Foreign Affairs Committee

Session 2002-2003: Tuesday 15th July 2003

The Decision to go to War in Iraq


The Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, Donald Anderson, has written to the Foreign Secretary in the following terms:

1. In your public oral evidence of June 23 you said that you would get to the Committee "as quickly as possible" the answer to the question "When did the CIA report to the British intelligence community the result of the former US ambassador's visit to Niger?" Why was this answer not provided to the Committee before it published its report rather than appearing in your letter of July 11?

2. Following your oral statement in the House today, you undertook to place a copy of your answer to Andrew Mackinlay in the Library.  Would you also include that answer in your reply to this letter?

3. Please will you provide the Committee with a copy of the "detailed account of Ambassador Wilson's report" that you have now seen.

4. What were the terms in which the CIA expressed its reservations to the British Government about the uranium from Africa element of the September 2002 dossier, and on what date or dates were those reservations expressed?

5. Why did neither you nor your officials disclose to the Committee, in either your written or oral evidence, before the Committee published its recent report that the CIA had expressed reservations to the British Government on the uranium from Africa element in the September dossier-particularly when you were specifically asked by a member of the Committee in your public evidence on June 27 why the British Government did "at least not put some degree of health warning" over the uranium from Africa statements in the September 2002 dossier?

6. On receipt of the CIA's reservations, which you say in your letter were "unsupported by explanations", about the uranium from Africa element in the September 2002 dossier, did any British official ask for an explanation of the CIA's reservations? If not, why not? If so, what was the CIA's response?

7. On what date was the CIA first informed of the contents of the September 2002 dossier, which draft or drafts were shown to the CIA, and were the CIA shown the contents of the draft dossier in its entirety?

8. What reservations and comments did the CIA express about any other elements in the September 2002 dossier in addition to its reservations about uranium from Africa?

9. At the end of your letter you refer to "The recent discovery of technical documentation and centrifuge parts-necessary for the enrichment of uranium-buried at the home of an Iraqi nuclear scientist in Baghdad." Is it correct, as has been reported in the Independent of 15 July, that these centrifuge parts were buried some 12 years ago? If so, why was this not disclosed in your letter to the Committee?