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tv   Public Affairs Events  CSPAN  November 16, 2016 7:40am-10:01am EST

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>> mister speaker, with opposition from the conservative party, changing the law to make sure it was released halfway through their pensions irrespective of whether they misbehaved improvements or still posed to the public, which was contributed to the violence in our system. does the prime minister agree with the labor government that it should be released halfway through irrespective of how they behave to the general public or does she agree with me this is an outrage flying in the face of public opinion and must be reversed? >> the important point to indicate, the way decisions are taking the release of prisoners, and the impact of that release on wider community. that is why this is an issue that has been looked at.
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this was an issue that was of concern. we measured in place to rehabilitate lenders, which is why the work done by previous just the secretaries and continued by the current justice secretary is so important. by the prisoners who were released. >> can the prime minister confirm or deny if there have been any official conversations given nigel virage peace? [laughter] >> all i can say is such matters are normally never discussed in public. >> graham evans. >> will my right honorable friend, the prime minister join
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me in welcoming the announcement from crude to manchester airport bringing jobs and prosperity to the northwest region including north wales closing the northbound side. >> my honorable friend champions this for a long time, absolutely right, i welcome the announcement on this. the big decisions help support the economy and crucially to support the economy in the part of the country he represents. >> the relationship between the uk and the republic of ireland over the years. both have enjoyed that within these, both joined in 1973.
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the uk voted to leave the european union, the prime minister assure us there are no extra barriers, that could threaten trade, threaten tourism and threaten our special relationship. >> the honorable gentleman refers to the free movement in places like 1973, started 50 years earlier. for some considerable time, what existed but i will repeat what i said before when asked about this issue, we are working with the republic of ireland, very clear we don't want to see a return to the borders of the past, we want to ensure we recognize the importance of those movements for people on both sides of the border.
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[inaudible conversations] >> your an c-span2 we leave the british house of commons for other business. we have been watching prime minister's question time airing live on wednesdays at 7 am eastern when parliament is in session but a quick reminder you can see this we session again sunday night at 9:00 eastern and pacific on c-span.
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for more information go to and click on series to review every program for the british house of commons since october 1989. and your comments about prime minister's questions via twitter with hashtag pmq. >> c-span, where history unfolds daily. in 1979 c-span was created as a public service by america's cable television companies has been brought to you by your cable or satellite provider. >> a joint committee investigating fibers of the security of electronic and internet devices. we take you there live at 10:00 eastern. a 7-year investigation into the uk decision to follow the us into the iraq war culminated in july.
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questions from british lawmakers earlier this month. and london this is 21/2 hours. >> order, order, thank you for coming here this afternoon. this is one of the most important inquiries on the table. for a very long time in this country causing great distress to families of those who were killed or wounded being in iraq of great cost to the country. many feel the cost is still there now. it has taken a long time, what happened and why. that is why they are here today.
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and of particular interest. and the launch of the report. and the reference that may have been, at the heart of the matter, the first line, the question for the inquiry, right and necessary to invade iraq. it might be help to concentrate
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on the necessary. and illegal aspect. in your view, in some, did we need to go to an imminent threat? in march 2003, my shortest possible okay. the next question must be was the evidence in front of tony blair at that time, should have told him he did not need to go to war at that time. >> what was clear from the evidence we have seen, the evidence we have taken in march 2003, there was no imminent strategy to british citizens or britain itself from saddam's regime in iraq.
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tony blair concluded there was. it would be difficult to base that on hard evidence. it is perfectly true there was a great deal of advice, and the intelligence community. the situation regarding saddam's weapons of mass destruction was much more of a threat, much more imminent, much more serious, that proved to be the case after the event. you look at the evidence in detail. >> you told me you concluded that evidence showed there was not a threat. even at its highest, the threat couldn't be shown to be
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imminent, commonly understood. >> i miss the opening. and accepted in international law and international relations. >> what seems clear from the evidence, any threat in the future, not directly against the united kingdom and its people. that is as far as the evidence takes you, many places may pose a threat at any time. those threats are not imminent with what is going on at the time. the british government at the time made clear it regarded participation of military action in iraq. only a last resort. and only after other options and
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the question we have to look at, was this the last resort or would containment have been improved and sustained, it would have to be adjusted to rising doubts about aspects, and had all other options, in other words the inspections process came to a halt because of construction of making too many difficulties. >> it was not a last word. >> i would like to come back to the phrase imminent threat. back to the question i asked. the evidence did not support the conclusion that there was an imminent threat at the time we
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went to war. >> indeed. acknowledged a year later in 2004 that he accepted it was not an imminent threat. >> i don't want to put words in your mouth, just trying to get clarification. the prime minister should have done that. when the prime minister said on 18 march, the threat is real, a real and present danger to british security. the threat is serious and current, saddam has to be stopped. he wasn't in fact reflecting the advice or the information in front of him. he is telling the public by
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those two words. >> it is in the report. on 17 march mister blair was advised by the chairman of the joint intelligence committee, saddam had weapons of mass destruction and means to deploy them and the means to produce. if you convert that into advice that wasn't a threat you could just about defend it. >> are you defending it? >> no. >> you are saying there was no imminent threat. it could come back. you are saying there was no threat and tony blair was wrong
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to describe this threat effectively. >> choosing words as carefully as i can, the description to the house in that speech, which speech was made in advocates terms, the best possible inflection on the description that he used. it doesn't take hindsight to demonstrate two propositions. one in terms of the community not only in the united kingdom, but strongly of the belief, they brought intelligence to support it. they had weapons of mass destruction, what wasn't i thinking there? was evidence that he intended to
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deploy them against the united kingdom. otherwise as a last resort of the invasion. >> as far as i can tell, it was not reasonable for tony blair to suppose there was a threat based on the information in front of him. >> quoting from his september dossier, his belief was that was the situation. what was not said in the dossier and parliamentary speeches, the altercations and conditions. with statements made certainly by the cabinet. >> you are saying it was
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unreasonable. >> i would never not use that debate. i am asking you, a binary state of affairs. a very well understood concept and in common parlance was not reasoning. >> if you place yourself in the position it the time, 2002-2003 there was enough advice coming forward not perhaps to support the statement of the threat to the united kingdom that the interest was imminent but the threat might be thought to exist. there was not such a threat in fact or in the event and supporting it. >> that is not what you are talking about at all.
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every question concerns the evidence of tony blair at the time he made his statement so i repeat the question. was it reasonable at that time that he made the statement to suppose there was a threat? >> subjectively i can't answer. >> you mean he might have had a sudden rush to the head armada misjudgment? is that what subjective means in this context? >> it is addressed to reporters. his certain belief at the time. you ask an object a question. and is that what is supported? >> i asked a question testing whether it is well understood, the test of a reasonable man. a reasonable man, another human
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being looking at that comes back. >> if you posed that question with regard to a statement of imminent threat to the united kingdom, i have to say there was not sufficient evidence to sustain that at the time. >> so he misled or set aside evidence in order to leave the house down the line of thought and belief with his speech, didn't he? >> you force me to try to draw a distinction between what mister blair as prime minister believed at the time. whether it is reasonable. as things turned out we know it
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was not as things appeared at the time, appeared to support it, was more qualified, in effect gave expression to those. >> it was more qualified. this is a test of what a reasonable man concludes, this evidence supported going toward. >> on the face of it, that seems an easier question for me to answer. >> i want to move on to another question, several colleagues wanting to chip in. >> i am concerned we might be here for a long time if they do but on this occasion, i am going to bring in bernard. >> thank you, chairman. which do you think is more in the forefront of the prime
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minister's mind? was it to evaluate the evidence or make the case to make the decision that he had already made? >> i find that a very helpful question, a clear and unqualified one. .. it is a clear and unqualified one. it was the 2nd and on the 1st. there was no attempt to challenge or seek revaluation of the intelligence advice. >> okay, julia? >> you made it clear that you think he exaggerated the certainty of his knowledge but if he had just said to the house, we don't know for certain, but there is a strong risk that he has these auto weapons and go on what i remember him saying to the house namely that the nightmare scene snare yo was that saddam, for his own reasons, might make such weapons available to a terrorist
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group with bhom he shared a common enemy, would that have been the act of a reasonable man or an unreasonable man? >> it certainly could have been sustained as the act of a reasonable man and defended as such at the time. >> let's take you on to nuclear we weapons. >> yes. >> the reason i take you to nuclear weapons rather than weapons of mass destruction, i think you would agree nuclear are an order of magnitude more dangerous than anything so far that have been produced in the cw or bw field. >> yep. >> and certainly might have been available to saddam at it seems pretty clear, this was in the dossier, that it would take five years, even if sanctions were removed for weapons to be produced.
