Saturday, July 17, 2004

MI6 lied to the Hutton Inquiry

Things just aren't getting any better for Blair. He had hoped that the Butler Inquiry would finally allow him to "draw a line" under his handling of Iraq, but instead the revelations just keep on coming. Days before Lord Butler released his report, it was reported that MI6 had withdrawn the intelligence on which the war was based; now we find out that they deliberately omitted to tell the Hutton Inquiry about doing so, instead claiming that "intelligence from agents in Iraq was believed to be reliable".

Despite this, Downing Street is claiming that "Lord Hutton was not misled. He saw everything that was relevant to his picture". I think there's a popular advertising slogan which can be invoked here.

Sources close to the Hutton Inquiry are annoyed, as are various MPs from the two Parliamentary committees who have also investigated intelligence on Iraq. Blair will face a serious grilling next week in an effort to find out whether he knew and misled Parliament. As for MI6, it calls into question their commitment to democratic accountability. Their new chief, John Scarlett, was in on the deception; he should made an example of, to ram home to the intelligence services who is ultimately in charge.