Tony Cragg, former deputy head of Defence Intelligence Staff: Spy bosses 'dismissed protest'

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Indy Politics

Letters of protest from members of the Defence Intelligence Staff (DIS) about the Iraq weapons dossier were dismissed by their bosses, the Hutton inquiry has heard.

Air Marshal Sir Joe French, former head of the DIS, and Tony Cragg, his ex-deputy, were sent three complaints, but none was passed to the Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC) compiling the dossier.

The letters were sent by Dr Brian Jones, the head of the scientific wing of the Defence Intelligence Analysis Staff, representing general anxiety.

The inquiry heard that caution being urgedby intelligence staff over the wording was ignored. Calls for it to be toughened, made by Alastair Campbell, Downing Street's outgoing director of communications, were accepted by John Scarlett, the chairman of the JIC.

Members of the DIS met on 16 September last year to review and comment on the draft dossier. James Dingemans QC, counsel for the inquiry, said: "Your response on September 17, from the DIS, is to point out that the executive summary is too strong?" Mr Cragg replied: "Hmm."

Mr Dingemans said: "On the same day you have got the DIS saying 'We are not so happy with the executive summary, we don't mind the dossier'. And you have Mr Campbell saying, 'We are quite happy with the summary, not so happy with the dossier?'" Mr Cragg replied: "Yes."

He was then asked if Mr Scarlett had acted on Mr Campbell's memo but not on the one from the DIS. He replied: "I think that the DIS, as you say, were concerned about the executive summary and its discontinuity with the main text."

Mr Cragg explained that he had known the extent of staff concerns. Sir Joe told the inquiry that he had been aware of "some doubts" among staff.

But he denied that material had been included against the wishes of any of the intelligence agencies, as Andrew Gilligan alleged in his radio broadcast.

The air marshal stated that the role of Alastair Campbell was "presentational".

Kim Sengupta