Iraq Task Force

Iraq Task Force


The Australian political/ diplomatic effort in Iraq has been coordinated by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) led Iraq Task Force (ITF). The ITF played an important role in the lead up policy-planning for Australia’s involvement in the conflict, the securing of wheat sales to Iraq, managing the inquires into the Australian Wheat Board, the prisoner abuse controversy, the functioning of the Iraq Survey Group, monitoring Iraq casualties,

The “Iraq Task Force” refers to both the DFAT team – a branch of the  South Pacific, Middle East and Africa department – and the regular inter-agency meetings between the team and personnel from AusAID, the office of Prime Minister and Cabinet and the Defence and Intelligence communities.

The Task Force was put together in September 2002. Although it is headed by DFAT at various times it has included personnel from the Defence Department, ASIO, the Office of National Assessment (ONA) and other intelligence agencies.

A precise definition can be found from the Secretary’s review of the 2003-2004 DFAT annual report:

“The department provided the Government with extensive advice on the challenging situation in Iraq. We led the inter-agency Iraq Task Force—the principal mechanism for coordinating government policy, operational decisions and advocacy on Iraq issues. Despite operating in a difficult security situation, the department, with its representatives in Baghdad, was able to support Australia’s efforts to assist with the stabilisation of Iraq, while at the same time advancing our commercial interests.”


Head of Iraq Task Force

Mr Paul Robilliard              Aug 2006  – present

Mr Marc Innes-Brown       Sept 2005  –  Aug 2006

Mr Bassim Blazey                     2005 –  Sept 2005

Mr John Quinn                         2003 – 2004                    (title: Assistant Secretary)

Mr Bill Paterson                       2002 – 2003                    (title: First Assistant Secretary)

Government sources

Performance: South Pacific, Middle East and Africa, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade: Annual Report 2006-2007.

“Through a dedicated Iraq Task Force, the department has maintained its role of coordinating regular meetings with key departments and agencies, and providing policy advice on Iraq to ministers. The Iraq Task Force, together with International Organisations and Legal Division, managed the department’s cooperation with the Inquiry into certain Australian companies in relation to the UN Oil-for-Food Programme (the Cole Inquiry).”


Performance: South Pacific, Middle East and Africa, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade: Annual Report 2005-2006.

“Through a dedicated Iraq Task Force, the department continued to coordinate regular meetings with key agencies and provided policy advice to ministers. The Iraq Task Force managed, with the International Legal Division, the department’s cooperation with the Inquiry into certain Australian companies in relation to the UN Oil-for-Food Programme (the Cole Inquiry).”

Performance: South Pacific, Middle East and Africa, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade: Annual Report 2004-2005.

“The department’s Iraq Task Force remained the primary whole of government focal point for Australian Iraq policy, coordinating regular meetings of key strategic departments and agencies, and providing policy advice to ministers…Iraq’s political transition, internal security and rehabilitation remained a key policy priority for the Government. The department’s Iraq Task Force coordinated whole of government policy formation. The department led the response to several high-profile challenges, including hostage-takings, a bomb attack on our Baghdad embassy, and the resolution of a dispute about claims of contamination of Australian wheat exports.”


Performance: South Pacific, Middle East and Africa, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade: Annual Report 2003-2004.

“Developments in relation to Iraq continued to be a major focus of attention for ministers and the department during the year. The interagency Iraq Task Force (ITF)—led by the department—remained the principal mechanism in Canberra for coordination of whole-of-government policy, operational decisions and advocacy on Iraq issues.”

Parliamentary sources


Official Committee Hansard, Senate standing committee on foreign affairs, defence and trade, estimates (supplementary budget estimates), 2 November 2006.

“Senator FAULKNER—I would like to kick off with the issue of civilian casualties, which witnesses would know I have raised at a considerable number of estimates rounds. I was interested to see that the department had opened a new file. We know that because of the new file list that is lodged in accordance with the order of the Senate. In the last six months the Iraq Task Force has opened a new file 06120138—‘International relations monitoring: Iraq civilian casualties’. Can you confirm that is a new file that has been opened in the department?

Mr Robilliard—That is correct. That particular part of that file was opened on 24 March 2006. It is a new part in the file sequence with the same title. The actual file sequence was created in 2005.

