Joint Intelligence Committee (United Kingdom)

United Kingdom
Joint Intelligence Committee
Committee overview
Formed 1936
Committee executive
Parent department Cabinet Office

The Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC) is the part of the British Cabinet Office responsible for:


It is claimed that it oversees the setting of priorities for the three intelligence and security agencies (Secret Intelligence Service, Security Service, GCHQ), as well as Defence Intelligence, and establishes professional standards for intelligence analysis in government.


The Committee is chaired by a permanent chairman, a member of the Senior Civil Service, and is supported by the Joint Intelligence Organisation which includes an assessments staff. The assessment staff is made up of experienced senior analysts drawn from across government and the military and conducts all-source analysis on subjects of interest to the committee. JIC papers draw input from across the intelligence and security agencies and other related bodies.[2] Membership comprises senior officials in the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, Ministry of Defence (including the Chief of Defence Intelligence), Home Office, Department of Trade and Industry, Department for International Development, Treasury and Cabinet Office, the Heads of the three intelligence Agencies and the Chief of the Assessments Staff and other departments, and the Prime Minister's adviser on foreign affairs.[3][4]

The JIC is subject to oversight by the Intelligence and Security Committee. It is supported by the Joint Intelligence Organisation.[5]


The JIC has three functions:

Requirements and priorities

The JIC drafts the annual Requirements and Priorities for collection and analysis, for approval by Ministers. These support the strategic national security objectives of the UK:


The JIC was founded on 7 July 1936[7] as a sub-committee of the Committee of Imperial Defence, the advisory peacetime defence planning agency. During World War II, it became the senior intelligence assessment body in the UK. In 1957 the JIC moved to the Cabinet Office, where its assessments staff prepare draft intelligence assessments for the committee to consider.

Chairs of the Joint Intelligence Committee

Since founding, the Committee's Chair has been as follows:

Foreign involvement

Ever since World War II, the chief of the London station of the United States Central Intelligence Agency has attended the JIC's weekly meetings. One former US intelligence officer has described this as the "highlight of the job" for the London CIA chief.[8] Resident intelligence chiefs from Australia, Canada, and New Zealand may attend when certain issues are discussed.

Role in the Iraq dossier

Main article: Iraq Dossier

The JIC recently played a controversial role in compiling a dossier in which the UK government set out the threat posed by Iraq's Weapons of Mass Destruction in the run up to war. There were allegations that the dossier was "sexed up" prior to publication in order to bolster the case for military action. Evidence that the wording of the dossier was "strengthened" was presented to the Hutton Inquiry, a judicial review set up to investigate the circumstances leading up to the death of an eminent government weapons expert, David Kelly, who had criticised the wording of the dossier in off-the-record briefings to journalists. Dr. Kelly committed suicide shortly after his identity was confirmed to the media by the government. JIC members John Scarlett and Sir Richard Dearlove (both then head of MI6, the Secret Intelligence Service) gave evidence to the Inquiry in which they argued that the words used in the dossier were consistent with their assessment of the intelligence available at the time.

Despite the work of the 1400 strong Iraq Survey Group in post-war Iraq, no evidence of actual WMD capability has so far been uncovered; according to its final report in September 2004. The US and UK Governments both announced investigations into the assessment of WMD intelligence in the run up to war. The British inquiry, headed by Lord Butler of Brockwell, in its report in July 2004, while critical of the British intelligence community, did not recommend that anyone should resign. Similarly, the US Senate Intelligence Committee, while critical of US intelligence officials, did not recommend any resignations in its report, also issued in July 2004.

See also


  1. "Joint Intelligence Committee". Joint Intelligence Committee. 15 July 2016.
  2. "National Intelligence Machinery" (PDF). The Stationery Office. November 2006.
  3. "National Intelligence Machinery" (PDF). The Stationery Office. November 2006.
  5. "Joint Intelligence Organisation". Joint Intelligence Organisation. July 2016.
  7. Spying on the World. p. 10. ISBN 9780748678570.
  8. "Why no questions about the CIA?". New Statesman. September 2003.
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