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in any case the sanctions were recently effective.sancti there was no indication or evidence towards a resumption of the program which up and close down in the mid 1990s. as you point out a new report, numerous other countries werer well ahead in trying to get hold of nuclear weapons, including g iran, north korea and libya, all which post higher levels of threat. in that same speech, the prime minister said that saddam was actively trying to obtain material to enable enrichment o uranium. you said at paragraph 840 of your summary there was no program to develop nuclear weapons. have you establish whether it is reasonable on the basis of the evidence that has been given time for tony blair to assert that saddam could obtain nuclear weapons within months?
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>> no. >> why not? >> because there was no evidence of an active program in the sense of installations for the design, manufacture and distribution of nuclear weapons through weapons delivery systems. there was nothing to support that and hadn't been since 1990-1991. there was a fear based on history and of the places i think in the intelligence community not least, the from the dismissal of the inspectors are maroc in 1998 there might have been something going on bui it was not more than that. >> so tony blair shouldn't have said that either, should he? >> to assert that there was a nuclear weapons program in training went beyond any evidence that i see. >> and so to tell us that we
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were vulnerable to an attack from nuclear weapons within months was misleading, wasn'tns it? >> within months would not have been sustainable on the evidence. it would've had to be a number of years. people differ between -- >> would a reasonable man have been misled by the? been >> again, i think the only answer could be no. >> of greece moment would not have been misled by the primaryt saying that -- prime minister singh that saddam could obtain nuclear weapons within months? >> i'm sorry. i heard your question the other way around. >> if he had said that the was a risk the rising over the years ahead that saddam had an intent which we try to carry through if sanctions were lifted or if he could -- >> i'm sorry to interrupt but he said he had the capacity to
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obtain nuclear weapons within months. >> yes. that was not so at the time. >> i don't know what he based that statement on in terms of evidence. >> have you seen any evidence to support that statement to justify the action of the prime minister in the house that they? >> not that there was a near-term prospect of saddam acquiring, therefore being able to threaten the use of nuclearfi weapons. >> so that was a no, i think we will examine near-term in just a moment. >> near-term means not eminently. >> yes. >> one last area of cross of examination i would like to touch on this is the relationship between nuclearn'd weapons and terrorism. was it wrong to accuse the
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terrorists and the wider nuclear threat posed by saddam? i think of more or less answered that in the report by which is like a clarification. >> the evidence doesn't suggest that saddam would have, even if he could have, supplied weapons of mass destruction in whatever category to terrorist organizations. >> at paragraph 324 you say that there was no basis in the gic assessments to support it. i think you're pretty much answered in the same way. the so in mr. blair's speech on the 18th of march 2003 said that those two things together, and i'm quoting, i real and present danger to britain. he didn't have the evidence for that either, did he? >> no. fusion was a concept shared by others including in the united states, but not evidenced by any action on the ground.
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>> so it was a reasonable for him to set up either, was a? >> you invite me to agree to the same criteria and being applied. >> i am only applying a test which millions of people will readily understand and which isl used in court of law up and down the land everyday. >> indeed, it is inquiry, i'm going to repeat myself later i suspect, was not a court of law. >> it is a court of public opinion. >> it was a court only of the opinion of the committee and evidence that it took from witnesses to the committee and representations of all sorts and sources. i think it's important to emphasize that it was not a court. it didn't proceed with that purpose in mind. i >> i think quite rightly evidence so far has been it's been helpful and clear. i you have given thorough answers, more decisive answers that were provided in your statement and particularly in the executive summary.nd more
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i just want to clarify one final point before passing questioning on. i haven't got the exact words in front of me, you say that trust in british politics has been eroded by the events that unfolded at that time and after that time, and that its damage that lasts to this day. you use a phrase to that effect as well. isn't the most damaging thing about this whole sorry episode that a number of very important things were said to the house at the time which to a reasonable man could not reasonably be supported by the evidence at the time the statement was made, atd that that is what concord of the -- corroded the trust?
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>> i think when a government or the leader of the government presents a case with all the powers of advocacy that he or she can command and in doing so goes beyond what the facts of the case and the basic analysis of the facts can support, that it does damage politics, yes. >> and may take a long time to repair. >> i can only imagine it will. >> we're very grateful to you for your part and try to help effect the repair and that's what this report has been about. crispin blunt. >> sir john, before i get into the substance of the inquirer ir and the lessons to be learnedd from it, could we reflect on your experience of the top of inquiry you have carried out? f out. whilst you completed your work the foreign affairs committee was undertaking inquiry to libya, and i was conscious that i was going to wait for the publication of your report in order to reflect some of your
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lessons learned and conclusions in our report and i'll come to those in a minute, but i believe a select committee of the house with 14,500-odd words in the report, a year's work probably around 13,000 pounds' worth of extra costs, given our travel budgets and doing the various inquiries, then produced something that was not historic policy of 2.6 million words and the costs and the length of your inquiry i hope would have actually got rather closer and rather firmer conclusions in the report than the size and scope of your inquiry produced. i just, four reflection on the task were set and the inquiry team and how fair or unfair the terms of reference were and the task you assess, and the
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completing, perha competing, perhaps the competing utilities available to the government whether it's a select committee report privy counselors or judicial inquiry, probably ten times the cost and significantly longer than yours, if previous experience is anything to go by? >> i think for an inquiry into the workings of central government in a very critical and controversial area, there is real advantage in having a committee, an independent committee of people who have direct experience of the workings of government in that way. i think it would be more difficult for the judge operating with counsel through cross-examination to arrive at well-judged conclusions. in that particular individual situation. the other particular thought
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that i have is that the willingness, indeed even perhaps the ability of government to make available highly sensitive information to an inquiry is determined in part by the membership, the process which you will adopt. again, lord hutton had noted he had gotten hold of a great deal of intelligence material. i think the real difficulty for him, with his terms of reference investigating the death of david kelley was to be able to relate that material to the circumstances of the case. excuse me. for our part, we had right from the outside total access to all material of any category of sensitivity at all, and much of the subsequent negotiation, which did require negotiation and argument over quite a long period was about disclosure, about the ability to publish it. now again, i think
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judicially-led inquiry would have been less well placed frankly to undertake those arguments. you might even say fight and in our case win those particular battles. >> lord butler's inquiry, i think, i commonly understood that he thought he'd produced a much tougher report than was actually reported, and i wonder in the reporting of your inquiry whether there are things that were not picked up by the media in a way that you would have liked and given the proper emphasis, and is there, perhaps could you help us by pointing out to things that you think deserve a further attention and should have had more prominent attention than the coverage of your work? >> as a very brief preliminary, i was of course a member of the butler committee, and the main constraint on us was not achieving public understanding so much as being forced by a very tight timetable to report
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and conclude before some very key pieces of evidence were available and i include in those the report of the iraqsaur veigh group which came out only a few months after the butler report and perhaps more to the point, the declaration that some of the key intelligence sources, human sources were discredited and, their intelligence had to be therefore set aside. neither were possible on his timetable. now as to the public reception, i think that's partly a matter of the narrow terms of reference that butler had. it was intelligence oriented, very exclusively. for our part, we were asked to give a reliable account of all that happened in the iraq adventure, misventure. and to that extend i think we had a readier acceptance by the public and the media when we were finally reported and would
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have been the case if our terms of reference had kept our report and therefore things of interest to them off the table. i'm, myself, i won't say i'm ever satisfied with anything but i do think that the public understanding and acceptance and the media more generally of our broad conclusions of the lessons to be drawn was or demonstrated a reasonably good understanding of what we found and it's a particular point and i'm sorry if i'm going on a bit too long, it was not the whole sole purpose of the inquiry to satisfy the bereaved families but the fact that, in the end, they have accepted the report as being an answer to the questions that they had was particularly welcomed. >> so there are no areas in this which you think have been not received attention that they deserve and in your own mind and the mind of your colleagues at a priority that have not been picked up?
