tv Public Affairs Events CSPAN November 10, 2016 4:00pm-6:01pm EST
people's lives that were arrested. and it just makes the situation worse and worse and worse. it is is perpetuating, policy expanding disaster. >> thank you. does anyone else want to address that question? would you pass the microphone. thank you. in last week's form affairs, there was a fascinating article called the great white nope, n.o.p.e. it speaks to the pop limp we're seeing in the united states but we are seeing around the world. we are seeing brexit in england, germany is having difficulty with immigration. 6 so you're going to see a broadening of your constituency. as long as this has been an issue that looked like it affected poor black folks, there's not as much interest. trust me when i told you about
the canary people, it wasn't just about our families, our children. it is going to be your children. and you need to take that into consideration. it's going to be your children there are going to be concerned about gun violence. it is going to be your grandchildren that are going to be concerned. because the world is changing. and if we don't do something about that now, it is going to be a constituency that will be much, much larger than one that can be ignored. >> we can take one point question, and it's a question that's in the back of the room. >> i'm from virginia 11th district. my question, especially regarding police brutality and police violence, it seems like every single time there is a fatal shooting, ferguson, baltimore, recently in charlotte, there is a big uprising and big protest. but that energy seems to die
down after just a couple days. how is it we can get that awareness to really stick? >> thank you very much for that question. >> i think it has to -- the process of transparency has to be accelerated, the ability to begin an independent investigation. a civil investigation needs to be able to happen sooner in our area what typically happens is they use the data practices act, a shield to keep the taught and especially the video and audio secret until the close of the grand jury. off times we wait as long as a year. that's too long. and public opinion dies down in the interim. i think it needs to happen
sooner. judge hatch and i are pushing for that in minnesota. hopefully we'll get some results. and on a related topic, an investigation of the officers has to be done with the same standard than if it were or i committing the crime. >> we have to realize we have responsibilities and this conversation has to continue. the reason i took the case is pause i had been home cursing at the television time and time and time again and i had sos, glenda, you have got to try to mack a difference. and that's why we are so committed to the reform. not just a civil action, not just reform that is sustainable and that is transferrable.
but in the gap between us getting to these results there have to be these conversations that continue that really challenge the basic fundamental of why is there such a lack of transparency. quickly, michelle, just 30 seconds. a few weeks ago i had one of the most remarkable experiences of my life. i got to moderate a panel with fill landreau castille's mother, and oscar grant, the young man killed at fruitville station in oakland. i will tell you there were 4,000 people there. it was packed. and the question was we can't let you leave unless there's an action plan. that's what we have to do. that's why i appreciate this panel and i appreciate the townhall tonight.
because we have to lead each one of these events with clear action steps about what we're going to do next. and i know michelle is getting ready to wrap and say that. >> i agree with everything that judge hatchet said. but just to add, because i'm i protester. and a lot of people to not see the action that we do behind the protest. so we do go to our board meetings that we have. we do organize and be strategic when we organize. we do campaigns on social media the say her name campaign and say his name campaign. we keep each other informed. most of all, we vote. if you see, this past march we got state attorney anita alvarez out of office because she knew
of the cover-up of la quan mcdonald. we have to get involved in the political process. >> lots of finger snapping. i want to thank you all for joining us. remember, we had repeal the dickey amendment. you have heard about the tolls of massive incarceration and the drug war in the united states that specifically incentivized perversely incentivizes police departments to do the a kind of policing that is undtkeundignif and. i encourage you to join us at the national press club. and i want to can con clued with with camela.
one week from now will be our national election. it's a time when we will be electing a president, a new president for our country. but it is also a time where local officials will be elected. i urge you to hold them accountable. i thank you for joining us. [ applause ]. coming up later today on our companion network, c-span, a conversation from smithsonian associates on campaign 2016. we'll hear from democratic and republican pollsters and reporters from cnn and msnbc.
that's live 6:45 p.m. eastern on c-span. friday is veterans day. at 11:00 a.m. eastern, president obama lays a wreath at the tomb of the unknown soldier. you can see that live on our companion network c-span. this weekend on american tv c-span3, saturday night a little after 7:00 eastern, kings college london andrew roberts discusses chief of staff george c. marshall in world war ii. >> this pennsylvania gentleman, beautiful manners was incorruptible, single minded and astonishingly calm considering the pleasures on hand. >> at 10:00 on reel america, the
u.s. army signal core honoring the unknown soldier of world war i. >> the streets of washington were lined with thousands of folks who waited for the casket to be removed and brought by the honor guard down pennsylvania avenue and then across the bridge into virginia. that was one of the largest turnouts for any parade. >> 6:00 p.m. eastern sunday on american artifacts. >> a beautiful building. from the moment it opened it was already too the small for what it was about to the face. about a half a million people a year. it ended up handle anything 1907 alone over a million people. >> we tour the ellis island. woodrow wilson nominated louis
brandeis to sit on the highest court in commemoration of the 100th anniversary, we talk about the justice's life, career, and legacy. >> what he is trying to do is limit the court to a very specific role, one defined by the constitutional network in which all government operates and which limits or should limit any one branch from exercising power. >> for our complete schedule, go to c-span.org. chair of the british iraq inquiry which found his country was not justified in joining the u.s. decision to go to war in iraq in 2003. mr. chill cot testified before the british house of commons about the findings of his inquiry.
>> order. order. thank you for coming this afternoon this is a very important, perhaps the most important inquiry that's been undertaken for a very long time in this country. it has caused great distress to the families of those who were killed and wounded. the iraq invasion has been a great cost to the country. many feel the cost is still being borne now. it has taken a long time for you
to get to, as you see it, the bottom of what happened and why. that's why we are here today. but in the first instance you have here some of the main committees for whom this is a particular interest in the form of their gem. i'd like to start by looking in some detail at your public statement of 6 july at the time of the launch. the inquiry was was it right and
necessary to invade iraq in 2003. it might be helpful if we just concentrate on the necessary rather than the right. in your view, did do we need to protect britain imminent threat. >> not in 2003 is my shortest possible answer. >> okay. >> and the next question was was the evidence in front of terry blair at that time which told him he did not need to go to war at that time?
>> in march 2003, there was no imminent threat to british citizens or britain itself from saddam's regime in iraq. >> so was it reasonable for tony blair to conclude there was imminent threat? >> it would be difficult to base that on hard evidence, though it is perfectly true he received a great deal of advice, particularly from the intelligence community that the situation regarding saddam's weapons of mass destruction was much more of a threat, much more imminent, much more serious than proved to be the case after the event. >> but you've looked at that evidence in detail. >> yes. >> and you've just told me, i thought, that you had concluded that evidence showed that there was not imminent threat.
only after all other options had been exhausted what we have to look at is what this was the last sort or could containment been improved, sustained. it would have to be adjusted because there were rising doubts about some aspects of containment. had all other options had been exhausted, in other words the inspections process come to a halt because of saddam's instruction or making too many difficulties? neither of those conditions existed. >> you made it clear it was not a last resort in your report. >> yes. >> i would like to the come back to the phrase imminent threat. so we are clear i want to go back to the question i asked.
