27 January 2004

Intelligence services 'must answer for Iraq WMD claims

Intelligence chiefs should explain why they believed Iraq possessed banned weapons of mass destruction before the coalition invasion, outgoing US weapons inspector David Kay said.

Mr Kay, who now believes that Saddam Hussein did not have WMD stockpiles, asked: 'Why could we all be so wrong?'

Speaking on US National Public Radio Mr Kay said of the much-vaunted WMDs: 'I don't think they exist. The fact that we found so far the weapons do not exist - we've got to deal with that difference and understand why. It's an issue of the capabilities of one's intelligence service to collect valid, truthful information,' he said.

Asked if President George W Bush owed his nation an explanation Mr Kay said: 'I actually think the intelligence community owes the president, rather than the president owing the American people.'

The White House needs to explain the absence of weapons of mass destruction. Sovereignty returns to Iraq in less than 6 months. Presumably the transfer of sovereignty is the final cut-off when the White House and Number 10 will stop telling us to wait for the ISG report.

If this was a failure of the intelligence agencies they need to start making changes to the intelligence system. If they do nothing they admit that US intelligence was as sexed-up as we now know UK intelligence was.

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