- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 11, 2003

LONDON — Prime Minister Tony Blair’s government did not deliberately “sex up” a dossier on Iraqi weapons by including a disputed contention about chemical and biological weapons, a parliamentary committee reported yesterday.

But the Intelligence and Security Committee criticized the government’s presentation of the contention that Iraq could attack with chemical and biological weapons on 45 minutes’ notice.

That assertion was prominently featured in the dossier published by the government as it laid out its case for military action in Iraq.

The committee’s report was the second in as many months to clear Mr. Blair’s office of manipulating intelligence before the war in Iraq. Disputes over whether the government had done so have become the biggest crisis of Mr. Blair’s six years in power, but it appeared that no one in the government was preparing to resign.

The government faces further investigation when the judicial inquiry into the apparent suicide of weapons adviser David Kelly resumes next week.

The committee, drawn from both houses of Parliament, also was critical of Defense Secretary Geoff Hoon and said his ministry had been “unhelpful and potentially misleading” by initially failing to disclose that some of its staff had expressed concerns about the dossier.

Mr. Hoon later told the House of Commons that he had no intention of being anything other than “open and straightforward” with the committee.

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