Monday, August 02, 2004
From Andrew Woodcock of the Independent, a welcome reminder that our friends across the briny are just as likely to reward venality, incompetence, and mendacity as we are:
The new head of MI6 tried to persuade weapons inspectors in Iraq to harden up a report on their hunt for weapons of mass destruction, it was claimed yesterday.
John Scarlett suggested that the Iraq Survey Group report should include claims about Saddam Hussein's supposed arsenals - which had already been proven unreliable, an unnamed member of the ISG was quoted as saying in The Mail on Sunday.
Mr Scarlett - who takes up his role as head of the secret intelligence service this week - sent a confidential email to the head of the ISG on 8 March with a list of 10 "golden nuggets" for possible inclusion in the report, it was claimed . . . .
Among the "nuggets" supposedly put forward by Mr Scarlett were claims that Saddam had a secret smallpox programme, that Iraq had developed mobile chemical weapons laboratories and that it possessed or was building a "rail gun" as part of a nuclear project.
ISG officials were said to be "stunned and dismayed" by the request. The ISG member was quoted as saying: "Inclusion of Scarlett's nuggets would have been grossly manipulative of the truth. Let's face it, he wanted us to include lies."