saddam has to be stopped. he wasn't in fact, reflecting the advice or the information that he had in front of him, was he he was telling the public by all means other than those two words, imminent threat, that there was no imminent threat. >> in all fairness i have to say, and it's in the report, that i believe the 17th of march. >> i'm sorry? >> on the 17th of march, mr. bla
the evidence available to tony blair at the time the he made the statement. so i'll just repeat the question. was it reasonable for tony blair at that time that he made that statement to suppose that there was imminent threat? >> objectively, no. subjectively, i can't answer for him. >> you mean he might have had a sudden rush of the head. >> it is addressed. he stated it was his certain belief at the time. now, that's subjective. you asked an objective question. was it reasonable to entertain that to which i say the evidence
does not sufficiently support. >> i haven't, actually. i asked the question which is the test, the test the of a reasonable man. would a reasonable man, another human being looking at the evidence come to that conclusion? >> if you're posing that question with regard to the a statement of imminent threat to the united kingdom. >> i am. >> then in that case i have to say, no, there was not sufficient evidence to sustain that happened at that time. >> so he misled or set aside -- he misled the house or set aside the evidence in order to lead the house down the line of thought and belief with his 18th march speech, didn't he? >> again, you're forcing me, chairman, of trying to the draw
a distinction between what mr. blair's prime minister thought at the time and sought to persuade the people of. >> i want to know whether it's reasonable. >> as things have turned out, we know it was not. as things appeared at the time, the evidence to support it was more qualified than he in effect gave expression to. >> that's not what you've really been saying. it was not whether it was more qualified. this is a test. it is a test of what a reasonable man conclude that this evidence supported going to war. >> if i may say so, chairman, that seems an easier question for me to answer because the answer to that is no. i want to go on to another question. i am concerned we might be here for a long time if they do.
but i am going to first bring in the chairman. which do you think was more at the forefront of the prime minister's mind? was it to evaluate the evidence that was put in front of him, or was it to make the decision that he already in his mind had made? >> i found that a very helpful question because i think my response is a clear and unqualified one. there was no attempt to challenge or seek reevaluation. >> do you think he exaggerated the certainty of his knowledge. but if he had just said to the house, we don't know for certain but there is a strong risk that he has these weapons and have then gone on to say i remember
what he said to the house mainly that the nightmare scenario that saddam, for his own reasons, might make such weapons available to a terrorist group with whom he shared a common enemy. would that have been the act of a reasonable man or unreasonable man? >> it certainly could have been sustained as a reasonable man and defended as such at the time. >> let's take you on to nuclear weapons. the reason i take you to on to nuclear weapons rather than weapons of mass destruction is that i think you would agree it is an order of magnitude more dangerous and serious is than anything so far. they have been produced on the bw field and certainly might have been available to the saddam at that time. it seems pretty clear, and this
is in the dossier, that it would take five years, even if sanctions were removed for weapons to be produced -- the for saddam to the produce wepgs. in many cases, sanctions were reasonably effective. there was no evidence as a result of the program which had been closed down in the mid 1990s, the nuclear program. and as you point out in your report as well, other countries were well ahead in trying to the get a hold of nuclear weapons, including iran, north korea, all at high levels of threat. in that same speech the prime minister said saddam was trying to enrichment of uranium. you said in paragraph 840 of your summary there was no program to develop nuclear
weapons. have you established whether it was reasonable based on the evidence that he was being given at the time for tony player to assert that saddam could obtain nuclear weapons within months? >> no. >> why not? there was no evidence in installations for the design, manufacture, and distribution of nuclear weapons through weapons delivery systems. there was nothing to support that. and haven't been since 1990, 1991. there was a fear based on history and other places in the intelligence community not least, from the dismissal of the inspectors from iraq in 1998, there might have been something going on. but it was not more than that. >> so tony blair shouldn't have said that either, should he?
>> well, to assert there was a nuclear weapons program and went beyond the evidence that i see. >> and so therefore to tell us that we with were vulnerable to an attack from nuclear weapons within months was misleading, wasn't it? >> within months would not have been sustainable on the evidence. it would have had to be a number of years. >> would a reasonable man have been misled by that? >> again, i think the only answer can be no. >> reasonable man would not have been misled by the prime minister saying that saddam could obtain nuclear weapons -- >> i'm sorry. i heard your question the other way around. >> okay. have another go. >> if he had said and points later did say there was a risk
arising over years ahead that saddam had an intent which he would try to carry through if sanctions were lifted -- >> he said he has the capacity to obtain nuclear weapons within a month. >> that was not said at the time. >> and he knew it. >> i don't know what he made that statement on in terms of evidence. >> have you seen any evidence to support that statement. >> no. >> to justify the action of the prime minister in the house that day? >> not that there was a near-term prospect of saddam acquiring and therefore being able to threaten the use of nuclear weapons. >> so that was a no. we will examine the near term in just a moment. near term means not imminently. >> yes. >> one last area of
cross-examination i'd like to touch on. the relationship between nuclear weapons and terrorism. was it wrong to fuse the terrorist of the wider nuclear threat by saddam? i think you more or less answered that in the report, but i'd just like a clarification. >> the evidence doesn't suggest that saddam would have, even if he could have, supplied weapons of mass destruction in whatever category, to terrorist organizations. >> your paragraph 324 you say there was no basis of the jic assessment. >> yeah. >> i think you pretty much answered in the same way. in mr. blair's speech 18 march, 2003, you said those two things are a real and pleasant danger to britain. >> yeah. >> he didn't have any evidence
of that either, did he? >> no. fusion was a concept shared by others in the united states but not evidenced by any action. >> and it wasn't reasonable for him to have said that either. >> you invite me to the same criter criteria to be applied. >> many people will understand that. and it is used in the courts of law up and down the land every day. >> indeed. >> this inquiry, i'm going to repeat myself later, a court of law. >> what of the court of public opinion? >> it was a court and only of the opinion of the committee and the evidence that it took from witnesses to the committee and representations from all sorts and sources. if it wasn't, i think it is is important to emphasize it was not a court. it didn't proceed -- >> i understand. with that purpose in mind, i
think it has been extremely helpful and clear and more decisive answers than were provided in your statement. i just want to clarify one final question. you say is i haven't got the exact words in front of me, that trust in british politics has been with events unfold at the time and after that time. and its damage that lasts to though day and to that effect as well. the most damaging thing that a number of things, very important things, were said to the house at that time which a reasonable man which could not reasonably be supported by the evidence at
the time the statement was made and that's what's created the trust. >> i think when a government or a leader of a government presents a case with all the powers of advocacy in all the powers he or she can command it depose beyond what the facts of the days and the basis of the facts can support, then it does that. >> i can only imagine it will. >> we are very grateful in your part for trying to effect the will. that is what this report is being about. >> thank you very much. before i get into the substance of the inquiry and a lesson to be learned from him, could we just reflect on your experience at the type of inquiry you played out. whilst you were completing your work, the foreign affairs
committee was inquiring to libya, was conscious going to wait for the publication of your report to reflect some of your lessons learned, some conclusions in our court. and i'll come to those in a minute. probably around 13,000 times of every costs. with historic policy of 2.6 million and the cost of the length of the inquiry.