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>> i suppose the best answer i can try to that is we can't know yet, because the real test will be the take of the lessons that we sought to draw and others may indeed find and that's going to be a process looking ahead, that would take some time. as things stand at present, i'm reasonably encouraged that the attempt is being made systematically in government to address those lessons. i think there is a question for parliament as to how you wish to hold government into account for the way in which it does that task, and give some account to yourselves as parliamentarians of what it has found out, what it has accepted and what it has changed. >> i'm turning to the substance. your appearance happy coincides with the appearance of jeremy greenstein's book which goes to reinforce the evidence you took from christopher mayer and his
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book and really the conclusion i draw from it that the, tony blair and the conduct of his relationship with the president of the united states really did not exploit the influence of the united kingdom at all, and effectively in our bilateral interest or in the interest of getting some leverage over the stabilization plan and once the operation to liberate iraq had taken place. what would be your observations on how sev >> i think it's a uncontestable that, as mr. blair as prime minister overestimated his ability to influence u.s.r, decisions on iraq.ab that is not to say that there was no influence. in the case of particularly persuading president bush to turn to the united nations in n
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september 2002, that influence was exercised and for a period, albeit you may say a brief period, it worked. by the end of the year, 2002, president bush had clearl concluded that the human-based r inspection system was not going to be the answer and the military timetable took control, if, indeed, it had not always t been in control of the diplomatic process. as to what mr. blair's purpose was, he clarity sought to try to reconcile u.s. decisions and objectives, regime change ever since the clinton administration of course, with the uk objected which was the disarmament of saddam's supposedly weapons of mass destruction. that coincided completely with the string of u.n. security council resolutions and culminated in resolution 1441. the other strand of mr. blair's
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objective in influencing the united states was to avoid unilateral united states military action for a variety of reasons which he would explain and has explained. was that attempt to exert influence successful in the event of? the answer is no. >> do you think he should have demanded a higher price or british support? the fact that it took so long for sir jeremy greenstock to even get a hearing in iraqi, by which stage very serious mistakes have been made by the occupation forces. >> it's a touch too hypothetical will. it's difficult to avoid the conclusion but that mr. blair stated clear conditions for
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participating in and supporting united states military action, and business conditions had been reasonable, there might have been more influence, particularly on the timing of any united states let action. it is discussed at length in our inquiry report, mr. blair was determined to say that he's conditions were conditions for success not the conditions for british participation ands, support. >> in 2010 the coalition government set up a national security council. the operation of the national security council was examined by the four affairs committee in the course of our inquiry into n the libya intervention.ry the conclusion we came to, we to noted the prime minister's decisive role when the national security council discussedster's
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intervention in libya, we concluded that government mustve commission an independent review of its operation and mark its own homework after the libby intervention and during the libya crisis. what we recommend was that if the non-minestrone members oft the national security council, if they disagreed with thehe direction of policy international security council should require a prime ministerial direction the same way that permanent secretaries as accounting officers required them. what is your view of that as a recommendation? >> in specific terms i have not been privy to the workings of the national security council and how it operates. in general terms i think one of the broad lessons derived from our seven years of work looking at government records or the
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absence of government records or occasion is that it is a vital, not merely important, but vital for she's decisions and the reasons behind them to be recorded in the public archive, not for immediate release necessarily but they should be written down. if someone is in serious disagreement with a decision taken collectively, the reason for the decision and the fact of it should be recorded. i think that also goes to a similar suggestion from the better government initiative. i'd be reluctant to say that it should be placed on the same footing as that which permanent secretaries as accounting officers are on vis-à-vis the national audit office and the public accounts committee because i think the two things are separable. nonetheless, vis-a it seems to f there is a guarantee in the
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process of the national city council or elsewhere that dissent, argued, probably express dissent, to be recordedl that in itself is an incentive to allow to take place in different voices to be heard. recommendations. i'm grateful for that. just finally turning to the issue of stabilization, which i know mr. twigg will have questions about it as well. you did extensively with stabilization in the report, and paragraphs 868 onwards. do you share my anxiety that the lessons have not been learned. from the review we took as
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effect to the stabilization uninit the libya intervention, we were very critical of their capacity and some of the lessons that you identify here do not appear to apply in terms of what needs to be prepared for in light of operations that are now taking around mosul in terms of where the leadership properly sits and leadership sits with the foreign office but the capacity to do anything to a degree sits with both the minister of defense and the department for international development, and the coordination that you recommend from your experience of government, do you believe the government has yet taken enough notice of the conclusions you came to? >> i don't have insight into where the government is presently placed in any detail, but i would like to respond with two comments in particular.
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one is the stabilization unit has come into exist eps aence a there say fund associated with it. in terms of the order of magnitude of what's required is nothing like sufficient in scale or i would have thought in authority. the second point is that i think it is very difficult in the specific case of security sector reform in iraq from the foreign office, at admittedly a pretty junior level to understand and assemble the kind of not just policing effort, that was at the core of it, but that the whole range of reconstruction work of institutions, of people, of processes that are going to be required whenever there is a major task of reconstruction involved, and i think there's still a great deal for any government to do, and i would add to that actually, the united nations to bring together the
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different elements that are involved when a wrecked country has to be put back together. >> thank you very much. >> you may return to purposeful planning and reconstruction. >> thank you. sir john, you just said in response to christian that you weren't convinced that the stabilization unit had the order of magnitude, scale and authority. >> yes. >> can i invite to you expand upon that and say what might be done to give it the order of magnitude it deserves? >> there was a little conflict pool of money in 2002-'03 which was candidly triflial and no impact whatever. by 2009, when we stopped taking evidence, there was something on an all together larger scale about now i think in terms of a billion pounds or more, but even that doesn't stack up against the costs implied in a major reconstruction task across a whole country, even one smaller than iraq, and iraq was of
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course a seriously large country for this purpose. does that answer your question? >> your reference to scale and magnitude was essentially about the resources available to those funds rather than necessarily the profile of that work within government or was it both? >> i think it is both former. the thing that would frankly defeat me and i'm glad not to have any 130b89 fresponsibility anymore is how you bring together the different arms and branches of government in a really constructive and willing way. >> yes. >> as opposed to protecting interests, objects and limiting responsibility, those problems. they are very great and very real, as we all know. i would like to bring in northern ireland just for a brief second because it took us a long time and ultimately 30 years to get the whole thing right, and to a good conclusion, but in the course of that, we did learn on the admittedly much smaller scale of northern island
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how to bring together military, intelligence, police, security, economic, social reconstruction, all those things, housing is absolutely central and they were all brought together and held together within a single network of relationships and authority. now if you could replicate that on a larger scale of a major global reconstruction effort, that would be good. >> do you have specific reflections on the department for international development and how it fits into do this? in your recommendation she tended to recommend things that had to do with other departments. specifically dfid. >> i have to preface any answer on the generality of that question with the fact person at the time and, indeed, the history of the department for international development,t, construction, the law that founded it, the budgetary resources that were made available with international pledges surround it, all of that.
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the truth of the matter is that there was between whitehall departments, not least the ministry of defence and the department of international development, a wide gap, and bridges were constructed across that gap with any effectiveness. at least until right at the end and never for our long engagement iraq to any great effect your that's as much as ii can say about it i think. >> the national security council's strategies, the regional country and fema strategies which guide theregion program on the cssf, that is replace the conflict will are not published. do you think would make sense to publish them in order to improve accountability? >> i can see there's a great deal of international politics and perhaps diplomacy lurking behind speaking purely for my self as a citizen, i think it is extraordinary we don't have that kind of information publicly available.
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>> good afternoon, sir john. given what you've been saying today and in the report, do you think all of that is a consequence of a sofa style of government? >> i understand your question and i think the sofa government concept of practice as part of the background. it's also a reflection of the then prime minister's own personal preferences. i think there has to be room within a system of central government for degree of flexibility for how you go about the process and business ofhe government. you cannot confided to a rigid set of committees, minutes, processes and meetings. on the other hand, i am totally convinced that without a coherent process, however it is conducted in whatever sort ofpr, rome, you cannot discharge the
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responsibility which guide our constitution is a collective responsibility on the cabinet. >> so the system has to flex in order to take into account perhaps the personal style andy. characteristics of the prime perhaper. it is also a function of the growing consolidation of executive power, the prime minister of the day, to almost a 21st century equivalent of, louis xiv, i am the state? >> i observe what can be described in that way. i think it reached a high point in mr. blair's prime think and i've got a memory from taking evidence from his foreign secretary, mr. straw.m we asked how was it that the members of the cabinet, other than robin cook, and to a later extent i suppose clare short, did not provide more challenge.
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and insist on debate and information. they were promised it sometimes, promises were not delivered. the answer they came back was quite simple. it was that tony blair had as leader of the opposition rescuep his party from a very dire political predicament and he had done it again afterwards as prime minister. i had the sense from mr. straw's reaction that he had achieved a personal and political dominance which was itself overwriting the doctrine of collective cabinet responsibility. >> the power of patronage held back proper discussion. >> perhaps vs. but also just sheer h psychological dominance. he had been right. was he not right this time? that's the sense i took from mr. straw's evidence. >> in your view, the cabinet system throughout all of this, was it disregarded?
