Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Dodgy Dossier

The claim was, of course, utterly absurd on its face to sentient human beings not employed as pundits in our leading periodicals and teevee networks.

LONDON -- An early version of a British dossier of prewar intelligence on Iraq did not include a key claim about weapons of mass destruction that became vital to Tony Blair's case for war, the newly published document showed Monday.

The 2002 document insisted Saddam Hussein's regime had acquired uranium and had equipment necessary for chemical weapons, but does not contain a claim that Iraq could launch weapons of mass destruction within 45 minutes -- an allegation crucial to Blair's push to back the 2003 U.S.-led invasion -- that later was discredited.

Campaigners allege that the 45-minute claim was inserted into later drafts of the document on the orders of Blair's press advisers, who were seeking to strengthen the case for invasion -- a claim the government has strongly denied.