Senator FAULKNER—But it is specifically for the Iraq civilian casualties issue, I gather.

Mr Robilliard—That is the material that is on that file. Previous to the creation of this file sequence, material relating to civilian casualties was filed on other files.

Senator FAULKNER—Why was it decided to open the new file?

Mr Robilliard—I was not in the Iraq Task Force at the time this was opened. I believe that because the issue has such currency it was considered appropriate to ensure that material was available on a specific file.

Senator FAULKNER—Does this indicate a more concerted effort—perhaps you or Mr Ritchie would care to answer this; I do not know whose responsibility this is—on the part of the department to monitor the issue of the civilian casualty rate in Iraq?

Mr DJ Ritchie—No. We have always watched civilian casualty rates in Iraq. There are very wide ranging estimates of that. As Mr Robilliard said, I am sure it is just a question of bringing those together in one place rather than filing them separately. I would not read anything of a sinister or weird nature into creating a new part of a file. We monitor civilian casualties in Iraq and we will continue to do so.

Senator FAULKNER—I am pleased to hear that, Mr Ritchie. I have heard a lot of evidence over a long period of time that the department did not monitor civilian casualties in Iraq. It is somewhat of a surprise to me, I must say.

Mr DJ Ritchie—We do not ourselves monitor them; we certainly watch what other people are totalling up and try to make some sense out of those statistics.”


Official Committee Hansard, Senate foreign affairs, defence and trade legislation committee, estimates (Budget Estimates), 29 May 2006.

“Senator FAULKNER—I have some questions about the administrative arrangements in relation to the Cole inquiry. I am particularly interested in departmental resources. How was the coordinating function of DFAT being organised in the department?

Ms Bird—The issues relating to the Cole inquiry have been handled by the Iraq Task Force and the legal branch of the department and I have had oversight of that…

Senator FAULKNER—Are you able to say to the committee what sorts of departmental resources have been involved on Cole inquiry matters?

Ms Bird—Yes, in a general sense. The workload has varied over time so I cannot give you a fixed number of staff who have been involved. As I said, it has been the two areas—the Iraq Task Force and the legal branch. Each of those areas has received some extra staff to help them through the workload required. As I said, the numbers have varied over time. It depends on the intensity of the work involved with the Cole inquiry.

Senator FAULKNER—How many extra staff have gone to those two areas?

Ms Bird—I am advised that from about February 2006 about 14 additional staff were provided, as I said, on and off to the Iraq Task Force to assist it to meet its work priorities, particularly the Cole inquiry. The legal branch has also employed around 12 supplementary staff to deal with the increased workload. Again, that has been on and off on an as needs basis. Most staff have been deployed from elsewhere in the department to assist.

Senator FAULKNER—You used the word ‘additional’ staff to the Iraq Task Force and ‘supplementary’ staff to the legal branch. I just want to be clear: what is the significance of that use of language, if any?

Ms Bird—Obviously, the Iraq Task Force has a set number of staff and they have stayed there throughout. Similarly, the legal branch has a set number of staff. I was talking there about additional staff that have gone in to help, particularly with the Cole inquiry.

Senator FAULKNER—What is the staffing establishment of the Iraq Task Force?

Mr Innes-Brown—There are currently 10 staff.

Senator FAULKNER—So there are 10 plus the additional 14.”


Official Committee Hansard, Senate standing committee on foreign affairs, defence and trade, estimates (additional estimates), 16 February 2006.

“Ms Bird—The Iraq Task Force has been in existence since September 2002, so a number of different officers have had that role…

Mr Chester—I think we have had four heads of the task force. I think Mr Innes-Brown is the fourth.

Senator ROBERT RAY—Why the turnover? Is it specific to this or is it just the normal process that every time you are appointed to a Public Service job you start looking for your next one?

Mr Chester—I think it is probably more prevalent in a department such as Foreign Affairs and Trade—

Senator ROBERT RAY—True!

Mr Chester—because we have a number of positions overseas which last for a defined period of time, so there is quite a deal of movement within the organisation. In terms of moving people in and out of positions overseas, there is probably something like 300-plus movements a year of staff just to cover that part of the department, so it is the nature of the organisation. We do try to maintain as much stability as we can in keeping people in positions when they are back in Canberra, but the nature of the organisation is that there is a fair degree of movement.