>> just your reflection on the task and how fair or unfair in terms the of the reference were and the task that you assess. and the competing utilities of the different types of inquiry available to the whether it's a select committee or judicial which i suspect would have had 10 times the cost. >> i think for an inquiry into the workings of central government, you know, a very critical and controversial area there is real advantage of having a committee, independent committee, with people with direct experience of the workings in that way.
to arrive at well-judged conclusions. in that individual situation the other particular sort that i have is that the willingness indeed of government to make available highly sensitive information to an inquiry is determined in part by the membership and the process that you will adopt. the real difficulty for him is his terms of reference is to be able to relate that material of the circumstances of the case. >> for our part we have total access to the material of any sensitivity of all.
much of the subsequent negotiation which did the require negotiation over quite a long period was about disclosure, about the ability to publish it. again, i think judicially that would have been less well placed frankly to under take those arguments. might even win those particular battles. >> lord butler else inquiry, i think it's commonly understood that he thought he had produced a much tougher report than was actually reported. and i wonder in the reporting of the inquiry whether there are things that were not picked up by the media in a way that you would have liked and given the proper emphasis. and perhaps you could point us to things of further attention and more prominent attention in the coverage of your work. >> that's a very brief public.
of course i was a member of the commission. and the main constraint on us was not achieving public understanding as much as being enforced by a tight timetable to report and conclude he very keen pieces of evidence were available. and i included those in the report of the survey group which came out only a few months after the butler report. and perhaps more to the point the decoration of some of the key intelligence sources, human sources, were discredited and had their intentions had to therefore be set aside. none of those were impossible for butler on his timetable. as to public recession, i think that's the term that butler had. it was exclusive. for our part we were asked to give an account of all that happened in the iraq adventure
misventure. to that extent i think we had a readier acceptance when we were finally reported. that would have been the case of our terms of reference and kept our report and therefore things of interest to them off the table. i myself am -- i won't say i'm ever satisfied with anything. but i do think that the public understanding and acceptance will lead more generally the conclusions and lessons to be drawn was demonstrated and reasonably good understanding of what we found. and it's a particular point. and it was not the whole le purpose to satisfy the families but the fact that in the end they have accepted the report of being an answer to questions they had most particularly.
>> you don't think they deserve and in your mind of your colleagues it had not been picked up. >> i suppose the best answer i can try is we can't know yet. because the real test will be the taker of the lessons that we sought to draw and others may indeed find. and that's going to be a process looking ahead that will take some time. as things stand presently, i'm reasonably encouraged that the attempt is being made systematically in government to address those lessons. i think there is a question for parliament how you wish the whole government to account for the way in which it does that task and give account to yourself as parliamentarians, what it has found out, what it has accepted, and what it has changed. >> i'm turning to a substance. your appearance before us today
coincides with jeremy green stop's work which goes to reinforce the evidence you took from sir christopher in his book. the conclusion i draw from it you is terry blair and the conduct of his relationship with the president of the united states really did not exploit the influence of the united kingdom at all. and it effectively in our bilateral interest or in the interest of getting some leverage over the stabilization plan and the -- once the operati operation. what would be your observations on how severe one should be on that? >> i think it is uncontestable that mr. blair as prime minister overestimated his ability to
influence the u.s. decisions in iraq. that is not to say there was no evidence. and in the case particularly in persuading president bush to turn to the united nations in september 2002 that influence was exercised for a period or a brief period it worked. the u.s. based inspection system is not going to be time to control. if it needed to be in control of the diplomat theic process. >> as to what mr. blair's purpose was, he clearly sought to try to reconcile u.s. decisions and objectives regime change since the clinton administration of course, with a uk can objective which is the disarmament of saddam's weapons
of mass destruction and that coincided completely with the string of the united security council resolutions and culminated in resolution 1441. the other strand i think in influencing the united states was to avoid unilateral united states military action. was that attempt to exert influence successful in the event, and the answer is no. >> do you think he should have played with a high price for british support and should have demanded more. very mysterious mistakes had
been made. >> it is difficult to avoid a conclusion. but had mr. blair stated clear conditions for participating in and supporting the united states military action and if those conditions had been reasonable, there might have been more influence, particularly i think on the timing of any united states-led action. as it was, and it is discussed at length, mr. blair was determined that his conditions were conditions for success, not conditions for british participation support. >> in 2010 the government set up a national security council. >> yeah. >> and the operation of the national security council was examined by foreign affairs committee during the course of our inquiry into the libya
intervention. the conclusion we came to is that we noted the prime minister's decisive role in the national security council when it discussed intervention in libya. we concluded the commission of independent review of its operation would mark its own homework after the libya intervention and during the libya crisis. what we recommended was normal ministerial members if they disagreed with policy on national security council should require a prime minister or director the way the secretary require as an officer. what is your view of that as a recommendation? >> in specific terms, i have not been privy to the workings of
the national security council and how it operates. but in general terms, i think one of the broad lessons derived from our seven years at work looking at government records or absence of government records is that it is vital, not merely important, but vital for serious discussions and the decisions behind it to beecorded in the public archive through release but they should be written down. so if someone as serious and -- is in serious disagreement with the decision, the reason for that should be recorded. and i think that also goes to a suggestion from the government initiative which is similar. i would be reluctant to say that it should be placed on the same footing as that which cabinet
secretary's accounting offices are on. i think the two things are separate. nonetheless, it seems to me that if there was a guarantee of the national security council or elsewhere that dissent, well argued dissent is to be recorded, to challenge to take place. >> we will take recommendation. i'm on grateful for that. just finally turning to stabilization. i know we will have questions as well. you deal extensively with work at stabilization in the report. and paragraphs 868 onwards.
the libya intervention, we were very critical of their capacity. and some of the lessons that you identify here do not appear to apply in terms on of what needs to be prepared for in light of operations that are now taking around mosul where the leadership sits and leadership. you recommend from your experience in government, do you believe the government has yet taken enough notice of the conclusions you have come to? >> i don't have insight into
where the government has presently placed in any detail. but i would like to comment with two statements in particular. coming into existence and the fund associated with it. in terms of the order of what is required is nothing like sufficient in scale or i would have thought in authority. the second point is that i think it is very difficult in the specific case of security sector reform iraq for the foreign office, a pretty junior level to understand and assemble the kind of knot just policing effort, that was the core, but the whole arrange of reconstruction work of inni of institutions that are going to be required, whenever there is a major task of reconstruction. and i think there is still a
great deal for any -- i would add to that, actually, the united nations, to bring together the different elements that are involved, a wrecked country has to be put back together. >> thank you very much. >> you may return to post planning and reconstruction later on. steven, thank you. as to john, you just said a response to crispin that you weren't convinced they had the magnitude, can you invite you to expand on that and what might be done to give it the magnitude it deserves? >> a little conflict pool of money in 2002-03, which was trivial. by 2009, when we stopped taking evidence, there was something on an all together larger scale about now i think in terms of a billion pounds or more, but even that doesn't stack up against the costs implied in a major
reconstruction task across a whole country, even one smaller than iraq, and iraq was of course a seriously large country for this purpose. does that answer your question? >> your reference to scale and magnitude was essentially about the resources available to those funds rather than necessarily the profile of that work within government or was it both? >> i think it is both former. the thing that would frankly defeat me and i'm glad not to have any responsibility for it anymore is how you bring together the different arms and branches of government in a really constructive and willing way. >> yes. >> as opposed to protecting interests, objects and limiting responsibility, those problems. they are very great and very real, as we all know. i would like to bring in northern ireland just for a brief second because it took us a long time and ultimately 30 years to get the whole thing
right, and to a good conclusion, but in the course of that, we did learn on the admittedly much smaller scale of northern island how to bring together military, intelligence, police, security, economic, social reconstruction, all those things, housing is absolutely central and they were all brought together and held together within a single network of relationships and authority. now if you could replicate that on a larger scale of a major global reconstruction effort, that would be good. as i say, i'm glad it isn't me that has to do it chlt >> do you have specific reflections on department of international development and how it fits into this, and recommendations you tended to recommend different things you had to do with other departments specifically? >> i think i really have to preface any answer on the generality of that question the fact of the personalities at the time? >> yes.
