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Australia too 'sexed up' defence dossier

August 22, 2003 15:10 IST

A former Australian intelligence officer has accused Canberra of exaggerating the threat posed by weapons of mass destruction in possession of Saddam Hussein's regime, reports CNN.

Speaking to an inquiry called by the Australian Senate, Andrew Wilkie said information in intelligence reports had been distorted by the prime minister's office and "sexed up" to suit the government's political agenda.

Wilkie resigned from Australia's elite Office of National Assessments in March in protest against the government's alleged misuse of information provided by the agency, the CNN report said.

The ONA is an elite agency which evaluates intelligence from all Australian and allied agencies and passes on that advice to Prime Minister John Howard's office.

The Howard government has been a staunch supporter of the Bush administration position on Iraq and contributed troops and military hardware to the US.-led "coalition of the willing."

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