Senator ROBERT RAY—The trouble with that answer—and I am editorialising—is that other departments do not have your excuse; however, we will take that up with them. We know when it was established. Who is represented on it—which departments and agencies?

Mr Innes-Brown—There is an administrative unit in DFAT which is called the Iraq Task Force. We also have interdepartmental meetings. Currently, regular attendees at these meetings include PM&C, Defence, A-G’s, ONA, Austrade and AusAID. I think that covers it.

Senator CHRIS EVANS—Is AusAID represented separately?

Mr Innes-Brown—We attend meetings. It is a structure where we have regular interdepartmental meetings and the various agencies that I just listed send representatives along to those meetings.

Senator ROBERT RAY—Is it anticipated that the Iraq Task Force will continue to exist until the military deployment is finalised? Is that the approximate anticipated time span?

Mr Chester—It will obviously continue to exist for as long as we believe it is needed. We do not have a trigger point to not have the task force.

Senator ROBERT RAY—Were appointments to the CPA and other related matters in Iraq run through the task force or handled separately by the departments?

Mr Tapp—From an AusAID perspective, a number of the individuals were paid for through our agency. Certainly, some of it would have been discussed in that task force—

Ms Bird—What I can say is that there was no formal role for the Iraq Task Force in terms of CPA appointments. There may from time to time have been discussions, but that was not one of the roles of the Iraq Task Force…

Senator CHRIS EVANS—In terms of the report into the task force from inside Iraq, what form did that take? I know that Defence has told us that they got sit reps from the commander of the Australian Defence Force inside Iraq. Did those sit reps come to the Iraq Task Force?

Mr Innes-Brown—The general line of reporting from Iraq came from our mission in Baghdad, usually by cable and occasionally also by email. In terms of the reporting that came from some of the other areas of Australians represented there, whether it be the CPA or other bodies, I think that previously in Senate estimates hearings there has been evidence about some of the nature of that information and how some of that information was conveyed to DFAT. Some of those reports did come to DFAT. My understanding is that not every report from some of those organisations or bodies came to DFAT as a matter of course.

Senator CHRIS EVANS—I was trying to understand what came to the task force and how the task force did its work in the sense of intelligence—and I use that in the broadest term. How did that come before the task force?

Mr Innes-Brown—I understand there was a period in the phase from shortly after the establishment of the task force into 2003—given the pattern of work and so on—that the task force was producing situation reports which were circulated to relevant agencies so that everyone was coordinated on Iraq related matters.

Senator CHRIS EVANS—The task force itself was producing sit reps?

Mr Innes-Brown—I believe so, yes. I would like to get some more detail on it. I was not around but my understanding is that information would come in from various points and they would synthesise it and send out sit reps so that people were broadly aware of what was going on. There was obviously a lot happening during that period.

Senator CHRIS EVANS—Sure. In terms of incoming information to the task force, who sends it to you and how is it collected? Does everyone come to the meeting and give a five-minute report or is an agenda drawn up on what has been happening in the last week or two or do the DFAT cables, the Defence sit reps et cetera get shown to people as the meeting starts? I am just trying to understand what comes to them and how they do their work in the sense of what is happening inside Iraq and what has been happening—

Ms Bird—The Iraq Task Force was in many ways an information-sharing mechanism. You would bring together the different departments and agencies that had an interest or a role in Iraq. Those different representatives would talk to different issues so they would come with their own information. As Mr Innes-Brown was saying, the main source of information that we as DFAT had would be the reporting that we had from our post in Baghdad…

Senator CHRIS EVANS—But I am asking: how does the information that is contained in the Iraq Task Force sit reps get compiled? What are you using as your basis for that?

Ms Bird—As I said, from DFAT’s perspective it was largely our diplomatic reporting. Those cables would also have a distribution that would involve the key departments and agencies.

Senator CHRIS EVANS—So they get it directly before they come to the meeting, as it were?

Ms Bird—Through the cable system….

Senator FAULKNER—But the Iraq Task Force in DFAT consists of representatives of other agencies as well, doesn’t it?

Mr Innes-Brown—No.

Senator FAULKNER—Not anymore?

Mr Innes-Brown—No. It is just DFAT staff. That is the name of the administrative unit in DFAT.

Senator FAULKNER—I see. What about AusAID? Is that represented on the Iraq Task Force?

