DEFENCE (FRONT BENCH) – IRAQI DOCUMENTS – 12 May 2003

Dr Julian Lewis: Given the great importance of uncovering Saddam's weapons of mass destruction and, indeed, his links with terrorist organisations, will the Secretary of State explain how it was possible that British journalists were able to obtain key documents from Ministries several days after the fighting had ceased when such documents should previously have been secured by British and American intelligence officers?

[Geoff Hoon: The hon. Gentleman knows full well that for a short period there was serious disorder and looting in parts of Baghdad in the immediate aftermath of the collapse of Saddam Hussein's regime. That was specifically aimed at elements of the regime, in particular the governing part. Not surprisingly, journalists on the spot were able to get access to documents that were not secured by the coalition. That should not come as a great surprise to the hon. Gentleman.]

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