45 Minutes: Behind the Blair Claim

March 5, 2004

LONDON – In early September 2002, as the United States and Britain sought to build the case for confronting Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, Prime Minister Tony Blair announced that his government would soon publish a dossier on Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction.

Britain’s intelligence services then produced a 50-page report, the highlight of which was a claim that Iraqi troops could launch chemical or biological weapons within 45 minutes of an order.

But the dossier had omitted the fact that the claim referred to battlefield munitions – not to long-range missiles. Nor did it disclose that the claim had come second-hand from an uncorroborated source, and that some government experts believed it was questionable. Blair recently conceded he did not know what the claim was referring to when he published it.

Weapons inspectors scouring Iraq have found no weapons of mass destruction. And the 45-minute claim has become the focus of a fierce debate over whether Blair and President Bush used intelligence information to exaggerate the Iraqi threat.

Blair’s spokesman said, “People appear to be implying that the government’s case for taking action against Saddam was based on the 45-minute point. That is simply not true. The government’s case has been based on the fact that Saddam had posed a threat and had been in breach of U.N. resolutions.”

 

You may be interested

Billionaire Piñera to return as Chile’s president
Chile
386 views
Chile
386 views

Billionaire Piñera to return as Chile’s president

Paulina Abramovich / AFP - December 18, 2017

Electoral authorities said the 68-year-old conservative, who previously led the South American nation from 2010-2014, won 54 percent of the vote, nearly eight points above his leftist rival Alejandro Guillier.

Download our High Season Print Edition here
The Tico Times
1136 views
The Tico Times
1136 views

Download our High Season Print Edition here

The Tico Times - December 17, 2017

Thanks to all the readers from around Costa Rica and the world who have written to ask how they can…

PHOTOS: Costa Rica’s Festival of Light
Holidays
3347 views
Holidays
3347 views

PHOTOS: Costa Rica’s Festival of Light

AFP - December 17, 2017

Costa Rica's traditional Festival de la Luz, a holiday parade through the heart of San José, filled the capital with…