LONDON – Excerpts of conclusions in Lord Butler's report on the government's use of intelligence on Iraqi weapons:
"The number of primary human intelligence sources (in Iraq before the war) remained few. Other intelligence sources provided valuable information on other activity, including overseas procurement activity. They did not generally provide confirmation of the intelligence received from human sources, but did contribute to the picture of the continuing intention of the Iraqi regime to pursue its prohibited weapons programs.
"Validation of human intelligence sources after the war has thrown doubt on a high proportion of those sources and of their reports, and hence on the quality of the intelligence assessments received by ministers and officials in the period from summer 2002 to the outbreak of hostilities. Of the main human intelligence sources:
"a. One SIS (Secret Intelligence Service) main source reported authoritatively on some issues, but on others was passing on what he had heard within his circle.
"b. Reporting from a sub-source to a second SIS main source that was important to JIC (Joint Intelligence Committee) assessments on Iraqi possession of chemical and biological weapons must be open to doubt.
"c. Reports from a third SIS main source have been withdrawn as unreliable.
"d. Reports from two further SIS main sources continue to be regarded as reliable, although it is notable that their reports were less worrying than the rest about Iraqi chemical and biological weapons capabilities.
"e. Reports received from a liaison service (another government's intelligence agency) on Iraqi production of biological agent were seriously flawed, so that the grounds for JIC assessments drawing on those reports that Iraq had recently produced stocks of biological agent no longer exist.
"We do not believe that over-reliance on dissident and emigre sources was a major cause of subsequent weaknesses in the human intelligence relied on by the UK."
"In general,we found that the original intelligence material was correctly reported in JIC assessments. An exception was the 45-minute report. But this sort of example was rare.
"We should record in particular that we have found no evidence of deliberate distortion or of culpable negligence.
"We found no evidence of JIC assessments and the judgments inside them being pulled in any particular direction to meet the policy concerns of senior officials on the JIC."
"The main vehicle for the Government's use of intelligence in the public presentation of policy was the dossier of September 2002 and accompanying Ministerial statements. The dossier broke new ground in three ways: the JIC had never previously produced a public document; no government case for any international action had previously been made to the British public through explicitly drawing on a JIC publication; and the authority of the British intelligence community, and the JIC in particular, had never been used in such a public way. ...
"The government wanted an unclassified document on which it could draw in its advocacy of its policy. The JIC sought to offer a dispassionate assessment of intelligence and other material on Iraqi nuclear, biological, chemical and ballistic missile programs. The JIC, with commendable motives, took responsibility for the dossier, in order that its content should properly reflect the judgments of the intelligence community. They did their utmost to ensure this standard was met. But this will have put a strain on them in seeking to maintain their normal standards of neutral and objective assessment.
"Strenuous efforts were made to ensure that no individual statements were made in the dossier which went beyond the judgments of the JIC. But, in translating material from JIC assessments into the dossier, warnings were lost about the limited intelligence base on which some aspects of these assessments were being made. Language in the dossier may have left with readers the impression that there was fuller and firmer intelligence behind the judgments than was the case: our view, having reviewed all of the material, is that judgments in the dossier went to (although not beyond) the outer limits of the intelligence available."
"Even now it would be premature to reach conclusions about Iraq's prohibited weapons. Much potential evidence may have been destroyed in the looting and disorder that followed the cessation of hostilities. Other material may be hidden in the sand, including stocks of agent or weapons. We believe that it would be a rash person who asserted at this stage that evidence of Iraqi possession of stocks of biological or chemical agents, or even of banned missiles, does not exist or will never be found. But as a result of our review, and taking into account the evidence which has been found by the ISG and debriefing of Iraqi personnel, we have reached the conclusion that prior to the war the Iraqi regime:
"a. Had the strategic intention of resuming the pursuit of prohibited weapons programs, including if possible its nuclear weapons program, when United Nations inspection regimes were relaxed and sanctions were eroded or lifted.
"b. In support of that goal, was carrying out illicit research and development and procurement activities to seek to sustain its indigenous capabilities.
"c. Was developing ballistic missiles with a range longer than permitted under relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions; but did not have significant, if any, stocks of chemical or biological weapons in a state fit for deployment, or developed plans for using them."
"The JIC made it clear that the Al Qaeda-linked facilities in the Kurdish Ansar al Islam area were involved in the production of chemical and biological agents, but that they were beyond the control of the Iraqi regime.
"The JIC made clear that,although there were contacts between the Iraqi regime and Al Qaida, there was no evidence of co-operation."
"From our examination of the intelligence and other material on Iraqi attempts to buy uranium from Africa, we have concluded that:
"a. It is accepted by all parties that Iraqi officials visited Niger in 1999.
"b. The British Government had intelligence from several different sources indicating that this visit was for the purpose of acquiring uranium. Since uranium constitutes almost three-quarters of Niger's exports, the intelligence was credible.
"c. The evidence was not conclusive that Iraq actually purchased, as opposed to having sought, uranium and the British Government did not claim this.
"d. The forged documents were not available to the British Government at the time its assessment was made,and so the fact of the forgery does not undermine it."
"The JIC should not have included the 45 minute report in its assessment and in the government's dossier without stating what it was believed to refer to. The fact that the reference in the classified assessment was repeated in the dossier later led to suspicions that it had been included because of its eye-catching character."