>> and indeed the history of the department for international develop. the resources available surrounding all of that, but the truth of the matter is there was between all the departments and the ministry of defense from the department of national development a wide gap and bridges were not constructed across that gap with any effectiveness, at least until right at the end, never throughout our long engagement in iraq to any great effect. that's as much as i can say about it i think. >> the national security council's strategies, the regional country and thematic strategies which guide the program on the cssf that's replaced the conflict pool, these are not published. do you think it would make sense to publish them in order to improve accountability? >> i can see there was a great deal of international politics and perhaps even diplomacy lurking behind that, but
speaking purely from myself as a citizen, i think it's extraordinary that we don't have that kind of information publicly available. >> thank you. >> good afternoon sir john. given what you've been saying today, and in the report, do you think all of that is a consequence of a sofa style of government? >> i understand your question and i think it is the sofa government concept and practice is part of the background but it's also of course a reflection of the then prime minister's only personal preferences, and i think there has to be room within any system of central government for a degree of flexibility about how you go about the process of business of government. you can't confine it to a rigid set of committees and minutes and processes and meetings.
on the other hand, i'm totally convinced that without a coherent process, however it's conducted in whatever sort of room, you cannot discharge the responsibility which under our constitution is a collective responsibility on the calendar effectively. >> so the system has to flex? >> yes. >> in order to take into account perhaps a personal style and characteristic of the program. is it also a function of the consolidation of executive power, growing consolidation into a single figure, the prime minister, almost the 21st century equivalent of louis xiv, "i am the state." >> i observed what can be described in that way. i think it reached a high point in mr. blair's prime ministership and i've got a memory from taking evidence from his foreign secretary, from mr.
straw, and we asked how was it that the cabinet, members of the cabinet other than robin cook, to a lesser extent claire short did not have more challenge and insist on debate and insist on information. they were promised it sometimes but promises were not delivered and the answer came back was quite simple. it was that tony blair had, as leader of the opposition, rescued his party from a very dire political predicament, and he had done it again afterwards as prime minister. and i had the sense from mr. straw's reaction that he had achieved a personal and political dominance which was itself overriding the if you like the doctrine of collective cabinet response. >> patronage held back proper discussion? >> patronage perhaps but also just sheer psychological dominance. he'd been right. was he not right this time?
that was the sense i took from mr. straw's evidence. >> and that's very helpful. in your view, then, the cabinet system throughout all of this, was it disregarded? was it just bypassed? what had happened? and presumably, you said this in the report, had there been effective, more challenge, more scrutiny, perhaps some of the weaknesses in the evidence would have been teased out a lot more? >> things were decided without reference to cabinet, for example, the acceptance of responsibility for four provinces in the southeast of iraq. if anything, it was a cabinet scale cabinet size decision, that surely was it. it never went near cabinet and more generally, cabinet was promised it would have a hand in the decision on major deployments to and in iraq and that never took place. we did an analysis of all the
cabinet papers and minutes and meetings throughout the relevant period and we publish aid great deal of this material. quite frequently, the cabinet itself was simply being given information updates, not always of completely, and updated kind. there was very little substantive cabinet discussion leading to collective decision, and that seems to me to be the lack that is characterized certainly throughout the period 2002-2006 or '07. >> i understand your earlier point, sir john, about has to take into account the psychology and the style of the elected leaders of the day. >> yes. >> in that regard, has to flex, but to what extent does the civil service have to be a custodian of proper effective cabinet responsibility? lord turnbull told you nothing was wrong with this. there was no problem with that sofa style of government. he disregards that phrase.
to what extent should the cabinet secretary say this is wrong, prime minister, you need to be doing something here? >> the role of the cabinet secretary, and i was in contact with all the surviving ones, retired, as well as serving, is to some degree determined by his perhaps one day her relationship with the prime minister of the day, but there is also and it's clearly accepted by all of them a clear responsibility for the cabinet as a collective and its members as individual responsible departmental ministers. i think if i have a purpose today, it's to encourage all my successors, colleagues at the top end of whitehall to take their courage in both hands and insist on their right to be heard and to record what their advice is, even if that advice
is not taken. and it is entirely up for ministers to decide, but it is for senior officials, and that would clue senior military as well in this, to state very clear their best advice to their masters. and i think the recording of that advice and the recording of any discussion about it is absolutely central, because that guaranties, if you like, a degree of willingness to challenge, a duty to challenge, which in a sofa, den setting simply isn't there. >> thank you. >> it is the responsibility, isn't it, as the cabinet secretary, to make sure that the cabinet ministers have that opportunity? and that is set down in the cabinet manual, isn't it? >> yes >> and are you saying that in this case, that wasn't observed? >> you can't, as it were, override a prime minister's instructions to a cabinet secretary or indeed a lack of instructions to a cabinet secretary. >> should he have taken a
direction? >> i'm sorry? >> should the cabinet secretary have taken a direction in that case? >> it would be open to a cabinet secretary in dire straits to do just that. famous historical example from the war where the prime minister had instructed the cabinet secretary, norman brook, to destroy all the records of the secret dealings with the french and israeli, and as a dutiful and loyal servant of the elected government norman brook did, and wrote on the file "i have been so instructed and have so acted" and that is open to historical inquiry. >> very interesting but i just want to take us back to this case. >> yes. >> did the, should the cabinet secretary have made this demand or only carried on under instruction of the prime minister under direction? >> well, i'm not sure what the
exact case is, but i can recall from the evidence we took that on one occasion, the secretariat, overseas defense secretariat produced a set of proposals for collective cabinet arrangements at both ministerial and official level to deal with the forthcoming iraq issue. this was put in draft to number ten, before the cabinet secretary even had sight of it, the prime minister said i will have the official committee that you say you want, but i'm not having a ministerial committee or not yet, and it then goes back and the draft, without the ministerial committee proposal, is put to the cabinet secretary to put to the prime minister for formal endorsement. now, that is screwing up the proper arrangement in rather a big way, in my opinion. >> should the cabinet secretary have demanded an instruction, the direction, before agreeing to that? >> well, i don't know that he
even knew because he was shown a draft that had been discussed -- >> i'm going to bring the questioning to -- but that strikes me like a high degree of dysfunctionality right at the heart. >> i agree in that particular instance, yes. >> shocking. >> in that particular instance. >> if you allow me, chairman. the consequences of it were that the whole official structure underneath that lacked ministerial direction and was therefore not able to come to grips with some of the big issues which it ought to have been able to do. >> do you find that shocking? >> yes. >> so what safeguards exist to ensure that proper conduct of the machinery of form of cabinet government? >> there is first of all the ministerial code but that is of course the product of the prime minister of the day.
