The document published today is based, in large part, on the work of the Joint
Intelligence Committee (JIC). The JIC is at the heart of the British intelligence
machinery. It is chaired by the Cabinet Office and made up of the heads of the UK's three
Intelligence and Security Agencies, the Chief of Defence Intelligence, and senior
officials from key government departments. For over 60 years the JIC has provided
regular assessments to successive Prime Ministers and senior colleagues on a wide range
of foreign policy and international security issues.
Its work, like the material it analyses, is largely secret. It is unprecedented for the
Government to publish this kind of document. But in light of the debate about Iraq and
Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD), I wanted to share with the British public the
reasons why I believe this issue to be a current and serious threat to the UK national
In recent months, I have been increasingly alarmed by the evidence from inside Iraq that
despite sanctions, despite the damage done to his capability in the past, despite the UN
Security Council Resolutions expressly outlawing it, and despite his denials, Saddam
Hussein is continuing to develop WMD, and with them the ability to inflict real damage
upon the region, and the stability of the world.
Gathering intelligence inside Iraq is not easy. Saddam's is one of the most secretive and
dictatorial regimes in the world. So I believe people will understand why the Agencies
cannot be specific about the sources, which have formed the judgements in this
document, and why we cannot publish everything we know. We cannot, of course,
publish the detailed raw intelligence. I and other Ministers have been briefed in detail on
the intelligence and are satisfied as to its authority. I also want to pay tribute to our
Intelligence and Security Services for the often extraordinary work that they do.
What I believe the assessed intelligence has established beyond doubt is that Saddam has
continued to produce chemical and biological weapons, that he continues in his efforts
to develop nuclear weapons, and that he has been able to extend the range of his ballistic
missile programme. I also believe that, as stated in the document, Saddam will now do
his utmost to try to conceal his weapons from UN inspectors.
The picture presented to me by the JIC in recent months has become more not less
worrying. It is clear that, despite sanctions, the policy of containment has not worked
sufficiently well to prevent Saddam from developing these weapons.
I am in no doubt that the threat is serious and current, that he has made progress on
WMD, and that he has to be stopped.
Saddam has used chemical weapons, not only against an enemy state, but against his own
people. Intelligence reports make clear that he sees the building up of his WMD
capability, and the belief overseas that he would use these weapons, as vital to his

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