Bletchley Park chief under fire over Iraq war

John Scarlett
John Scarlett

The man who heads Bletchley Park Trust has been blasted for his part in producing “flawed” intelligence that prompted the Iraq war.

Sir John Scarlett was singled out for criticism in the Chilcot report published yesterday.

He was chairman of the Joint Intelligence Committee that produced the now notorious dossier stating Saddam Hussein had nuclear and chemical weapons of mass destruction in 2002.

This helped Tony Blair to make his case for the Iraq war, in which hundreds of thousands of lives were lost.

The Chilcot report identified a series of major blunders and states John Scarlett and the JIC failed in their duty.

It accuses intelligence officials of having an “ingrained” but unjustified belief about Iraq’s stash of weapons.

Sir John, who is 68, went on to become chief of Britain’s Secret Intelligence Service (M16) before leaving in 2009 to take up business consultancies - including a position on the board of The Times Newspapers.

A spokesman for Bletchley Park said: “Sir John Scarlett has been on our Board of Trustees since 2010 and became Chair in late 2011. During this time, and under his leadership, Bletchley Park Trust has been through a transformational phase of restoration and development, helping preserve Bletchley Park for future generations to enjoy and increasing visitor numbers to this unique historical site.”

The spokesman confirmed the role is unpaid.

The Trust is a registered charity, with the mission to preserve and enhance Bletchley Park.

The park is famous worldwide for the intelligence it gathered from cracking Nazi codes and ciphers during Second World War.

Source at Bletchley Park: “It is a bitter irony that the head of a place famed for gathering accurate intelligence to help us win a war should be criticised for providing flawed intelligence that prompted another war.”