The nation had been told, in the run-up to the war, that Saddam Hussein was stockpiling weapons of mass destruction - so it was inevitable, when no weapons were found by the invading forces, that questions about the case for war would be asked. But the Government was incensed when BBC reporter Andrew Gilligan suggested that Prime Minister Tony Blair had deliberately misled Parliament with the claim that Iraq could deploy weapons of mass destruction within 45 minutes.
Andrew Gilligan's first report on the Today programme at am on 29 May Andrew Gilligan's second report on the Today programme at 7. Thus, said experts, less blood loss may have killed the scientist than that needed to kill a healthy man. Among those who have called for an inquest or have doubts it was a suicide are former Tory leader Michael Howard, and Liberal Democrat minister Norman Baker, who wrote a book saying Kelly was most likely murdered.
A group of doctors say Hutton's findings should be discarded and a new inquest held. Hutton has kept silent since his report, breaking it only to write a letter denouncing the conspiracy theorists. Amongst other things, the Butler Report concluded that "the fact that the reference to the 45 minute claim in the classified assessment was repeated in the dossier later led to suspicions that it had been included because of its eye-catching character".
Andrew Gilligan claims that this has vindicated his original story that the dossier had been "sexed up". Over a dozen years later, the Chilcot Inquiry came to different conclusions.
Such a description hardly applies to the monumental inquest that has been published by Sir John Chilcot. The Sun and consequently most other newspapers in their later editions ran with the leaked version of the report. Delivered by an unnamed source over the telephone to Sun Political Editor Trevor Kavanagh , the leaked version accurately described the report's main findings.
All sides involved in the Inquiry denounced the leak. Lord Hutton launched a further inquiry into how the report came to be leaked.
This second inquiry, carried out by a solicitor, reported on 11 August , but failed to find the source of the leak. It also said there were "no particular weaknesses" in the security of the report and so offered no suggestions of how a similar leak might be prevented in the future.
Media reaction to the report[ edit ] The cover of The Independent when the report was released: "Whitewash? The Hutton Report". Several national newspapers judged the report to be so uncritical of the government that they accused Hutton of participating in an "establishment whitewash". Does this verdict, my lord, serve the real interest of truth? The Independent included a large, mostly empty, white space above the fold on its front page containing the word "whitewash?
The Daily Express headline read "Hutton's whitewash leaves questions unanswered" — referring to the fact that an investigation into Britain's reasons for joining the war in Iraq was beyond the scope of the inquiry. None of the newspapers presented evidence of a cover-up, but they questioned whether the conclusions were supported by the evidence. The reactions of papers supportive of the Conservative Party , such as The Daily Mail and The Daily Telegraph, in part reflected the Conservatives' disappointment that the report did not find that Blair had misled the House of Commons or the public, which might have precipitated his resignation.
On the other hand, left-wing newspapers such as The Guardian and The Daily Mirror , while supporting Blair against the Conservatives, strongly opposed British participation in the war in Iraq, and sympathised with what they and many others saw as the anti-war stance of BBC journalists such as Gilligan. While they probably did not want Blair forced from office, they would have welcomed a finding that Alastair Campbell had falsified the September Dossier.
Martin Kettle wrote in The Guardian on 3 February: "Too many newspapers invested too heavily in a particular preferred outcome on these key points. They wanted the government found guilty on the dossier and on the naming, and they wanted Gilligan's reporting vindicated.
When Hutton drew opposite conclusions, they damned his findings as perverse and his report as a whitewash. Lord Hutton found that the dossier had, as the government maintained all along, been prepared and drafted by the chairman of the JIC, John Scarlett, and his assessment staff.
Alastair Campbell was cleared of any inappropriate interference with the dossier: it was reasonable for him to have been involved in strengthening the wording of the document as long as Mr Scarlett accepted only changes that were consistent with the intelligence services' assessment.
When the dossier was published on September 24th , it had the full approval of the JIC. But there was no evidence that, if this was so, it caused him to deviate from the available intelligence material. As for the minute claim, Lord Hutton rejected the idea that it was inherently unreliable because it emanated from a single source and accepted that its late inclusion in the second draft was due to the fact that the information had not been received until August 29th.
One of Dr Kelly's colleagues, Brian Jones, the head of the WMD section of the Defence Intelligence Staff, had expressed concerns to the inquiry about the strength of the wording used to describe the minute capability. However, Lord Hutton was dismissive of the suggestion that the views of dissenting intelligence officers had been deliberately ignored.Where is that investigation to come from? Gilligan, for example, admitted and apologised for surreptitiously briefing politicians on a select committee in order to put pressure on Kelly. Nick Cohen is an author, columnist and signatory of the Euston Manifesto. But the judges' punches are always pulled. Virtually all the documentation provided to the Inquiry was quickly provided to the public on the Inquiry's website. About the only person operating as an independent legislator was the Labour MP Andrew Mackinlay, who asked Dr Kelly if he wasn't a fall guy being used as "chaff".
In some countries the reputation of the BBC in fact improved as a result of its attacks on the British government during the Dr David Kelly affair. Hutton himself defended the report, speaking before a Commons select committee on 14 May
Downing Street refused to allow the MPs to interview John Scarlett or have access to one-tenth of the official papers Hutton saw. Examination and cross-examination came from five Queen's Counsel. A proud man felt let down by them, and that his reputation built up over a lifetime was being irreparably tarnished.
Much of the evidence gathered in the course of Lord Hutton's inquiry suggested that the BBC reporter may have exaggerated his claims just as much as he suggested the government had its. A decade ago on Wednesday, just after 3. That is important; and it was graceless of Michael Howard, the Conservative leader, who has come close to calling the prime minister a liar in recent weeks, to refuse to acknowledge as much. However, after announcing his resignation, Dyke stated: I do not necessarily accept the findings of Lord Hutton. Sir Richard Dearlove admitted that the minute claim referred only to puny artillery shells that could be filled with mustard gas and fired on the battlefield. Broucher related that Kelly said he had assured his Iraqi sources that there would be no war if they co-operated, and that a war would put him in an 'ambiguous' moral position.
The first phase of the inquiry closed on 4 September. Lord Hutton launched a further inquiry into how the report came to be leaked. Hutton's conclusion is supported by the available facts and experts: "At no time … was there any suggestion from any counsel for the interested parties or in any of the extensive media coverage that any of the police officers engaged in investigating Dr Kelly's death or any of the medical or scientific witnesses was involved in any sort of cover-up or plot to make a murder appear like a suicide.
Background[ edit ] Kelly had been the source for reports made by three BBC journalists that the government, particularly the press office of Tony Blair , the Prime Minister , had knowingly embellished the dossier with misleading exaggerations of Iraq 's military capabilities; specifically, a claim that Iraq had the ability to launch a strike using "weapons of mass destruction" within 45 minutes.
They wanted the government found guilty on the dossier and on the naming, and they wanted Gilligan's reporting vindicated. And I simply ask that those that made it and those who have repeated it over all these months, now withdraw it, fully, openly and clearly. Kelly had raised wider questions about the quality, interpretation and presentation of intelligence that Hutton had left unanswered.
The Board of Governors, under Davies' guidance, accepted that further investigation of the government's complaints were unnecessary. Alastair Campbell originally refused to talk to them, and changed his mind only when he decided he wanted to renew his attack on the BBC. All sides involved in the Inquiry denounced the leak.