posted on May, 7 2004 @ 02:25 AM
John Scarlett was named head of the U.K.'s foreign intelligence service MI6, four months after he was cleared of any improper behavior relating to
the drafting of a government dossier on Iraqi weapons.
Scarlett, a senior intelligence official who chaired the government's Defence Intelligence Committee, will replace Richard Dearlove on July 31.
Scarlett was in charge of writing the September 2002 dossier on Iraq's banned weapons program, which was released to help justify the Iraq war.
Brian Hutton, the judge who held an inquiry into compilation of the dossier, concluded that Scarlett followed suggestions from Prime Minister Tony
Blair's aides relating to the dossier only when it was consistent with intelligence.
"John Scarlett has the operational background, personal qualities and wide experience to be a worthy successor to Richard,'' Foreign Secretary Jack
Straw said in a statement.
Documents submitted to Hutton's inquiry show that Scarlett removed a statement that an attack on Iraq risked retaliation with chemical or biological
weapons. This was at the suggestion of Jonathan Powell, Blair's chief of staff, who objected to the assertion.
Scarlett also "strengthened'' language in the document at the suggestion of Alastair Campbell, who quit in August as Blair's communications chief.
While "there was nothing improper'' about Campbell and Powell making suggestions to Scarlett, ``the possibility cannot be ruled out'' that the
suggestions "may have subconsciously influenced'' Scarlett and his staff, said Hutton, known as Lord Hutton since he became a member of the House
of Lords in 1997.
Scarlett joined MI6 after graduating from Oxford in 1970. He had a number of overseas postings, rising to head of station (or most-senior spy) in
Moscow. He speaks Russian and French.
He was appointed chairman of the Joint Intelligence Committee in 2001, becoming responsible for liaison between government ministers and the