August 27, 2003
CLEAR YOUR DESK, LITTLE BUDDY
It’s 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 BBC’s extorted subscribers should demand a refund.
Posted by Tim Blair at August 27, 2003 12:16 AM
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".