8.8.3 Chilcot Report ‘Dodgy Dossier’
Sir John Chilcot had access to much more information than had previously been made public, notably intelligence reports that were passed to the Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC) of the UK Parliament, and he placed more emphasis on the role of the information presented to Parliament prior to the invasion of Iraq. Paragraph numbers of his Report of the Iraq Inquiry Executive Summary are cited below.
The JIC had been gathering material on Iraq’s “weapons of mass destruction” (WMD) since 2001. The material had been assembled into a dossier which would later be referred to in the media as the ‘dodgy dossier’ because of doubts about its accuracy. The word ‘dossier’ appears 32 times in the Executive Summary, which emphasises that the ‘dodgy dossier’ was central to Tony Blair’s case for going to war . The Chilcot Report did not say that the document had been ‘sexed up’, as had been alleged by some news media, but it did take issue with its Foreword, which was written by Tony Blair and set out his own opinions without making it clear that these had not originated from the JIC [531–543].
Doubts about the dossier undermined public confidence in the government’s case for going to war, especially after the failure to find WMD in Iraq after the invasion: “after the invasion, the UK Government, including the intelligence community, was reluctant to admit, and to recognise publicly, the mounting evidence that there had been failings in the UK’s pre‑conflict collection, validation, analysis and presentation of intelligence on Iraq’s WMD” .
The BBC published a report on 24 June 2003 entitled Straw evidence at-a-glance which quoted some of the Foreign Secretary’s apology to the Commons foreign affairs committee:
“He apologised to the student who wrote the study of Iraq lifted from the Internet by the government. It would have been better not to have published the “dodgy dossier”, Mr Straw said.”