Iraq e-mails shed doubt on run-up to war

March 14, 2009 at 2:14 AM
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LONDON, March 14 (UPI) -- British intelligence officers reportedly exchanged e-mails mocking claims about Saddam Hussein during the run-up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

The e-mails were released Thursday under a Freedom of Information request, The Telegraph reported. They appear to back up claims that former Prime Minister Tony Blair's government "sexed up" information on Iraq to justify joining the United States in the invasion.

One e-mail, from an unnamed official, mentions claims Iraq "has assembled specialists to work on its nuclear program." The e-mail ends "Dr Frankenstein I presume? Sorry. It's getting late."

The government gave members of Parliament a dossier on Iraq in September 2002 but 13 days earlier, The Telegraph said, Desmond Bowen, head of the Cabinet Office defense secretariat, sent a memo to

John Scarlett, head of the Joint Intelligence Committee, copying it to two top Blair aides.

"The question we have to have in the back of our mind is: 'Why now?' I think we have moved away from promoting the ideas that we are in imminent danger of attack and ... intend to act in pre-emptive self-defense," Bowen said.

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