Sunday, May 18, 2014

White House lawyers ‘unable to find’ critical Iraq letter from Tony Blair telling George Bush: ‘I’m with you whatever’ --- A letter sent by Tony Blair to George Bush that is “critical” to the Iraq Inquiry has gone missing from official White House records, it has been reported. -- The publication of secret correspondence between the UK and US administrations in the build-up to the Iraq War has become a major stumbling block for Sir John Chilcot’s inquiry into the 2003 invasion. --While the Cabinet Office has said privately that it wants to release as many of the Blair-Bush communications as possible, there is one letter which lawyers at the White House say they have “not been able to locate”. --- In its opening sentence, Mr Blair is said to have told the US President: “You know, George, whatever you decide to do, I'm with you.” The letter was reportedly hand-delivered by Manning to Bush’s national security adviser Condoleezza Rice. -- Yet according to reports in the Mail on Sunday, a British source involved in the ongoing efforts to get the Bush-Blair records released said: “The lawyers are taking months to evaluate the letters and decide whether to release them. -- “However, they claim not to have been able to locate the ‘with you whatever’ letter.” -- Though Mr Blair said after 9/11 that Britain stood “shoulder to shoulder” with the US, and in 2011 he told Chilcot that he had been quite open about his support for Bush in dealing with Saddam Hussein, he denied the “with you whatever” wording. -- And more than three years after the inquiry completed its public hearings, the letter has been described as “absolutely critical” among all the correspondence in determining whether or not Mr Blair gave Mr Bush a “blank cheque” on Britain’s cooperation. --- Meanwhile, David Cameron said it was “frustrating” that the publication of the inquiry has been so delayed, and said that the public “want to see the answers of the inquiry”. - More,


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