Guardian: U.S., U.K. Ignored Pre-war Reports of No Active WMD in Iraq

By:  Jack Kenny
Guardian: U.S., U.K. Ignored Pre-war Reports of No Active WMD in Iraq

The U.K.'s Guardian reports that before the 2003 invasion of Iraq, both the CIA and the U.K.'s intelligence service were informed by sources coming from Iraq's head of intelligence that Iraq had no active weapons of mass destruction.

Just in time for March 19, the 10th anniversary of the American- and British-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, the U.K.'s Guardian reported Monday that both the British intelligence service — MI6 — and the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency had been informed by sources coming from Iraq's foreign minister and head of intelligence that there were no active weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. That information contradicts the prewar statements of President Bush, Vice President Cheney, and other U.S. officials, as well as then-British Prime Minister Tony Blair, all of whom spoke only of evidence that Iraq's WMD program was an active and growing menace to the security of not only Western nations, but also Israel and much of the Arab world.

Blair had told Parliament before the war that intelligence showed Iraq's nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons program was "active," "growing," and "up and running," the Guardian reminded its readers. The contrary information was not passed on to subsequent inquiries, according to a special British Broadcasting Company's Panorama program, the London daily reported. The BBC claimed an intermediary from Naji Sabri, Saddam Hussein's foreign minister, told Bill Murray, the CIA's station chief in Paris at the time, that Iraq had nothing in the way of WMD.

Sabri denied that, claiming the Panorama story is "totally fabricated," the Guardian reported. Panorama also reported that three months before the war an MI6 officer met Iraq's head of intelligence, Tahir Habbush al-Tikriti, who also said that Saddam had no active WMD. The meeting in the Jordanian capital of Amman took place days before the British government published what the Guardian called "its now widely discredited Iraqi weapons dossier" in September 2002.

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