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Profile: John Scarlett

 
  

Positions that John Scarlett has held:

  • British Chairman of the joint intelligence committee


 

Quotes

 
  

No quotes or excerpts for this entity.


 

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John Scarlett actively participated in the following events:

 
  

July 23, 2002      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       Top British officials attend a meeting to discuss the UK's potential role in the Bush administration's confrontation with Iraq. According to the minutes of the meeting, transcribed by Matthew Rycroft, Sir Richard Dearlove, head of the British intelligence service, MI6, says that during his last visit to Washington he noticed a “perceptible shift in attitude. Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and [weapons of mass destruction]. But the intelligence and the facts were being fixed around the policy.” Furthermore, he states, Bush's National Security Council indicated it “had no patience with the UN route, and no enthusiasm for publishing material on the Iraqi regime's record.” He also noted that there “was little discussion in Washington of the aftermath after military action.” [Salon (op-ed), 5/6/05; Los Angeles Times, 5/12/05 Sources: Downing Street Memo, 7/23/2002] Foreign Minister Jack Straw appears to agree with Dearlove's assessment, saying that it seems clear that President Bush has already decided on using military force to depose Saddam Hussein. But Straw notes that the Bush administration's case against Saddam was “thin.” The Iraqi leader “was not threatening his neighbors, and his WMD capability was less than that of Libya, North Korea, or Iran,” the minutes say, summarizing his remarks. [Los Angeles Times, 5/12/05; Guardian, 5/2/05] There is no indication in the minutes that anyone present at the meeting disputed Dearlove's or Straw's observations. [Sources: Downing Street Memo, 7/23/2002] Furthermore, the account provided by the intelligence official and Straw are corroborated by a former senior US official who is later interviewed by Knight Ridder. It is “an absolutely accurate description of what transpired,” the official will say. [Knight Ridder, 5/2/05] Straw proposes that the next step would be to “work up an ultimatum to Saddam to allow back in the UN weapons inspectors,” which “would also help with the legal justification for the use of force.” [Los Angeles Times, 5/12/05; Guardian, 5/2/05] Britain's attorney general, Lord Peter Goldsmith, warns that “the desire for regime change [is] not a legal base for military action,” the minutes say. But Blair says that “it would make a big difference politically and legally if Saddam refused to allow in the UN inspectors.” [Los Angeles Times, 5/12/05] Finally, the officials agree that the British government “should continue to work on the assumption that the UK would take part in any military action” but “not ignore the legal issues.” [Guardian, 5/2/05] The minutes do not provide any indication that officials discussed how war might be avoided. [Salon, 6/10/2005] The minutes of this meetings will be revealed by the British Sunday Times three years later (see May 1, 2005). Commonly referred to as the “Downing Street Memo,” the minutes will re-spark the controversy over politicized intelligence.
People and organizations involved: Michael Boyce, Jonathan Powell, Sally Morgan, Richard Wilson, John Scarlett, Francis Richards, Alastair Campbell, Peter Goldsmith, Richard Dearlove, Geoff Hoon, Jack Straw, Tony Blair  Additional Info 
          

February 20, 2003      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       British Foreign Minister Robin Cook is personally given an intelligence briefing by John Scarlett, head of the British joint intelligence committee. Cook later says in his diary that Scarlett's summary was “shorn of the political slant with which No 10 encumbers any intelligence assessment.” After the meeting with Scarlett, Cook concludes that “Saddam probably does not have weapons of mass destruction in the sense of weapons that could be used against large-scale civilian targets.” [Guardian, 10/6/03; Sunday Times, 10/5/03 Sources: Robin Cook's diary]
People and organizations involved: Robin Cook, John Scarlett
          

March 5, 2003      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       Robin Cook meets with Tony Blair and has the “most revealing” discussion about Saddam's alleged weapons arsenal. During the exchange Blair essentially acknowledges that Saddam does not have weapons of mass destruction that could be used against his enemies like the US or Britain. [Times, 10/5/03] Cook says to Blair: “It's clear from the private briefing I have had that Saddam has no weapons of mass destruction in a sense of weapons that could strike at strategic cities. But he probably does have several thousand battlefield chemical munitions. Do you never worry that he might use them against British troops?” Blair responds, “Yes, but all the effort he has had to put into concealment makes it difficult for him to assemble them quickly for use.” [Times, 10/5/03 Sources: Robin Cook's diary]
People and organizations involved: Tony Blair, Robin Cook, John Scarlett
          

October 2003      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       Robin Cook publishes portions of a diary he had kept when he was Blair's foreign minister. The published memoirs reveal—among other things—that Tony Blair had intentionally misled the British population. [Guardian, 10/6/03; Sunday Times, 10/5/03 Sources: Robin Cook's diary] The diary reveals how before the war intelligence provided to Cook by John Scarlett indicated that Saddam Hussein probably did not have weapons of mass destruction that could be used to attack the US or Britain. [Guardian, 10/6/03; Sunday Times, 10/5/03 Sources: Robin Cook's diary] Cook's entries also show that before the war, Blair did not believe that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction that could be used to attack the US or Britain. [Sunday Times, 10/5/03; Guardian, 10/6/03 Sources: Robin Cook's diary] Additionally, the diary shows that Tony Blair ignored the “large number of ministers who spoke up against the war.” He says that the officials in the foreign ministry were consistently opposed to the invasion of Iraq. [Sunday Times, 10/5/03 Sources: Robin Cook's diary]
People and organizations involved: John Scarlett, Tony Blair  Additional Info 
          

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