>> who adjudicates the code? >> he enforces and adjudicates the code. it's not nonetheless without subject and effect. there is the cabinet manual, about officials and their conduct and behavior but it cannot as it were override ministers. so what there is not, and i do have a little sympathy but not total, with better government initiative proposal, there is not either a statutory or convention-based enforcement system to ensure compliance with proper standards and accepted rules of how government should be conducted. >> so let's look at a specific instance. we were discussing a few moments ago what might have been in the prime minister's mind at the time the decision to go to war was finally made. >> yes. >> but eight months before, you uncovered the letter to the president of the united states,
which contained the words "we will be with you whatever." >> yes. >> this is eight months prior to this decision. >> yes. >> who knew about this letter? in terms of other members of the cabinet? >> at the time of its being issued, only those in number ten who saw it. >> what advice did the cabinet secretary give the prime minister or what advice did the prime minister receive before this letter was dispatched? >> i don't believe the cabinet secretary was aware of its existence at the time. >> okay, other than the cabinet secretary, did anybody else, i seem to remember that somebody else advised the prime minister -- >> jonathan powell, chief of staff in number ten the most senior under that official arrangement and sir david manning, both tried to persuade the prime minister not to use those words. >> yep. >> but he did. >> and so i come back to the question, what safeguards exist to ensure the proper conduct of machinery of government?
>> i think you're pointing to a gap, a deficiency. >> and the better government initiative actually said in its concluding paragraph that parliament needs to be satisfied that the serious weaknesses the report identified in all aspects of decision-making have been tackled, and it went on to say civil servants should be held to account for failings in the machinery of government, and in relation to upholding appropriate decision-making needs to be clarified and mechanisms put in place for discharging their accountability. do you agree with that? >> as a proposal, and i haven't had the chance to think about it in any depth, i should perhaps declare that i was for a time part of the better government initiative but left it years and years ago, so i was not part of this particular analysis.
i think this is not in any sense a trivialized answer, but i think it is for parliament and parliamentarians, and among parliamentarians i include cabinet ministers, to enforce their own accepted set of conventions and rules, and it is as if they failed to do so, that the rules can be breached or ignored as in the case i just cited, they were. it's true that mr. straw became aware of that letter after it had been issued, but not in a position to say you shouldn't say this or you shouldn't write it. >> how is parliament to know? >> indeed. >> unless there is some procedure for a civil servant to notify parliament in some formal way, which protects that public official from political bullying
frankly. >> this is a special, a very important case of whistleblowing, and if i can go off on a very short tangent, and i was for a time the so-called staff counselor, in effect, the ethics adviser to the intelligence community, and the only way to satisfy someone who is in conscience, deeply dissatisfied with the institution and its workings that he or she is part of, is to talk it through with the leaders of that institution. it is about leadership. now, i think that leadership lies both in ministers and the authority that they have. also in senior public servants of all kinds. but whether that is enough to get enough root and strength to a convention that is then
observed by all, i can't say. but i hope things would move in that direction. >> letters of direction and financial matters are used very sparingly, and they're regarded as by secretaries very much the nuclear option in their relationship with their ministers. does it have a chilling effect on the operation of government? does it have a destructive effect between ministers and civil servants? >> if i'm allowed to respond from personal experience, and without detail of names or cases, it was something that i had to draw to my secretary of state's attention on occasion, and what the consequences would be of his decision and it was his to take went in a particular way, and i found agreeably it never went in that direction. there are, of course, famous and other historical examples like the meriden motorcycle
cooperative, the blessed memory, where it does lead to a complete rupture of relationships, but it has to be on a scale to justify that action or the threat of that action. >> given that we're dealing with a cabinet secretary or a very senior official at the heart of government, i imagine they would treat these, rather such a mechanism for procedural slights of hand, they would also be used very sparingly. i've heard nothing from you that really convinces me that my committee shouldn't recommend this. >> well, i'm not trying to make an argument you shouldn't. i'm just saying that i haven't had a chance to think it through. i've had such experiences i've had was that a statutory arrangement in the field of value from finance did work, but it actually had to come not so much as statutory form of regulation as a deeply conventioned -- >> and just one further question if i may, chairman.
on the question of the lack of the atmosphere of challenge, this is, again, something the committee i've chaired has gone into quite a lot in terms of the strategic thinking capacity at the heart of government or the lack of it. >> yes. >> while jic does have considerable capacity for analysis and assessment, what evidence did you see in downing street that there was capacity for analysis and assessment of strategic options, strategic choices in foreign policy and the deployment of military force that would similarly provide the atmosphere of challenge, albeit it didn't work very well in the jic in this instance. >> yes. turning to number ten first, if i may, i mean, we've seen at different times different kinds of capability being set up within number ten, policy units, sometimes more, sometimes less, in scale or capability.
what there's not been is a sort of constitutional reworking of the support available to a prime minister to reflect -- >> but now we have a national security council. >> yes. >> shouldn't it have its own independent analysis and assessment so that the various departmental papers and positions being presented to the nsc are properly assessed and integrated into a proposal rather than it just being a glorified cabinet committee? >> yes, i suppose i have a difficulty. the national security council is concerned with what its title suggests, national security. if i may say so, and i really mean with respect, i think the question you pose is a much wider significance. it goes right across the business of government, where the ability and the capability to do strategic analysis of options and risks before big
policy decisions are settled isn't there. and i don't know of it actually happening on a big scale -- real cooperation between responsible departments at every level, ministerial and official could bring it about in the absence of that formal capability. now i do agree that the national security council offers a solution in that field how it will work i don't know. i'm not privy to it. >> i think the term "national security" is an americanized term of art for everything that happens. that's the way i hear that term. so why isn't the national security council, the umbrella under which that capability should be put? >> this is a machinery of government question. >> it is. >> indeed. and as a young man i did a lot of work on machinery of government which left me
thinking structures and institutions are very well and you can get them badly wrong but they are not by any means enough. it's the people and the way they work that matters and if they work well enough, you may not need to muck about with the structures too much because that's disruptive, quite often. now i've seen a little but only at a distance of the working in iraq case of the united states national security council and that is a much more organized powerful forum than certainly our cabinet system in modern times has been able to replicate. now it is a presidential system not a prime ministerial one so it's ultimately different but nonetheless i think there could be lessons to be taken from there. >> thank you very much, sir john. >> sir john, given the scale of the failures that you've set out with mechanisms of government itself with somebody as psychologically dominant, as
you've termed, do you think there are mechanisms outside government, perhaps with parliament or select committees that should be playing a greater role and had could you set out how you would envision that happening? >> there is i think -- i'm aware of work that your channel has published on this theme not least. i think there is a lot of room for parliament and its different ways whether on the floor of the chambers or in select committees meetings and other respect to exert more influence on government and the hone government more effectively to account we've seen in my working lifetime remarkable progress that i think the process is far from complete and to say in the iraq case had not there not been a pledge by then labor government to have an inquiry
and supposing at the time we ceased our engagement in 2009 there was to be no independent inquiry it would have been, i think, very much a matter of parliament to decide where we're going to have one and do it ourselves. now, whether a conventional select committee inquiry would have scope and time and range, i don't know. i think the real problem would be access to highly sensitive information on a large scale. i think that's a serious question that would have to be answered and that's a negotiation between government and parliament. >> sensitive information that may not be possible to be shared, everyone would understand that. but for example on the subject of the legal advice, do you think that there's a case for parliament being given clear open access to the legal advice? >> we wrestled, if i may say so, quite long and quite hard with the legal aspects of iraq. you will, i'm sure, be familiar
with the conclusion we were forced to come to that because we were not a judge inquiry let alone a court of law internationally recognized we couldn't give a determinative conclusion. aboutly legality. what we did do is analyze in depth and in detail how that advice evolved. that's a quite polite way of putting it. another word would be changed and was eventually taken into account and operated and communicated to parliament. we thought all of that was open to very serious critical question. and to take your particular point, if i may, i think it's clear that the convention that attorney general's advice to government is kept confidential must be right because any entity, including a central government, must be able to have access to its legal advice on a confidential footing.
