Gotta start some way, some day.
Yes, I'm broken. In many of the possible ways.
But the fight goes on. I took a longer break than most, and for mostly work-related reasons, and I'm back.
And off we start with fresh news from across the Atlantic: The Guardian tells
us that it looks like the MI6 are going to have themselves a new R that will assess the quality of the intelligence they gather:
- MI6 has taken the unprecedented step of appointing a senior "quality control officer" to monitor the credibility and veracity of its secret intelligence, the Guardian can reveal.
- The senior official, who will be known as "R" - standing for reporting officer - will be responsible for reviewing secret information provided by British spies and agents in the field, according to intelligence insiders.
- MI6 has also appointed what they call a "non-executive director", a high-flier from the private sector with the task of trying to ensure our spies gather secret information as efficiently and effectively as possible.
- The moves come in the wake of the fiasco of the government's dossier on Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, and of sharp criticism in the subsequent Butler report of the way MI6 sources and intelligence were handled.
Also reports the Guardian:
- The Butler committee questioned the credibility of the few agents MI6 had in Iraq, describing one of its "main sources" as "unreliable".
- It disclosed how MI6 withdrew reports from its agents about Iraqi weapons, but only in July 2003, after the invasion.
- Lord Butler added that the MI6 sources whose reports formed the basis of Tony Blair's claim that Iraqi forces could fire chemical or biological weapons within 45 minutes of an order to use them "must be open to serious doubt".
- His report also concluded that warnings about the limitations of MI6 intelligence on Iraq were not made clear in the dossier, describing the failure as a "serious weakness".
You know, heaven forbid, they wouldn't want to give bad intelligence to 10 Downing Street now, would they? After all, it's not unheard of for such intelligence to make its way to speeches out of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue!