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Former British Foreign Minister says Gov't Should Admit Iraq Intelligence was Wrong - 2004-01-30

A leading opponent of Britain's involvement in the Iraq war says the government should admit its intelligence on Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction was wrong.

Anti-war critics in Britain are not backing down despite the verdict this week of a senior judge that Prime Minister Tony Blair did not deliberately embellish intelligence on Iraq's weapons threat.

The former foreign secretary, Robin Cook, has told British television Mr. Blair should concede he persuaded parliament to approve the invasion based on inaccurate intelligence estimates.

"I really do wish the government would face up to the fact that the game is over," he said. "They cannot go on pretending that miraculously weapons are going to turn up someday when everyone in the Iraq Survey Group knows they are never going to find them. They have come to the end of the line and they should face reality."

The former head of the Iraq Survey Group, David Kay, says pre-war intelligence was so wrong the United States should conduct an independent inquiry.

But a Blair spokesman said no such probe is warranted in Britain, and he says the search for Iraq's weapons of mass destruction should continue.