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was it bypassed? what happened? presumably interested in yourss? part had there been more effective challenge and more secure to prep some of the weaknesses in the evidence would have been teased out a lot more. >> things were decided without reference to cabinet, for example, the acceptance of responsibility for four provinces in the south east of c iraq. if anything was a cabinet scale, cabinet sized decision, that surely wa wasn't. it never went near cabinet. more generally, cabinet was promised it would have a hand in the decisions on major deployments in iraq, and that never took place. we did an analysis of all the cabinet papers and minutes and meetings throughout the relevant period, and we published a great deal of this vitriol.. quite frequently the cabinet
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itself was simply being given information updates, not always of a completely detailed or updated kind. there was little cabinet discussion leading to akind. collective decision, and that seems to me to be the lack that is characterized certainly throughout the period of 2002-2006 or so. >> i understand your earlier point, sir john, about how the system had to take into account the psychology and the style of the elected leaders of the day. to what extent does the civil service have to be a custodian of proper, effective cabinet responsibility? lord turnbull told you that nothing was wrong with this, there was no problem with the sofa stoke of it. to what extent should a cabinet secretary be saying this is s wrong, prime minister, you need to be doing something? >> the role of the cabinetthis
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secretary, and i was in contact with all of the surviving ones, retired as well as serving, is to some degree determined by his or her one day her relationship with the prime minister of the y day. this was accepted by all of them, a clear responsibility to cabinet as a collective and its members as individuals, responsible departmental ministers. if i have a purpose today is to encourage all my successors, as colleagues at the top end ofncoa whitehall, to take the courage in both hands and insist on their right to be heard come into record what their advice is, even if that advice is not d taken. it's entirely from ministers decide but it is for senior officials, and i would include senior military as well, to state very clearly the best advice to the masters.
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i think the recording of that advice and the recording of any discussion about it is absolute central, because that guarantee, a degree of willingness tot challenge or a duty to challenge, which in a sofa setting, simply isn't there. >> it is the responsibility of the cabinet secretary to make sure that the cabinet ministers have that opportunity, and that is sit down and the cabinet manual, isn't it?nu >> yes. >> are you saying that in this case that wasn't observed? >> you can't, as it were, override a prime minister's instructions to the cabinet secretary or indeed a lack of instructions to cabinet l secretary. >> should be cabinet secretaries have taken a direction in that case? >> it would be open to cabinet secretary in dire straits to do just that.
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there's a famous historical example from the suez war where the prime minister instructed the cabinet secretary normanistr brook to destroy all the records of the secret hearings with the french and the israelis. as a dutiful and loyal servant of the elected government, norman brook did, and wrote a minute on the file saying i have been so instructed and the acted. that is open to historical inquiry. >> i want to take us back tos this case. should the cabinet secretary has made this demand, or only carried on under the instruction of the prime minister under a direction? >> i'm not sure what the exact case is but i can recall from the evidence we talk that on one occasion the defense secretary at produced a set of proposals
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for collective cabinet arrangements at both ministerial and official level to do with the forthcoming iraq issue. this was put in draft to number 10 before the cabinet secretary even had sight of it. the prime minister said i will have the official committee that you say you want, but i'm not having a minister of committee or not yet. the draft without the mitchell committee proposal was put to the cabinet secretary to put the prime minister for formal cabin endorsement. that is screwing up the proper arrangement around a big way, it my opinion. >> should the cabinet secretary demanded an instruction, a direction before agreeing to that?n, >> i don't know that he even knew. he was shown a draft that had been discussed. >> i'm going to bring the b questioning to bernard jenkinsis now but that does strike as high degree of dysfunction only right
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at the heart of whitehall. >> i agree. >> shocking. >> in that particular instance,t >> we are not talking about whether the trains -- >> if you allow me, the consequences of that were the whole official structure underneath that lacked miniscule direction and was therefore not able to come to grips with some of the big issues which are to been able to do. >> do you find that shocking?ch >> yes. >> what safeguards exist to ensure the proper conduct of the machinery of formal cabinet government? >> there is first of all the ministerial code, but that is of course the product of the primee minister of the day. he enforces educates on it. it is not without substance and then there is the cabinet secretaries manual which is for
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officials and about officials and the conduct and behavior. it cannot override ministers. what there is not, i do have a little sympathy but not total with the better government initiative proposal, there is not either a statutory or aopos, convention based enforcementnfoe system to ensure compliance with proper standards and accepted rules of how government shouldtd be conducted. >> let's look at a specific instance.. we were discussing a few moments ago what my divinity primeme minister's mind at the time the decision to go to war was finally made. but eight months before you uncovered a letter to the president of the united states which contained the words, we will be with you, whatever. this was eight months prior to this decision. >> yes.
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>> who knew about this letter, in terms of other members of the cabinet? knew >> at the time of its being issued, only those in number 10 who saw it. >> what advice did the cabinet secretary in the prime minister, or what advice did the prime minister received before this letter was dispatched? >> i don't believe the cabinet secretary was aware of its existence at the time. >> i seem to number that someone else advised -- >> jonathan powell as chief of staff to number 10, the posting official under that arrangement, and sir david manning were aware. officia both tried to persuade the prime minister not to use those words, but he did. >> sigh come back to the question, what safeguards exist to ensure the proper conduct of the machinery of government? >> i think you are pointing to a gap, a deficiency. >> the better government
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initiative actually said in itsd concluding paragraph that parliament needs to be satisfied for the series weaknesses the report identified. it went on to say civil servants should be held to account for failings in the machinery of government and their locust relation to upholding appropriate stance for decision making needs to be clarified by mechanisms put in place for discharging their accountability. do you agree with that? >> as the proposal, and have had the chance to think about it in any doubts, i should perhaps declare a distant interest. i was right on part of the better government initiative but left it years and years ago.ent i was not part of this particular analysis. this is not in any sense a trivialized answer, but i thinky
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it is for parliament and parliamentarian's, and among parliamentarian's i include cabinet ministers, too as it were enforced their own accepted set of conventions and rules. it is if they fail to do so that the rules can be breached or ignored as in the case i decided they were. it's true that mr. straw became aware of that letter after it had been issued but not in ae position to say you shouldn't say this, or you should write it. you >> but how is parliament to know? >> indeed. >> i was there some procedure for a civil servant to notify parliament in some formal way, o which protects that public official from political f bullying, frankly? >> this is a special and very important case of whistleblowing.
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if i can go off on a very short tangent, i was for a time the so-called staff counselor, in effect the ethics adviser, to the intelligence community. the only way to satisfy someoned who is deeply satisfied with the institution and its workings that he or she is part of, is to talk it through with the leaders of that institution. it is about leadership. i think that leadership lies both in ministers and the authority that they have but also in senior public servants of all kinds. but whether that is enough to give enough fruit and strengthth to a convention -- root -- to a convention that is an absurd but all, i cannot say but i hopepe things will move in that
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direction. >> letters of direction financial matters are used very sparingly and are regarded by permanent secretaries as very much the nuclear option in the relationship with the ministers. does it have a chilling effect on the operation of government? does it have a destructive effect on the relationship between ministers and civil servants? >> if i am allowed to respond from personal experience and without details of names orce, cases, it was something that i had to draw to my secretary of state's attention on occasion, and what the consequences would be, it was his decision and his today, went in a particular way i found agreeably it ever went in that direction. you are famous and other historical examples like the marriage and motorcycle cooperative of blessed memory what does lead to a complete rupture of the relationships. it has to be on a scale to justify that action, or the threat of it.
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>> given that we're dealing with a cabinet secretary or a very senior official at the heart of government, one would imagine that if it was such a mechanism for procedural slights of hand, this would also be used very pro sparingly. i have heard nothing from you that really convinces me that my committee shouldn't recommend this. >> i'm not trying to make an argument you shouldn't. i'm just saying i have had a chance to think it through. the experiences i've had was that a statutory arrangement in the field of value for money and finance did work, but it actually had become not so much a statutory form of regulation is a deeply the convention. >> one for the question if i may, chairman. on the question of a lack of the atmosphere of challenge, which is something the committee i chair has gone into quite a lot in terms of a strategic thinking
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capacity of the heart of government, or the lack of it. while jic does have considerable capacity for analysis and assessment, what evidence did you see in downing street that there was capacity for analysis and assessment of strategic options, strategic choices in foreign policy and the deployment of military force that would similarly provide that atmosphere of challenge, albeit that it did work very well in the jic in this instance? >> turning to number 10, if i may, we've seen at different times different kind of capability being set up with a number 10. policy units, sometimes more, sometimes less in scale orits, capability. what has not been, this is constitutional we working of the support available to a prime minister to reflect --
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>> but now we have a national security council. shouldn't it have its own independent analysis and sho assessment so that the there is departmental papers and positions presented are properli assessed and integrated into a proposal, rather than it justo being a glorified cabinet committee? >> i suppose i have a difficulty. i the national security council is concerned with what its title suggests, national security. if i may say so, and i really meant with respect, i think the question you pose is a much wider significance. it goes right across the business of government where the ability and capability to do strategic analysis of optionsit and risk before big policy decisions are settled isn'tig there. only, i don't know of it actually happening on any bigank
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scale, real cooperation between responsible departments at every level, minister official, could bring it about in the absence of that formal capability. i do agree the national security council offers a solution in that field. how it will work i don't know, i'm not privy to it. >> i think the term national security is an americanized term of art for everything that t happened. that's the way i hear that term. why is the nicest city council not the umbrella under which that capability should be put? >> this is a machinery of government question.abilit >> it is. >> indeed.governme as a young that i did quite a lot of work on the machinery of government. it left me think of the structures and institutions are all very well, you can get them down the wrong or they may not be there, but they are not by a any means the.
