Victory for freedom of information campaigner

Chris Ames

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has lost an appeal to prevent the release of a document that formed part of the government’s case for invading Iraq.

The document was written by John Williams, then Head of News at the Foreign Office. It formed part of the drafting process of the dossier ‘Iraq’s Weapons of Mass Destruction’, which asserted that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction which could be deployed within 45 minutes. The dossier, published in 2002, was central to the government’s argument for invading Iraq. The furore which followed BBC journalist Andrew Gilligan’s claim that the document was ‘sexed up’ led to the resignation of the director-general Greg Dyke and chairman Gavyn Davies after the publication of the Hutton Report.

The government had claimed that the dossier was the work of the Joint Intelligence Committee, but the draft is evidence that government spin doctors had a hand in the process.