The claim that Iraq could deploy “chemical and biological munitions” within 45 minutes was made in a classified email issued by a member of the joint intelligence committee (JIC) – but with both sender and recipient blacked out for security reasons.
….That revelation, presented on day nine of the inquiry by Sir John Scarlett, the chairman of the JIC, appears to blow out of the water the original suggestion by BBC reporter Andrew Gilligan that the claim was made up.
Now think what you will about Gilligan and the BBC, but this is just plain wrong. Here’s what Gilligan said on BBC radio on May 29:
The information which I’m told was dubious did come from the information agencies, but they were unhappy about it because they didn’t think it should have been in there. They thought it was not corroborated sufficiently and they actually thought it was wrong. They thought the informant concerned had got it wrong.
I asked [David Kelly] how this transformation happened. The answer was a single word, ‘Campbell.’
What? Campbell made it up? ‘No, it was real information. But it was included against our wishes because it wasn’t reliable.’
How much clearer can things be? Gilligan never suggested the claim was “made up,” and he specifically acknowledged that it came from British intelligence. And despite the fact that Scarlett is swearing up and down that nobody ? nobody! ? raised any objections to the material in the dossier, we already know that’s not true. The Hutton inquiry found out on its very first day that two senior intelligence officers had grave doubts about some of the material in the dossier. What’s more, the 45-minute claim was single sourced, it was added at the last minute, and it turned out to be completely wrong.