Author: By Daniel Bentley, Press Association
Sir John Scarlett, who retired as director general of the Secret Intelligence
Service last month, will be questioned about his chairmanship of the Joint
Intelligence Committee (JIC).
During that time, between 2001 and 2004, he oversaw the Government’s dossier
on Iraq’s alleged weapons of mass destruction.
They were among 20 top advisers, diplomats and military figures named as
forthcoming witnesses by the Iraq Inquiry, chaired by Sir John Chilcot.
He said the first round of public hearings would concentrate on the build-up
to the war, focusing on intelligence matters, relations with the US and
The first hearing will take place at London’s Queen Elizabeth II Conference
Centre, near the Houses of Parliament, on November 24.
Others to give evidence in the period running up to Christmas include:
– Sir Christopher Meyer, the British ambassador to Washington until 2003, the
year of the Iraq invasion;
– Sir David Manning, foreign policy adviser to Mr Blair until 2003;
– Admiral Lord Boyce, the head of the Armed Forces until 2003;
– Sir Kevin Tebbit, the top civil servant at the Ministry of Defence between
1998 and 2005;
– Sir Jeremy Greenstock, the UK’s permanent representative at the United
Nations between 1998 and 2003;
– Sir Peter Ricketts, who was Sir John Scarlett’s predecessor in charge of the
JIC, which oversees the three intelligence and security agencies MI5, MI6
Ministers, including Mr Blair, are to be summoned early in the new year.
Sir John Chilcot said the initial hearings would be used to establish a “reliable
account” of the UK’s involvement in Iraq.
“We will cover a wide range of topics during these hearings,” he
“Those topics will include UK government policy on Iraq between 2001 and
2003, transatlantic relations during this time, policy and intelligence on
weapons of mass destruction, and planning by the military and other
governmental bodies for the invasion and its immediate aftermath.
“We will also look at developments at the UN, including the negotiation
of UN Security Council resolution 1441.”
He added that the inquiry would not be looking at the legal basis for military
action until January, which is when it will start calling ministers to give
The inquiry is not expected to report until the end of 2010, or even 2011.
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