Secret emails suggesting that Britain was duped into war in Iraq were released yesterday, renewing calls for a full-scale public inquiry into the conflict.
Documents released under freedom of information laws show Government officials pressed intelligence chiefs to strip out caveats about Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction.
Agents complained that the Government’s infamous dossier making the case for war suggested Saddam’s biological warfare programme was more advanced than they believed to be the case.
They also privately mocked claims about Iraq’s nuclear programme, joking that atomic specialists the document suggested had been assembled in Iraq must be ‘Dr Frankenstein’.
The 2002 dossier, which helped convince many MPs of the case for war, contained the now-discredited claim that Saddam Hussein had chemical and biological weapons which could be deployed within 45 minutes.
An inquiry headed by Lord Hutton, widely seen as a whitewash, concluded that spy chief Sir John Scarlett, who compiled the document, could have been ‘subconsciously influenced’ by political pressure while drawing up the report.
- A d v e r t i s e m e n t
Yesterday’s documents showed Sir John was directly instructed to make the conclusions as firm as possible.