Iraq dossier was misleading, says Jane's editor

The editor of defence magazine Jane’s Intelligence Review has branded the UK’s dossier on Iraq misleading after it was revealed to have lifted quotes from the magazine.

The dossier, on purported concealment of weapons, used direct quotes from the magazine’s issues dated July and August 1997 and November 2002 but did not attribute them.

Editor Chris Aaron said: “That open sources should be used to compile such a report is not in itself surprising – indeed, the use of open sources was acknowledged in the introduction to the document. However, the direct copying of entire paragraphs casts some doubt on the processes used to create dossiers of this type.

“When an agency produces a report for classified consumption, it will usually identify the nature of the sources used. The fact that the UK dossier does not identify the source for each bit of evidence in the report could be taken as misleading, or taken to be an effort to disguise the classified material included in the dossier.”

Jane’s chief executive officer, Alfred Rolington, who spent a number of years with British, US and Australian intelligence, said the dossier highlighted the “saturation point” that had been reached within the intelligence-gathering community.

“Endless shelves within the intelligence services worldwide are full of information that no one has time to sift through. It is only natural that they turn to groups such as Jane’s, who can take the information – much of which is publicly available – and transform it into something useful.”

By Ruth Addicott

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