Intelligence made it clear Saddam was not a threat, diplomat tells MPs

A former diplomat at the centre of events in the run-up to the Iraq war revealed yesterday that the government has a “paper trail” that could reveal new information about the legality of the invasion.

Carne Ross, who was a first secretary at the United Nations in New York for the Foreign Office until 2004, told MPs: “A lot of facts about the run-up to this war have yet to come to light which should come to light and which the public deserves to know.” There were also assessments by the joint intelligence committee which had not been disclosed, Ross told the Commons public administration select committee.

He told the inquiry that the intelligence made it “very clear” that Saddam Hussein did not pose a significant threat to the UK, as was being claimed at the time by ministers, and that tougher enforcement of sanctions could have brought his regime down.

He said he tried to inform ministers about his misgivings over the developing momentum towards war, taking them aside during their visits to New York or having brief conversations in their car to the airport.

But he said he was aware that speaking out too often or too openly – even in internal debates – about his concerns about the government’s policy direction would damage his career by winning him a reputation as a “naive troublemaker”.

Ross’s evidence, by video link from New York, came days after Jack Straw, who was foreign secretary at the time, used the first ministerial veto under the freedom of information act to ban the release of cabinet minutes on the decision to go to war.

“I feel very strongly that there has still not been proper accountability and scrutiny into what happened in Iraq,” Ross said.

continue getting REALLY pissed right here

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