Manager who jealously guarded integrity of team

Click to follow
Indy Politics

No one in the British intelligence community knows more about the scientific and technical aspects of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction programme than Brian Jones.

As the head of the scientific and technical directorate of the Defence Intelligence Analysis Staff he oversaw all research and investigation into Saddam Hussein's attempts to acquire chemical, biological and nuclear weapons.

Dr Jones told the Hutton inquiry yesterday: "I was responsible for all aspects of the management of the branch of scientists and engineers whose responsibility it was to analyse intelligence from all sources on various matters of interest to the Ministry of Defence."

This does not necessarily mean that Dr Jones, 60, a metallurgist, was an unrivalled expert in chemical, biological and nuclear weapons. But he had full access to the work of those who were, in the UK, the US and Australia.

The nature of the September dossier, with its emphasis on Iraq's alleged weapons of mass destruction threat, now puts Dr Jones' department centre stage. It was their research which should have formed the basis of the report.

Dr Jones had built up a reputation as a man who jealously guarded what he considered to be the integrity of his team's scientific research. So it was not surprising when, upon returning from holiday last September and finding deep consternation among his staff, he felt bound to act. His experience meant he was not going to to be fobbed off with the claim from the Joint Intelligence Staff that the reason for the "hardening up" of WMD claims was fresh intelligence to which he was not privy.

Dr Jones sent a number of memorandums to his superiors about the unhappiness in his department, and, after the dossier was published, wrote a formal letter of complaint to the deputy chief of defence intelligence. But he remained a loyal civil servant, keeping his disquiet and that of his staff secret until asked to appear before the inquiry.