Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Tony Blair was told Saddam Hussein may not have been able to use his chemical weapons ten days before war was declared, the Iraq Inquiry was told today.
The second day of public hearings heard the Foreign Office had no evidence Saddam was trying to supply chemical or biological weapons to terrorists.
The inquiry also heard Iraq was only the fourth most dangerous rouge state trying to develop weapons of mass destruction prior to the 2003 invasion.
Officials were more alarmed by developments in Libya, Iran and North Korea, the Foreign Office’s head of counter-proliferation said.
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Sir William Ehrman, who was director of international security at the Foreign Office, defended the war, claiming there was very little “contradictory” evidence that Saddam lacked weapons of mass destruction.
When it was pointed out that UN weapons inspectors failed to find chemical or biological stocks in many sites, Sir William said: “Four out of 10 as a strike rate is pretty good.” Sir Lawrence Freedman, for the inquiry, interrupted: “Not when you are going to war.”
Sir William added that ministers had been repeatedly warned that the intelligence on Iraq’s chemical and biological programmes had been “patchy”.
This article was posted: Wednesday, November 25, 2009 at 10:57 am