8 Dec 2009

Holloway on the Iraqi cabbie and the dodgy dossier

Just interviewed MP Adam Holloway whose pamphlet on Iraq prompted the front page of the Daily Mail this morning: “Was Iraqi cabbie source of dodgy dossier?”

The paper claims that an Iraqi taxi driver “…provided the information that Saddam Hussein could fire weapons at British targets within 45 minutes.”

But Adam Holloway both in his interview with me and his pamphlet (now available at the  First Defence website) says he’s not sure if the intelligence supplied by the taxi driver refers to “the 45 minutes or something about missiles allegedly discussed in a high-level Iraqi political meeting”.

According to the Butler Report, two main sources for most of the intelligence on Iraqi WMD were dominant and responsible for two-thirds of the intelligence reports in 2002.

In paragraphs 402/3, p 100, Lord Butler’s inquiry (which included Sir John Chilcot, by the way) reported that one source was largely stuck in Baghdad while the second used a sub-source. Is this the cabbie?

Adam Holloway says he doesn’t know. The Intelligence and Security Committee investigation into Iraqi WMD reported that the then-head of MI6 Sir Richard Dearlove told them that the 2002 source for the 45 minutes was a “senior military officer.” (Para 51/2, p 18).

At the Hutton Inquiry Sir Richard under cross-examination said:

it did come from an established and reliable source
equating a senior Iraqi military officer who was
certainly in a position to know this information.

which would seem to support Con Coughlin’s claiming that the source was Lt-Col al-Dabbagh.

At 2pm Sir John Scarlett starts evidence to the Iraq inquiry. Maybe it will all become clearer after that? Maybe not.

5.30PM UPDATE: It didn’t.

Related: The Iraq inquiry is light on documents. Here’s why

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