CONSERVATIVE
New Forest East

'ISC HAS SOUGHT TO WHITEWASH THE PM'

Daily Telegraph – 17 September 2003

May I draw attention to the unremarked fact that the report (News, Sept 9) of the Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC) considered not only the Sept 24, 2002 dossier, but also the plagiarising "dodgy dossier" placed in the library of the House of Commons on Feb 3, 2003?

Annex A of the ISC report consists of the five-page Secret Intelligence Service briefing note which was drawn upon to supply a fraction of the 19-page February dossier, the bulk of which consisted of unattributed material previously published on the internet.

Number 10 were up to their necks in this dossier's compilation, and failed to consult the JIC or SIS before publishing.

According to the ISC, on page 37 of its report: "We conclude that the Prime Minister was correct to describe the document as containing 'further intelligence ... about the infrastructure of concealment'." This conclusion is reiterated in Annex B (page 55), as follows: "We believe that the Prime Minister was correct when he described the February document as containing further intelligence. It also contained other material.''

Yet, despite the emphasis placed on the word "containing" (it is italicised on page 55), the Prime Minister never used it at all. What he said when describing the dossier to the House on Feb 3, 2003 was: "We issued further intelligence over the weekend about the infrastructure of concealment. It is obviously difficult when we publish intelligence reports, but I hope that people have some sense of the integrity of our security services. They are not publishing this, or giving us this information, and making it up." (Hansard, Feb 3, 2003).

This clearly suggested that the second dossier was a "further intelligence" report, and not just a mixed bag "containing" a minority of intelligence-derived material and a majority of internet data previously published.

It is disquieting that a committee as senior as the ISC has sought to whitewash the Prime Minister in so clear a case of misleading Parliament, especially as this is a matter which the Hutton Inquiry will not be considering.

JULIAN LEWIS MP
Opposition Spokesman for Defence
House of Commons
London SW1