Reports: Blair's office authorized ''substantial rewrite'' of Iraq dossier
It seems the British Prime Minister is facing one of his most critical crises nowadays with new disclosures saying Tony Blair's office apparently authorized a "substantial rewrite" of a controversial dossier on Iraq, which will fuel claims that London exaggerated intelligence to strengthen the case for war on Saddam, press reports said Tuesday.
The papers were commenting on evidence given Monday to a judicial inquiry into the apparent suicide of arms expert Dr. David Kelly, the scientist at the core of a row over how the UK went to war against Iraq.
The inquiry in London heard that an e-mail from Blair's director of communications Alastair Campbell to chief-of-staff Jonathan Powell, dated September 5, disclosed that a government dossier on Iraq was being substantially rewritten ahead of its publication on September 24.
The Daily Mail reported, "the disclosure blows a huge hole in the government's claims that there was no political interference before the document's publication last September".
Meanwhile, The Times said Campbell's message to Powell "threatened to blow a hole ... in Downing Street's insistence that it had not "sexed up" last September's Iraq weapons dossier".
While The Daily Express said that the comment would "provide further ammunition for critics who accused Downing Street of 'sexing up' the dossier shortly before publication".
Documents released to the judicial inquiry Monday showed that the September dossier should be altered "as per TB's (apparently referring to Tony Blair) discussion."
An e-mail from Campbell said, "Re dossier, substantial rewrite with JS and Julian M in charge, which JS will take to US next Friday, and be in shape Monday thereafter.
"Structure as per TB's discussion. Agreement that there has to be real intelligence material in their presentation."
JS apparently referred to John Scarlett, the chairman of Britain's Joint Intelligence Committee, while Julian Miller was the British Cabinet Office's chief-of-the-assessment-staff. (Albawaba.com)
© 2003 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)
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