Blair ‘turned blind eye to Iraq intelligence’ in Bush meeting
Monday, September 25th, 2006
Tony Blair turned “a blind eye to intelligence” and failed to challenge George Bush over claims that Saddam Hussein was developing nuclear weapons, according to new claims published this week. A note of a private meeting between Mr Blair and President Bush in January 2003 shows that Tony Blair failed to confront Mr Bush when he claimed Saddam Hussein had tried to buy aluminium tubes for nuclear weapons production.
Mr Blair did not contradict the President despite having received “private briefings” which indicated that the aluminium tubes were more likely to be for conventional weapons, according to the new edition of a book by the international lawyer Philippe Sands published tomorrow. The claims in a new US edition of the book, Lawless World, will raise fresh questions about whether Mr Blair played a secondary role to President Bush.“When Bush and Blair discussed the aluminium tubes at their White House meeting on 31 January 2003 they appear to have done so by turning a blind eye to intelligence that had been made available to them but was unhelpful to their chosen course of action,” the book says. “Assuming this to be the case, it can only reinforce the suspicion that mutual convenience caused the two leaders to misrepresent the intelligence to shore up their claim to war.”