Secret Iraq dossier released

Britain's Foreign Office on Monday released an early version of a 2002 dossier of prewar intelligence on Iraq that became vital to Tony Blair's case for war.

Foreign Secretary David Miliband published a draft of the document on Iraq's weapons capabilities following a request under Freedom of Information laws.

The document includes references to intelligence claims that Iraq had acquired uranium and had equipment necessary to produce chemical weapons. But the file does not contain a claim that Iraq could launch weapons of mass destruction within 45 minutes - an allegation which was later discredited but became crucial to Blair's push to back the 2003 U.S.-led invasion.

Campaigners allege the assertion was inserted into later drafts of the document shortly before it was published on the orders of Blair's office, which was seeking to strengthen the case for war - a claim the government has strongly denied.

Miliband insisted the early draft, produced by then Foreign Office press office chief John Williams, was not used as the basis for later documents, drafted by the Joint Intelligence Committee. Blair presented a final draft of the JIC dossier, called "Iraq's Weapons of Mass Destruction" to parliament on Sep. 24, 2002 - a document which included the 45-minute claim.

A second document, published in Feb. 2003 - which became known as the "dodgy dossier"- was found to have repeated verbatim parts of an academic study on Iraq's supposed concealment of weapons of mass destruction. Ex-U.N. chief weapons inspector Hans Blix said last year he believed Blair had replaced "question marks with exclamation marks" in intelligence dossiers to justify the decision to invade Iraq. Lord Butler's 2004 official inquiry into intelligence on Iraq did not fault Blair's government, but criticized intelligence officials for relying in part on seriously flawed or unreliable sources.

British dossier on Iraq intelligence released following Freedom of Information request (, 18 February 2008)

Secret Iraq dossier published (New Statesman, 18 February 2008)

The released document can be found here: