by Chris Ames
The Mail on Sunday’s political editor Simon Walters says that:
Thirty people, including Tony Blair, are set to be heavily criticised by the Chilcot Inquiry in its ‘devastating’ attack on the Iraq War.
Well-placed sources say that ‘approximately 30’ people have been sent letters by chairman Sir John Chilcot warning them that they will be criticised in his report into the 2003 invasion.
As the story points out, during his appearance at the foreign affairs committee last week, Sir John Chilcot refused to say how many people had been sent warning letters, in case people worked out who they were.
The story also says that:
Sources close to the inquiry say its strongly worded criticisms of the way the war was handled make a nonsense of claims that it will be a ‘whitewash’.
Contrary to earlier claims, full details of the way that Blair privately promised Bush that he would go to war against Saddam – without telling MPs and British voters – will be published. Blair and Bush are said to have ‘signed in blood’ their agreement to oust Saddam Hussein in secret talks at the President’s ranch in Crawford, Texas, a year before the start of the war.
Blair’s candid words in their secret letters – with redactions to protect sensitive military and intelligence issues only – will be published word for word. Only the ‘gist’ of Bush’s comments will be published to avoid embarrassing a key foreign ally.
I’d say this is consistent with what Chilcot has already said on the matter, although it will be a surprise if we hear very much of Bush’s views.
On the issue of Maxwellisation, Walters says:
Some of the 30 or so have received letters running into hundreds of pages. One individual is said to have received a 1,200-page letter from the inquiry.
It’s unlikely that a letter is that long in itself. More likely that it had an awful lot of evidence attached.