In what amounted to an official acknowlegdement of plagiarism, the British government has admitted that a dossier against Saddam Hussein was partly copied from a student’s PhD thesis and cobbled together by Alastair Campbell’s propaganda machine.
The Prime Minister’s official spokesman conceded that Downing Street ‘‘should have acknowledged’’ that sections of the dossier about how Saddam hides his weapons of mass destruction were lifted directly from a paper prepared by Ibrahim al-Marashi, a Californian student, says a report in The Telegraph.
Al-Marashi’s work was published last year in the Israel-based Middle East Review of International Affairs and is regarded as a serious and authoritative piece of research.
But Downing Street confessed it never asked him for permission to reproduce large chunks of the paper for its own dossier entitled ‘‘Iraq, Its Infrastructure of Concealment, Deception and Intimidation.’’
The document was based on up-to-date intelligence but Al-Marashi’s work related to events around the time of the Gulf War in 1991. He said the government “could have asked me out of courtesy.’’
Other parts of the document — were lifted from the Defence journal, Jane’s Intelligence Review.
The revelations were all the more embarrassing for Downing Street because the dossier was praised by Colin Powell, US Secretary of State, in his presentation to the UN Security Council on Wednesday.