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http://news.independent.co.uk/world/politics/story.jsp?story=363151&dir=508&ho st=3 20 December 2002 17:22 US not sharing intelligence, say UK agencies By Kim Sengupta 20 December 2002 The United States has failed to provide Britain with full details of its "solid evidence" proving that Iraq is hiding weapons of mass destruction, security sources say. There is also concern in London that the Americans are again trying to link Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden's al-Qa'ida network, a link British and European intelligence agencies do not believe exists. The latest manifestations include claims that Iraq supplied an al-Qa'ida-affiliated group, Asbat al-Ansar, with the nerve agent VX for terrorist attacks. Another tale likely to surface soon, the security sources say, will be that of a Shia prisoner held by Kurds in northern Iraq who claims to have been an assassin for both al-Qa'ida and Baghdad. Proof of Iraqi subterfuge over weapons of mass destructions (WMDs) is likely to be seen as a "material breach" of the United Nations resolution, and could provide the trigger for an attack by US and British forces. But although classified information is routinely exchanged by Washington and London, British officials say they do not have the " smoking gun" the Americans claim to possess about Baghdad's alleged chemical, biological and nuclear arsenals. British officials agree President Saddam has secreted material and documents about his weaponry. But their conclusion is based on analysis of a vast amount of raw intelligence which needs to be verified. The sources believe the Bush administration is "talking up" the strength of the information on Iraq's WMDs. "We know [of] material which is unaccounted for," a senior source said. "But we have not got a definite site, a grid reference, where we can say Saddam is hiding it. If the US administration does indeed have that kind of specifics, it has not been passed on to us. The main problem is known to us all. After all, it was Paul Wolfowitz [the hawkish deputy US Defence Secretary] who said, 'Iraq isn't a country where we've had human intelligence for years'." The security agencies are putting huge emphasis on getting access to Iraqi scientists and technical officials who helped develop Iraq's old chemical, biological and nuclear programmes. But despite the United Nations chief weapons inspector, Hans Blix, writing to the Iraqis to demand such a list, it has yet to be produced. Pressure on US intelligence agencies from hawks in Washington to establish that the Baghdad regime is working with al-Qa'ida and its Islamist sympathisers have failed, with the "evidence" presented being met with scepticism in the US as well as abroad. Donald Rumsfeld, the US Defence Secretary, is also being blamed for a lack of clarity over plans for attack. The divisions he has with military commanders on strategy mean the Ministry of Defence still does not know what exactly the Americans require from Britain. _______________________________________________ Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To unsubscribe, visit http://lists.casi.org.uk/mailman/listinfo/casi-discuss To contact the list manager, email firstname.lastname@example.org All postings are archived on CASI's website: http://www.casi.org.uk