The government has claimed that the joint intelligence committee (JIC) was the author of the September dossier and that the committee both agreed that the dossier could be issued and signed it off. Between Tony Blair’s announcement on 3 September 2002 that the dossier would be published and the publication of the document on 24 September, the JIC met three times, on 4, 11 and 18 September. The minutes of these meetings should provide evidence as to the extent to which the committee took responsibility for the dossier.
What the documents could show
4 September 2002
It does not appear that the JIC was consulted before Blair announced that the dossier would be published. It has been said that its meeting on the following day, 4 September, the committee discussed the publication of the dossier.
11 September 2002
It is not clear that whether the JIC looked at the draft dossier dated 10 September.
At the Hutton Inquiry, JIC chairman John Scarlett claimed that the JIC had asked at this meeting that the dossier should include a statement that “despite sanctions and the policy of containment, Saddam has continued to make progress with his illicit weapons programmes”. However, this statement did not appear in the subsequent draft, on 16 September but did appear in the draft dated 19 September, after Alastair Campbell had asked for it to be inserted. The minutes of the meeting will show whether Scarlett’s claim was true or was fabricated to conceal evidence that one of the dossier’s key claims was inserted at Campbell’s request.
18 September 2002
The 2003 Intelligence and Security Committee report (pdf file) states that the dossier was “briefly discussed at the JIC meeting on 18 September”. The minutes of the meeting will show how much or little discussion there was at the last JIC meeting to discuss the dossier.