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Secret Whitehall e-mails show Iraq dossier was 'sexed up'

By Super Admin

London, Mar.13 (ANI): Four secret Whitehall e-mails released yesterday suggest that a dossier for invading Iraq was "sexed up".

According to The Independent, the e-mails disclose that the intelligence services were sceptical over the "iffy drafting" of government claims that Saddam Hussein could mount a missile strike on his neighbours within 45 minutes of ordering an attack.

Officials privately mocked the assertions that the Iraqi president was covertly trying to develop a nuclear capability and wisecracked that perhaps he had recruited "Dr Frankenstein" to his supposed crack team of nuclear scientists.

The release of a series of confidential memos and e-mails, following a protracted Freedom of Information battle, reignited the controversy over accusations that Tony Blair's government "spun" Britain into war.Last night both the Tories and the Liberal Democrats renewed their demands for a full public inquiry into the decision to join the US-led invasion of Iraq.

The 45-minute claim - presented to MPs in a notorious dossier on 24 September 2002, six months before military action began - was central to the Blair government's justification for war.

But a memo sent 13 days earlier by Desmond Bowen, head of the Cabinet Office defence secretariat, to John Scarlett, who was head of the Joint Intelligence Committee, suggested he had grave reservations over the threat. His comments were copied to Blair's press secretary Alastair Campbell and to his chief-of-staff Jonathan Powell.

Last night William Hague, the shadow Foreign Secretary, said: "This is the latest in a steady stream of damaging revelations about the events leading up to the Iraq war."

Ed Davey, the Liberal Democrat foreign affairs spokesman, said: "This confirms the widely-held suspicions that leading officials and political advisers close to Tony Blair were deliberately tweaking the presentation of the intelligence to bolster the case for war on Iraq." (ANI)

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