The Prime Minister John Howard has promised the support of all intelligence agencies in the parliamentary inquiry into information received by the government about Iraq’s weapons programs.
The committee conducting the inquiry usually looks at only matters concerning three agencies — the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation, the Australian Security Intelligence Service, and the Defence Signals Directorate.
Mr Howard told parliament all three agencies will co-operate with the inquiry into the accuracy of intelligence on Iraq’s alleged weapons of mass destruction.
He says two other key agencies, the Office of National Assessments and the Defence Intelligence Organisation, will also be allowed to give evidence.
“We will not raise any objection as a government to an appropriate response from the three agencies covered by the relevant intelligence (committee), and if in fact requests are made to make submissions, we won’t raise any objection to that.
“The only other comments I’d make are that of course that in its behaviour and conduct, the committee will need to observe its charter, and in particular it should be cognisant of the provisions relating to the use of foreign-source intelligence.”
The committee comprises Liberal, Labor and National party politicians, with the government holding a majority.
It’s expected to start hearings in late August, and must report by December 2.
Similar inquiries are being held in the United States and Britain, following allegations that intelligence information on Iraq’s weapons programs was flawed.
Mr Howard has previously said the Australian inquiry is premature, while the search continues in Iraq for evidence that it had weapons of mass destruction.