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The shift in the government's Iraq policy
Policy advice was not influenced so much by changing intelligence on Iraq as by two other factors which reinforced each other. One was a general concern about proliferation and the intelligence becoming available [from Pakistan, Libya, North Korea, Iran and Iraq]. The second was the absence of physical inspection of Iraqi programmes and activities following the withdrawal of United Nations inspectors 1998 [...]
Both these were increased by the heightened sensitivity following the terrorist attack on the World Trade Centre ... The prime minister confirmed to us that his position was accurately represented by a statement in one of the policy papers that "what has changed is not the pace of Saddam Hussein's WMD programmes but our tolerance of them post September 11".
The 45 minute claim
The government's dossier of September 2002 contained the claim based on an intelligence report that some chemical and biological weapons could be deployed by Iraq within 45 minutes of an order to use them. Much public attention has been given to the prime minister's statement that he was not aware until after the war that this report should have been interpreted as referring to battlefield weapons.
If this report was regarded as having operational significance, and if in particular it had been regarded as covering ballistic missiles (as was reported in some newspapers), this would indeed have been surprising. If, however, it referred to forward-deployed battlefield munitions, the time period given would not have been surprising or worth drawing to the prime minister's attention. But it was unclear, both in the JIC assessment of September 9 and in the government's dossier, which of the two it was.