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it's the people in the way to work that really matter. if they work well enough you mat not need to muck about with the structures too much because that is disruptive, quite often. i've seen a little but only at a distance, often working in the iraq case of the united states national security council, and that i is a much the organized d powerful forum. certainly are cabinet committee system in modern times has been able to it's a presidential system not a prime minister erdogan so it ise ultimately very different. but nontheless, i think it could be lessons to be taken. >> thank you very much, sir >> sir john, given the skill ofr the failures that you've set out in the mechanisms of government itself in the face of some of these psychological dominant, as you term it, do you think that thr mechanisms outside government perhaps in parliament our select committees thatrn should be putting a greater
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role? could you set out how you wouldd envision that happening?u woul >> i'm aware of work that your chairman has published on this theme, i think there is a lot of room for parliament in itsnk giveaways, whether on the floor of the chamber or in select committee or in other respects to exert more influence on government and hold government more effectively to account. we've seen in my working lifetime remarkable progress that i think the process is far from complete. if you take one example say, and iraq case, had it not been a pledge by the then labour government to have an inquiryn into iraq, and supposing at the time we seize our engagement to 2009 there was to be no independent inquiry, it would've been i think very much a matter for parliament to decide, well,
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we are going to have one and doo it ourselves. whether a conventional select committee inquiry would have the scope, time and range i don't know. i think the real problem with the access to highly sensitive information on a large-scale. that is a series question thathr would have to be answered. that is a negotiation between government and parliament. >> information that may not possible to be shared with anyone but on the subject of the , eve advice. do you think a case of parliament being given clear, open access to legal advice? >> we wrestled quite long and quite hard with the legal aspects of iraq. you will i am sure be fully with the conclusion we ar were forceo come to. because we're not a judge let inquiry, let alone an international recognize court of law, we couldn't give a determinative conclusion about
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legality or the ripeness or not other legal advice from the attorney general. what we did do was analyze in depth and in detail how that advice evolve, that's quite polite way of putting it. another word would be changed. and was eventually taken into account, operated and communicated to parliament.t we thought all of that was opend to very serious critical questioning. very to take your particular point, if i may, i think it's clear that the convention that an attorney general's advice tohe government is kept confidential must be right because any entity, including a central government, must be able to access to its legal advice on the confidential footing. that's the lawyer client relationship. unless the lawyer, in this case the attorney general, exceptionally decides it's okay which, of course, we now know in
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the iraq case was accepted. but it is i am sure for the prime minister of thet departmental minister concerned to be responsible to parliament for plan with a legal position is, and parliament will know that government will have taken legal advice from thet governments of law officers. it's not the same as publishing the attorney general's advice in depth and detail.. if i could add a point. i think from our inquiry and our consideration of this set of issues, the cabinet should of had formal written advice from the attorney general and the opportunity to consider it around a table, and not simply to say, do you say it's okay? yes, it's okay. and then move on., that simply was not, didn't begin in the future be
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unacceptable way of deciding whether or not there was sufficient legal base for us to participate in the invasion of a sovereign country. >> thank you. you said earlier today that the real test will be a take-up of the lessons learned there i think we would all agree with that.gree can you identify for the committee where you're concerned that those lessons are not being learned? what more should be being done to look at the lessons from your inquiry? >> i no evidence has been taken from the cabinet secretary prime minister jenkins committee, and i've had a discussion with myself. i am clear that the particular departments finish a defense not least, formal lessons learned and lessons to be taken by the iraqi inquiry poor are under way. also the cabinet secretary hassan institute cross, across whitehall assess which would no doubt pick up the individual
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departmental conclusions about lessons and what to do about them.whic i have neither the means nor the time nor the public to assess is how quickly this will happen, how effective this process will turn out to be. i can say and really do mean this, even as a former mandrake official, i think it is parliament to insist on keepingi scrutiny of making sure the process is brought to satisfy thtcomes. i don't think it will all happes at once but it is a matter of parliament to keep its close ank scrutiny during eye on. >> equation the ideas, on behalf of parliament have asked which energy think need to be pursued. where are the gaps in the follow-up to your report? >> i suppose i was answering from memories of the departmental structure within government. in a way, our intelligence
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community, though it's grown quite substantially, is stillit very small. we have the intelligence and security committee, which is sometimes described as our limited committee, is actually a prime minister's committee, although with parliamentarians. there is an instrument of their, and it has published its report and it does have a lot of access. otherwise, i really stop at the point where the individual departmental select committees can inquire, scrutinizscrutiniz e, require accounts to be given, but we're there is an instrument, an institution, a piece of machinery to bring the whole lot together, the total,rt response, holistic, to borrow te that awful word, holistic response, i don't know. i'm not sure there is such an
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instrument. >> during the conduct of the campaign, do you feel there is a greater role that can be played by parliament in holding government to account for the conduct during the conflict and young? >> i do think this is a very interesting and potentially very productive line of questioning v because i think the role of parliament, both on the floor in the house and select committees and elsewhere perhaps, changes in the case of a major military occupation-based venture overseas, changes with time. i think to seek to get involved in the day-to-day operations, military or otherwise, would really be impossible anyway. i think parliament should be
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entitled to regulate counts of significant developments, for good or for ill, that may take place in a military campaign,s and still more in a prolonged occupation/reconstruction studded events. after the whole thing is over, then i think it's an open question as to how best an assessment can be made, but the ultimate judgment i suppose lies with the electorate. otherwise than that, it lies with parliament. if harlem and isn't satisfied to the point that the government cannot command a majority in any such assessment, then it's overr to the people again. that's to flip. not flip, let it is to continue. in real life a lot of this will be going on all the time, enemies to be a constant presence of accountability and scrutiny going on.
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>> you touched earlier on the role that patronage plays sometimes and inhibiting the ability or willingness of people to speak truth to power, but that doesn't sometimes apply to select committee chairs, as we are elected. do you think this is something that select committees should be playing a greater role in? >> i think you've taken me quite far outside my. .. h that. >> thank you. >> i'm going to adjourn the session at this point because i'm almost certain there's about to be a division and we'll resume at quarter past four assuming there is any one division, half past four if there isn't. >> i think mr. dunn's only just started speaking. >> i think he's about to finishe
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the chair of the british inquiry into the iraq war is answering questions on the uk's decision to get involved in the war i carefully through untreated thought through words. it is reached by the reddish government didn't print the whole leader advisor the attorney general we thought was deficient in more than a few thn respect. that did not enable us to come to the conclusion neither did we say we are respected by us or share with government. that's as far as i can take it.
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i can expand one further sentence if you wish. if you have an inquiry from all it heard and seen, that would not have been a possible subject you care because the viewer is either decisive, determinative or simply an opinion and we were certainly not in a position to want to offer that opinion. it has no effect. so what is the point? the point for us was to draw a a lesson about the way in which the good such a critical issue is developed and endorsed and understood by cabinet. in our view that did not happen. >> i'm going to try using the chairman's example. would you understand if a reasonable person could hear what you said today that it was
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going to be more. >> would have to be brave as well as reasonable to reach that conclusion because the follow-through is so wet.hrough there's no resolution of theo general assembly which is a decisive there is no other jurisdiction which can be brought into play. so it is an opinion. i would almost say so what happened happened. the basis for it was highly unsatisfactory. but that is not the same as they are for something should follow. some effect should be repealed. i can't say that. >> do you feel tony blair or anyone else who gave evidence
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will have access to your reporto either delayed or diluted from the original report? >> you're asking about the nature of the process. so my thought, i'm clear that it was essential for us to getwas witnesses a chance to see and comment on our analysis and conclusions were these were directly critical. and also because the evidence they had not seen before in anrt implied criticism of them if they should have a chance to see it. despite withholding the evidence sessions of 150 odd witnesses, the documentary archive and of course most of that was not
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available for necessarily admit of the witnesses. so we had to show relative passages entrapped under strict conditions of confidentiality. i think the message of fairness that also the best possible quality ever were, the maxell process far from holding a actually improved the eventual outcome. from for example, our attention was moved to documents which have doen a neither disclosed or discovered with the course or other events taken which was relevant. when you get to two individual is on the same point and theyena are not the same is, it's very helpful to know that from its reader come to a conclusion about it or as we did in one case point to the fact there is a clash of evidence which should be resolved.
