Counsel for inquiry highlights divisions in intelligence service

James Dingemans QC, counsel for the inquiry, said in his closing speech that he had no case to put, no client to represent. His only aim was to help determine the truth.

Mr Dingemans charted the evidence which has unfolded from more than 70 witnesses over 22 days. He described how the dispute between the Government and the BBC over the Iraq arms dossier flared into an attritional confrontation. "Into this maelstrom steps Dr Kelly," said Mr Dingemans.

The inquiry has highlighted, he said, the dispute over the document and throughout the hearing two phrases had recurred, one was "weapons of mass destruction" and the other "sexing up". Evidence had been presented that there was unhappiness among some members of the Defence Intelligence Staff about the dossier.

Mr Dingemans said it was not known how far Dr Kelly shared the view of some DIS officials who were unhappy about the dossier. He was reported to have believed in the veracity of the dossier. However, he had also, according to the BBC journalist Andrew Gilligan, expressed doubts.

Counsel said that John Scarlett, the chairman of the Joint Intelligence Committee, given the task of drawing up the dossier, had disputed that there was disquiet in the intelligence community. "Set against that unhappiness, which the BBC have emphasised in their submissions, is the clear evidence that at JIC level Mr Scarlett and the other members gave final assent by silence procedures - essentially, come back if you're unhappy - that they were happy with the drafts.

"Whatever the rights and wrongs of this matter, it is plain that Dr Kelly was involved in the final stages of the dossier."

Mr Dingemans reminded the inquiry that Dr Brian Jones, the then head of the scientific wing of the Defence Intelligence Analysis Staff, and another, unnamed official described as the foremost chemical warfare expert in the country, have expressed scepticism about the claim that Saddam Hussein could launch chemical and biological attacks within 45 minutes.

"The impression created is of a particular branch of experts in their field who were not happy with the wording," said Mr Dingemans.

Mr Dingemans pointed out allegations that Downing Street had attempted to strengthen the language used in the dossier. Mr Dingemans said: "Perhaps the problem was that a case [for the Government] was being made in the dossier, whether or not Mr Scarlett was aware of it".

Comments