Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Key Questions to Be Answered

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Key Questions to Be Answered

Article excerpt

Whatever action Prime Minister Tony Blair takes over the failure so far to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, these are the key questions any inquiry will have to answer:

* On what basis were the intelligence claims presented to Parliament and the nation in the September 24 2002 dossier made?

* Were intelligence sources rigorously checked, or was there - in Lord Hutton's word - a "subconscious" desire to provide Downing Street with the material to justify war?

* What resources were available to the intelligence agencies - from GCHQ tapping communications to MI6 bribing sources on the ground - in the years leading up to the Iraq conflicts?

* Was there a glut of money and resources encouraging false reporting and claims by agents to earn cash, or justify their existence?

* Or was there a scaling back as cash cuts went ahead over the years between the two Gulf wars, meaning reports were passed on without being checked as rigorously as they should be, or that communications intercepts were not as comprehensive as they could be? …

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