so did other Cabinet ministers," he told BBC One's Politics Show.

While in Sunday's Observer, news that intelligence services were less than confident that WMD would be found.

A second leaked document prepared by the BBC for Hutton also reveals crucial details of why executives stood by its controversial Today report, detailing a lunch between the head of MI6, Sir Richard Dearlove, and Kevin Marsh, the editor of the Today programme.

In a witness statement prepared by Marsh and BBC legal representatives, it is claimed that Dearlove suggested that 'hard evidence of WMD in Iraq would never be found'

Obviously, timing needs to be sorted out here. When did Hain hear his 'categoric assurances' (and what 'category' are they in - presumably not the category of 'total bollocks') and when did Dearlove let slip the awful truth.

What does look like shaping up in the enquiries on both sides of the pond is a battle between the respective governments and intelligence services, with the pols claiming a bad steer from the spooks, and the spooks claiming political pressure on their intelligence gathering processes. I suspect that both are right.