GOOD READ: This Is Not Your Father’s Diplomat


BUZZFEED: In 1998, Ross was acting as liaison to the Iraq weapons inspectors when the US and the U.K. gave the Iraqis an ultimatum. Iraq blocked yet another inspection. The Americans prepared to send over bombers. “And they actually launched bombers into the air when inspectors rang me up and said actually we’ve been let into the site,” Ross said. “My hands were shaking and I ran this telegram to London saying actually they’re cooperating, and the bombers were called back. It was really extraordinary. It makes my hair stand up even talking about it now.”

His personal life, meanwhile, was falling apart. “I drank a lot,” Ross said. “And I was very aggressive professionally. I liked destroying people.”

Ross took a sabbatical in 2002 to 2003 and taught at the New School, though he was still a member of the Foreign Office. He was posted to Kosovo in 2003. It would be his last posting. In 2004 he testified for the Butler Review, the British government’s inquiry into the intelligence which led to the invasion of Iraq. Ross’s testimony that he had not seen evidence of WMDs during his tenure at the U.N. marked the end of his career, though he gave it in secret in an effort to keep his job, at least at first.

“At the time of my testimony, I was still in the British Foreign Office, and feared the professional consequences of testimony that was so critical of the government,” Ross wrote on his blog this past February. “But after transmitting the testimony to the inquiry, I decided to resign. I felt that I could no longer work with ministers and officials whom I knew to have lied.” MORE