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WMD DOSSIER WAS SEXED UP; Intelligence officer's damning evidence.


TONY Blair's attempts to justify the war in Iraq were shattered by explosive new evidence yesterday.

The ex-Prime Minister and his spin doctor Alastair Campbell have always denied "sexing up" evidence to make a case for the invasion by suggesting Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction.

But a senior intelligence officer told Sir John Chilcot's inquiry into the conflict that was what happened.

Major General Michael Laurie, the former head of Defence Intelligence who helped draw up Downing Street's "dodgy dossier", wrote to the panel to say: "I and those involved in its production saw it as that, and that was the direction we were given."

His damning account of how intelligence was spun to fit the case for war is among new documents released by the panel yesterday. They also include a memo drawn up two years before the invasion by the then head of MI6, suggesting getting rid of Saddam would help secure oil supplies.

Mr Campbell waged a war of words with the BBC over a report claiming he "sexed-up" the documents on Iraq. Defence intelligence expert David Kelly was outed as the source and ended up taking his own life.

Mr Campbell told the inquiry the dossier on weapons of mass destruction was not intended to make the case for war. But Maj Gen Laurie says early drafts were rejected because they did not make a strong enough case against Saddam.

Mr Blair and US President George Bush always claimed the 2003 invasion could have been avoided if Saddam had given up the weapons they insisted he possessed.

But ex-MI6 chief Sir Richard Dearlove discussed ousting Saddam in 2001 when a memo from his private secretary to Britain's US ambassador Sir David Manning gives "new security to oil supplies" as one reason.

The Stop the War coalition said yesterday: "Not only was the dossier dodgy but it was deliberately designed to help take Britain to war on false pretences."

Mr Campbell last night stood by his testimony and insisted on Twitter he had never met Major Gen Laurie.

SPOOKS warned just months before the 7/7 bombings that the invasion of Iraq had raised the terror threat here, it emerged at the Chilcot inquiry.

The top-secret assessment by a committee which brings together MI5 and MI6 was made public for the first time.


NEW CLAIM Laurie wrote to inquiry DENIAL Blair's spin doctor Alastair Campbell
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Geographic Code:7IRAQ
Date:May 13, 2011
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