Review of Intelligence
on Weapons of Mass Destruction
Terms of Reference
The Secretary of State
for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs announced the establishment
of the Review in a statement to the House of Commons on 3 February.
The Terms of Reference are as follows:
the intelligence coverage available on WMD programmes of countries
of concern and on the global trade in WMD, taking into account
what is now known about these programmes.
As part of this work,
to investigate the accuracy of intelligence on Iraqi WMD up to
March 2003, and to examine any discrepancies between the intelligence
gathered, evaluated and used by the Government before the conflict,
and between that intelligence and what has been discovered by
the Iraq Survey Group since the end of the conflict.
To make recommendations
to the Prime Minister for the future on the gathering, evaluation
and use of intelligence on WMD, in the light of the difficulties
of operating in countries of concern.”
Report will be presented to the Prime Minister. The Review will
be conducted by the Rt Hon the Lord Butler and four other Privy
Counsellors: the Rt Hon Sir John Chilcot, the Rt Hon the Lord Inge,
the Rt Hon Michael Mates MP and the Rt Hon Ann Taylor MP.
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The Prime Minister has
asked the Committee to report before the summer Parliamentary Recess.
The Review Committee plans to work to the following timetable:
- 12 February: public invitation to those with information relevant
to the Review to make it known to the Committee in writing; launch
of the Review web-site;
- February-March: Call for documents from relevant
Whitehall departments and the intelligence agencies. Initial
written material, primarily from the Joint Intelligence Committee
and the UK intelligence agencies. This analysis will address
activities in a range of countries; the global trade in WMD including
the role of those involved in WMD proliferation; and terrorist
WMD-related plans and activities. Notify individuals
whom the Review Committee will invite to give oral evidence and
the areas on which the Committee will wish to question them.
- 31 March: closing date for receipt of information in response
to the 12 February invitation;
- April-May: taking of oral evidence; more detailed analysis of
written material on selected aspects of each element of the Review’s
- June-July: possible re-interviewing of certain witnesses; conclusion
of the investigative phase of the Review’s work; writing
- Mid-July: Report presented.
This timetable is very
tight and these timings may need to be adjusted in light of what
emerges from the material, both written and oral, that the Committee
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The Government has stated
that it will co-operate fully with the Review. The Committee hopes
that others will do so too. Those invited to give oral evidence
will be given the opportunity to make written presentations to the
Committee before they give evidence in person. They will be questioned
by the members of the Committee, not by legal Counsel. The Committee
does not at this stage envisage that lawyers will represent witnesses
at the hearings.
The Committee hopes to
present an unclassified report incorporating as much as possible
of the evidence that it receives. In the interests of not conveying
a limited, partial or distorted public impression of the evidence,
the Committee has decided that the Review will be carried out in
private. The Committee does not intend to make public information
about the progress and direction of its investigations, or the identity
or evidence of any witness, before it reports.
The Review will be wholly
independent. The Committee’s aims are: to establish facts;
to examine the effectiveness of structures, systems and processes;
and, where failures or weaknesses are identified, to recommend ways
of rectifying them. In the event that the Committee considers that
any individual is liable to potential criticism, that individual
will be informed and given the opportunity to respond before the
Committee reports. In such circumstances the Committee will consider
again the case for the provision of legal representation.
The Review Committee will
consult the Commission on the Intelligence Capabilities of the United
States Regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction set up by President
Bush under the joint chairmanship of former Senator Charles Robb
and Judge Laurence H Silberman. The Committee also intends to keep
in touch with the Iraq Survey Group.
The Committee invites
information and views relevant to its investigation. It has identified
an initial list of individuals and organisations from whom it will
wish to seek written and oral evidence. These include Government
ministers and senior officials involved in gathering, evaluating
and using intelligence on weapons of mass destruction and others
with experience and expertise in these areas, including internationally.
The Committee will be
willing to consider requests for the protection of the identity
of individual witnesses whether on national security or other grounds.
Information and observations
may be sent to the Review at: email@example.com.
Review of Intelligence on Weapons of Mass Destruction
The Review web-site is
See also the Cabinet
Secretary's letter on disciplinary immunity