intelligence on Iraqi attempts to procure dual use chemicals and on the
reconstruction of civil chemical production at sites formerly associated with the
chemical warfare programme. Iraq had also been trying to procure dual use
materials and equipment which could be used for a biological warfare
programme. Personnel known to have been connected to the biological warfare
programme up to the Gulf War had been conducting research into
pathogens. There was intelligence that Iraq was starting to produce biological
warfare agents in mobile production facilities. Planning for the project had
begun in 1995 under Dr Rihab Taha, known to have been a central player in the
pre Gulf War programme. The JIC concluded that Iraq had sufficient
expertise, equipment and material to produce biological warfare agents within
weeks using its legitimate bio technology facilities.
3. In mid 2001 the JIC assessed that Iraq retained some chemical warfare agents,
precursors, production equipment and weapons from before the Gulf War.
These stocks would enable Iraq to produce significant quantities of mustard gas
within weeks and of nerve agent within months. The JIC concluded that
intelligence on Iraqi former chemical and biological warfare facilities, their
limited reconstruction and civil production pointed to a continuing research and
development programme. These chemical and biological capabilities
represented the most immediate threat from Iraqi weapons of mass destruction.
Since 1998 Iraqi development of mass destruction weaponry had been helped by
the absence of inspectors and the increase in illegal border trade, which was
providing hard currency.
4. In the last six months the JIC has confirmed its earlier judgements on Iraqi
chemical and biological warfare capabilities and assessed that Iraq has the
means to deliver chemical and biological weapons.
5. Subsequently, intelligence has become available from reliable sources which
complements and adds to previous intelligence and confirms the JIC assessment
that Iraq has chemical and biological weapons. The intelligence also shows that
the Iraqi leadership has been discussing a number of issues related to these
weapons. This intelligence covers:
Confirmation that chemical and biological weapons play an important
role in Iraqi military thinking: intelligence shows that Saddam attaches
great importance to the possession of chemical and biological weapons which
he regards as being the basis for Iraqi regional power. He believes that respect
for Iraq rests on its possession of these weapons and the missiles capable of
delivering them. Intelligence indicates that Saddam is determined to retain
this capability and recognises that Iraqi political weight would be diminished
if Iraq's military power rested solely on its conventional military forces.
Iraqi attempts to retain its existing banned weapons systems: Iraq is
already taking steps to prevent UN weapons inspectors finding evidence of