The documents, obtained by Michael Smith, a defense specialist writing for the Sunday Times of London, include a memo of the minutes of a meeting July 23, 2002, between [Tony Blair] and his intelligence and military chiefs; a briefing paper for that meeting and a Foreign Office legal opinion prepared before an April 2002 summit between Blair and [Bush] in Texas.
The leaked minutes sum up the July 23 meeting, at which Blair, top security advisors and his attorney general discussed Britain's role in Washington's plan to oust [Saddam Hussein]. The minutes, written by Matthew Rycroft, a foreign policy aide, indicate general thoughts among the participants about how to create a political and legal basis for war. The case for military action at the time was "thin," Foreign Minister Jack Straw was characterized as saying, and Hussein's government posed little threat.
In January 2002, Bush described Iraq as a member of an "axis of evil," but the sustained White House push for Iraqi compliance with U.N. resolutions did not come until September of that year. That month, Bush addressed the U.N. General Assembly to outline a case against Hussein's government, and he sought a bipartisan congressional resolution authorizing the possible use of force.