Mr Tapp—Not in the administrative unit in DFAT, no. There may be meetings.

Senator FAULKNER—Is there a terminology issue here, Mr Chester, when we talk about the administrative unit? You had better let me in on the secret.

Mr Chester—I think that there is. There is a section within the department called the Iraq Task Force that Mr Innes-Brown heads. It comprises something like six officers of the department. Then there is an interagency body that meets on occasion that is also called the Iraq Task Force.

Senator FAULKNER—I wondered. The interagency body is effectively an IDC, isn’t it?

Mr Chester—That is right…

Senator FAULKNER—It is surprising not to have come up with another name for your internal organisation than ‘Iraq Task Force’ as well. Has it caused any problems administratively, Mr Chester, that no-one has been creative enough to come up with a slightly different name?

Mr Chester—It causes us no problem.”


Official Committee Hansard, Senate finance and public administration legislation(additional estimates), 13 February 2006.

“Dr Morauta—We have some answers to questions you asked about when the Iraq task force was established. It was established on 26 September 2002 and first convened on 27 September of the same year. PM&C at that time was represented by the first assistant secretary, international; the assistant secretary, defence intelligence branch; and the director of defence intelligence section.”


Official Committee Hansard, Senate foreign affairs, defence and trade legistlation committee, estimates (supplementary budget estimates), 3 November 2005.

“Senator HEFFERNAN—I have only just turned my radar on. What does the Iraq Task Force do?

Ms Bird—The Iraq Task Force within the department is the area that is responsible for dealing with all issues to do with Iraq.

Senator HEFFERNAN—So is Mr Marc Innes-Brown where the buck stops?

Ms Bird—He is the head of the Iraq Task Force.

Senator HEFFERNAN—How long has that been in existence?

Mr Innes-Brown—Since 2002.

Senator HEFFERNAN—What is your background? Are you an expert on trade, wool classing, welding or what?

Mr Innes-Brown—I have worked on a range of foreign policy issues in my career.

Senator HEFFERNAN—Have you been to Iraq?

Mr Innes-Brown—Not yet.

Ms Bird—I should perhaps mention that Marc Innes-Brown took up the position quite recently.”


Official Committee Hansard, Senate foreign affairs, defence and trade legislation committee, estimates (budget estimates), 1 June 2005

“Senator FAULKNER—Let us move to the first meeting. I think you have said that the date was 26 February 2004.

Mr Blazey—That is correct, yes.

Senator FAULKNER—What was the location, please?

Mr Blazey—That was in Baghdad.

Senator FAULKNER—Can you say who was present at the meeting?

Mr Blazey—It was Dr Gee, Mr Barton, John Quinn and I believe Neil Mules, the then Australian representative in Iraq.

Senator FAULKNER—I know who Mr Barton is, but who is Mr Quinn?

Mr Blazey—At the time he was the head of the Iraq Task Force.

Senator FAULKNER—Can you indicate what the purpose of that particular meeting was, please.

Mr Blazey—The meeting was to discuss the Iraq Survey Group.

Senator FAULKNER—Are you able to provide any more detail than ‘to discuss the Iraq Survey Group’?

Mr Blazey—The information we have from Mr Quinn is that, at that meeting, Dr Gee and Mr Barton conveyed to him their concerns about the direction of the Iraq Survey Group.

Senator ROBERT RAY—What were those concerns?

Mr Blazey—They related primarily, as I understand it, to the forthcoming interim report of the Iraq Survey Group.

Senator ROBERT RAY—What were they concerned about with the interim report?

Mr Blazey—As I understand it, they were concerned about some methodological issues, the structure and, as Mr Barton has subsequently stated in public, the objectivity of the report.

Senator ROBERT RAY—Was a report sent back to Australia emanating out of this meeting, a report back to the department, in written form?

Mr Blazey—I believe there was a report back but the more substantive record of those concerns was contained in a letter which Dr Gee conveyed to Mr Quinn.”


Iraq, Questions on notice, Senate Official Hansard, 7 March 2005.

Senator Brown asked:

Has the Government provided any funding for the reconstruction of Iraq; if so:

  • how much;
  • when was it allocated; and
  • to which fund in Iraq was it allocated. and
  • If funding has been provided: (a) who oversaw the distribution of the funds?

Senator Hill answered:

“The Government has committed $126 million for the reconstruction of Iraq.