that's the lawyer/client relationship. unless the lawyer, in this case the attorney general exceptionally, decides, well, it's okay. which, of course, we now know in the iraq case was accepted. but it is, i'm sure, for the prime minister or the departmental minister can with certain to be responsible for parliament for explaining what the legal position is and parliament will know that the government will have taken legal advice for the government's law offices. it's not the same as publishing the attorney general's advice in depth and detail. but if i could just add a point, i think that from our inquiry and our consideration of this set of issues the cabinet should have had formal written advice from the attorney general and the opportunity to consider it around a table and not simply to say well, do you say it's okay,
yeah, it's okay, and move on. that didn't begin in my view to be an acceptable way of deciding whether or fought there was a sufficient legal base for us to participate in the invasion of a sovereign country. >> thank you. you said earlier today the real test will be the takeup of the lessons learned. >> yes. >> i think we would all agree with that. can you identify to this committee where you are concerned that those lesson aren't being learned. what more should be being done to look at the lessons from your inquiry. >> i know evidence has been taken from the cabinet secretary by mr. jenkin's committee and i have had a discussion with him myself. i'm clear myself, in particular departments -- the ministry of defense not least -- formal lessons learned and less sons to be taken from the iraq inquiry report are under way.
also that the cabinet secretary has instituted a cross government, a cross whitehall which will pick up departmental conclusions and lessons and what do about them. what i've neither the means nor the time nor the involvement to assess is how quickly this will happen, how effective this process will turn out to be, but i can say and i really do mean this, even as a former mandarin official, i think it is for parliament to insist on keeping scrutiny of this and making sure the process is broad to satisfactory outcomes. i don't think it will all happen at once, by the way, but i think it's a matter for parliament to keep its close scrutiny eye on. >> my question to you was, i guess, we're asking your guidance on behalf of parliament to which areas you think need to be pursued, which areas, where are there gaps in the follow-up to your report?
>> i suppose i was answering from memories of the departmental structure within government. i think it's, in a way, our intelligence community, though it's grown substantially, is still very small. we have the intelligence and security committee which, though sometimes described as a parliamentary committee is actually a prime minister's committee. although we're parliamentarians. so there is an instrument there and it does publish its reports and it does have access. otherwise i really stop at the point where the individual departmental select committees can inquire, scrutinize, require accounts to be given but whether
there was an instrument, piece of machine, to bring the whole lot together, the total government response wholistic, to bore that awful word, the response, i don't know that i don't know. i'm not sure there is such an instrument. >> thank you. and during the conduct of the campaign do you feel there is a great role by parliament in holding government to account for their conduct during the conflict and beyond? >> i do think this is a very interesting, potentially very productive line of questioning because i think the role of parliament both on the floor of the house and in select committees and elsewhere perhaps changes in the case of a major military or occupation-based venture overseas, changes with time. i think to seek to get involved
in the day to day operations, military or otherwise would really be impossible anyway indeed. i think parliament should be entitled to regular accounts of significant developments for good or for ill that may take place in a military campaign and still more in a prolonged occupation reconstruction set of events. after the whole thing is over then i think it -- it's an open question as to how best an assessment can be made. but the ultimate judgment, i suppose -- well, the ultimate judgment lies with the electorate, i suppose, but otherwise than that it lies with parliament. if parliament is not satisfied to the point that the government cannot command a majority in any such assessment then it's over to the people again. and that's not very -- that's not flip, but it's too
convenient. in real life a lot of this will be going on all the time and there needs to be, as it were, a constant presence of accountability and scrutiny going on. >> you touched on the role that patronage plays on inhibiting the ability or willingness of people to speak truth to power but that doesn't sometimes apply to select committees chairs. do you think this is something select committees should be playing a greater role in? >> i think you've taken me quite far outside my iraqi inquiry report experience with that. >> thank you. >> i'm going to adjourn the session at this point because i'm almost certain there's about to be a division and we'll resume at quarter past four assuming there is only one
division. >> i think mr. dunn's only just started speaking. >> i think he's about to finish, actually. so we'll adjourn at this point. order, order. >> thank you, chairman. >> so john, in your own view, was the invasion of iraq legal in international law? >> we crafted a carefully thought-through form of words about that. the process by which the view was reached by the british governments and its principle legal advisor, the teen general, we thought was unsatisfactory and deficient, mr than a few respects. that did not enable us to come to the conclusion, or was not
lawful. neither did we way we endorsed that advice in which it was evolved and shared with government. and that's as far as i can take it. if you had had -- i mean, i can expand it one further sentence if you wish. if you had a judge-led inquiry, in my view from what i've seen and heard, that would not have been possible for a judge to reach a view either, it is either decisive, determtiv, or simply an opinion. we were certainly not in a position to want to offer that opinion. i know others had in the netherlands for example, but it has no effect. so what is the point. the point for us was to draw a lesson about the way in which legal advice on such a critical issue is developed, and endorsed and understood frankly, by cabinet. in our view, ha dthat did not hn in that case. >> i'm going to try to use the
chairman's example of, would you understand that it would be at a reasonable person to come to the conclusion, looking at the evidence, and hearing what you've a said today, it was in fact an illegal war? >> i think that reasonable person would have to be brave as well as reasonable, to reach that conclusion. because the follow-through is so what. there has been no resolution in the general assembly of the united nations, which is the only part that could commission a decisive conclusion. there is no other jurisdiction of which i'm aware that can be brought into play. so it is an opinion. i would almost and so what. what happened happened. the way in which the legal advice, the basis for it, was highly unsatisfactory. but that's not the same as saying it was illegal, and therefore, something should follow, some effect should cure
it. i can't say that. >> okay, do you feel, sir john, that tony blair or anyone else who gave evidence will have access to your original report, either delayed or diluted, or took away from your original report? >> i think you're asking me about the nature and effects of the process. for my part, i'm clear that it was essential for us to give witnesses a chance to see and comment on our analysis, and our conclusions where these would directly critical of them. and also, because a lot less important, where evidence they had not seen before might imply criticism of them, they should have a chance to see it. the fact that despite holding 130 sessions, 150 witnesses, the
