Intelligence officer who criticised dossier may be called before Hutton

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The intelligence officer who formally complained about the Government's Iraq dossier last September was the Ministry of Defence's most senior expert on weapons of mass destruction. The unnamed official, whose letter stunned the first day of the Hutton inquiry, held the post of assistant director intelligence (nuclear, biological and chemical) science and technology, The Independent can reveal.

The man, known by his job initials, ADI NBC ST, is now retired from service but reiterated his worries to senior MoD officers as recently as 8 July. Until now, his post has been kept confidential. It remains deleted from his letter to the deputy chief of defence intelligence that appears on the Hutton inquiry website.

With as yet unnamed "personnel" from the Defence Intelligence Staff (DIS) due to appear before the inquiry on Wednesday, the official may finally appear in public. Lord Hutton has been told how several members of the DIS were worried over the Government's dossier, including its presentation of the claim that Saddam Hussein could deploy WMD within 45 minutes.

Their worries offered the first substantial indication that Andrew Gilligan's report of unease within the intelligence community over the dossier might be true. Dr Kelly is known to have taken part in a 90-minute meeting with the DIS on 19 September, during which the document was discussed and criticised.

But it was the ADI NBC ST's letter, revealing that he had minuted his concerns on the dossier as far back as 19 September, that caused a sensation when it was aired.

The former official had been shocked when he read, on 7 July, the Foreign Affairs Select Committee's report into the use of intelligence before the war on Iraq. The MPs had reported that Jack Straw, the Foreign Secretary, had denied that any intelligence official had made a complaint over the September dossier.

The official had indeed registered his concerns with Tony Cragg, then the deputy chief of defence intelligence, five days before the dossier was published. Mr Cragg, who sat on the Joint Intelligence Committee that drafted the dossier, did not discuss the concerns with the committee.

The ADI NBC ST wrote to Martin Howard, Mr Cragg's successor, stating that he felt torn between his duty to the MoD and the Government and his duty to correct the parliamentary record.

In his letter, he describes himself as "probably the most senior and experienced intelligence community official working on WMD". He points out that he was "so concerned about the manner in which intelligence assessments for which I had some responsibility were being presented" in the September dossier that he was moved to write formally to Mr Cragg "recording and explaining my reservations".

The former official added that he felt "very uneasy" that Parliament was unaware of his complaint and that he might be judged culpable for not drawing the MPs' attention to it. Mr Howard wrote back that there was no need to take the matter further.

Another DIS member who may appear at the inquiry is the DI ACR, who is understood to have reported directly to a J Cunningham, then the director intelligence global issues (DIGI). One of his e-mails, revealed at the start of the inquiry, said he had had a conversation with Dr Kelly correcting the amount of missing Iraqi biological growth media outlined in the dossier.

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