$55.5 million was allocated to United Nations agencies, international organisations and NGOs in 2003 to help meet Iraq’s immediate humanitarian needs. A further $70.9 million was subsequently allocated in 2003 and 2004 for activities in the agriculture sector, to support a range of governance-related activities and through multilateral organisations.

The only specific fund supported by Australia has been the multi-donor International Reconstruction Fund Facility for Iraq (IRFFI). $20 million was pledged in October 2003, with a further $4.8 million allocated in June 2004. Both amounts have been paid.

IRFFI is oversighted by the United Nations and the World Bank. Individual donors and the Iraqi Interim Government also provide oversight. IRFFI and other funding provided bilaterally are also oversighted by AusAID and the DFAT-chaired Iraq Task Force.”


Official Committee Hansard, Senate foreign affairs, defence and trade legislation committee, estimates (budget estimates), 2 June 2004.

“Senator FAULKNER —So it was not that long after; it was nine days after the actual date on the sit rep. Who comprises the legal watch group? As you have described it, this is some sort of subcommittee of the Iraq Task Force, isn’t it?

Mr Quinn —That is right. Basically, lawyers from Defence, Attorney-General’s and DFAT plus the task force and sometimes other colleagues from Defence on the operations side or the international policy side, depending on the issues at stake. I should put this in context again. There was a lot of discussion around this time on the whole question of legal architecture in relation to the transition, so there were many other issues we were discussing—such as the proposed tribunal to try Saddam Hussein and his acolytes. So this was part of a broader debate. It was not a specific agenda item; I raised it under other business that I had read this report and had some concerns, and I sought further clarification and information.”


Official Committee Hansard, Senate foreign affairs, defence and trade legislation committee, estimates (Budget Estimates Supplementary Hearings), 6 November 2003.

“Senator FAULKNER —Is the Iraq Task Force still operational, Mr Paterson?

Mr Paterson —The Iraq Task Force continues in operation. Mr Quinn, on my left, is the head of the Iraq Task Force.

Senator FAULKNER —So you have moved back to your more traditional responsibilities?

Mr Paterson —That is correct, Senator.

Senator FAULKNER —Mr Quinn, just very briefly: what is the status now of the Iraq Task Force? Is it the same size?

Mr Quinn —The current size of the task force is eight members, including me. Obviously, the numbers have reduced from those in the crisis period, but there is still a lot to do. The task force continues its role as an interagency policy coordination and information exchange mechanism. We meet weekly, and obviously we are still very focused on following through in our role of support for the rehabilitation of Iraq.”


Official Committee Hansard, Senate foreign affairs, defence and trade legislation committee, estimates (Consideration of Budget Estimates), 2 June 2003.

“Mr Varghese —At the moment the head of our Iraq Task Force, which is currently coordinating our involvement in Iraq issues, is also at the FAS level.

Senator FAULKNER —What is the situation now with the Iraq Task Force?

Mr Varghese —It continues in operation, headed up by an FAS level officer. At the moment it includes one other SES level officer at the assistant secretary level.

Senator FAULKNER —Who is heading up the task force at the moment?

Mr Varghese —Mr Paterson is heading that up.

Senator FAULKNER —He has been in charge of that since its establishment, hasn’t he?

Mr Varghese —That is right, Senator.

Senator FAULKNER —You say it is still in operation. What is it doing these days?

Mr Varghese —It is coordinating the government’s involvement in a range of Iraq related issues in relation to rehabilitation and reconstruction in our continuing involvement in Iraq post conflict…


Mr Paterson —We currently have 13 staff deployed to the Iraq Task Force secretariat. It is headed by me at the FAS level. Mr Quinn, on my left here, is my deputy, at the assistant secretary level. They are the only two SES level positions. Over the last year at one point we had up to 22 DFAT officers involved in the work of the task force. It is now 13. I think the prospects are probably for it to further reduce in the period ahead.

Senator FAULKNER —Mr Paterson, do you see the Iraq Task Force as having a shelf life?

Mr Paterson —Yes, I do. I think that is an issue for ministers to decide and to make judgments about the continuing value it has for them. It also relates to our involvement as a member of the coalition provisional authority in Iraq. We have a number of Australians attached to that, and that involves servicing and a workload at this end. So the matter is kept under review, at this stage almost on a weekly basis, in terms of the size and shape of the task force. I think the prospects would be eventually for the work of the task force to be reabsorbed back into the geographic division.