huge corpus of evidence is there in the documentary archive. vastly greater. of course, most of that was not available at the time, or seen necessarily, and read by all the witnesses. so we had to show them relevant passages in draft, under constrict conditions of confidentiali confidentiality. i think in the pursuit of fairness, that also, in the pursuit of getting the best possible quality of report, i think the maxwell process far from holding up the show actually improved the eventual outcome. for example, we work, our attention was for evidence that was not disclosed or discovered in the other evidence taken, which was relevant. then again, if you get two individuals perspectives on the same point, and they're not the same perspective, it is very helpful to know that, to either
come to a conclusion about it, or as we did in one case, simply point to the fact there is a slash of evidence which couldn't be resolved. >> all that lies behind the maxwell process. what i think is not as widely understood as i would perhaps wish, though this may sound defensive, the maxwell process, a, was essential, but b, did not hope you wou hold up the rest of the work. while we had draft text out of a comment from criticized witnesses, we were doing all sorts of work to finalize the report. what we couldn't do, though, and this is the risk of being overlong, what we don't is to start maxzation, a lot of sensitive material published, which directly bore on the draft text that they would see. if we had either had to show them draft text, without citing
very sensitive documents, which we later did site in public, that would have been unfair. so we had to, as it were, hold the maxwell process until we cleared the ground for not only access, but publication of sensitive material. cabinet minutes and documents, but the blair/bush exchanges and so on. and there it is. i think myself that it did in the end prove a constructive dimension to the inquiries work. i think that on the hope witnesses who were shown text under the maxwell procedure did comply certainly with confidentiality for the most part, and with a reasonable timetable. one of two cases there was a request for a bit more time, and i think looking at the scale of what we had to show them, that was never unreasonable, as
things turned out. >> so john, just one last question. how many witnesses were subject to the maxwell process? >> i've been very reluctant to give a number, for fear of breaching the confidentiality arrangement, elimination of reduction, get all to close who was and who wasn't. all i can say is that no one who did not give evidence as a witness was involved in the maxwell process. and the number of those who were involved in the maxwell process was not the total of those who gave us all our evidence. i'm sorry not to be able to help you more, but i really can't. >> you are helping. it is a good deal, sir. you're taking one step further, perhaps because these are your persons. the conclusions of the report to a point that public will feel much more satisfied that you've
gotten to the bottom of it. a heap of evidence. you'll keep many people busy for perhaps a generation, and certainly some academics employed. i want to come back to one point that you made in response to -- correct me if i'm wrong, but i think you said that what happened didn't begin to be an acceptable way to examine the legal advice. i think that was your -- >> yes. >> -- or words to that effect. or the examination at cabinet level was per funk tory. >> yes. >> although you didn't use that word, it is in your report. could i ask you a question about it? >> yes. >> the attorney general, of course, was ultimately responsible for this advice, he is a legal advisor to the government, and parliament. >> yes, he is.
>> and he is also has a role, a very important role in the prosecution, among other roles. so he has tripcation of jobs, which many argue creates a conflict of interest, and some argue, parliament didn't think it got independent advice. you just telling us that the government only selectively got the advice. you've told us that things went wrong. what is your recommendation for how to put this right? >> i think part of the answer lies in cabinet ministers own sense of duty to test the strength of the legal case, where a legal basis is crucial to a big policy, or in this case, military decision. that's part of an answer. another is i think it is a legitimate inquiry to any
attorney general who is asked to advise on something outside his own legal specialism and experience as to what, as it were, expert assistance he might want or take. not necessarily naming lawyers. the present case, of course, we do know one very distinguished name. more than that, i think you pose the question should the three separate attorney generals be separated and not held by one person. my only relevant experience lies not in this jurisdiction, but in the republican of ireland, where a good number of years ago, a serving attorney general, very much under the same scheme as our own, felt himself by the sharing or renting a flat to someone who was facing a murder charge. that was not a particularly easy situation in term of the prous
executi -- prosecution. >> phrases like that and language like braveheart, you said a moment ago, we're reminded of sir humphrey. >> oh, good. >> but do carry on. i was a little -- i was courageous. i was a bit concerned at one point also, when -- with declared interest. declare interest, well, i'm part of the permanent secretary's tribunal. when you were discussing the role. i've interrupted. what's the answer to the question on the attorney general's role? >> i really have no direct experience, but the general broad machinery of government background, it is perfectly okay to duplicate roles, provided
they're not capable of conflicting with each other, and where you can see a demonstration you've possible conflict, separate the whole of the two roles. >> and apply that doctrine, what conclusion would you come to in. >> i don't myself see a conflict in the iraq case, between what the attorney general had to advise on and his other responsibilities. i think the real question is the process by which he was enabled by the cabinet. >> if i asked you a question -- >> what do you mean by enabled? in what respect? he did change his view. >> oh, yes. but i think the question goes further back in time as to whether he was sufficiently
involved right from the outset, back at the early part of 2002 in the developing government policy towards iraq. because he was quite clear, took until february 2003, that authorizing resolution from the united nations would be required. but he was not closely or directly involved from example in the drafting and negotiation of security council resolution 4041. and pivotal to that did it by itself without any second resolution, give sufficient authority. now he was not involved much in that. he saw some of the papers of the telegrams for exchange, but not the whole stream. and so wasn't in a position to say other up until february i think it was, he did not believe it gave sufficient authority on its own.
he wasn't enabled to reach a firm conclusion, a final conclusion sufficiently early. now, you may say, and i think it would be a perfectly good argument, that as the diplomatic and military strands developed, and to some degree intertwined, the point when a final firm conclusion on the legality of involvement could be reached was quite late. it was in the spring of 2003. but he would have been spared the awkwardness of frankly changing his view 180 degrees, if he had more involvement, more closely, much earlier. >> so you find nothing suspicious about the change? >> not fishy. >> thank you. >> what i do -- >> one other question. >> unless there was a qualification you wanted to make. >> what you used yourself, chairman.
