August 27, 2003


Its all over for the BBC and Andrew Gilligan:

The origin of the disputed 45-minute claim on Iraqi weapons came from a secret intelligence report dated August 30, the Hutton inquiry heard today.

The claim that Iraq could deploy "chemical and biological munitions" within 45 minutes was made in a classified email issued by a member of the joint intelligence committee (JIC) - but with both sender and recipient blacked out for security reasons.

It was distributed to Downing Street and Whitehall staff six days later on September 5 as new drafts of the September 24 dossier were being prepared.

The email stated that "forward deployed storage sites of chemical and biological munitions could be with military units and ready for firing within 45 minutes".

That revelation, presented on day nine of the inquiry by Sir John Scarlett, the chairman of the JIC, appears to blow out of the water the original suggestion by BBC reporter Andrew Gilligan that the claim was made up.

The BBCs extorted subscribers should demand a refund.

UPDATE. If the Hutton Inquiry employed the mercy rule, this contest would have to be stopped:

Government intelligence chief Sir John Scarlett told the Hutton inquiry today he knew immediately that Andrew Gilligan's report on the Today programme alleging the dossier on Iraq weapons had been "sexed up" by Downing Street was "completely untrue".

Posted by Tim Blair at August 27, 2003 12:16 AM


Funniest. Headline. Ever.

Posted by: hingohongo at August 27, 2003 at 04:10 AM

Of course, as Chief Spook we must believe his every word.

In which case those "10,000 litres" of anthrax, the chemical agents, botulinum etc which haven't been found are presumably in the hands of Ba'athist's, Shia opposition or "international terrorists".

We can rely on Tim to bring more great news from Iraq.

Posted by: Analogue Voter at August 27, 2003 at 05:41 AM

AV, behind the times, I see. Do you work for the CIA?

Posted by: Sandy P. at August 27, 2003 at 08:51 AM

As AV suggests - 1 person making an uncorroborrated statement does not make it true. And another thing - just because Tim thinks or says something doesn't make it true - in fact most of the time the opposite is true.

Posted by: Billy at August 27, 2003 at 11:49 AM

The BBC has Sir John Scarlett on the defence.

Posted by: ilibcc at August 27, 2003 at 12:18 PM

Of course, it's so much easier when you know that only one side lies. The BBC should always be trusted even without sources because it has a direct pipeline to THE TRUTH. It can never, ever be wrong. It says so.

Posted by: JorgXMcKie at August 28, 2003 at 03:33 AM