Senator FAULKNER —Are you able to indicate to the committee what the timing of that might be? I appreciate that you have said it is matter for ministers at the end of the day, but I assume there must be some departmental planning going into this.

Mr Paterson —I cannot be specific because much depends on the situation on the ground, the requirements of ministers and the demands upon them on the Iraq issue, but it would be fair to say that we would expect that to happen in the course of this year.

Senator FAULKNER —Are the 13 staff you are referring to all DFAT staff?

Mr Paterson —They are all DFAT staff, yes.

Senator FAULKNER —Have you any staff from other agencies attached to the task force at this stage?

Mr Paterson —We do not. Some months ago we had an officer attached from the Strategic and International Policy Division in the Department of Defence, and an officer from AusAID, but at this point it is only DFAT staff.

Senator FAULKNER —So those officers have gone back to their home agencies, have they?

Mr Paterson —That is correct.

Senator FAULKNER —When did that happen?

Mr Paterson —I cannot be precise but if I said around April, that would be correct. I can get you the exact details if you require that.”


Commentary and analysis

Ex-DFAT official questions Iraq strategy, The Sydney Morning Herald, 17 July 2007.

“A former director of the government’s Iraq Task Force has questioned the effectiveness of leaving Australian troops in areas of marginal strategic importance in Iraq.

Anthony Bubalo, who is now at the Sydney-based Lowy Institute for International Policy, said the government should consider sending Australian troops to join the major US “surge” against insurgents in Baghdad.

About 110 Australian troops are based in dangerous Baghdad protecting officials but the main 550 strong Overwatch Battle Group is in somewhat safer southern Iraq.

“You’ve got to wonder – given our troops are not participating in the surge… in Baghdad or other high conflict areas – what actual contribution we’re making,” Mr Bubalo told The Bulletin magazine.

He said Australia should be looking at how to do more in Iraq, given that the US surge is considered by some as a last ditch attempt to stabilise Iraq as speculation continues that a Republican backlash may prompt US President George W Bush to draw down his forces.

Mr Bubalo, who worked for the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) for 13 years including as director of its Iraq Task Force in 2002-2003, argued keeping Australian troops in Iraq but away from the frontline could even damage the alliance…

The Iraq Task Force coordinated DFAT and other agencies’ response to Iraq.”


Bad week for Downer, Inside Canberra, December 2006.

“Quinn was head of the Iraq task force, put together at Howard’s instructions in DFAT so that every issue even vaguely relating to the Iraq war could be assessed and in particular, what would happen to Australian wheat sales to Iraq as a result of the oil-for-food program.”


Seceratary’s review, DFAT Annual report 2003-2004

“The department provided the Government with extensive advice on the challenging situation in Iraq. We led the inter-agency Iraq Task Force—the principal mechanism for coordinating government policy, operational decisions and advocacy on Iraq issues. Despite operating in a difficult security situation, the department, with its representatives in Baghdad, was able to support Australia’s efforts to assist with the stabilisation of Iraq, while at the same time advancing our commercial interests.”


No farce like an old one, Alan Ramsey, The Sydney Morning Herald, 30 November 2002.

“Two months ago Alexander Downer established a group of senior bureaucrats within the Foreign ministry called the Iraq Task Force. Its “principal players”, so described, apart from Foreign Affairs, are Defence, the Prime Minister’s Department, ASIO, the Office of National Assessment (ONA) “and other intelligence agencies and departments as required”. What the group does exactly remains vague. We know it meets three times a week and writes “sitreps”, or situation reports, for senior ministers. Yet its real business seems to be the readying and/or co-ordinating of the apparatus of government to make war on Iraq should Australia take the political decision to do so.

The task force, as of a week ago, had produced “18 or 20” situation reports on its “activities” since mid-September. Significantly, while Washington has made no “formal request” for Australian forces in any US “military operation” in Iraq, there have been “informal discussions” on “what might be possibilities”. How do we know? Because officials, under questioning, told a Senate estimates committee, however reluctant they were to do so. The transcript of that hearing, available this week, is a classic. Keeping people in the dark when it suits is what government, any government, always does best. Not just in relation to Iraq, either.”

See Also