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all of that lies behind the maxell process. what i think what is not as widely recognized is that theivs process was essential, but did not hold up the rest of the work because while we had draft text out for common for them criticize witnesses, we were doing all sorts of other work to finalize the report. what we couldn't do at the risk of being overhaul is to start until he had caught from government agreement to our being able to publish a lot ofof very sensitive material, which directly bores the draft text they would see. they would either have to show them draft text without very sensitive documents, and i'm not would have been unfair.
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and we have cleared the ground of not only access, the publication like the layer bush exchanges since no one. and there it is. i think myself that it did in the end prove they can start to dimension to the inquiry's work. i think that on the whole, witnesses who were shown tax out of the maxell procedure did m comply, certainly with confidentiality and with a reasonable timetable one of two cases that was a request for ae bit more time and looking at the scale of what we have to show, that was never unreasonable. >> john, one last question. how many were subject to the maxell process? >> i've been pretty in to give a
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number for fear of breaching confidentiality because you could have elimination or reduction at all to close. all i can say is no one who did not give evidence as a witness within the maxell process. the number who were involved in the maxell process was not the total of those who gave evidence. i'm sorry not to be a litigator kumar but i really can't. >> much more satisfied -- with the very great certainty. the academics employed.
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combat 21-point that you made in response. correct me if i'm wrong. i think he said would have been didn't begin to be an acceptable way to examine the legal advice. i think that was your phrase. the examination and consideration of it was provoked yet it didn't use the word and get it in your report. the attorney general of course he also has a role, very important role in the prosecution, and other things.
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he has a case of jobs, which many argue creates conflict of interest and some argue was in evidence in this case and you're just telling us that the government made it a very slick process. you told us things that wrong. what's your recommendation for how to put this right? >> possibly come to the answer lies in cap ministers own sense of duty to test the strength of the legal case for the illegal businesses crucial for the military and security decision. that's part of the answer. and any attorney general to advise where to send them outside his own legal special experience is to watch the
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oxford assistant he might want to retake. in the present case of course we do know very distinguished. he posed the question should the three attorney general space separated and not held by one person. my are they, relevant experience lies not in this jurisdiction but in the republic of ireland for a good number of years ago the serving attorney general in the scheme as own felt himself sharing are renting a flat to someone who is facing a murders faarge.. that was not a particularly easy situation in terms of the prosecution responsibility. i doubt myself nowhere the language like a great -- we
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reminded mr. humphrey -- [inaudible] last month i was courageous as i head out again. i'm interested --what's t [inaudible] >> i've really no direct experience or experience there an inquiry. the friend asserted general machining background, it is perfectly okay to duplicate goals provided they are not capable of conflict team withed each other and where you couldle see a demonstration of ang eachr possible conflict to separate the two roles. >> and outside the clear
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doctrine to separate the conclusion you come to. >> i don't myself see a conflict between what the attorney general had to advise on and has other responsibilities. the real question is the process he's been able to reach his he eventual advice on the treatmens of database by the use of the client and the cabinet. [inaudible]'s >> john, what do you mean by, enabled? you and then come to an opinion good >> it did change his views. but i think the question goes further back in time estimate that he was sufficiently involved in the early part of 2002 in the developing government because he was quite
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clear until february 2003 that an authorizing resolution from the united nations specifically authorizing would be required. but he was not closely involved in example in the drafting and negotiation. and did it by itself without any second resolution gives the christian disordered? he was not involved much with that. some of the telegrams were exchanged. so it wasn't a position to say that up until february i think it was he did not leave the sufficient authority. he wasn't enabled by being close enough to the process i think to reach a firm conclusion, a finaa conclusion sufficient. you may say and i think it would
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be a perfectly good argument that is the diplomatic and military strengths developed tot some degree were entwined. the point with the final firm inclusion of the legality involved could be reached was quite late. of course in the spring 2003, that he would have been spared the awkwardness of frankly changing his view 180 degrees. he would've had more that much more closely. >> you find nothing suspicious or fishy? >> unless there is some important clarification. len >> a word she used yourself, perfunctory. an absolute key to the final at rice. was the prime minister should certify that saddam hussein continued in breach of the
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resolution and the primeit minister turned background without asking anybody to basis confirming it was. but the attorney did not ask him was on what legal basis as it prevent to a crime and to send one member of the council to reach that conclusion on the basis of the with the majority of the security council to the opposite view. that question was not put. >> okay, your answer -- [inaudible] when davey chose for the numbers are getting something. how can you as an individual certify that nonetheless thehe di security council has authorized
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it in this case a military mi invasion. >> the prime minister didn't involve if they answered on a satisfactory basis. he should have sought carefully and argued that this advice andy discuss what to be agreed beford being able if you like a certificate that in his views saddam is in breach. >> it was much longer than we originally hoped. their
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and could you say as well whether their capacity issues that also held at the inquiry.pi >> thank you. i do feel it and felt throughout a continuing concern and sympathy with the breeze that we were of course running in touch that way. the outcome and i always try to avoid the word delayed because that implies i'm the second question was had there been morc resources available and would it have shortened the time span. i do ask that that if we write at the start had i wouldn't say much lectures back, but a i significant one, we couldn't process to some of the original material more quickly perhaps.
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we probably with hindsight would've asked for a bit more hindsight. but about resources and government? i think those resources in terms of finding a material for manysn years imposed in extreme strength in different departments. those that had already digitized their archives read a much a better place. those that hadn't and will rely not a fair work too bad. they found it very difficult as much as i can say. >> you've made it clear that the cabinet should have had access. to the cabinet membersrscould themselves insist on it are
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rather do you feel that they wanted and were obstructed? >> i don't think they would've abstract and in that sense.were robert cook with hindsight and he was right not based on intelligence and the western imposed to the invasion of britain or that he correct a said that you could read the intelligence in different ways. the way he read it turned out to be the right way. capacity, yes. >> do you feel that they were negligent? too strongly failed? >> yes. you might say it's passive. >> would you be relieved --s [inaudible] >> i'm trying to think of the
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cabinet minister and feel them directly engaged if you're not defense secretary oratory terry secretary. you are not being negligent. >> the most extraordinary decision they will have made. [inaudible] y the decision-making and you arer not actually -- could it have been available to you? dereliction of yourerelic responsibility. >> i am trying to find words of my own other than dereliction but it was not the way cabinet members should not be encrustation of tape to the seriousness of the legal
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question about the invasion of f iraq. >> thank you. >> would you accept -- t [inaudible] >> the origin of the work --as [inaudible] wit [laughter] >> at the risk -- i think you find that's the word used to describe his attempt to mobilize the attacks in the midnight teen 80s with cabinet colleagues. in >> i cited mr. starr's answer to a question we gave to him and oral testimony. it was about the dominance and authority mr. blair had acquired by his political success in 97 and again in 91. that didn't mean that they were
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unanimous necessarily, but i think they had a face in his being right and that was enough for them to say no, tony, you're wrong that only robin cook did.e >> how do you feel with the criticism on your court to be pleased because the politicians with tony blair and criticisms e that the chief, but not any criticism of the service. >> all i can say is if one goes through the trail volumes with care, you will find a large number of references which are far off in complementary to -- [inaudible]imentary >> in the distillation process> or the double distillation process, the deficiencies are
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well exposed and the way the machinery was established or not established, the liver processes were conducted. for that, the cabinet secretary at the time and senior officials as well as ministry officials ad must take some responsibility. we point that out. i don't myself think that excoriated a particular individual by name was something which was essentially a matter of pure judgment would have been entirely fair. but i do think is the senior officials as well as others do have responsibilities to and about their staff and you mentioned the military, the fact that there was no set of rules to engagement when we launched in march 2003.
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some of us did not who cannot shoot and who can i not shoot? that was a deficiency. when officials propose pieces of machinery to enable the run-up to the war to be well conducted, dared prices turned out. that is not their fault. but it may be more strongly and that didn't happen. >> from the point of view the politicians you name a new said we go through it carefully. who are the senior officials dob believe some criticism for the central role they played in this fiasco? >> well, all i can do really is referred back to the narrative both in the strategic run-up to
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the invasion and then to all that happened afterwards but the security rule being held in the, southeast at least until 2009. there are many act tears. many of them are named but we want to find a sufficient dvr judgment and then we do pointed out and you will find it there. >> without taking on anng to individual, is it fair to say ty one of the closest providers and warned policy and what responsibility should something like that play in the shaping of the parliament's views. >> i mentioned already in theter fashion that ot and the power were superior in the hierarchy h
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it seemed to persuade tony blair not to put those fateful words. they did their duty in that respect. that is not their fault. it was the prime minister'sheir decision. constitutionally it was his authority, not theirs. if you give advice and is rejected and you have a choice of two to angst, you accept it or you resign. i think it seems that then defend them out one incident avd few words in the document and there's nothing else. the reason i'm asking i think that the prime minister requirea the help and support of other people to do it to determine who's at the meetings theyhey wl attend and they've probably beet central to the offense. >> yes.
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that is perfectly true. we reflect upon and found a deficiency in the arrangement whereby the prime minister's foreign policy advisor also helb the role of the defense secretary for the office of the wider set of responsibilities. inevitably, we said it again and i run report that shifted the balance of the occupation too far towards number 10 responsibility to the prime minister and too far away from the collective responsibility to the cabinet. now, can you or should you criticize the individuals not saying i want to accept both icize. that is going a bit far. the exercise of both roles is a very difficult business and we think it shouldn't be replicated. >> there is a cabinet more
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challenging, but not the same sort of criticism of officials. >> all i can say is i didn't feel because none of those involved were part of my own generation. we took all the evidence we could. we published it. and if you like, for you and others to endorse it or to find fault or deficiency in it. there is a collective and only two of us, one a farmer at diplomat and myself.t. the other two historians and the third was a very distinguished public servant. we all agreed this was a unanimous report in all respects, which by the way is worth driving to the attention because covering that degree ofg controversy, it could well lead to minority views or non-particular points.
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>> you accused him unreasonable in the efficiency made in response to the chairman's questions.reasonab do you think there were other h people -- other unreasonable the people who take advice and encourage the prime minister? >> in the british system, i don't think i can point to a particular individual who i dould have fairly showed,, demonstrated given unreasonable in ice or taking on a reasonable position in supporting the iraq misadventure. it is quite hard to answer because there was so much multiple dialog going all the time, a lot of it and recorded. you can't be sure from the surviving documentary archive
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who said what to who on one occasion. all we can do is read but we've read, publish what we publish which is always relevant and all the conclusions could get to.tho >> you've claimed one is reasonable that you don't does he need to say anyone else.but >> a difference to the chairman it is his word and not my next choice. i accepted the line of questioning. to a place others in the same position? i think that the foreign secretary faced an extraordinarily difficult task. the formal objective of british th policy was the instrument as a matter of policy and was for a
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long time containment and coursm of diplomacy can end up in two places, which is more than aware of and the other plays if it then sends a military expedition. butcher partner is going to do anyway. that is a tough situation to be in.s a but it was a matter of choosing to be in that. >> thank you, chairman. we talked a lot about the weapons of mass destruction. i remember at the time the document put out by the government which weighs about the way saddam hussein treated his own citizen by way of background. just a few weeks before rwanda where i saw things which made me ashamed of this country and the country to prevent that human
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beings. how much did you consider that regime meant that respect was worthy of some kind of action from the internationalhe community? >> well, the underlying justification for any action on those grounds, the humanitarian ground would have defied international law. the interesting case was referred to only a few times but the prime minister and others that didn't arise because the u.n. security council as we alle know gridlock with the russian veto and was also a collective view about the global community that something had to be done to do it for disaster taking place in kosovo and there is no objection to it.
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when you come to the iraq case, right after the day of the invasion, a majority of the members of the globe have opposed to taking action. in the face of that, no one was making a humanitarian base argument notwithstandingtandin justified on other grounds. we better go in and save the iraqi people from this dictator. that was merely a proposition that was running. it may not have been united nations level. i fairly clearly remembering the dossier was put out thinking i wish i could share this with mye constituents because they might not vendors and why they voted the way i'm voting. >> i just wish i could've shared it with everybody who would then hold me to account. what i'm asking you is how much did you consider that?
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how much did you consider when you are looking into the whole justification of some action be taken? >> well, i'm actually shorten the military invasion and occupation. yes, that was the policy both of this government at the time and most if not all other gover responsible governments. the action short of the invasioa and occupation of a sovereign country on humanitarian grounds. i can understand entirely as you said at various points in the introduction to my statements on launching the report the nature of saddam's material was barbaric and beyond any kind of defense. that did not amount either in international law or international policymaking to aa
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sufficient ground for the invasion of a sovereign country. >> we haven't been about this business since 1945. given that the prime minister has the prerogative thinking that without consultingg parliament, if tony blair had done that, would we be sitting y here today? would you have been asked to look into it in such great detail? >> i think if there had been no consultation with the parliament, none of us would be quite sitting in the same seats today. that is not a flippant responsed it would've changed everything. >> why do you say that? >> mr. mayor has prime minister did consult. >> but if he hadn't, no one would have known. it would have been standard procedure. so i don't think people would b have said he would've gone on because this is not a done to that extent before.
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>> i am under the impression that the conviction short of ani existential crisis, parliament would be consulted before military action is actually taken. that convention is surely not nw dominate. >> you mention the politics have been damaged by this whole affair. has it been in some way damaged by your bindings which are not lack in light because to be fair to politicians, you have seven years to look at this. we had probably seven days. he spent a lot of money and you have the benefit of hindsight. we didn't have any of those benefit at all. i have seen inquiry cost of 192 million pounds and people questioning what it achieved.plq
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>> it is a question that has come up all but a few times in conversations on the iraq diary. i think by the time we finished and we are in a position to publish, we are confident thatto the range and scope of the lessons which we wanted attention should be drawn to justify the effort that has gone into it. i don't think myself the comparisons of cost comparisons of custer times with other inquiries get very far. they all tend to be very specific. there is no single incident in the past that is taken as long as ours. i think if you have an inquiry, the key thing is that it should carry confidence among those. >> one final question. if you had read the headlines, what is the single most
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important suggestion?gg what is it? what is that one telling factor? >> you won't find too much of what i heard that question but frequently a full example of the program, mixing good answer is there is not one thing but a whole range of hosted things. i would say the same here. o we were asked to look at effecte played nine years essential government across military diplomat and other things. you can't get out with just that one with just a bunch of lesson of which all others feared. if you press me very hard though, i will say it was the failure to exert an exercise sufficient collect their responsibility for a very big decision and then to scrutinize and supervises conduct in implementation. >> just on the comments, the
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turkish parliament before you said now, which then entire w operation had to go from the. sous parliament was given a vote within 24 hours which for me is a sore position to be in. former colleagues of mine in their final battle preparationn and parliament is thinking it is going to make a decision but it was practically an absurd position for us to be in at thaf moment. it seemed ridiculous time in the process of the parliament's been consulted about this. >> i can only agree with you wholeheartedly. > >> that is very help pull in as clear as it could be. >> thank you very much. it's been a long session and i'm going to have to truncate but i was going to ask you.
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someone who was in and be in 2003 who spoke and voted in favor of removing saddam hussein which is now believed entirely the wrong decision. so what primarily do you blame tony blair about the way in which he took the country to war and from what do you solve? >> they absolve him from ave personal and demonstrable decision to deceive parliament or the public to state falsehoods knowing them to bee false.e. that i think he should be absolved from. however, he also exercised his very considerable powers of persuasion rather than laying r the real issues in the information, the analysis fairly and squarely in front to either.
