This story is two days old, but I just read about it on Andrew Sullivan’s site and couldn’t resist commenting, as it is one of the most extraordinary news items I’ve seen in a long time.
BBC reporter Andrew Gilligan’s testimony before a Parliamentary committee–after which he was described by one MP as an “unsatisfactory witness”–was due to be made public last week. But publication was delayed after the Chairman of the BBC called the chairman of the committee with a “personal plea” not to publish Gilligan’s testimony on the ground that it “might affect the journalist’s health.” A member of the committee explained that: “We’re in a situation here where if we publish the evidence and something happens to Mr Gilligan we’d be in a very difficult situation.”
Let’s get this straight. Gilligan made grave accusations against Tony Blair’s government which we now know to be false. He alleged that his report was based on information from a “senior intelligence official.” We now know that was a lie. His central charge was that Blair’s director of communications ordered certain changes in an intelligence dossier. We now know that was a lie. He testified before a Parliamentary committee, where he apparently committed perjury by repeating his false claims. And now, after the BBC has recklessly slandered Tony Blair and his government on a daily basis for the last month, the truth can’t come out for fear that the lying reporter might kill himself?
My, my. Those journalists are even more special than I thought.
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