perfunctory, an absolute key to the attorney's advice was the prime minister should certify that saddam hussein continued in breach of security council resolutions, and the prime minister turned that around in 24 hours without the basis of confirming it was. what the attorney did not ask him, was on what legal basis is it open to a prime minister one representing one member of the security council, to reach that conclusion. and operate on the basis of it. when the majority of the security council took the opposite view. >> and your answer to that is? >> that question was not put. >> okay, but your answer to the question would have been no basis at all? >> well -- >> it sounds like the way you are putting it. >> i can answer it as a legal question, but politically, in terms of international politics, if a majority of a security council, leave aside problems
with vetoes from permanent members are against something, how can you as an individual certify that nonetheless, the security council has prior resolutions authorized in this case a military invasion. >> that's a legal question, rather than a procedural. >> he was asked a question, and he answered it. but whether he answered it satisfactori satisfactorily, or on a satisfactory basis is what we criticiz criticized. >> you're saying he didn't do that in the right -- he said it in the wrong way? >> he should have sought carefully thought through and sought fact based advice and had it discussed and agreed before being able to sign it if you like a certificate that in his view is a breach of security council. >> had net another question. you must be brief. >> we have the time required to
talk. it was much longer than originally thought. it caused a great deal of stress. servicemen and their families. what lesson do you draw from that, and could you say as well. >> briefly. >> while you had a long task, were there capacity issues outside your control in the government that also held up the inquiry? >> thank you. i do feel and felt throughout a continuing sense of concern for and sympathy with the grieved families, and we were of course in running touch with them, if you put it that way. in the outcome, they say that they are more than satisfied, despite the length of time. i always try to avoid the word delay, because that implies avoidant delay. had there been more resources, would it have shortened the time
span? i do accept that if we at the start, i wouldn't say a much larger stuff, but a significantly bigger one, we could have processed some of the original material more quickly perhaps. i don't think it is an saving years or anything near it, but we probably and with hindsight would have asked for a bit more resour resource. what about resources in government. i think those resources in terms of finding archived material for many years and i've crossed a lot of department, pose an extreme strain on different departments. those that had already digitized their archives were at a much better place. that that hadn't and were relying on paper for the most part weren't too bad. the ones in the middle you've changeover found it very difficult. as much as i can say. >> very helpful. >> sir winston wanted to ask you. >> you've made it clear that the cabinet should have had access
to the legal advice. could you clarify. were there cabinet members themselves negligent or cavalier in not insisting on it, or were they obstructed? do you feel that they wanted to see it, but they were obstructed? >> i don't think they were obstructed in an active sense. and of course, robby cook, with hindsight, he was right. not least on intelligence. he wasn't opposed to the invasion on principle. but he correctly said that you could read the intelligence in different ways, and the way he read it turned out to be the right way. deliberate obstruction, no. passivity, yes. >> do you feel they were negligent? >> that's, again -- >> too strong do you feel? >> yes, i don't think negligent. but you might say passive. >> relieved of your humphrey
responsibility, so now you can tell us what sir john chilcot thinks. >> there is so much watching over you, if you're not directly engaged in the wrong thing, if you're not the defense secretary or foreign secretary, international development secretary, you know, you're not being negligent. you're going -- >> surely, this is the most extraordinary decision that they will have made. >> yes, it is. >> and -- >> in that whole period -- >> to actually feel that's somebody else's responsibility, if you're cabinet member responsible collectively for the decision-making, and you know, you will not actually go to take the trouble to look at the advice that could have been available to you. isn't that staggering dereliction of responsibility in. >> i'm trying to avoid having -- i'm trying to find words of my own -- >> of course, i don't wish to --
>> it was not the way that cabinet members should have -- not be approach -- approach to the serious legal question of the invasion of iraq. >> thank you. >> would you accept in the face of. [ inaudible ] ? >> i think the word has something to do with fleas. >> no changing the subject. >> well, no, can i -- at the risk of -- >> i think you'll find that's the word used by nigel lawson to describe his attempt to mobilize opposition to the poll tax in the mid 1980s from cabinet colleagues. >> yes, i cited mr. straw's answer to a question we put him in oral testimony. and it was about the dominance
and authority mr. blair had acquired by his political success in '97 and again in '91. that didn't mean that they were animous, but they had a face in his being right and it was not for them to say no, tony, you're wrong. only robin cook and a bit of claire short did. >> how do you suppose, john, the criticism that has been leveled against the report, the release of the report, mr. humphrey would be pleased because the politicians have been put under the spotlight, this criticism of tony blair, other entities, not really any criticism of the civil service? >> well, all i can say if one goes through the 12 volumes with care, and in detail, you'll find large number of references which are far from compliment tree
to -- >> distillations. >> or the process, the deficiencies are well exposed in the way that machinery was established or not established the way that processes were conducted. for that, the cabinet secretary of the time, cabinet secretaries at the time, and senior officials as well as military must take some responsibilities. we point that out. i don't myself think that expolitating afternoon individual by name is something that is a matter of pure judgment. and under political direction would have been entirely fair. what i do think is that senior officials as well as others do vo responsibility to and about
their staff. and you mentioned the military, the fact that there was no set of rules of engagement. when we launched in may, in march 2003. so in march 2003, some of us do not know. who can i shoot and who can i not shoot? that was a deficiency. when officials proposed machinery for a runup to a war maybe our leaders should have insisted. >> there are military people you name. and you say if we get through all the reports, we'll on jekty phi the civil service too. there are some you believe played a central role in this
game? >> well, i -- all i can do really is refer you back to the narrative. both the strategic runup to the investigation. and then all that happened afterwards during the of cour occupation. both nominally until 2009. there are many actors, many of them named. but where you want to find a sufficient failure or duty. is it fair to say, he played on foreign policy matters at the
time. what advice should that play for shaping the prime minister's views. >> i mentioned already in the section, that both he and d. jonathan howell, who was his superior did seek not to put those fateful words. i will be with you whatever. they did their duty in that respect. >> that is not their fault. it was the prime minister's decision. constitutionally. it was his authority, not theirs. if you give your advice, and it's rejected. and you have a choice of two things. you accept it or you resign. one incident one of the very fateful documents. the reason i'm asking, if a prime minister seeks to run in government, they require the help and support of people to do
it, determine who at the meetings they attend, the advisers they see. and those two probably have been central to the operation. >> yes, that's perfectly true. and on the butler regime, we reflected on and found a deficiency in the arrangement. inevitably, we said it again in our own report, that shifted the balance of the occupant of that dual role, too far away from responsibilities. can you or should you criticize the individuals? i will accept both thoughts. that's going a bit far. the exercise of both roles is a
difficult business, and we think it should be replicated. >> there is implicit criticism for being more challenging. >> all i can say is is, i didn't feel because none of these -- those involved, were part of my own generation. we took all the evidence we could, we published it, if you like to endorse it or find fault or deficiency. we do what historians, we agreed in all respects. which by 9 way a thing of that
schedule and covering that degree it could have well led to minority views. >> you accused tony blair of being unreasonable in response to the questions at the beginning of the session. do you think there were other reasonable people he worked with who -- in the great system, i could demonstrate given unreasonable advice. >> it's quite hard to answer
because there's so much multiple die las vegas going on all the ti time. who said what to who on what occasion? read what we've read, publish what we've published. and draw up conclusions. >> who else could. you claim that war money is unreasonable. you don't feel you can say anyone else is unreasonable. >> it was his word and not mine do i place others in the same positi
position. the policy was to disarm saddam they turned it to coercive diplomacy. the other place is that it fails and you're sunk into a military expedition. you always knew anyway. that was a tough situation to be in. but it was a better choosing to be in it. >> thank you, gentlemen. >> we talked a lot about weapons of mass destruction. >> a tremendous reading about the way zam treated his own
citizens. >> is there anyway to prevent the slaughter of human beings. how much did you consider that regime in that respect, was the awesome kind of interaction from the international community. >> it would have defied the national rule. the interesting case was referred to a few times. the united nations security counc council. it was also thought around the
community something had to be done. and there was no objection to it. when you have right up until the day of the invasion, members of the security council, both elected and unelected opposed to taking action. no one was making a humanitarian action. that was never a proposition that was running. >> it may not have been in parliament, i wish i could have shared it with my constituents. it is horrendous. it wasn't the only reason, but
it was how much did you consider that when you -- i know what you think of the legalities, what were you looking into the whole of some action being taken. >> some military occupation. and that was the policy of the responsible governments. but actions short of the invasion and occupation of a sovereign country on those -- on humanitarian grounds. it -- i can understand entirely, and we said in various points. the introduction to my statement launching the report, the