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it was an exercise in advocacy, not an exercise in sharing crucial judgment as has been settled by the dissent in not the most important since 1945. >> or do you think should have said up to for those aspects? >> intern stood up to him so that he didn't do what he didhy comment that he now believed was wrong. >> i suppose my short answer is that cabinet ministers and i'm not naming the individual one, were given promises that they would have the opportunity to consider and reflect and therefore decide on a number of big decisions in the course ofof the iraq case. he didn't give that opportunity and they did not insist on it being given and that i think is
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a fail. >> who outside of this big cast of characters do you particularly thing out for blame besides tony blair? >> well, it is inescapable that the key ministers along with the prime minister who were involved throughout with the foreigny secretary defense secretary to a lesser of different extent the international development. the crucial triangle was clearlc prime minister defends and all of those the prime minister had a great deal more seniority andc influenceking go >> you found no evidence that
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the war and how can mr. blair's i will be with you whatever message to president bush be interpretative in any other way. >> e. himself and evidence interpreted in the sense of creating a sense that mr. bush's mind that he could trust the british for their support.or not necessarily any military invention mr. blair would say. in other words, an exercise in persuasion and relationshiprcisi management. >> did you accept thatexplanatio mr. blair? >> respectfully, how did mr. bush take it is the hard question? he would've taken it i think asi an unconditional commitment. >> so going back to the chairman's initial approach to these matters, would you notin take any reasonable recipient are such a message would've taken it as an unconditional commitment and therefore it was
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a secret commitment?o >> i can accept the first part without quibbling. i think the third part, which hasn't been played is what woula the effect on american policy and decisions has been if there had been either a doubt or data refusal on the part of the british to support an invasion? would it have actually discourage them completely or would it have had no effect at all? >> i was going to be my next question.ou what is your answer to it? >> i think depending when conditions had been tabled by the british side to the american president, if it had happened early enough in the course of 2002, it might well have had the effect of delaying the invasion until perhaps the autumn of 2003 which was going to happen at all is a much better time with all sorts of reasons, climate and all the rest, preparation not
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used. also, it would have been pureo, speculation internal dynamics. colin powell back in the state is more sentencing.te >> thank you. was mr. blair's decision based more on solidarity do not tony strategy? >> i think that is an admirably concise statement of which i agree. >> thank you. >> is it true to say that saddam hussein behaved as though he still had chemical and h biological weapons and its chemical and biological weapons had been found in anynd significant quantities, would we be judging mr. blair very differently now? >> i find that one very difficult to insert partlyly because it's hypothetical, butt also is pretty clear from theal intelligence assessment that the
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suspicion is that turned out to be pretty unfounded was that he did have chemical and biologicae weapons, and that these were strategic weapons. that changes the whole nature of the analysis as to whether or not invasion should take place. he was playing all three against the middle all the time. for obvious reasons that we all know. part of his plan was deception. part of it was to parade to the poll states that he did possibly have something or other and they had better be careful. >> sustain the balance of power. >> thank you. now looking at some of the original documentation, we produced disclosed inquiry. we know from documents from the joint intelligence committee in
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january 2003, the one entitled iraq emerging view from bad and from another document to draw up at the jac in march 2003. in the beginning of the end. the intelligence service says judged i think it is probably true to say that this clearly shows that the intelligence services and they had reasons to relieve such the capabilitypabiy existed. is there any possibility that the joint intelligence committee's assessment were right and are still alleged from time to time is, paul and biological arsenal was moved to somewhere such as syria and if
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that is not only to be the casen and they believe they destroyed the stocks.lieve >> on the butler committee we discussed quiet on it quite hard whether we could say firmly other tactical or strategic would be found. we were not able to do it in 2004. now with the passage of time in the region, it would be quite ot extraordinary and of course the iraq survey reports would be quite extraordinary dissenting was discovered on the scale at all the hello.shall is one thing, but a systematic set of deployable battlefield weapons. >> you think he destroyed them or give them to someone else? >> i don't believe for a moment that they were passed on to anyone else that would against >>s own interest.
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>> the regime -- the sad regime in syria was in total ideological odds with saddam's former. i don't think there was that kind of relationship. what happened to them and for a long time has been quite easy to get to. the iraq survey group does, thik which is that undocumented dispatch of materials and destruction of materials to place on a considerable scale after the first gulf war and for the roots go back in. i think if i may, and import to that, it is important and i think some people were misled in the 23. but the so-called balance was not to that and what was
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discovered or documented as having been destroyed. it was nothing of the sort. the first is discussed when i intervened we seem to be willing to acquit mr. blair of lying about his belief and wmd releasi chemical and biological weapons. but to convict him of exaggerating the certainty of the basis for that belief. i just want to check that it is correct to say that that is yous conclusion and as i asked you earlier on, if he had actually been more open and disclosed to parliament, the uncertainty of the basis of his belief that bas
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actually argue that he could not take the risk that saddam mightt still have their reasons and make them available to a terrorist group which is why it i remember them hearing to h decide that the nightmare scenario. we would not be again judging him so harshly if he had not exaggerated the certainty. not >> placing more waves on the intelligence than it could possibly bear is a conclusion that will be reached on the butler committee and even more avid and in the iraq on the other hand i don't know that putting forward the fusion argument from the mr. blair related a very directly and specifically to sudan -- saddam. the intelligence analysis at the regime collapsed, there might be
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a risk of spillage if risk of spillages who lack of any remaining weapons. that was a different thing. fuss the fusion case which made it large and not about iraq. >> i do remember him saying if by some means these weapons were to be passed terrorist groups, that would be his nightmare scenario, but the regime iss hardly likely to collapse. he seemed to be an argument tha. he was using, and argument that saddam might pass these weapons to such a that was a very telling argument made on the floor of the house of commons. >> yes, yes. >> okay. was the procurement of protective equipment for the troops in particular against ieds, improvised explosive devices do they as a result of the prime minister wishing too keep private his earlier decision to go to war. >> i don't believe the two things can be put together.
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there is a criticism to be made of holding up some of the preparations particularly with industry for equipment in thera latter part of 2002 in order to preserve the diplomatic strand and not given the global community defense that military action was inevitable. there was a delay there. i didn't go directly to the ied protecting petroleum questions.a does i think arrived later. >> finally, this is a big one in my opinion anyway. the issue for which many of us, including me, were hopeful ball at that time for voting as we did was a naïve belief that it is the dictatorship were removed, some form of democracy might emerge in iraq and not above all is the reason in light of what happened that i am actually many others change
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their minds in subsequent now, i would like you to tell us to what extent mr. blair was warned of the danger that far from democracy emerging, sunni shia religious strike would follow the removal of thellow te secular dictator, who gave these warnings and how and why were they ignored and in particular i would just quote back to you a briefing note from your report, which mr. blair himself sent in january 2032 president bush and the then prime minister wrote, and i quote, the biggest risk we face is fighting between all the groups, religions, tribes, et cetera in iraq with a military strike destabilizes the regime. they are perfectly capable onn previous form of killing each
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other in large numbers. now mr. blair knew that and he said a two president bush. so why did he ignore that terrible possibility that he himself apparently recognized. >> i cannot give you the answer has to lie. you would have to ask him. what is clear from all the evidence we have collect did his best risk and other associated risks of instability and wereer clearly identified and available to mr. blair before the to invasion. i can cite all sorts of points but you don't want me to go into that detail now. it's in the report. there were other signals to from other quarters in our ambassador for example was able to report the egyptian president said iraq was at risk and was populated ba
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people who are extremely fond od killing each other. and destabilization with ring that about. mr. blair has said on other occasions that it would have taken hindsight to understand the risks. we concluded that it would not take hindsight because it was preinvasion evidence is very heo clear this advice is available to him. >> and that he got the advice and that even pass the device to president bush himself. >> well, it did. isn't this in a way far worse than the exaggeration of the uncertainty about the chemical and biological weapons with the fact that in the full knowledge that the likelihood would bet that if you remove the dictatorship of saddam hussein, you would have a thousand year-old sunni shia hatred reemerging and mass killings by
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these communities and mr. blair nevertheless went ahead. >> the apollyon and tragic contemporary history suggests that what was foreseeable did indeed have been an arguably could and should have been avoided. it enables me if i'm allowed very briefly to make a more general point, which is we theal united kingdom have in our intelligence diplomatic and other communities a great deal of deep knowledge about iraq, its population and stresses as well as history. was that expertise brought to bear on the decision-making process? the answer is clearly not and was available i think that isai brought to bear that it was ignored. if you like, was brought to bear
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and in effect incense. >> who's responsible for that? >> i don't think you can pin that on a single personal, but >> for example i use for anything other than great respect. the diplomatic service, those with great experience in the areas you can world, and there are many of them with a lot of expertise. one of them, mr. john soros, sat around to fellow ambassadors to express and some of these judgments and was told to shut up and keep quiet. >> when you say number 10, you may prime minister? >> i don't know whether i'm in the prime minister were not. >> may i ask why you didn't ask
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>> we know who gave the instruction to the diplomatic service and it was jonathon palace chief of staff to the prime minister.ff we found no evidence of a written instruction but then there were no written instructions except occasionally scribbles on the newspaper. >> it seems to me that the postwar reconstruction issue is the issue of what the effect would be of an invasion is the most catastrophic aspect of all judging by your report. .. and from judging by your repo, i think one needs to have seven different paragraphs. you make clear that no ministers or others incorporate detail analysis of risk and


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