The Information Tribunal has just rejected an appeal by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) to stop the release, under the Freedom of Information Act, of an early draft of the now infamous Weapons of Mass Destruction dossier.
The September 2002 dossier formed part of the government’s spurious case for war in Iraq. The draft in question was produced by John Williams, the FCO’s Head of News at the time. Its existence tore apart the government’s assertion, to the Hutton and Butler inquiries, that the dossier was the work of the intelligence services.
The Tribunal criticised inconsistencies in the Foreign Office’s account. It noted that the FCO’s chief witness and Director of International Security, Stephen Pattinson, “was not involved at the time and volunteered no information about the source of his information”.
The decision follows a three-year battle by Chris Ames, a charity researcher from Surrey, who persisted in his quest for the truth. The NS was pleased to support him, and to provide pages of the magazine for his campaign. We pay tribute to his extraordinary diligence.